Chris Wilder has left his role as Sheffield United manager by mutual consent as the club face the prospect of Premier League relegation.
After two days of fervent speculation, the Blades confirmed on Saturday that the 53-year-old had departed the club “following discussions” after almost five years in charge.
Wilder was hugely successful in the first four of those, leading Sheffield United to two promotions from League One to the Premier League.
He followed that up with a fantastic ninth-placed finish in the top flight last season.
This campaign has been a huge struggle, though, with the Blades rooted to the bottom of the table on 14 points, having won just four of their 28 matches.
United do remain in the FA Cup, with a quarter-final against Chelsea coming up next week.
The Blades are away to Leicester City on Sunday and Wilder will no longer be in charge.
94 – Since he joined Sheffield United in May 2016, only Man City under Pep Guardiola (134) and Liverpool under Jürgen Klopp (117) have won more league games under a single manager in England’s top four tiers than the Blades under Chris Wilder (94). Sheathed. pic.twitter.com/qhehOTkCYg
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 12, 2021
“Being manager of Sheffield United has been a special journey and one I’ll never forget,” Wilder said.
“I was delighted to be given the opportunity back in 2016 and have been delighted with the success which we have achieved, including two promotions and a highest ever Premier League finish.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the club’s accomplishments along the way, including the players, staff and, in particular, the supporters.”
Wilder had reportedly developed a tense relationship with club owner Prince Abdullah as they disagreed over player recruitment.
His cause was not helped by high-profile striker signings Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie failing to work out.
McBurnie has one goal in 21 Premier League games this season while former Liverpool striker Brewster has failed to score in 20 league outings.
After thanking Wilder for his “hard work, commitment and expertise”, Sheffield United stressed their commitment to keeping a strong squad together in a message to supporters.
“Now the club will turn its attention to completing the season as strongly as possible and if we are relegated, to preparing for the Championship,” read their statement.
“We confirm our intention to keep the core of the player group together and will continue to invest further in the academy and the first team, to place us in the best possible position for the future.”