Warning: some bad language.
Twelve TMB forum members and I had a five day meeting in Sheffield, and of course we visited Bramall Lane. We were so lucky to meet Tony Currie - who is a very nice and charming man - who took us inside The Hall of fame, and even let us into the stadion ! Of course we had Flat Beanie - our mascotte - with us. Some pictures here, more pictures on the About Sheffield page.
Sheffield United, or popularly called "The Blades" is obviously a very important thing in Sean's life. He grew up being a fan, like his father and his grandfather before. Even though I come from a football nation I don't know a thing about it. That's why I asked Everbean - one of the Mighty Bean Forum members, and a real football (soccer for Americans) fan - to write an article about it. She did a great job, and I am very grateful for that !
You will find some articles and a You Tube vid about the relegation further down on this page ! But first this article on the Blades by Everbean !
SHEFFIELD UNITED FC – A BRIEF HISTORY
Bramall Lane is a fortress of concrete and steel awash in a sea of red, white and black that welcomes the faithful like an old friend. The voices of the Legends of the Lane echo through the terraces and drift like a soft mist across the pitch – this is a magical place. The Lane is home to the mighty Blades. Over the years the club has seen many highs and lows but one thing always remains constant, the undeniable bond between Sheffield United FC and their supporters that make each that much stronger and brings out the best in all of us. There is a pride in history, culture, and community. In being a part of something that is as much a part of you as your own heart and soul. It is simplistic in nature, yet an undying truth, to be a Blade is to love the Blades.
Sheffield United Football Club was formed in 1889 and is recognized as the oldest club in the Football Association. The club made its home at the Sheffield United Cricket Club grounds at Bramall Lane, in the Sharrow area of Sheffield. The grounds consisted of a cricket field surrounded by a dirt track with open-air stands on the east, west and north sides of the field. The main industries at the turn of the century were steel production and mining, located east of the city and home to United supporters. The more upscale businesses and trades were located west of the city and home to Sheffield Wednesday Owls supporters. A fierce rivalry was born that exists to this day. It was not uncommon in the early years of the club for brawls to break out not only between competitors on the pitch but between the players and supporters as well. In 1975 seating was added to the south side of the stadium. Today Bramall Lane is a 33,000-seat stadium with a clubhouse, restaurants, Legends of the Lane, gym, club shop, and the building of a hotel is underway on the grounds. A fitting venue to hold the past, present and future fortunes of the club as they are played out on the pitch at the Lane.
The first season, in 1889 for United, started out with great promise and their first appearance in the FA Cup only to suffer the worst defeat in club history, losing to Bolton 13:0. For the next three years United continued to hone their skills and expand their supporter base. Wages for the players was roughly 4 pounds per match a far cry from the wages paid to top-flight players today making upwards of 120,000 pounds per week for the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United. Still it paid better than working in the steel mills and mines and was a far safer form of employment.
In 1892, United joined the Football Association (FA) and took its place in the newly formed Second Division. After their first season in the FA they won promotion to the First Division. For 42 years United remained in the First Division winning the First Division Championship in 1898. During this time United also competed in and won the FA Cup four times. Defeating Derby County in 1899; Southampton in 1902; Chelsea in 1915; and Cardiff City in 1925. In 1934, United was relegated to the Second Division. During World War I, a truce was called for the Christmas of 1915. And a most surreal thing happened, British and German troops came out of the trenches and played a game of football on the field only hours before they had been trying to kill each other on. Footballers from across the UK enlisted in the British Army, sadly many did not make it home.
From 1934 to 1948, United stayed in the Second Division playing passable football but not with the quality that would see them return to the First Division until 1939. In 1939, the FA league was suspended due to World War II. Regional leagues were set up and play continued. Not until 1946 did the FA league resume play and United garnered a spot in the First Division. This lasted for only one year with United being relegated once again to the Second Division in 1948.
1952 sees United returning to First Division play only to be relegated back down to the Second Division in 1955. United goes through growing pains over the next years and does not return to First Division play until 1961. The team stays comfortably in mid-table for the next seven years, being relegated back to the Second Division in 1968.
United returned to Division One in 1971 and once again laid claim to mid-table. In 1974 the team is fielding a stronger side and makes a dash up the league table but ends up in sixth place. In 1975 relegation strikes again and United find themselves in Division Two. This marks the beginning of the worst downward spiral United has ever endured. After a mediocre 1979 season, United is relegated to Division Three. And to pour salt into the wound, United is relegated to Division Four in 1981. Mercifully, we find our form and win promotion to Division Three in 1982. Move up to Division Two in 1984, back down to Division Three in 1988, and back up to Division Two in 1989. A roller coaster ride of emotions. This also marked the 100th anniversary of the club.
