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It doesn’t usually take this long in a season for the first Premier League manager to be sacked, but inevitably the axe has fallen today on Paul Heckingbottom at Sheffield United.

I don’t know the ins and outs of what’s going on at Bramall Lane but, like us, Sheffield United have had a difficult start to the season following promotion and actually sat above us before our 5-0 win against them last Saturday. But, while our fans have shown at least some degree of patience, it’s not been the case with the Blades’ fans who could be heard chanting ‘We want Hecky out’ and ‘Getting sacked in the morning’ towards their manager.

It brings to an end his second spell in charge of Sheffield United. He initially took over when Chris Wilder departed in March 2021 during which time he won three out of eleven games, all 1-0 victories against Brighton, Everton and ourselves on the final day of the season.

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The season ended with in relegation during a shocking season for them. Heckingbottom had no chance of keeping them up and was expected to continue following their drop into the Championship. Instead, they appointed Slavisa Jokanovic but that proved to be less than successful. When he was promptly sacked in November, Heckingbottom returned and has been in charge since, a period of just over two years.

The revival saw them reach the play-offs at the end of that 2021/22 season and during Heckingbottom’s tenure, only Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield won more points in the Championship. Then followed last season’s second place. In most seasons then 91 points they accrued would have been enough to win the title; last season they fell ten points behind us.

Having then lost his best two players during the summer, he explained: “I wanted to keep the group together but we couldn’t. We couldn’t because of the last few years and the financial implications. If we’d tied them down [on longer contracts] then we probably wouldn’t have sold those players. There wasn’t a desire from the ownership to sell, but a necessity from a business point of view. We’ve been making financial decisions rather than football decisions. Of course that affects me. I didn’t want it to happen.”

This season, one win from their opening fourteen games, and that courtesy of a shocking penalty award by referee Rob Jones, has clearly turned the fans against him and today that poor start to the season has cost him his job with Wilder, who he initially replaced back in March 2021, expected to return. His final game came at the Turf and our 5-0 win against them. He said after the game, “You need big balls on the pitch,” claiming there were none for his side. It looked then as though he was on his way out of Bramall Lane and that has now been confirmed, him becoming the first Premier League manager to lose his job this season.


EDIT: Sheffield United have now re-appointed Chris WIlder as ,manager on a contract until the end of the 2024/25 season.

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