It is a date seared into every Sheffield United supporter’s memory, writes James Shield.
And on March 22, exactly 125 years after it was born, the club will host a series of events ahead of the League One fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers to launch its anniversary celebrations.
They include a parade of former players, performances by the Dinnington Colliery brass band, interactive fan zones and quizzes before Nigel Clough’s first team squad enjoy what an insider last night promised would be a “spectacular” introduction.
“From mid-morning the pre-match against Wolves will be something special,” Mal Brannigan, United’s managing director, said. “We are determined to provide a unique celebration to mark this date on behalf of the club and our fans.
“This is recognition of Sheffield’s Red and White. We are not only proud to be celebrating our heritage but at the same time we are looking forward to the next chapters in our story which has become such an important part in the lives of so many people in this community.”
United, who have commissioned a specially brewed draught ale to mark the occasion, this morning announced the release of a vintage shirt which replicates the jersey worn by legends such as Ernest ‘Nudger’ Needham during the 1890’s.
With a video outlining United’s history also set to be broadcast on the big screen inside Bramall Lane beforehand, the visit of Kenny Jackett’s side, which kicks-off at 1.25pm, triggers a programme of events set to continue into next term.
Negotiations aimed at securing a pre-season friendly against high-profile opposition are on-going behind the scenes while a ‘Sports Personality’ style dinner for up to 1,000 guests, is also being planned for Ponds Forge.
The evening, which is expected to be attended by numerous VIPs and celebrity names, could be used to announce the result of polls designed to discover United’s greatest ever goal, manager and player.
A book, tracing the club’s history and featuring a section of supporters’ favourite images, will also be published.
Meanwhile, United could enjoy the backing of a near sell-out crowd when they host Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.
Officials at Bramall Lane yesterday reported that only 3,000 tickets remained for the match against Chris Powell’s side.
United, who have beaten the likes of Aston Villa, Fulham and Nottingham Forest en route to the last eight, began their journey at Colchester in November.
Clough, speaking after Tuesday evening’s league victory over Peterborough, said: “It should be a terrific atmosphere and that will inspire the lads.
“It’s something that I know they certainly appreciate as players and we also do as staff.
“We’re all in this together. That’s the attitude we have here, it’s the right one to have and everyone is looking forward to it.”