United fought there way back to Division One in 1990. For the next two years United will play good quality football that sees them safely settled in at mid-table. In 1992, the FA reinvents itself and the Premier League is formed, of which Sheffield United FC is a founding member. But as the fates would have it, United is relegated to Division One in 1994, on the last play of a hard fought match against Chelsea.
1997 is a great year for United and they’re one win away from promotion to the Premier League. But in a heart-wrenching replay of 1994, United lost in the play-offs to Crystal Palace, as they score a goal in the last minutes of play at Wembley.
Trying to put together a team capable of promotion United go through a number of managerial staff changes. Mid-season 1999 saw the arrival of Neil Warnock as manager.
In 2002, Sean Bean joins the Board of Directors of Sheffield United FC.
2003 saw the fortunes of United greatly improve making it to the league final but losing to Wolverhampton 3:0. The team continues to improve in quality and industry and in 2006, gain promotion back to the Premier League after finishing second in the League Championship after Reading.
United’s first match in the Premiership was against Liverpool, ending in a 1:1 draw. A cracking start to the new season. Our first win was against Middlesboro, at home, on the 30th September. But United’s away play was lacking in imagination and kept us in the bottom quarter of the league table. Neil Warnock varied the starting side almost every match with an equal number of successes and failures. After the Holiday break United found the form they were looking for and moved ten points out of the relegation zone. Then our fortunes changed and our ten-point margin of safety dwindled down to three, United’s fate would come down to the last match of the season.
During our downward slide toward the relegation zone, the Premier League found West Ham United guilty of the serious offence of fielding an ineligible player. But to the surprise and consternation of the teams fighting not to be relegated, the Premier League only fined West Ham United without a point’s deduction. To make matters worse, the Premier League allowed West Ham United to continue fielding this player. So as United was going down, West Ham United was moving up.
Sunday, the last match day of the season. All the pundits were predicting that United would stay up, all they had to do was draw with Wigan. West Ham United was pitted against Manchester United, the Premier League Champions. But we didn’t draw with Wigan, we lost. Our fate was sealed when West Ham United’s ineligible player, Tevez, scored the winning goal, saving West Ham United from relegation. Sheffield United was relegated to the League Championship on a goal differential of one point after only one season in the Premier League.
Sheffield United is now in arbitration over the Premier Leagues handling of the West Ham United affair and can hold their heads high for standing up against the Premier Leagues unjust findings. It shows a great quality of character and integrity. And at the end of the day all those associated with Sheffield United FC can walk away with dignity in knowing they did the right thing, not just for themselves but for all of football.
No one knows what the future fortunes of United will be, but one constant never waivers, as the players take the field their supporters will be right there with them, singing them onto the pitch with the pride and spirit that comes with being a Blade.
A Blade – Life, Love, and Loyalty.
This is not a complete history of Sheffield United FC, but an overview. The names of past and presents player of the club have been left out intentionally.
References: Sheffield United Football Club, official website.
Sheffield United FC – The Biography, by Gary Armstrong and John Garrett.
Disclaimer: Any similarities to multimedia publications is purely coincidental and unintentional.
Thanks to Lauroraborealis.
Sean Bean's Commons fight
By SEAN BEAN
Lord Of The Rings star and club director
June 13, 2007
ACTOR Sean Bean, a director of Sheffield United, has supported the club since he was a lad.
Last month the Blades were controversially relegated from the Premiership – and are appealing on the grounds that rivals West Ham were not properly penalised for illegally signing Argentines Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.
Here Sean, 48, explains why he is fronting a campaign to keep his club in the Premiership.
LATER this morning I will lead a delegation of 100 Sheffield United supporters in a visit to the Houses of Parliament.
We will be thanking all the MPs who signed an Early Day Motion a few weeks ago criticising a procedure which has allowed Sheffield United, the club that I have followed all my life and indeed been a director of since 2002, to be relegated from the Premier League.
This is a momentous day, not only for me, but for two great institutions — the game of football and parliamentary democracy.
In representing Sheffield United I am also representing the city that gave the world the game of football.
The rules that were agreed in Sheffield were spread around the globe.
Upon entering Parliament I will be reminded that the politics of Britain have been both envied and emulated globally.
In both politics and football there are ideas to adhere to and ideas of fairness.
Central to both games, be it football or politics, is trying to balance the weak against the powerful.
Those who arbitrate must always do so with the belief that money does not make a person above the law.
What I hope to discuss with Members of Parliament who have disagreed with the Premier League centres around a principle.
