Chris Wilder: Sheff Utd boss says football is ‘sucking life’ out of him after VAR goal

Media playback is not supported on this device

Blades boss Wilder ‘tired’ of VAR

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder says football “is sucking the life” out of him and expressed concern for where the game is heading after VAR played a significant role in his side’s home defeat by Newcastle.

Jonjo Shelvey ran through to secure a 2-0 win despite Andy Carroll having been flagged offside for his flick on.

The result ended Sheffield United’s seven-game unbeaten run.

“This game in a heartbeat has changed,” said Wilder.

“This game now is completely different to what I experienced as a 16-year-old lad as an apprentice.

“I don’t know where it is going and it is sucking the life out of me and the supporters.”

What exactly happened?


Shelvey looked up to see the linesman’s flag after being put through on goal…


… he continued his run and put the ball in the net before VAR awarded the goal

With Newcastle leading 1-0 thanks to Allan Saint-Maximin’s first-half goal, Carroll was flagged offside as he flicked the ball on for Shelvey.

It was a marginal call but with referee Stuart Attwell having not blown his whistle, Shelvey continued his run before putting the ball past Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, whose attempt at a save appeared half-hearted as he perhaps expected the strike to be ruled out.

But, after a review by the video assistant referee, the goal was given.

“I was told at the start of the season that the linesman would not put his flag up and let it go. He put his flag up and the referee was about to blow his whistle,” Wilder added.

“Everyone in the ground stopped. Jonjo Shelvey even nonchalantly went up and took an opportunity. His body language said to me he had seen the linesman had put the flag up and he was going to be offside.

“I want to be talking about our first season back in the Premier League. I want to talk about trying to break down a team like Newcastle – to talk about football and not yet again VAR.”

  • VAR chief marks new system as ‘seven out of 10’

‘The most ridiculous goal you will see’

It is one of the first things aspiring young footballers are taught: do not stop playing unless the referee blows the whistle.

Former Sheffield United midfielder Michael Brown, co-commentating for BBC Radio 5 Live, felt the Blades made a mistake in assuming the goal would not count.

“The second Newcastle goal is the most ridiculous goal you will see,” he said. “You’ve got to play to the whistle. It was clearly onside. It was such a bad mistake from Sheffield United to not play on.”

Ex-Everton midfielder Leon Osman felt the technology did exactly what it was supposed to do.

He said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “We’ve spoke many times about whether VAR is adding or taking away from the game but that’s exactly why it came in or Newcastle would have had that goal taken away from them when he was clearly onside.

“Great credit must go to Stuart Attwell too for just following Jonjo Shelvey as he ran forward and slotted it into the net as the Sheffield United players stopped.”

‘Play to the whistle. Simple as that’ – what you said


One Twitter user felt Chris Wilder had nothing to blame but his own players for not playing to the rules


Others backed the view that the Blades should have played to the whistle


But there were some who agreed with Wilder’s comments about where the game is heading


Some also suggested VAR has made the linesman’s job almost redundant