You’d be forgiven for thinking Chris Wilder was a young, up-and-coming manager from the number of occasions he’s been linked with – and apparently overlooked by – Sheffield United.
In fact, he’s 48 years old and has been a manager for the last 14. But the up-and-coming bit remains true of the former Blades right back.
It’s just that the coming, in terms of the higher echelons, has taken a little longer than he might have liked.
Meantime, aspiring clubs in the lower divisions will continue to benefit from as thorough a managerial apprenticeship as you could wish to find, as Northampton Town are doing currently.
And could Chesterfield provide the next leg of Wilder’s football journey? So far it has taken in Alfreton, Halifax, Bury (as assistant manager), Oxford United (elevation to the League and several promotion near misses), and Northampton, where he kept the club in the Football League against long odds and, equally so, now has them challenging for promotion despite a recent financial crisis. His win ratio across 727 games is a very healthy 44.7%.
For me, that makes him an ideal candidate to stabilise and advance Chesterfield in League One. And I believe there could be genuine interest in such a proposition - from both parties. Wilder, who still lives in Sheffield, might be tempted for both professional and lifestyle reasons.
The irony is that if the Lane job was currently up for grabs he would be in with a much bigger shout than previously. But the Blades are resolved, quite rightly in my view, to avoiding further managerial upheaval in backing Nigel Adkins through a problematic first season. Not that Wilder couldn’t advertise his longer-term credentials from a much closer distance, although I believe Adkins will succeed if given the time denied predecessors.