What those who run the Premier game have to consider are two things: Why, in this instance, is the punishment of a points deduction not being applied like it has been in all previous cases of player registration misdemeanours?
Secondly, why are those who run the Premier League so reluctant to inquire deeper into the transfer procedures of Carlos Tevez from Corinthians of Brazil to West Ham?
Without sounding melodramatic, what is at stake here is crucial to notions of fairness and, in the parliamentary sense, checks and balances upon power.
What we are seeking is further action from Parliament to pressure the Premier League to consider whether procedures were transparent and correct.
As I see it, for the first time in football league history, a team has been allowed to move the goalposts mid-season and in return a new disciplinary regime simply fined them £5.5million and did not deduct points for their wrongdoing.
I do not see this as a dispute simply between Sheffield United and West Ham.
The Hammers, like the Blades, are a great club, founded upon steelworkers, and the respective badges tell a similar story.
Football is a wonderful game and the Premier League is the best in the world.
P>As both a director and a lifelong fan I want my club to be part of it.
That Sheffield United are no longer in it is due in part to poor results and to an unprecedented disciplinary procedure.
But I believe we can all be winners in this issue.
Following the belief that democracy is best defined as the greatest happiness of the greatest number, I hope common sense prevails when the three-man tribunal is convened on June 18-19 to reconsider the decision.
We in Sheffield invented the game of football.
Sheffield United FC hold numerous football firsts.
We enter Parliament seeking another — namely, the first time the Premier League admit they got it wrong and in doing so make amends, reinstating Sheffield United into the Premier League.
BLADES WILL HAVE TO ACT SHARPISH
Wednesday June 13,2007
WITH the fixture list being drawn up on Friday, three days before the arbitration panel meet to discuss the Carlos Tevez affair, the last thing the Premier League are considering is a 21-team competition next season.
The compromise situation has been touted by many as Sheffield United’s complaint about the decision not to deduct West Ham points has gained momentum. But whatever happens, the overriding sentiment over any action will be that the Premiership will be contested by the usual 20.
That makes Sheffield United's case even harder, as rule B30 of the league’s guidelines gives a deadline of the next season’s fixtures being drawn up for a relegated team to replace another for whatever reason.
But that will not stop Sharpe star Sean Bean marching on Westminster today – sadly in mufti rather than the uniform of a 19th century foot soldier – to meet MPs and promote the Blades’ Campaign for Fairness.
An hour-long session will be hosted by Alan Keen, chair of the all-party parliamentary football group, and there have been messages of support from many stars, including the Sheffield-born writer and comedian Michael Palin.
The organisers also claim to have a petition signed by 50 MPs – but Sports Minister Richard Caborn, a Sheffield United fan, declined to put pen to paper.
* Sean Bean will march on Parliament today in protest against the relegation of his beloved football team, Sheffield United, from the Premiership. The actor, a director of "the Blades", is aghast that rivals West Ham should have escaped demotion after supposedly fielding an "ineligible" player, the Argentine Carlos Tevez. And he has found himself an unlikely supporter: the former Python Michael Palin.
Palin claims to be an avid Blades fan, and tells me: "I heartily support Sean Bean. I live in London but have maintained my Sheffield roots. I've always followed United, though unlike Sean I don't have the tattoo to prove it."
Sadly Palin won't join Bean today, explaining that he is struggling to meet the deadline on his latest book. He adds: "I will be there in spirit."
[b]Sean Bean leads football protest[/b]
Sean Bean said he hoped MPs would listen to the protest
Hollywood actor Sean Bean is leading a delegation to Parliament to protest at the way Sheffield United were relegated from the Premiership.
The Blades were knocked out of the league on the last day of the season following a defeat to Wigan.
Sheffield supporters said rivals West Ham United should have lost points and been relegated instead for using a player who was not properly registered.
The actor and 100 other supporters will meet MPs on Wednesday lunchtime.
In a statement on the club's website Mr Bean, who comes from Sheffield, said he hoped the politicians would listen.
He said: "I think I'm in a position to express my opinion and that of many Sheffield United fans aggrieved by the decision that was made by the original panel.
"My message to MPs would be to thank them for the support we've had - I think we've had 40-plus MPs getting behind us and they've shown sympathy for our cause."
All thanks to Lauroraborealis.
Al Fayed Supports Blades
Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed has offered his support to Sheffield United as the Blades prepare to find out their fate for next season in the coming week.
Al Fayed was quoted in the Sheffield Star saying 'If any club brings in players without approval, how can they just want to fine them, because it affects other clubs.
'We are going to arbitration to teach them a lesson. Why do they make favours?
