The only level playing field for me in hilly Sheffield in the 1960s was at Bramall Lane, where Sheffield United and Yorkshire Cricket Club played.
Then the team were home – produced, played superb football and were successful in Division One. Admission was cheap and players only got a reasonable wage.
Despite this we had renowned players such as Hodgkinson, Badger, Woodward and Currie.
Jones and then Birchenall were only the fifth and sixth players in the Football League to be sold for £100,000.
In 2014, the Blades celebrated 10 wins in a row and its 125th anniversary in March and scored their 7,000th league goal last Saturday.
Their FA Cup fairytale continues tomorrow when they play Hull in a semi-final as Nigel Clough’s side become the first team from the third tier to reach this stage since Wycombe Wanderers in 2001.
I have generally been unhappy with my team since the 1960s.
There have been highlights such as promotions, leading the top division, Deane scoring the first goal in the Premiership and some FA Cup semi-finals.
There have been lows with too few years in the top division, league play – off defeats at Cardiff and the old and new Wembley, and the sale of too many star players, including current England players, Jagielka and Walker.
With billionaire benefactors and ridiculously slewed payments to Premier League clubs, including parachute payments of £60 million rewarding relegation, it is no surprise that the Blades have declined in status.
I doubt soccer’s strategic decision-makers will ever distribute the great wealth of the Premiership and Champions League more fairly to make it easier for league clubs in lower divisions, and even less successful Premiership clubs, to compete more fairly.
After a 50-year roller-coaster of ecstasy and despair, big John Fitzpatrick and I still travel hopefully.
After so much Wembley agony, Nigel’s unfancied team should make us proud and beat Hull. Cup winners – is it finally our time?
David H Wells
Wimborne, Dorset (formerly Cortworth Road, Ecclesall)