Chris Wilder made clear his intention to resign as Sheffield United boss back in December but wanted a severance fee of £4m, according to the club’s owner.
But owner Prince Abdullah has revealed that Wilder’s original intention was to resign with a hefty pay-off.
“In December, Stephen [Bettis, Sheffield United CEO] told me that Chris had talked about resigning. I was really worried and I knew that a phone call or a Zoom call would not do the trick, I had to sit with him,” Prince Abdullah told Sky Sports.
“The problem was, because of Covid, all Saudis were banned from leaving the country. I spent two weeks trying to get permission to leave. As soon as I got that, I flew to London and drove to Sheffield and met Chris before the Southampton game [a 3-0 defeat].
“I told Chris, if we lose every game until the end of the season, we are not going to fire you. We need you to be our coach. I am not talking about emotion, I just believe you are the best manager to bring us back to the Premier League.
“I told him recruitment could be better and that we could sit down after the season and talk about how we could make it better.
“I told him that I am not happy that sometimes after defeats when you talk to the media [and say], ‘I can’t make cake out of sand’ and when he says, ‘all I have is Championship players’.
“It does not reflect well on the club image. Those players finished ninth in the table last season, it hurts the club financially.
“I am OK with Chris taking all the credit when we win but at least take some responsibility when we lose. Don’t, under the pressure of some losses, say ‘everything around me is rubbish’.”
On Wilder’s apparent financial demands, Prince Abdullah added: “We were very clear and said we don’t want to fire you but if you want to resign, you can, but we will not pay you the same money as if we were firing you.
“The emails started between his representatives and our financial guy and we were astonished to find he had asked for £4m to resign.
“We said, ‘no way are we going to pay you £4m, you are resigning, we are not firing you, why would we have to pay almost one year’s salary?’”
Sheffield United’s priority now is to find a new manager ahead of what is likely to be a Championship promotion push next season.