'If the arbitration is fair and people who know about law and about justice, we are on the right side. If arbitration fails, we go to court. I am a man of principle.
'I just don't let people get away with unfair and unjust practices, especially the Premier League.'
Al Fayed's support comes on the eve of Sean Bean's trip to Parliament, where the star will be accompanied by a 100-strong delegation, as the Blades kick off their 'Fight For Fairness Campaign.'
Blades Ask For Owls' Help
Wednesday help United? Never...but that's the message from one Unitedite with Blades fans set to protest against their relegation from the Premiership in Sheffield tomorrow.
'Campaign For Justice' organiser Richard Batho has urged both fans from the red and white AND blue and white half of Sheffield to turn out in their numbers to protest about their relegation in the streets of Sheffield tomorrow in the slim hope they get re-instated to the top flight.
United fans and officials alike were left fuming that West Ham didn't get a points deduction in light of the 'Carlos Tevez affair'.
And with the Hammers grabbing an unlikely final day victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford, courtesy of a Tevez strike of course, United's defeat at home to relegation rivals Wigan saw them drop back down to the Championship.
'Hopefully fans from both clubs - United and Wednesday - will turn out because this has the power to affect everyone,' Batho told the Sheffield Star.
'United supporters must attend in numbers but it would be great to think that everyone from the region, whether they follow us, will also lend us their backing.'
But Owls fans on the Vital Sheffield Wednesday forum are showing little sympathy to the Blades plight, safe to say that I doubt many will be turning up in their blue and white shirts tomorrow!
Forum member NicNac said: 'It was their safety to throw away and boy did they throw it! I can understand being upset, even angry at the whole situation. I'm sure if it happened to us, we'd feel more than a little aggrieved too. However it still stands that after a full season they didn't score enough goals to win (or draw) enough games to keep them safe from the drop. Now whose fault is that?'
And hellboy0628 said: 'They weren't good enough over a season regardless of what one player has done for another team Tevez hasn't single handedly relegated United or saved WHU, they wasted a ten point lead. I would be gutted if I was in their position but I would recognise that it was our own fault.'
Meanwhile a second group led by Blades fan Sean Bean and a number of other Unitedites will gather in London before being led into Parliament for a meeting with a small group of MPs.
Scraping the barrel
Filed: Tuesday, 12th June 2007
By: Matthew O'Greel
Sheffield United have asked supporters of bitter rivals Sheffield Wednesday to support their so-called 'campaign for justice'.
Blades fans intend to demonstrate against their relegation from the Premiership on the streets of Sheffield tomorrow, after plans to march in London were shelved due to a lack of interest.
But with minimal interest being registered by supporters even in their home town, campaign organiser and Blades fan Richard Batho has turned to followers of Sheffield's other Championship outfit - Sheffield Wednesday - to support the (pointless) cause.
"Hopefully fans from both clubs - United and Wednesday - will turn out because this has the power to affect everyone," Batho told the Sheffield Star. "United supporters must attend in numbers but it would be great to think that everyone from the region, whether they follow us, will also lend us their backing."
Unsurprisingly perhaps the call for unity has tickled supporters of Wednesday who were, on the whole, delighted when the Blades - known by Wednesday fan as 'The Pigs' - were relegated from the Premiership thanks to a final day home defeat to Wigan.
Posters on popular Wednesday messageboard Owls Online have reacted with humour to the call for unity. One poster claimed that "there's more chance of Carlos Tevez turning up as a guest of honour in a West Ham shirt", whilst another added that he "might go - and point, laugh and sing songs such as '10 points and you fooked it up'".
Meanwhile a second smaller gathering is set to take place in London tomorrow lunchtime when Blades fan Sean Bean is set to lead a handful of selected Blades fans into Parliament for a meeting with a small group of MPs.
That group - estimates to be around 20 strong - includes the MP for Sheffield Attercliffe, Clive Betts, who was recently suspended from the House for doctoring offical papers thereby allowing his 'Brazilian rent-boy lover' to remain in the UK.
A photo-call has been set for 11.30am on Victoria Embankment (close to Westminster Pier); TV and radio are both expected to cover the event.
* Sheffield United claim that West Ham United should have been deducted three points instead of being fined £5.5m as a result of being found guily of contravening Premier League rules with regard to Carlos Tevez's contract - a figure that would have (conveniently) seen United relegated instead of the Blades.
However Sheffield's case is undermined by the fact that there is no precedent for such a punishment, and that when they beat West Ham United 3-0 in April, Carlos Tevez played on the opposing side. Coincidentally this was overlooked by the Blades until their relegation was confirmed.
Blades lose appeal on relegation ! Some articles :