Sheffield United: Flashback to Tony Currie’s Blades debut 49 years ago

Sheffield United legend Tony Currie in action
Sheffield United legend Tony Currie in action
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The man later to be named Sheffield United’s greatest ever player, made his club debut 49 years ago, on February 26, 1968.

Eighteen--year-old Tony Currie immediately won the hearts of the Bramall Lane faithful with a great performance and a fine goal in an exhilirating 3-2 win over Spurs.

Tony Currie signs from Watford

Tony Currie signs from Watford

The Star’s United man Peter Howard reflected on how so many United-Tottenham clashes had been memorable affairs, and this was no exception.

But it was a night to remember chiefly because of the fantastic debut impact of Currie, the man who would go on to be nicknamed TC or Top Cat after the TV cartoon character.

Howard described Currie’s goal: “Carlin sent Monks away down the right. A perfect centre and there was the blond head of Currie, leaping high above Beal to head down past the frustrated Jennings.

“The fans took him to their hearts. But he did far much more than score. He worked hard, shot hard and showed excellent control and distribution.”

Howard reflected that it was not all good for the Blades, lamenting the “stupid mix-up” which led to Greaves scoring Spurs’ first.

And the shortage of cover when Chivers was left on his own to score 10 minutes from time, putting Spurs 2-1 up.

England’s costliest player had scored four times in three matches against United that season. But by the final whistle he still hadn’t been on the winning side against them.

For they bombarded the visitors goal in the final 10 minutes.

Jennings made fine saves from Badger and Woodward. Addison was then off target but made amends when he created the chance for Barry Wagstaff to equalise.

And Gil Reece scored the winner with a fine shot, punishing the costly vistors who had displayed a strangely negative approach.

Carlin and Addison played no small part in the impressive debut of the new boy - but Currie was the man of the moment, a situation which would be repeated by the youngster signed for £26,500 from Watford.

He had been a talented schoolboy footballer who joined Queens Park Rangers as an amateur.

He joined Chelsea as an apprentice, but was released and moved to Watford to complete his apprenticeship, earning England Youth honours in the process.

He turned professional in May 1967 and made his league debut the following season.

He went on to play 313 times for United, scoring 53 goals.

He broke into the England team while at Bramall Lane, and went on to represent his country 17 times. He had played 13 times for the Under-23s.

He was part of one of England’s most heartbreaking nights, playing in the World Cup qualifier against Poland, at Wembley in 1973.

But England could only draw 1-1 and failed to qualify.

It was a match which became famous for the man dubbed “a circus clown in gloves,” by TV pundit Brian Clough - Jan Tomaszewski, whose virtuoso, if unorthodox, performance, foiled Sir Alf Ramsey’s side.

Currie moved to Leeds United for £250,000 in 1976, later going on to QPR and Torquay and played 528 games in total scoring 80 goals.

Lane boss Ken Furphy named him club captain in 1974 and in September 2014, as part of United’s 125th anniversary celebrations, he was named their greatest ever player.