Update: Chris Wilder tells why he spoke to Portsmouth as Pompey this morning appoint Richie Barker (From Oxford Mail)
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Update: Chris Wilder tells why he spoke to Portsmouth as Pompey this morning appoint Richie Barker
The U’s boss was on a shortlist of candidates interviewed for the vacant manager’s role at Fratton Park, which was filled by Richie Barker this morning.
With the uncertainty now over, Wilder spoke to the Oxford Mail last night to explain the process.
Some had questioned why the United manager would be tempted, with Pompey sitting well below his side in the Sky Bet League Two table.
Wilder, who is out of contract next summer, made it clear at no stage had he decided he would take the job if it was offered and revealed several similar approaches had been turned down in the past.
He said: “There have been half a dozen opportunities for me to go and speak to clubs in my five years at Oxford United and I have turned them down.
“From my point of view (in April) I signed a 12-month contract, which I appreciate I was given by the club.
“We have restructured the club and have started the season in a great manner against a lot of competition and I’m delighted with the work we have done.
“But I’m six months into a 12-month deal. I have got responsibilities as a manager to my players and my football club, but I have also got a responsibility to my family.
“It was a rational decision that I made. I’m at a good club and a good club wanted to speak to me, that’s all it was.
“I just felt I needed to go and speak to them to see what they had to say.
“It was never going to definitely be offered to me and I was never in a position where I was automatically going to say yes as well.”
Wilder was not the only manager in work who met with Portsmouth representatives.
Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale, one of only two people in the top four divisions who have been in their roles longer than Wilder, was also a candidate.
Wilder said: “Paul went for it as well, and we are the second and third longest serving managers, so I have got no embarrassment in going there.
“I don’t think anybody can question my loyalty to this football club.”
Last week, almost three-quarters of votes in a poll on the Oxford Mail website were in favour of United doing what they could to keep their boss.
Wilder knows there will always be critics, but is focused on continuing an excellent season which has taken the club top of the table.
He said: “I think people who are in the game know what a really good job we are doing.
“There will always be supporters who want a change. I get that, but I work for people who think in a different way and I respect that.
“I will just keep my head down and, as always, try and do my best for the football club.”