Oxford United boss: I'm a better manager now

Chris Wilder (left) and Ian Lenagan at the Kassam Stadium yesterday  Picture: Ric Mellis

Chris Wilder (left) and Ian Lenagan at the Kassam Stadium yesterday Picture: Ric Mellis

First published in U's News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

AFTER coming through the toughest season of his career, Chris Wilder has vowed to make improvements in his approach to take Oxford United to the next level.

The 45-year-old has weathered severe criticism at times over the last nine months, as inconsistent results have seen the U’s finish out of the League Two play-offs.

It is the first time in Wilder’s four and a half years in charge that his position has been under threat.

But the uncertainty was cleared up yesterday when chairman Ian Lenagan announced a new contract had been agreed to keep the former Rotherham United and Bradford City defender, who had been on a rolling contract, at the Kassam Stadium for another 12 months.

Wilder was thrilled with the outcome and is determined to come back stronger.

He said: “I’m just delighted I’ve been given an opportunity to go again, I feel I do deserve it.

“There are issues that personally I can address and be better with and if I can do that and get the recruitment right then the club is set up to go again.

“I think there’s a lot left in me.

“We’re disappointed with the way the season has ended and all we can do is look forward to hopefully a positive season next year.”

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Wilder was frank enough to admit the board’s decision would not please some supporters, who were hoping for a change at the top.

Despite being a target for abuse which he felt crossed the line at times during an immensely frustrating campaign, he firmly believes everyone ultimately wants the same goal – a successful side.

“The dissenters are always the loudest voice, but I’ve got to say generally the reaction I’ve had from people I speak to and the supporters that have recognised the difficulties we’ve had over the last 14 months has been positive,” he said “It seems to be the thing now where you just change the manager, but I think there’s a process going on in its own time.

“I’m not saying that last Saturday’s performance (a 3-0 win over Rochdale) was perfect, but when Alfie (Potter) chips in the third goal people who really care about the club walk away happy.

“That’s all we have to try and do – play well and win and if we do that we’ll be at the top of the league and give everyone what they crave.”

It may have been a testing few months, but Wilder insists walking away from the club had not once come into his thinking.

“Never, even in some of the darkest days, did I think about quitting,” he added.

“I have a fantastic staff behind me and I think people recognise it’s been a tough year not only for Chris Wilder, but for a lot of people connected to the club.

“Of course there have been times where I’ve wanted to scream out a bit louder, but it’s a learning curve for me and hopefully we’re on the road to better and brighter days.”

Wilder’s reign makes him the eighth longest serving manager in England’s top four divisions, but as late as last Saturday he did not know whether his days at United were numbered.

The final weeks of the season are a crucial time for clubs to draw up their plans for the transfer market.

Although there has been uncertainty over whether he would still be in charge this summer, Wilder has been busy planning ahead.

He said: “I’ve got on with the job in terms of preparing pre-season and making decisions on players that we feel we have to make.

“I’ve made recommendations to the chairman in terms of offering contracts, players we need to replace and move on.

“Football is 24–7, you’re always thinking and looking about players.

“Everything is clarified and now we need to move forward.”

Comments (6)

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10:02am Fri 26 Apr 13

oldun says...

Better ? Anything less than taking us into the heady heights of the third tier at the end of the season must mean that you are not good enough. Hope you and IL do it - boring fare this last season - negative goal difference
Better ? Anything less than taking us into the heady heights of the third tier at the end of the season must mean that you are not good enough. Hope you and IL do it - boring fare this last season - negative goal difference oldun
  • Score: 2

4:23pm Fri 26 Apr 13

AylesburyOx says...

nice to see the fans taking a bashing again. Thank-you Chris and Ian, you clearly don't need our support or money.
nice to see the fans taking a bashing again. Thank-you Chris and Ian, you clearly don't need our support or money. AylesburyOx
  • Score: 3

4:47pm Fri 26 Apr 13

BenkiuGuasu says...

8th longest serving manager.

Methinks that loyalty will pay off next season

UP THE U'S!!
8th longest serving manager. Methinks that loyalty will pay off next season UP THE U'S!! BenkiuGuasu
  • Score: 0

7:38pm Fri 26 Apr 13

Merekat1 says...

So Wilder feels he deserves the new contract: blimey mate, you really are delusional.

Having a manager who will not recognise that his own ability is somewhat below par, is worrying enough.

However we have got you now Mr W and god forbid that you give us a repeat of your last offerings.

I really do wish you success for knowing that the majority of fans want you out of here cannot be easy for you.

Good luck Mr Wilder.
So Wilder feels he deserves the new contract: blimey mate, you really are delusional. Having a manager who will not recognise that his own ability is somewhat below par, is worrying enough. However we have got you now Mr W and god forbid that you give us a repeat of your last offerings. I really do wish you success for knowing that the majority of fans want you out of here cannot be easy for you. Good luck Mr Wilder. Merekat1
  • Score: 0

8:00pm Fri 26 Apr 13

oldun says...

Merekat1 wrote:
So Wilder feels he deserves the new contract: blimey mate, you really are delusional.

Having a manager who will not recognise that his own ability is somewhat below par, is worrying enough.

However we have got you now Mr W and god forbid that you give us a repeat of your last offerings.

I really do wish you success for knowing that the majority of fans want you out of here cannot be easy for you.

Good luck Mr Wilder.
Hear Hear!
[quote][p][bold]Merekat1[/bold] wrote: So Wilder feels he deserves the new contract: blimey mate, you really are delusional. Having a manager who will not recognise that his own ability is somewhat below par, is worrying enough. However we have got you now Mr W and god forbid that you give us a repeat of your last offerings. I really do wish you success for knowing that the majority of fans want you out of here cannot be easy for you. Good luck Mr Wilder.[/p][/quote]Hear Hear! oldun
  • Score: 0

5:20pm Sun 28 Apr 13

Richard Wickson says...

Merekat1 wrote:
So Wilder feels he deserves the new contract: blimey mate, you really are delusional.

Having a manager who will not recognise that his own ability is somewhat below par, is worrying enough.

However we have got you now Mr W and god forbid that you give us a repeat of your last offerings.

I really do wish you success for knowing that the majority of fans want you out of here cannot be easy for you.

Good luck Mr Wilder.
Like Oldun I totally agree with your words. I would have said pretty much the same. Surely he knows that excuses will not be accepted again, it's about time we had a side capable of winning promotion directly not muddling thru the play offs and a manager that can stimulate the players he has chosen to represent our club, this is the last chance saloon Chris, don't muck up this time!
[quote][p][bold]Merekat1[/bold] wrote: So Wilder feels he deserves the new contract: blimey mate, you really are delusional. Having a manager who will not recognise that his own ability is somewhat below par, is worrying enough. However we have got you now Mr W and god forbid that you give us a repeat of your last offerings. I really do wish you success for knowing that the majority of fans want you out of here cannot be easy for you. Good luck Mr Wilder.[/p][/quote]Like Oldun I totally agree with your words. I would have said pretty much the same. Surely he knows that excuses will not be accepted again, it's about time we had a side capable of winning promotion directly not muddling thru the play offs and a manager that can stimulate the players he has chosen to represent our club, this is the last chance saloon Chris, don't muck up this time! Richard Wickson
  • Score: 0

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