For those who view football only through the Premier League prism, Chris Wilder might well have come seemingly out of nowhere. But it took one season of playing alongside him in the 1990s to realise he was something potentially special.
Chris Wilder has enjoyed a meteoric rise since starting his managerial career at Alfreton Town back in 2001.
He’s enjoyed success everywhere he’s been and, before football was suspended, had guided his beloved Sheffield United to 7th in the Premier League table.
To many, he’s a modern-day Brian Clough, but his achievements come as no surprise to a former teammate.
Ian Baraclough spent a season with Wilder at Notts County in 1996/97 and even back then, he was setting off on his coaching path.
Baraclough told the Talkin Fitbaw Podcast:
“I sat next to him in the dressing room before training and got on well with him.
“He’d come in on a Monday morning and the first question I’d ask him would be ‘How did you get on yesterday?’ because he was looking after the Sunday League team his mates were playing for.
“He struck me as someone who, straight away, was going to have longevity in the game.
“You could never tell how far he was going to get but he was interested in the workings of coaching and managing.
🗣”He was looking after the Sunday league team that his mates were playing for”
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“He was one of the leaders and I’ve got a lot of time for him. I’m really pleased he’s gone on and done what he’s done.
“He was someone that was, I think he’ll say, a Steady Eddie as a footballer but has gone on to be a coach and a manager of some reckoning.”