The fact that Chris Wilder snubbed Burton to sign a three year contract is not so much news as much as why he did it. Call me cynical, but values of loyalty and a sense of purpose as a reason for finishing something you’ve started is pub talk, not for managers with mortgages to play.
Salary and more specifically, the length of the contract he’s signed, may play a part. Few managers in the lower leagues can have that degree of security. But then, with Nigel Clough’s tenure extending more than 10 years at Burton, they’re hardly know for their hire’em fire’em attitude.
What’s more, Wilder is understandably ambitious about his career and wants to manage at the highest level. The Championship is not beyond him one day, you’d think. But reputation is easily lost and the eye of the needle that is Conference promotion is tiny. Even if Wilder can sustain the progress he’s already made, he’s still only a James Constable niggly injury away from missing the title by a point, ending in the play-offs and being consigned to another Conference season off a ropey penalty decision. Aside from Burton woeful form at the end of last season, having escaped the Conference quagmire, a top 7 finish and possible promotion next season is not beyond them.
The end of season run and atmosphere was pretty intoxicating, and maybe Wilder is thinking longer term. He could do what Clough did at Burton, and make the leap to the big time in one go. Whatever, Burton’s loss is our gain.