The frontmen to give you skill and goals

Tony Agana
Tony Agana
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It’s a debate always doing the rounds in pubs, clubs and workplaces among football fans across the region - what’s your best ever team? We are calling on the followers of Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday to tell us who would be in their best ever side since the Second World War. We are looking for your Sheffield United Dream Team and your Sheffield Wednesday Dream Team. Today it’s the turn of a goalscorer to complete the respective line-ups, with your choice of manager to follow next week before we reveal your final selections. As usual, we are offering up four past stars from each club for each position and it’s your choice from our four nominees that counts - the player who gets the most votes will fill that position in the Dream Team. Happy voting!

THEY are the glamour boys.

Mick Jones

Mick Jones

The players who dominate the back pages and command the biggest fees.

But, in return for the limelight and adulation, they shoulder the responsibility of ensuring the good work of their colleagues does not go to waste.

Poacher, sniffer, fox in the box. Call them what you want.

Those strikers capable of carrying such a burden, who can handle the pressure of being the focal point of their respective teams, are always destined to go down in folklore.

jackie Sewell

jackie Sewell

Because, to be perfectly blunt, they are what separates the wheat from the chaff.

The players who, more often than not, decide which clubs go up and which clubs go down.

No poll of Sheffield United’s greatest ever centre-forwards would be complete without Keith Edwards.

A blond-haired goal machine who, quite simply, turned finishing into an art-form.

James Beattie

James Beattie

How, having let him to move to Bramall Lane in 1975 due to homesickness, Leyton Orient must have kicked themselves for allowing such a prodigious talent to slip from their grasp.

In two spells at United, interspersed with a period at Hull City, Edwards hit the target a remarkable 171 times in 293 appearances.

Quite what riches such a return would have brought in this day and age is impossible to estimate.

But, with no disrespect intended, United’s original poster boy would almost certainly be spending his weekends sipping sangria on the terrace of a multi-million pound Spanish villa rather than working as an expert summariser on local radio had be been operating now.

Keith Edwards

Keith Edwards

As forthright over the airwaves as he was in the opposition box, Edwards is still fondly remembered on Humberside.

But it was in South Yorkshire where, often in tandem with winger Colin Morris, he delivered the best performances of a career which ended in 1990 following a brief stint on loan at Plymouth Argyle.

Honourable mentions must go to Paul Peschisolido - whose infectious enthusiasm and memorable celebration after netting during the 2003 play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest won him the respect of United’s home crowd - and Jan Age Fjortoft.

But of those who have represented United in the modern era, James Beattie must get the nod.

Bryan Robson’s tenure in charge at Bramall Lane is not remembered fondly by the vast majority of supporters on the red and white side of the Steel City divide.

But even Captain Marvel’s staunchest of detractors must admit he pulled a master-stroke by persuading Beattie to drop down a league into the Championship following a difficult stint at Everton. Despite being a strapping physical specimen, Beattie was no targetman and, having arrived in August 2007, proved too hot for the majority of defences operating in the Championship to handle.

Fantham

Fantham

The reasons behind his move to Stoke 62 league appearances and 34 goals later continue to be the subject of much debate.

What is certain, though, is that, had he remained in situ, then United would surely have won automatic promotion in 2009 rather than been dragged into another ill-fated end-of-season shootout.

Having included Brian Deane in last week’s selections, it is also impossible to ignore Tony Agana’s claims.

Together they formed an exciting partnership at Bramall Lane between 1988 and 1991.

Agana, whose record at United reads 118 league appearances and 42 goals, made a telling contribution by helping United achieve promotion from the old Second Division before joining Notts County.

Mick Jones completes this latest list.

John Harris, his manager during five successful years at United, would certainly agree, having described the decision to sell Jones to Leeds in 1967 as “the biggest mistake the club had ever made”.

Now 66, Jones had won two England caps and scored 63 league goals in less than 149 outings by the time Don Revie spirited him to Elland Road.

To vote for Blades

To vote for your favourite player simply simply email us at promotions@sheffieldnewspapers.co.uk with the subject as Best Team Ever Blades, stating your name, address, telephone number and the number of the player you are voting for. Alternatively you can text us your vote by texting STA (space) BLADES (space) followed by the number of the player you are voting for and sending to 61500.

Deadline for entries is Sunday, August 14 2011 at 10am.

Usual SNL rules apply, full terms and conditions available on request by contacting Star promotions, York Street, Sheffield, S1 1PU or alternatively go online at www.johnstonpress.co.uk/jpplc/competition

Texts cost 50p plus your usual network rate. The Editor’s decision is final. By supplying your telephone number you’re happy to receive SMS messages from Johnston Press and its approved business partners. Johnston Press (or via its agents) and its business partners may contact you about new promotions, products and services. Please add the word EXIT at the end of your message if you do not wish to receive these. Please note if you should enter after the stated closing date your entry will not be valid but you still may be charged. For quality and training purposes we may monitor communications. SMS service is provided by Velti DR Ltd SE1 8ND - 020 7633 5000.

IF Paolo Di Canio cost a Hillsborough record fee of £4.5 million in 1997, what would John Fantham, Redfern Froggatt and Jackie Sewell have been worth then or now?

These four skilful goalscorers make up our shortlist for the one remaining place in our post-war Owls Dream Team.

Sewell cost not only a Wednesday record fee but broke the British record when he was signed from Notts County for £35,000 in 1951.

