Sheffield needs a role on greatest of world stages

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THE dust hasn’t settled yet, it may never settle the same way in that city again.

Never have two neighours taken it to the final few seconds of a season to decide which of them is king of football as Manchester City and United did on Sunday.

Epic, draining, exhilarating, magnificent and completely unbelievable; even Sylvester Stallone wouldn’t get THAT script past the most sychophantic of studio execs.

Strictly speaking it’s nowt to do with us on this side of the Pennines but we can’t ignore it any more than they can in Canton, Canberra or Camden Town.

Quite simply there has never in history been a global stage like it.

Never has so much excitement been so consistently created and so outrageously concluded as during this season’s English Premier League.

Yesterday morning people could speak of little else on the radio, in the bus queues, factories and offices. The Voice, Britain’s Got Talent or even Sheffield United’s performance at Stevenage barely got a mention until mid-morning break.

Across the country and around the world it was all City and United.

Billions saw the most exciting finish to a season and relished it almost as much as lifelong blues and reds from Manchester.

Imagine if that were Sheffield’s two teams instead of Manchester’s?

Is it possible to grasp the scale of what that kind of exposure must do for a city around the world?

It’s not just about this country. Not just about City or United or Arsenal and Chelsea and their fans.

It’s about the whole world being bewitched by the football played here.

Shakespeare, Orwell and Dickens would be queuing for tickets, paying their Sky subscription and blagging games on live internet streams if they were around.

They would marvel at the Premier League’s addictive power and work long into the night to find the words to describe the hold it has on us.

That’s why Sheffield has to have a presence on this greatest of world stages.

Not that anyone needs convincing but this city needs one or both teams in the Premier League so we can all be part of the greatest show there is.

So we can sit at the top table, begging crumbs at first, but in there with a chance. So we can feel the full power and reach of the one truly global game in our city.

The power to create kings and fools in an instant.

Match Of The Day’s Hansen made his usual end-of-season prediction that new title winners can ‘overtake United and dominate for the next ten years’.

He said it about Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, about Rafa Benitez, Jose Mourhinho and Arsene Wenger and he’s saying it now about City and Roberto Mancini.

After 90 minutes at The Etihad on Sunday Roberto Mancini was a broken man.

Railing against the world, stamping, waving his arms, eyes bulging and screaming into the void as his billionpound creation began to crumble before him.

Four minutes later he was a heroic leader whose plans had worked perfectly.

Where else can that happen?

Radio Five presenter Danny Baker tweeted during the games on Sunday: “Football, ******* football. Imagine not being into it. Those poor, poor, half alive so and sos.”

True enough but to be fully alive Sheffield has to be in the Premier League.