International Soccer

Sheffield United sack Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom has become the first Premier League manager to lose their job this season after being sacked by Sheffield United.

The 46-year-old has been given his marching orders after the Blades picked up just five points from their opening 14 matches this season, winning only once – a late and controversial 2-1 victory at home to Wolves last month.

The final straw came on Saturday, with ten-man Sheffield United falling 5-0 at fellow newly-promoted side Burnley, ending the Clarets’ run of seven straight losses at Turf Moor, with Sheffield United confirming the news on Tuesday.

A club statement read: “Sheffield United can confirm that football manager Paul Heckingbottom has been relieved of his duties.

“Additionally, coaches Stuart McCall and Mark Hudson, have also left the club.”

Sheffield United CEO Stephen Bettis said: “Firstly, on behalf of the board of directors, I’d like to thank Paul for all of his efforts at Sheffield United, firstly as U23s manager before stepping up to take control of first-team duties.

“His professionalism and dedication have been a credit to the club and I’m sure all Unitedites enjoyed the promotion-winning campaign.

“However, after slipping to the bottom of the table and a number of disappointing results and performances, it is felt that a change is needed to give the club a boost and every possible chance of remaining in the Premier League beyond this season.”

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Sheffield United were thrashed by Burnley / Matt McNulty/GettyImages

90min understands that former boss Chris Wilder is expecting to be in charge for Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Liverpool.

Heckingbottom initially joined Sheffield United back in July 2020 as an Under-23s coach, but was promoted to interim boss of the first-team when Wilder first left the club in March 2021.

Slavisa Jokanovic was appointed as Wilder’s permanent successor at the end of that season following the Blades’ relegation. However, Jokanovic only lasted a few months in the dugout, and Heckingbottom was made first-team manager on a full-time basis in November 2021.

In his first season in charge, Heckingbottom led Sheffield United to the Championship play-offs, where they were beaten on penalties in the semi-finals by eventual winners Nottingham Forest. In his second year, Sheffield United secured automatic promotion with a second-place finish and reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, losing out to treble-winners Manchester City.

Sheffield United were widely expected to struggle in the fight against relegation upon their return to the Premier League. Aside from beating Wolves, they picked up credible draws against Brighton & Hove Albion and Everton.

They were also on the wrong end of the latest comeback in Premier League history in September, losing 2-1 at Tottenham Hotspur having led until the 98th minute.


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