Sheffield United have confirmed the departure of manager Chris Wilder by mutual consent.
Speculation had mounted over Wilder’s future on Friday, when the Premier League club’s media duties were cancelled.
Wilder, who enjoyed great success after taking charge of his boyhood club in 2016 and guiding them from League One to the top flight, leaves with the Blades bottom of the Premier League.
Reports elsewhere on Saturday evening suggest former Bournemouth manager Jason Tindall could move to Bramall Lane to assist Paul Heckingbottom until the end of the season.
Sheffield United confirms that Chris Wilder has left the Club by mutual consent.
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) March 13, 2021
Tensions between Wilder and club owner Abdullah Bin Musa’ad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud have heightened recently.
Only last week, Wilder stated he did not know if he would still be in charge next season, despite confirming he wanted to remain at Bramall Lane if the board and owners “stick to the plan”.
Saturday’s statement said the mutual decision had been made “following discussions”.
Wilder said in quotes published on the club website: “Being manager of Sheffield United has been a special journey and one I’ll never forget.
“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.”
A club statement read: “We are confident that all Blades fans around the world will join us in thanking Chris for his hard work, commitment and expertise in driving the club.
“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.
“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.”
United striker Oli McBurnie wrote on Twitter: “Today is a sad day for everyone at this great football club.
“Thank you for everything you did for me and my family gaffer, I will never forget it.
“We truly shared some fantastic times on and off the pitch together. Sorry we let you down in the end.”
Sheffield United later confirmed under-23s manager Paul Heckingbottom would be taking charge of the first team at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
The former Barnsley, Leeds and Hibernian manager is set to remain in charge for the remainder of the 2020-21 campaign, the club added, with Tindall to join Alan Knill as part of the backroom staff.
“It is a great honour to be considered to lead this club until the end of the season and I thank the board for putting their trust in me,” Heckingbottom told sufc.co.uk.
“We have a lot of work to do, but have a great support network, all of whom will bring valuable knowledge and experience, as we look to finish the season strongly.”
Tindall was appointed to replace Eddie Howe at Bournemouth following their relegation, but was sacked in February with the Cherries off the pace in the Sky Bet Championship.
“It is a privilege to be asked to be involved and I’m looking forward to getting started,” Tindall said on Sheffield United’s website. “I’ve previously worked with a couple of the players before and have experience at this level, which I hope will be of benefit to Paul and the team.”
United’s chief executive officer Stephen Bettis feels the swift moves will help bring some stability over the closing weeks of the campaign.
“The appointment of Paul and the integration from development to senior level is testimony to the great work that is currently being done at the academy,” Bettis said.
“The club sees the following months as an opportunity to further develop some of our talents at the academy and to give them valuable time to train with the first team.
“Additionally, Jason has a fantastic pedigree and his fresh input will hopefully add a different dimension when he joins the club on Monday. He will have a watching brief at Sunday’s game at Leicester.”