Chris Wilder The Man You Never Realised Was Once A Saint.
Wednesday, 11th Sep 2019 11:57
On Saturday Saints take on Sheffield United managed by Chris Wilder, but how many now that he was once on Saints books.
Chris Wilder has been touted as an up and coming English manager after taking the Blades back to the Premier League , however turning 52 later this month he is no spring chicken and has worked hard for a long time to get back to the top flight of English football after a brief spell as a player in the then Division 1 back in the early 1990's.
But Wilder started his career at the Dell back in 1982 and was in the same reserve team in 85/86 season as Matt Le Tissier, Francis Benali and Tim Flowers as well as playing games along side some great names at the end of their Saints career such as Joe Jordan, Nick Holmes, Mark Dennis, Steve Moran and David Armstrong.
But at the end of that season he was released by the club without making a first team appearance and joined his boyhood idols Sheffield United, but in six seasons at the club he made only 93 appearances and with the Blades firmly established in the top flight and having spent four loan periods away from the club he was released in 1992 and joined nearby Rotherham United where in 4 seasons he was a virtual ever present, it is likely he played against Saints in our 1-0 league cup defeat in 1983, before embarking on a nomadic few years that saw him eventually hang his boots up in 2001 after a playing career that spanned over 400 matches spread between 11 clubs.
He then started a career as a manager, the first season at non league Alfreton and then Halifax in 2002 spending 6 years before the club went into administration, Oxford & Northampton followed and he had built up quite a reputation in the lower divisions, leading Sheffield United then in League One.
His first season saw him take the Blades back to the Championship and his third saw him take them to the Premier League where we now meet again.
Back in the 1970's & 80's Saints had a reputation for producing some good young players who made it in our first team, but we also had a reputation for having a high percentage of youngsters who might not have been good enough for the top flight but went on enjoy fruitful careers in the game in the lower leagues and although sadly Chris Wilder was not one who made his career in our first team, he can certainly be proud of the grounding he got from the likes of Dave Merrington who believed strongly in building character in his players in the youth set up.
The politeness and manners of many of his ex charges both famous and not quite so is testament to that.
So it is always pleasing to see an ex Saint do well, even more so if for some like Chris Wilder it has taken a bit longer than others to make his mark on the Premier League, so good luck to him this season although obviously not on Saturday and in the return fixture on the final day.
Photo: Action Images
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