Sheffield United have a financial as well as sporting reason for ensuring Chris Wilder’s team plays an exciting brand of football next season.
The Star understands that the majority of the club’s income last term was generated by matchday revenues with benefactors, including co-owners Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Abdulaziz Al Saud contributing the second highest sum.
Wilder, who took charge of the League One club earlier this month, pledged to deliver value for money both on and off the pitch during his introductory press conference a fortnight ago. In a tactical sense, that means adopting the same high intensity style which helped him guide Northampton Town to the League Two title before being confirmed as Nigel Adkins’ successor.
“We like to play good stuff,” Wilder said, “But good stuff in a positive fashion.
“I’m a firm believer in the fact that, if you run further, tackle harder and work harder than the opposition, you are going to win more games than you lose. Box to box, we’ll like to entertain but without taking unnecessary risks. People pay good money, hard earned money, to come and watch us. It’s important to try and give them something back for that.”
Wilder has already struck a chord with supporters by naming Billy Sharp, another lifelong United supporter, as his captain. Jay McEveley, who wore the armband last season, was among 10 players released by the 48-year-old soon after his arrival in South Yorkshire.
McCabe, who was instrumental in Wilder’s selection, insisted the move illustrates “he gets” United fans who are now represented in the technical area, on the pitch and in the boardroom too.
“I don’t think people demand a lot,” Wilder said. “Just hard work, total commitment, determination and desire. If they can see you are giving that then, in my experience, they’ll back you, they’ll get behind you. We all know what this place can be like, the atmosphere inside the ground. We’re all on the same side, we all want the same thing.”
United’s Community Foundation is running football camps at the Steelphalt Academy, the Derek Dooley Sports and Community Centre, Westfield Sports Centre and Meadowhead School between May 31 and June 3. For more information or to book, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0114 261 9883.