Who would have thought that it would be Neil Warnock who would be thwarting Sheffield United from gaining promotion to the Premier League? You couldn’t have written it, but as the Blades line up against Crystal Palace tomorrow they will be within 90 minutes, plus some crucial injury time, of returning to the top flight.
But they won’t achieve it. Not because of Warnock but because Sheffield United always bottle it. Whenever they reach a defining moment in their history they buckle and collapse:
1. FA Cup 1993. Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Sheffield United. The most intense steel city derby in my memory and it was the FA Cup Semi-Final. Win this one and you get bragging rights for a decade but United couldn’t raise their game and Wednesday went on to make their second final of the season (losing both ha ha!)
2. Premier League 1994. Chelsea 3-2 Sheffield United. At half time on the last day of the season United were well clear of relegation but then it all changed. Everton came from 2-0 down to beat Wimbledon 3-2 and United conceded a late goal at Chelsea. All they needed was a point but they had blown it.
3. Premier League 2007. Sheffield United 1-2 Wigan Athletic. I know that it was all totally unjust with the Carlos Tevez thing and that West Ham United should be in the Champtionship right now but when all you need is a point at home against a weak Wigan side then you have only got yourself to blame.
Tomorrow Birmingham will fail to beat Reading leaving the door open for United to take their place in the Premier League. I wish I could say they will grasp the opportunity but they won’t.