Sheffield United owner Prince Abdullah has revealed that former manager Chris Wilder tried to resign from the club twice and left the board stunned with his financial demands towards the end of his time at Bramall Lane.
Wilder's future had been up in the air all season after a historically poor run of form made United favourites for relegation early on, but it still came as a surprise to see the Blades part ways with the man who led them up from League One to the top flight in just four years.
'Irreconcilable differences' between Wilder and the board were cited as the reason for his departure, and in an interview with Sky Sports News, Prince Abdullah admitted that tensions had been growing behind the scene for a while.
"In December, Stephen [Bettis, Sheffield United CEO] told me that Chris had talked about resigning. I was really worried and I knew that a phone call or a Zoom call would not do the trick, I had to sit with him," the Prince said.
"The problem was, because of Covid, all Saudis were banned from leaving the country. I spent two weeks trying to get permission to leave. As soon as I got that, I flew to London and drove to Sheffield and met Chris before the Southampton game [a 3-0 defeat].
"I told Chris, if we lose every game until the end of the season, we are not going to fire you. We need you to be our coach. I am not talking about emotion, I just believe you are the best manager to bring us back to the Premier League."
However, Prince Abdullah revealed he warned Wilder to stop blaming recruitment for the team's shortcomings this season, given they finished ninth in the league last year, and insisted that he tried his best to give the boss what he wanted.
"Chris explained in a one-hour call why he wanted to resign," the owner continued. "He said that he felt the team needed a change, a new voice.
"We were very clear and said we don't want to fire you but if you want to resign, you can, but we will not pay you the same money as if we were firing you.
"The emails started between his representatives and our financial guy and we were astonished to find he had asked for £4m to resign.
"We said, 'no way are we going to pay you £4m, you are resigning, we are not firing you, why would we have to pay almost one year's salary?'"