Fantham and Froggatt cost nothing because they were Sheffield lads who came through the ranks. But both rose to No 1 on the all-time list of Owls scorers.

Froggatt got there first and ended with a haul of 148 goals from 458 games.

He was overtaken by Fantham, who finished with 166, from 426 starts plus eight appearances as a sub.

Sewell hit 92 goals in 175 games.

So what is Di Canio doing on the shortlist, with 17 goals in 46 appearances plus two as a sub?

Well, his talent was extraordinary, even if his temperament made his Hillsborough stay all too brief and his overall contribution to the club was nothing like as extensive as that of the other three contenders, who also played for England and revelled in the old-style formation as inside forwards who supported a centre-forward.

Any of the four could play in a modern-day formation as a “second striker” alongside someone who was good in the air.

Sewell was signed in March, 1951; he could not save the Owls from relegation from the old First Division that season but netted 23 times the following season as they won the Second Division title and established himself as a top-flight star, also winning six England caps and four for the Football League team. .

Known for skill, finishing and hard work, he also helped Wednesday to reach the FA Cup semi-finals.

He had partnered legendary centre forward Tommy Lawton at Notts County, who spotted him when he was playing for a colliery team in the Cumberland League. County’s pay-off was a Third Division title and 104 goals in 193 league and cup games from Sewell.

After being sold by Wednesday to Aston Villa for £23,000 in 1955, he helped Villa to beat Manchester United in the FA Cup Final two years later.

Froggatt was something that is a rarity these days: a one-club man. He was spotted by the Owls while playing in a Millhouses five-a-side tournament for Sheffield YMCA, then set goal and appearance records in a Hillsborough career spanning 20 years.

He was known as a multi-talented player who could create and score goals. Many of his goals were notched when he was playing on the wing, but he made his name mostly as an inside-forward.

During his time in the team, Wednesday won the Second Division title three times, in the yo-yo years of the 50s.

Froggatt earned four caps with England, played once for England B and once for the Football League.

After the war, he was a club first-team regular for 14 years, sometimes losing his inside-forward place to Sewell or Albert Quixall, but versatile enough to switch to the right wing.

Di Canio was brought to Hillsborough by David Pleat in 1997 in exchange for £3m plus Regi Blinker, who was valued at £1.5m.

The Italian won the Player of the Year trophy in his first season and was top scorer with 14 league and cup goals, five ahead of his compatriot, Beni Carbone. The two formed a sort of double act. Di Canio had the more extravangant skills; he could bamboozle defenders and score goals.

But he was also a volatile character, and he and Wednesday paid the price when he pushed referee Paul Alcock over in a game against Arsenal at Hillsborough in September, 1998.

He was suspended by the club then banned for eight games by the FA and fined £10,000 - on top of a three-match ban for being sent off for kicking defender Martin Keown. Later, he failed to report back for training and was suspended for a fortnight and fined two weeks’ wages by the club.

He claimed he was unfairly treated by the Owls. But manager Danny Wilson and then chairman Dave Richards judged it was he who had let the club down - after Wilson had also stuck up for him early in the saga when Di Canio was being widely condemned for his behaviour.

The striker’s Hillsborough career lasted only 17 months and it looked as if he would struggle to find another club, but Harry Redknapp took a £2m gamble that paid off as Di Canio flourished at West Ham.

John Fantham was a different animal and a great player who served the club nobly for 13 years after being signed as a professional in 1956.

His post-war scoring record still stands, amassed through all types of goals, from simple to spectacular by a forward who was a hot-shot, a clinical finisher and physically strong.

He is probly best remembered as a member of the 1966 side who were FA Cup runners-up.

But he was a first-team player for 10 years, taking over from greats such as Quixall and Froggatt; he helped Wednesday to finish runners-up to the double-winning Spurs team in 1961, win the Second Division title two years earlier and reach the last eight of the European Fairs Cup in 1962.

Fantham was awarded only one England cap - but it was widely believed that he would have had many more had Jimmy Greaves not been around at the same time.

His other honours were one game for England Under 23s and three for the Football League.

Only Andrew Wilson, who scored 216 goals in a 20-year career from 1900, was more prolific for Wednesday, and Fantham’s post-war record of 166 may never be broken.

To vote for Owls

To vote for your favourite player simply email us at promotions@sheffieldnewspapers.co.uk with the subject as Best Team Ever Owls, stating your name, address, telephone number and the number of the player you are voting for. Alternatively you can text us your vote by texting STA (space) OWLS (space) followed by the number of the player you are voting for and sending to 61500.

Deadline for entries is Sunday, August 14 2011 at 10am.

Usual SNL rules apply, full terms and conditions available on request by contacting Star promotions, York Street, Sheffield, S1 1PU or alternatively go online at www.johnstonpress.co.uk/jpplc/competition

Texts cost 50p plus your usual network rate. The Editor’s decision is final. By supplying your telephone number you’re happy to receive SMS messages from Johnston Press and its approved business partners. Johnston Press (or via its agents) and its business partners may contact you about new promotions, products and services. Please add the word EXIT at the end of your message if you do not wish to receive these. Please note if you should enter after the stated closing date your entry will not be valid but you still may be charged. For quality and training purposes we may monitor communications. SMS service is provided by Velti DR Ltd SE1 8ND - 020 7633 5000.

Paolo Di Canio

Paolo Di Canio

Redfearn Froggatt

Redfearn Froggatt