11 Sh­effield

Evergreen - - Contents - ALAN ROBIN­SON

The club can trace its an­ces­try to mem­bers of Sh­effield Cricket Club who were formed in 1854 and be­gan play­ing foot­ball a year later. How­ever, it was not un­til 1889 that the crick­eters de­cided to form Sh­effield United F. C. in an ef­fort to wed their ac­tiv­i­ties and make bet­ter use of their Bra­mall Lane ground. The Blades, as they be­came known, still play their home games at this venue.

Af­ter adopt­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ism the club ini­tially played in the Mid­land League be­fore be­ing a foun­der­mem­ber of the Foot­ball League’s Sec­ond Di­vi­sion in 1892. Pro­mo­tion was se­cured in their first sea­son and fur­ther suc­cess was achieved in 1896- 97 when they fin­ished run­ners- up in Di­vi­sion One. The fol­low­ing sea­son United won the Foot­ball League Cham­pi­onship for the only time in their his­tory.

The club also en­joyed suc­cess in the FA Cup, first win­ning the tro­phy in 1899 af­ter beat­ing Derby County 4- 1. Two years later they lost a re­played fi­nal against Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur, but tri­umphed again the fol­low­ing year against Southamp­ton. Two Blades leg­ends who played in all these fi­nals were Ernest “Nudger” Need­ham and gi­ant goal­keeper Willie Foulke. Fur­ther FA Cup fi­nal vic­to­ries were achieved in 1915 and 1925.

In 1934 the club’s long run in the topflight came to an end and from then on they gained a rep­u­ta­tion as a “Yo- Yo” team be­tween Di­vi­sions One and Two. In 1979 worse was to fol­low with rel­e­ga­tion to the Third Di­vi­sion and they even spent one sea­son, 1981, in the fourth tier. How­ever, since that time United’s for­tunes have im­proved with two spells to date, al­beit brief, in the Pre­mier League.

Sh­effield United ( 1969- 70) Left to Right: Tony Cur­rie, John Tu­dor, Colin Ad­di­son, Gil Reece, Mick Heaton, Alan Hodgkin­son, Len Badger, David Pow­ell, Alan Wood­ward, Ge­off Sal­mons, Frank Bar­low. Cen­tre: Ed­die Colquhoun.

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