In the start of a new series Richard Aisthorpe – long-time Sheffield United fan (and my Father-In-Law) brings us his views on a club he has followed since the 80′s. A club that has now gone full circle. I’ll let Richard take up the story…

Ok let’s start with some history. In 1987 I moved to Sheffield and wanted to watch some football ASAP. I went to see Sheffield United play an early season game at home to Northampton in the Third Division (Now League 1). When I got home my wife asked “How was it?” I said “They certainly know where the fucking goals are!” “No need to swear!” she said.

United won 5-2 and a couple of astute signings; Tony Agana for£60,000 and Brian Dean for £20,000 caught the eye. Under Dave Bassett United went on to win ‘back to back’ promotions and a place in the First Division (OK, Premier League!!! Why didn’t we stick with leagues 1, 2, 3, and 4?). Anyway, Brian Dean scored the first ever Premier League goal against Manchester United on 15 August 1992. Heady days eh?

Since then we then suffered relegation under Basset, a brief return to the Premiership with Neil Warnock and back again to the Championship. Last season was full circle for me as we returned to the third tier…! So what have learned?

United are the ultimate big match bottlers! I have seen them lose three play-off finals, two FA cup semi-finals, and a league cup semi-final. To make matters worse, two last day relegation matches were also lost when a point would have kept us in the Premier League! With that record, as relegation loomed this year, I hoped we would be down before the last match.

Three managers have gone and gone in a short space of time, a lot of short term/crap loan signings, some key player injuries and a terrible lack of attacking threat gets what you deserve. We got what we deserved and went down!

So what of the season ahead?

Let’s face it there are some issues to consider.

1. The wage bill seems to be a big driver and we are offloading as many of the high earners as we can. I would have given some of them away!

2. Our new manager is Danny Wilson. Sadly his arrival was greeted by a demonstration by some of our fans. Danny’s crime was that he had played for and managed the ‘unmentionables’ from across the city. One or two bad results and the “Wilson out!” calls will grow in volume.

3. League One is notoriously difficult to get out of. Ask Southampton, Leeds and the “Unmentionables”. We will be seen as the ‘big time Charlie’s’ who smaller clubs will target. Big beautiful Brammall Lane may not be much of a fortress.

4. Our youth team’s performance was a bright spot in last year’s miserable season. (They made the youth cup final). Expectations will be high that a few of them step up and shine. Sadly if they do, the big clubs will be sniffing round and we will again face the prospect of our young players going to Premier League clubs only to be farmed out on loan to the Championship!

All doom and gloom? No, but some of our fans who see automatic promotion as the only reasonable outcome for this season might consider the points above. I know I have!




andy clinton

July 21st, 2011

Top half finish will suit me.Too much rebuilding to do once the big earners have gone ,me thinks.

July 21st, 2011

I can remember going to Bramall Lane for Watford’s opening game of 94/95 season. The Blades had just been relegated and were one of the glamour teams of Div 1. They hammered us 3-0, and to make matters worse I was struck in the face by a bit of pie crust that ricocheted off the pillar in front of me, having been thrown in disgust at Watford’s abject performance. Anyway, the point is, I always considered the game against Sheff Utd as one of the bigger fixtures to look forward to. A proper test of character. The decline of the Blades is another example of club relegated from the Prem falling further down the league. My fear is that it’s Watford’s turn next (gulp!).

leave a comment