James Shield’s Sheffield United Column: Name a stand at Bramall Lane after this legend

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Last week, I received a text message reminding me it was 49 years to the day since Tony Currie, widely acknowledged as Sheffield United’s greatest ever player, arrived at Bramall Lane.

Unfortunately, thanks to some sort of technological glitch, it actually appeared on my screen long after the event having spent several days flying aimlessly around in cyberspace.

Sheffield United's greatest ever player Tony Currie

Sheffield United's greatest ever player Tony Currie

But it still set me thinking. And not about why, despite the fact these devices are supposedly becoming more advanced by the second, simple tasks like making a telephone call or sending a note are increasingly difficult to perform.

That is what is now described as a ‘First World Problem.’ The type of dilemma which prompted one talking head on a well-known 24 hour news channel to recently label the shortage of lettuce in our supermarkets as a “national disgrace.” The lack of public recognition for Currie’s achievements and services to the League One leaders, though, is an aberration Bramall Lane’s hierarchy can easily correct.

Twenty-nine months ago, at a glitzy gala ceremony, United marked their 125th anniversary with an event attended by supporters, staff and former players. The fact so many of the latter still regularly attend matches lends weight to Chris Wilder’s theory that they are a “special” team.

Neither, unfortunately, are they immune to the financial pressures which permeate the modern game. Hence the sponsorship of intangible things like added time. The imposition of FFP and SCMP, despite the fact some folk are being allowed to stretch the rule book so far the final chapter now sits on a desk in Timbuktu, means it is inevitable United will seek to squeeze every last penny out of every asset. Obscure or otherwise. No matter how bizarre it sounds.

Money is important in football

Money is important in football

So, although I understand the need to secure lucrative commercial partnerships and generate funds, surely a balance can be struck?

There should be a ‘Tony Currie Stand’ at United’s stadium. Whether it is ‘in association’ with a particular business or not. After all, with due respect to Dame Jessica Ennis, who fleetingly had the honour bestowed on her a few years back, his 376 appearances and 66 goals are far more precious to United followers than a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics. As remarkable and worthy of acclaim as her achievement was.

Which leaves three more sides to consider and rename. Why not, and this is just an idea, put those to a public vote?

Tony Currie continues to serve Sheffield United. Picture: Andrew Roe

Tony Currie continues to serve Sheffield United. Picture: Andrew Roe