Imagine a Sheffield United player who is a local lad, joins the team in a lower division and then plays for them in successive promotions to the top division.
One who then plays for England and becomes captain of the Blades when they then win the league – yes – the ‘Premier League’ – and lifts the FA Cup.
One who captains England and plays for them 14 times. Imagined being described by a fellow international as “the greatest player association football has ever seen”, and the national newspapers saying there is “no better player in the kingdom”.
Hard to imagine? Well you don’t need to – look up Ernest Needham in the history books. Like the Sheffield United Football Club Who’s Who, by club historians Denis Clarebrough and Andrew Kirkham, who say: “It may be argued that Ernest Needham was Sheffield United’s greatest ever player”.
Given this, I’d love to vote for ‘Nudger’ in the Star’s Sheffield United Hall of Fame vote for the top 10 best ever United players. But I can’t, because he hasn’t even been put in the top 50!
And it’s not because it only includes recent players, because Needham’s teammate Fatty Foulkes is included.
Any explanation, The Star?
Hi Richard. It wasn’t a Hall of Fame of best players but most memorable ones.
And Foulkes made it because of his legendary status as a 22st goalkeeper. Which is fairly memorable!
Whereas no-one alive saw Needham play. I have no doubt he was a great player, though. Thanks for the email.