Sheffield United chief executive Stephen Bettis gave boss Paul Heckingbottom the board’s unequivocal support earlier this month, amid national newspaper reports this evening that the Blades are “considering a move” to bring Chris Wilder back after this afternoon’s defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.
The Blades led 1-0 going into 12 minutes of added time in north London, thanks to Gus Hamer’s opener, before two late goals sentenced them to their fourth defeat in five games so far this season in the league. The Daily Mail have claimed that Heckingbottom’s “position is in serious jeopardy” after the Spurs defeat, with United “considering a move to bring Chris Wilder back to Bramall Lane” in his place.
The former Blades boss now enjoys a good relationship with owner Prince Abdullah after a fractious end to his time in charge at Bramall Lane and giving his allegiances with the club - as a fan, former player and double promotion-winning manager - would probably find a return hard to turn down if the chance arose.
But in a round-table interview with local journalists recently, Bettis was asked whether boss Heckingbottom’s job was “completely safe” and if he retains the club’s backing whatever happens this season. Bettis’ answer was short but left no room for interpretation: “Yes.”
Asked about Heckingbottom’s job at the club, including leading them to promotion last season, Bettis added: “He’s done a great job. Everyone’s really happy with what Paul’s done. He’s been excellent.
“He’s smart, he thinks about the big picture. He understands the needs and wants of a football club, not just the needs and wants of a manager.”