Wednesday, 19 March 2014

125 Years Of Memories Part One

Saturdays fixture against Wolves will commemorate the One Hundred and Twenty Fifth birthday of Sheffield United Football Club, the worlds first United, through a series or articles we will turn back the clock and look at some of the special memories of Blades fans time following their team. This first article will cover one of my most fond memories as a Blade, my first Promotion to The Premier League.

On a warm April afternoon the Red side of the city came out in numbers to join in the celebration of United's promotion to the country's top division, a Danny Webber goal away at Cardiff in a previous fixture had already secured our promotion but a final home game against Crystal palace was set to host the real party. My day started differently to most Blades Fans, pulling on fishnet tights and putting on a wig was not my usual morning ritual, but since it was a day to party it seemed fancy dress was indeed in order, my dad worryingly suggested ladies, after a bit of hesitation we jumped on board and myself and two friends agreed to also trade trousers for skirts. What the rotten sod's didn't inform me was that they intended to go as old ladies, so I looked a tad out of place in a black dress, high heel boots, fishnets and a blonde wig, but it seemed to get a cheap laugh so no harm done. After a few early pints in the Albion on London Road places started to get busier, so members of the public were not impressed to see my friend Jordan (brown wig, old lady dress, slippers and a walking stick) take an entire six minutes to cross the road as he acted feeble and unable to walk faster than the common tortoise, for The Blades in attendance however it was one of many funny moments, especially as he waved his walking stick in the direction of anyone foolish enough to sound their car horn, "DON'T YOU BLOW YOUR HOOTER AT ME YOUNG MAN!". We drank our drinks, talked football, casually sang "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me" as we waved around our dresses, and enjoyed ourselves, I myself seeing a young lady dressed similarly to me began claiming this was my patch and she was trying to steal my business, she took it all in good humour. We eventually moved down to our more familiar surroundings The RnR (now the Scholar formally the Hermitage) and it began to dawn on us, today we were to see our beloved team be promoted, after twelve years in The Championship, after becoming its longest serving team, today we leave it all behind, today was the day that would see us join the footballing elite, so discussions soon became very tactically orientated, how many players would we need to bring in, who needs shipping out, how should Warnock line up the team, how much is a pint near Stamford Bridge, all the important stuff. We knew today may be a good indication of future intent, after all we still had a game to play, would the hysteria of celebration make the team over confident, would the celebrations take a set back if we get battered by a team who are now fighting to finish as high as possible in the play off's, but after all was said and done discussions took a turn back to the more jovial, and after leaving far to many lipstick stained pint glasses in the immediate past we made our move to The Lane.

The game wasn't a classic, but in all truth the game was an after thought, we had done our job today was no pressure go out there and enjoy it.We passed the ball around nicely but never really showed any urgency, because there was no need, keep palace at bay and enjoy thousands of fans singing their hearts out, we delivered our part and so did they. Palace never caused any danger and we controlled from the off, the party atmosphere saw Mexican waves, flags, confetti, balloons, when dressed as woman doing a conga up and down the stands, it was an incredible party. Magic nearly struck as Blades Legend Brain Deane who had been signed earlier on in the season came on for ten minutes at the end and came within a whisker of getting himself a goal that would have no doubt blown the roof off The Kop, even when he had missed all you could here from the fields of Mosborough to The Rusty Sheds in South Barnsley were the echoes of "DEANO DEANO DEANO!". When Captain Chris Morgan gave us our one and only goal of the game we just went crazy, it was something I had never felt before as a Blade, there was no pressure, no expectation, it was like being at a carnival, the scenes of men and their sons, woman and children, everyone together just going bezerk, it was special. Some of these people had never seen their club do anything worth shouting about because they weren't there to see us go up in the past, all they had seen was heartache and us letting glory pass us by, play off final losses, semi final losses, relegations, it was all they had known, and today our emotional investment, our love for our club was rewarded, we finally got a small taste of what glory felt like,
it was beyond exhilarating, it was as good as any drug that could possibly exists, it was better than any thrill seeking bungee jump or sky dive, it was a perfect moment. As I began waving my bra (I cant believe I have just had to type that) around my head others began swinging red and white scarves, red and white shirts, a
wall of noise stopped Sheffield in its tracks. We won the game 1-0, and we watched in awe as Chris Morgan raised up the shield, the pyro, the display, the emotion it was something that will give me goosebumps and make my hair stand on edge every time I remember it, even now as I type this I can hear the noise and I get shivers, it is something that will be hard to top in my mind. We have had great days and night before and after then, but this moment, there were no underlying factors, that's what made it so perfect, so magical and so iconic. 

-Jonathan Gascoigne

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