Alan Biggs' Sheffield United column: It's going to be a season to be relished by Blades everywhere
Let’s keep this simple. Will Sheffield United stay up? Yes.
Ask the same question a year from now, with a similar squad and without ready-made top flight acquisitions. Answer: Maybe not.First season yes, second season doubtful. And the same answer from me to this question: Is Chris Wilder staying and for how long?Whatever the terms his new “three-year” contract might state, I believe it is essentially a year-by-year approach and projection for one of the Blades’ best ever bosses.Last year was the same in my view. Promotion-or-bust when it came to a choice between love for the Blades and furthering his career. Same again, I feel, when it comes to staying up. Although what happens next if they do will be equally decisive.Ultimately, the club has to offer leadership and continuity at the top to turn this - as we all hope - into a long-term project. For now, Wilder has created a window for that - with the word on the street that he rejected overtures from Newcastle earlier this summer.The bottom line for now is survival in the Premier League and this column is confident on several counts.Firstly, the newness and the enthusiasm, the excitement and stimulus. This can carry a team on an upward trajectory further than anyone might logically imagine.Secondly, the lack of fear in the squad and the sheer togetherness of it. Players feeling confident of meeting the challenge and going about it boldly.Thirdly, the recruitment. Record amounts spent, with all due credit to the owners, and a clearly executed plan with regards to players for development.Fourthly, Bramall Lane as a bastion. A tight, atmospheric packed stadium where points can be won for all the difficulty United might encounter on the road.Finally, and most importantly, the manager. This is an experienced guy who has worked his way up through all levels, conquering every single one. At 51, he is in the prime of his career. The Premier League can be done.Here’s the rider. It’s possible on a relatively tight budget for only so long. All of Wilder’s achievements have been against the financial tide. The Premier League is where it runs strongest and the weak get swept away.Which is not to say he would necessarily question his future if United came down - providing the club was in good shape with cohesion and clout in the boardroom.Over-stretching to stay up is a danger. It can soften a club when it should have a robust financial base to push again for the summit.But Wilder will have to see some sort of panorama at same stage rather than a glass ceiling. For now, let’s not fret too much. That’s just to put my current confidence into some kind of realistic context.This is a season to be relished and cherished by everyone in and around the club. Bring it on.