‘It was me just being a grumpy old git’ - Wilder on incident that prompted City feud
PUBLISHED: 12:37 06 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:03 06 December 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has described himself as a ‘grumpy old git’ when he was asked about the incident that sparked his team’s rivalry with Norwich City a couple of seasons ago.
The incident, dubbed now as 'Coach Gate' was sparked after City's team coach arrived late to Bramall Lane prior to the Canaries 1-0 victory in September 2017.
Wilder then launched an astonishing verbal assault on City post-match, describing them as 'disrespectful'.
"Dear me, where do you start?" he said. "They put the team sheet in at 1:45pm but was there a lot of traffic around Sheffield about 1pm? Well, get here a bit earlier then.
"What you do is get a coach driver to do his job and find out if you are in the city centre there might be a bit of traffic. There might be a bit of traffic around 1:30pm at a football stadium when about 28,000 are turning up", said Wilder back in 2017.
Those comments constructed a rivalry between both fan bases, with the Blades adopting a chant surrounding City's perceived lack of punctuality.
The Canaries face Wilder's high-flying side this weekend at Carrow Road but the Blades haven't lost to the Canaries on their travels since 2010, when a Wes Hoolahan hat-trick downed United in 4-2 thriller.
Both teams were contesting for promotion to the Premier League last season, where a mutual respect between Wilder and City boss Daniel Farke was established, to the point where Farke revealed that United's chief was one of the first people to text through their congratulations.
Now, Wilder has adopted a self-deprecating viewpoint of the incident.
Asked about the incident, he replied, "It was me just being a grumpy old git. The rivalry has developed because I lost my rag.
"I must have woken up in a bad mood because we didn't have any forwards on the morning of the game. Their coach driver didn't get to the ground on time and it escalated from there," Wilder explained at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
"When I banged the ball down the touchline, the fourth official thought I'd dragged a few water bottles into their dug-out. What tipped me over the edge was when one of their coaches waved "upstairs". Hopefully they will come out the tunnel on Sunday and not keep us on the pitch for 15 minutes.
"They were the outstanding team in the Championship last season. I was delighted with how close we got to them."
United were pipped to the Championship title by City last season, but it is the Blades who have made a better start to life in the Premier League.
Often pigeon-holed as an aggressive, direct side, it is their quality on the ball and tactical superiority over opponents which have made them difficult to play against.
They arrive at Carrow Road on Sunday unbeaten away from home this season, recording a number of impressive results in the league.