THE SHARP BLADE: It’s never easy being a Sheffield United fan

TWENTY five years or so of following the Blades has taught me that the life of a Sheffield United supporter is never dull.

Scandals, epic cup ties, intense derbies, jubilation, and heartbreak are never far around the corner from Beautiful Down town Bramall Lane.

We never seem to do things the easy way, always taking things to the wire, even relegation.

Who could ever forget Don Givens’ last minute penalty miss for United against Walsall in the last match of the 1980/81 season - a miss that sealed relegation to the old 4th Division, arguably the lowest point in Blades’ history?

Or Mark Stein’s last gasp winner for Chelsea on the last day of the 93/94 season which saw us relegated from the Premier League? Or that awful rain soaked day in May 2007 when all we needed was a draw at home to relegation rivals Wigan to beat the drop, but a winner by former Blade David Unsworth consigned us to a familiar, miserable fate?

Fast forward to this campaign, and another relegation battle, but one which up until now has been altogether different from those mentioned above.

This season has been the most dire that I, and many other Blades, can remember. It’s been a season in which so far we’ve had no less than four different managers.

By the beginning of March many Unitedites had waved the white flag and accepted relegation as inevitable as turkey on Christmas Day,

Mickey Adams hadn’t recorded a victory in his first 13 games in charge, and we were six points adrift of safety,

For once there would be no last day of the season heartbreak - we would surely be down long before then.

But two wins in the last three games has given us all renewed hope of beating the drop, and increased the chances of our season going right down to the wire. Again!

One of the most appauling things from my point of view about this season has been our chronic home form.

Traditionally Bramall Lane has been a place where visiting teams have feared coming, a place where the opposition view a draw as an excellent result.

But this season has been different. Other teams have come to the Lane this season and taken the Michael. We’ve lost a shocking nine home games so far this campaign. That is unheard of in my memory of watching Sheffield United,

That’s three more home defeats than in the whole of season in which we were last in the Premier League.

If we are to somehow avoid relegation this season it is absolutely crucial we make Bramall Lane a fearsome fortress once more.

And there are signs we are doing just that. The last two home games have seen fine wins over two high flying promotion chasing sides - Forest and Leeds.

Saturday’s stunning win over Leeds has been the brightest point of a very dark season. Without doubt the performance of the season so far, we bossed the game from start to finish, won all the key battles, and made Leeds - the division’s top scorers - look very ordinary.

The fans loved every single minute of it - the Lane was rocking, something we’ve not been able to say too often this season. It was the good old days.

The recent results over Forest and Leeds have given the whole club a lift, the players and fans alike now have renewed vigour and belief.

So what seemed a couple of weeks ago like a lost cause is now game on. There’s eight games to go and all to play for.

It’s never dull being a Blade.

THE SHARP BLADE