Tag: Sheffield United

A Rhyme for Captain Blade and Ozzie Owl

We use a familiar old nursery rhyme to record a tale for two of Sheffield’s proudest clubs. It somehow seems appropriate to use a children’s song when discussing matters relating to the birthplace of football. We omit the weekend bit in the limerick though, as there appears little at the moment to suggest things are bonny or blithe in the Steel City. Monday’s Child is fair full of face… Having previously overtaken Sheffield Wednesday as the bigger club in the birthplace of football, Sheffield United entered its final match of the 2006/2007 season needing a draw to Wigan or a defeat by West Ham United to eventual champions Manchester United to retain their Premiership status.  After several years of recording losses to spend their way back into the top flight, the Blades had finally recorded a pre-tax profit for their troubles and were anxious to be given a reprieve from relegation. As for the Owls, the 2006/2007 season saw them come within striking distance of a Premiership return.  Having struggled to remain in the Championship–much less play against the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal–Sheffield Wednesday recovered from a disastrous start to the campaign to finish 9th in the Championship table.  Brian Laws looked an inspired choice to lead Wednesday back to its rightful place amongst the other big clubs in England and like their city rivals were turning in...

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We Watch Them So You Don’t Have To. The Worst Football Films Of All-Time Part 2. When Saturday Comes.

If they hadn’t nicked the name themselves from a song by The Undertones, the magazine might well have have sued. If you were to close your eyes and try to consider what “When Saturday Comes: The Movie” might entail, several ideas spring to mind. A loving paean to our game, perhaps, or a “Roger & Me”-esque investigation to the rotten core at the heart of modern football. What you probably wouldn’t have been expecting (and we can only imagine how many people have been caught out by this at Blockbuster Video or HMV over the last decade and a half or so), however, would have been a Sean Bean vehicle in which Bean plays every character that he has ever played in a film (a hunky, good-looking underdog with flaws but a heart of something approaching gold) whilst playing fast and loose with, well, how football works. It surely goes without saying there was no official endorsement from the magazine. Bean’s character, Jimmy Muir, plays for a Sunday League team. He’s just started dating Emily Lloyd’s Annie Doherty, (who we may presume to be Irish on account of her red hair, but whose accent veers wildly from Irish to Liverpudlian, stopping off on the Isle of Man and, on occasion, in Rhyl), who works in the wages office in the factory that employs him. Muir is spotted by Ken...

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The Needle & The Damage Done

You’ve probably heard of “The War On Drugs”, the US government’s equivalent of pushing a pea up a hill with one’s nose which aims to eradicate illegal narcotics forever by cutting them off at source whilst telling young people that drugs are “bad, m’kay?”. Football has its own equivalent, the savage sentencing of anyone caught with anything banned floating around in their bloodstream, and this summer’s pin-up boy for the anti-drugs in sport movement looks like being the Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, who tested positive for ephedrine after last year’s Championship play-off match against Preston North End. Kenny has been suspended by his club, who issued the following statement: “We confirm Paddy has been suspended. This is an ongoing, confidential matter”. His circumstances may provide him with a partial alibi  – more on that further down – but ephedrine, the substance found in Kenny’s bloodstream, doesn’t have entirely innocent uses. Drugs are an emotive subject, one of those that brings out the shrillest voices on both sides of the argument and renders any rational debate essentially meaningless, but in the case of Kenny the matter seems fairly clear cut. Ephedrine is used as a performance enhancing stimulant in sport, most notably in Amercian football, athletics and weightlifting, where it is used to increase concentration levels. However, it is also used regularly used in prescription medicines (it’s not illegal...

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Match Of The Week 2: Burnley 1-0 Sheffield United

It has been a busy month for Wembley Stadium. So stratospheric were the costs of building it that there is an element of danger that it will lose its sense of mystique before it has the chance to develop one. This month alone it has already played host to three play-off finals, the FA Trophy and FA Vase finals and has the FA Cup final yet to come. Last month it hosted two FA Cup semi-finals. No wonder they’ve been having problems with the pitch. This match is the third to be played on it this weekend. On Saturday, Gillingham beat Shrewsbury Town in the League Two play-off final by a single goal, and yesterday Scunthorpe United booked their place in the Championship with a thrilling 3-2 win against Millwall. In the semi-finals, Sheffield United squeezed through against Preston North End by a single goal, while Burnley cruised through against Reading. Owen Coyle’s Burnley team are probably the form team, but Sheffield United finished the season in third place, four places above their Lancastrian rivals. In the build-up to the match, the Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell has expressed his displeasure at the decision to appoint Mike Dean as the referee for this match after Dean sent off United’s Matthew Kilgallon in a recent Sheffield derby match against Wednesday. “I’ve spoken to the people that matter, who do the...

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The Championship – The Final Day

They’ve been stumbling, lurching and tripping on their shoelaces, but Birmingham City are a Premier League club again. As it turned out, it was a surprisingly untense day. Kevin Fahey’s early goal at The Madejski Stadium meant that events at Selhurst Park, where former Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock had a tug of love going on in taking two points off the club that he never tires of telling everyone that he supports. Kevin Phillips added a second Birmingham goal before Reading pulled one back, but by this time everyone knew that the game was up and that Reading, who had briefly threatened to look like a steamroller during the autumn, would join Sheffield United in the play-offs. The race for the final two play-off places was between Preston North End, Burnley and Cardiff City. Cardiff should have been absolutely nailed on for one of them, but they had failed to win in their previous three matches – seeing off Ninian Park in the process with a 3-0 home damp squib against Ipswich Town – and they failed again yesterday, going down 1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday. This result left a window of opportunity for the two Lancashire clubs, and they both took full advantage of Cardiff’s end of season implosion. Burnley brushed Bristol City aside by four goals to nil in the manner that one would swat at a...

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