Newcastle United considered a move for Chris Wilder back in 2019.
What’s the story?
According to talkSPORT’s Alan Biggs (via The Chronicle), the club did look into the possibility of bringing Wilder to St. James’ Park after he guided Sheffield United back into the top tier of English football.
“I do know that in 2019 following Sheffield United’s promotion, Newcastle investigated the possibility of recruiting him but he stayed loyal and wanted to manage his team in the top-flight.
I think it would appeal to him but I’m not speaking with any sort of knowledge of having discussed it with him but I think it would.
Equally with West Brom, even in the Championship, the potential to take them where he wants to. I think either of those two is absolutely logical.
From what I do understand, he wants to take a short break, he needs a short break.”
That would presumably mean he was weighed up as a potential alternative to Steve Bruce following the departure of Rafa Benitez.
The state of play now
Nothing But Newcastle brought you news earlier this week that the 53-year-old was keen on the job but owner Mike Ashley was determined not to give into the pressure to sack Bruce following a miserable run of form.
Would he have been an upgrade on Bruce?
Clearly, it’s impossible to definitely suggest Wilder would have fared better than Bruce last season but, given the Blades’ exploits, we can reasonably assume he would have been.
Indeed, while largely relying on a team that had come up with him from League One and then the Championship, Sheffield United finished ten points clear of Bruce’s Newcastle and were praised for their tactical ingenuity, such as the often-discussed use of overlapping centre-backs.
Given, on paper, there is a reasonable argument to suggest the quality of player at St. James’ Park was generally of a higher quality to Wilder’s squad last time out, perhaps more would have been brought out of the Newcastle players.
Could he save them now?
It’s hard to see anyone making a marked impact now.
With Bruce making it through the Brighton debacle, it seems likely that he will get the Tottenham game at least. Even if he’s sacked after that, that would leave any new boss with only seven games to save the club’s season. As good as Wilder proved himself to be last time out, it seems unlikely that any coach the club could realistically attract could perform such a miracle.