Sheffield United Women: Players losing trust in club after Carla Ward departure

Former Sheffield United Women's manager Carla Ward
Carla Ward was manager at Sheffield United for four years

Several Sheffield United Women players are believed to be losing confidence in the club after boss Carla Ward's exit.

Players have held a call with the general manager and a board member to discuss the departure and its timing.

They were told the club were "shocked" by manager Ward's departure - but many felt that contradicted a club statement that said "both parties have opted to go down a different path".

United said last Tuesday that Ward had "parted company" with the club.

In addition to requesting that call meeting with senior officials, players have asked for a staff member, who is believed to be under furlough, to return to work because they felt they needed someone to speak to as they are losing trust in the club.

Ward led Sheffield United to second place in the Women's Championship table - the highest finish in the history of a team formed in 2002.

They won 11 of 14 games and finished six points behind champions Aston Villa, who were awarded the title on a points-per-game basis following the early termination of the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Players were led to believe that Ward would remain at the club for the start of the 2020-21 season after having talks about pre-season and plans for recruitment with her days before her departure.

Ward has also been involved in securing new contracts and signings this summer - 10 players have penned new deals and BBC Sport understands more are to be announced.

All staff and players are believed to have been on last week's meeting call, which the team had hoped would provide answers on why Ward was allowed to leave.

Sheffield United Women, a semi-professional team, have been competing in the second tier for two seasons; Ward was described by the club as "instrumental" in them achieving Championship status in 2018.

BBC Sport contacted Sheffield United, who did not wish to comment.

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