Now the dust has, sort of, settled on Chris Wilder’s exit from Sheffield United the attention has shifted to where we could see the Englishman manage next.
Wilder endured a difficult second season in the Premier League, yet the incredible work he’s done at the Blades - and every other club he’s been at - means he won’t be short of offers.
Below we assess five potential next steps for the now available-for-hire Wilder...
On current evidence, Celtic are going to keep interim boss John Kennedy at the helm until the end of the season, then in the summer they will look to kick-start a new era under a new manager.
Given that the wounded Scottish giants could embark on a complete structural change by recruiting a sporting director too, it’s difficult to know what direction they want to go in when it comes to the appointment of a new manager. Hence why the next Celtic manager market is so open.
But we can have a pretty good guess. They’ll be after a manager with star power, who will invest in youth, invigorate a fan base, bring in a fresh injection of impetus, and most importantly: regain the title they so painfully and comprehensively lost this season.
Frank Lampard, Roy Keane, Enzo Maresca, and Eddie Howe have been consistently linked and while each possess attractive qualities, none have the experience, levels of success and tactical nous of Wilder.
At the time of writing he’s the bookies’ favourite; the chance to challenge for silverware and experience European football will surely appeal to Wilder.
There’s also a job going at Aberdeen for which he’s a 20/1 shot.
Chris Wilder was named our Manager of the Decade (2010-2019)
West Brom’s rather meek attempt at survival is likely to come to an end soon. The Sam Allardyce experience looks to have failed and given that he has a relegation release clause, a mutual parting of ways could occur this summer.
Although, while it’s not worked out for Big Sam, he has twice led teams into the Premier League and should he have the hunger, determination and backing then he could remain in place in a bid to instigate a swift return to the Premier League. After all, that’s probably his best bet at managing in the top-flight again.
However, if both club and manager opt to split, a vacancy will open up at the Hawthorns for the eleventh time since the summer of 2009 when Tony Mowbray left.
Wilder would no doubt be top of West Brom’s managerial wish list and should the man himself not be offered an instant return to the Premier League dugout - more on that shortly - a potential opening at the Baggies could tickle his fancy.
Should, as expected, West Brom be relegated they will be installed as one of the favourites to win promotion back into the top-flight. In their last eight Championship seasons they’ve remarkably never finished outside of the top-six, securing promotion on five of those occasions, each automatically.
It’s been a strange season at Selhurst Park. One with bright bursts of optimism, which have been all too consistently punctured. Yet with nine games to go the Eagles could still soar to their highest-ever Premier League finish; currently 10th under Alan Pardew (2014/15).
Incumbent Roy Hodgson has his side in 11th, four points off Aston Villa and Arsenal in 9th and 10th respectively. Palace are however only four points above Burnley in 15th - such is the claustrophobic nature of the league - with seven of their nine remaining games against teams situated in the top-half.
There’s a real mystery surrounding Hodgson’s future at his boyhood club. His contract expires this summer meaning the Premier League’s oldest ever manager could be set to leave.
The English quartet of Frank Lampard, John Terry, Eddie Howe, and Sean Dyche have all been quietly muted as possible replacements, and you can now ping Wilder into the conversation.
Should Wilder, after a few months spent charging his managerial batteries, be keen for a swift return to the Premier League then this could be the job for him - that’s providing there is a job.
England National Team
Every English man, woman and child will want the national team to bring home the spoils this summer, none more so than the passionate Chris Wilder.
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has an exciting and hungry assortment of hugely talented players at his disposal, which makes England one of the favourites for the European Championships.
Yet if England crumble under the weight of expectation Southgate’s future will be thrust under the spotlight. If Southgate did leave, Dean Smith, Sean Dyche and Steven Gerrard are the favourites according to the bookmakers, yet the trio are currently employed, whereas Wilder is now free as a bird.
25/1 looks a juicy price.
When Bournemouth sacked Jason Tindall - now a coach at Sheffield United - they had no real plan in place as to who would succeed him. After a fruitless three-week search Jonathan Woodgate, who only arrived at the club as first team coach a day before Tindall’s exit, was placed in charge until the end of the season.
He’s since picked up five league wins from 10 games, including impressive victories over promotion rivals Watford and Swansea, which puts Bournemouth 7th; two points outside of the play-off places. The Cherries are also one game away from an FA Cup semi-final - they face off against south coast rivals Saints this weekend.
It’s difficult to predict anything at this moment in time but should Woodgate propel the club into the Premier League, you’d expect him to keep the job. That’s unless the club decides to bring in a more experienced head e.g. Wilder.
A failure to win promotion could see Bournemouth move Woodgate back to his previous role as first-team coach, or they may even decide to give him a proper stab at the job on a full-time basis.
There’s a lot of ifs and buts but the situation at Bournemouth is well worth keeping an eye on, and could be one that Wilder is already monitoring from afar.
If Steve Bruce was to leave Newcastle, then expect Wilder to be one of the key contenders.
Tony Mowbray’s future at Blackburn is uncertain, Nigel Pearson’s contract at Bristol City is only until the summer, while the length of Mark Warburton’s QPR deal is unclear.