SHEFFIELD, England (AP) — The Saudi prince who owns Sheffield United said Tuesday he has changed the club’s manager after the team dropped into last place in the Premier League.
Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud told British radio station talkSport that a decision has been made to part ways with Paul Heckingbottom after his two years in charge and bring back Chris Wilder, who managed Sheffield United when it was last in England’s top division.
Wilder, a former player at the club, has coached at second-division teams Middlesbrough and Watford since leaving Sheffield United in March 2021.
Heckingbottom becomes the first Premier League manager to lose his job this season.
His final game in charge was the 5-0 loss at Burnley on Saturday, which dropped Sheffield United to last place — where Burnley was at the start of the match — and four points from safety. The team has just one win from 14 games.
The club hasn’t officially confirmed the decision to change managers.
Heckingbottom took over in November 2021 and led the team into the Premier League this year, but has been hamstrung this season by the sale of key players such as Sander Berge and Iliman NDiaye before the start of the campaign.
Heckingbottom appeared to reference that after the Burnley match when saying the club had “been making financial decisions rather than football decisions.”
It is unusual for the Premier League to reach early December without a manager being fired. Five coaches had been fired by this stage of the season in the past two top-flight campaigns.
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