Who Are These Jobbers?
I like Sheffield United. I feel they are very much cut from the same cloth as Sunderland. They inhabit a city which once had a thriving industry and is now in subsequent decline, they have a main rival with huge delusions of grandeur, they have a fanbase that has been used to disappointment but somehow revel in it - and, of course, they play in glorious red and white stripes.
On a personal level, having spent a lot of time in their fair city over the past couple of years and watching their trials and tribulations, I do like to see them do well. However, as I am contractually obligated to use this column to belittle and demean the jobber teams that inhabit this league here we go (please forgive me, Lee).
Teams that get promoted from League One and instantly set out on a promotion charge to the Premier League are possibly the most annoying of all teams. Ooh, look at us, we’ve got a really good team spirit and work ethic, we’ve got strikers like Leon Clarke that are inexplicably good at this level, we’re a team back on the up. Pathetic.
So, in my most bitter mindframes, seeing how the bubble does seem to have burst from the Blades’ promotion charge is quite nice. Again, I am not having a team gain promotion to the Premier League with Leon Clarke (LEON CLARKE?!?!?!) banging in hat-tricks every bloody week.
Sheffield United’s surge has shone a spotlight on the frankly sterling job Chris Wilder has been doing, despite him looking like a bus driver that is absolutely not letting you on with that £20 note, pal. Apart from Leon Clarke (LEON CLARKE?!?!?!) I don’t really know much about their team, I just assumed Michael Brown and Michael Tonge were still their midfield duo.
I’d argue that the best thing about Dem Blades is this glorious, glorious Neil Warnock documentary. Pour yourself a drink, kick back in your comfiest chair and simply absorb every moment of this.
How Do I Get There?
You know what you want to do when you’re hungover and full of Christmas pudding? Yeah, you want to drive to Sheffield. Oh yes you do, you lucky scamp. You want to hit that inviting asphalt of the M1 and ride that mother all the way down to South Yorkshire because you better believe there are no trains on this holiest of holy days.
That’s right, fire up the Fiat Panda, put your pedal to the metal and take the A1 (M) south until exiting for the M1 at Wetherby. Take exit 33 for the A630 near Rotherham and, boy howdy, you’re on the Sheffield Parkway, baby! Get onto the A61 passing Sheffield railway station and Bramall Lane is your next left.
Take your pick from trying to find a parking space near the ground or choose from the plethora of options in the city centre. Although it is Boxing Day, so have fun with that.
Want to get the train do you? Want to have a few tinnies on the way down do you? Well you can’t because there aren’t any. Instead, get one of the A Love Supreme buses which leave the Stadium of Light at 9.30am with return fares costing £26. Book your place here.
Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?
I have had the pleasure of enjoying light refreshment in the alehouses surrounding Bramall Lane in the past and let me be first to say, do NOT venture in them. There is nothing wrong with them, per se, and the patrons are an intriguing bunch but they are not too inviting to travellers from the other side of the tracks.
So if you find yourself outside Bramall Lane and want to wet your whistle, don’t try your luck in The Cricketers Arms or The Railway Hotel. Another tip is to avoid London Road in all forms as you a) won’t get in any of the pubs and b) won’t be welcome. You can also cross off The Clubhouse, The Old Crown Inn and The Cremorne.
The city centre of Sheffield is veritable treasure trove of delightful boozers including the Sheffield Tap at the train station. The go-to away fans pub tends to be The Howard at the top of the approach to the station while The Globe a little further up the road is a decent option if you like cheap beer.
Speaking of cheap beer, you can fill your boots at The Benjamin Huntsman on Cambridge Street or The Brown Bear on Norfolk Street. However, if you’re not an actual delinquent you can enjoy refined refreshment on Division Street at either Bungalows & Bears, The Great Gatsby or The Devonshire. There’s also a BrewDog if you want to pay £5 for a craft beer.
I’m Staying Owa, Is There Owt To Do?
Unless you want to spend your Boxing Day evening dancing like a twat to (I assume) a Pulp-themed night in Leadmill called Common People or doing general debauchery at something called Get On It at Arena Sheffield - just gan home. There’s probably loads of turkey you need to be eating.
What’s The Ground Like?
If you recall earlier in the year my rundown of the best awaydays in the Championship (you really should because it was really fantastic work, actually I’ll just leave the link here so you can re-live some truly Shakespearean prose) I named Sheffield United as the best in the division. And I stand by it.
Bramall Lane was built shortly after the fall of the Roman empire and doubled up as a cricket ground during the 8th century (it’s really old). When it gets going it can be bloody loud with The Kop Stand booming out the club anthem of ‘Greasy Chip Butty’ (it’s about getting leathered and watching Sheffield United) before every match.
Our lot are housed in the lower tier of hilariously tinpot sounding Redbrick Estate Agency Stand (it was called the Jessica Ennis Stand for a while but they had a bit of unpleasantness about that and now it’s not) which is sold out for a change - so enjoy yourself, everybody!