Alan Biggs: Why wait before honouring Sheffield United's heroes?

Graham Taylor was a great guy. But I bet most people didn't know just how great until the tributes flowed upon his sad and sudden death.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 9th February 2017, 10:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 11:37 am
Tony Currie with his boots at Bramall Lane - 9 June  1976
Tony Currie with his boots at Bramall Lane - 9 June 1976

So why don’t we honour football’s finest while they are here? Why wait until they move “upstairs” to stadiums in the sky?

Heaven forbid we lose any more so prematurely from our midst.

Sheffield United May 1990 Dave Bassett being mobbed by Sheffield United fans

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But take Sheffield United. At some time, hopefully many years into the future, there will be resounding tributes to a couple of the greatest figures the club has known.

Why not do it now? Why no Tony Currie stand? Or Dave Bassett stand? What about commissioning statues to stand proudly outside the very place at which they brought so much joy to those within it?

There are two there already, of course, as Derek Dooley and Joe Shaw bestride match day crowds in the South Stand car park and draw rightful reverence from all who pass their way.

Sadly, neither got to experience this outpouring of respect and affection.

Sheffield United May 1990 Dave Bassett being mobbed by Sheffield United fans

Before a recent match I spotted Currie standing in the middle of that same car park, close to those statues, holding court with supporters.

It struck me that TC was something of a living statue in that moment.

Will he get any closer in his lifetime to a permanent commemoration of his status, returned by a poll of fans, as the club’s greatest ever player?

A couple of weeks on and Bassett was at Bramall Lane, taking in last Saturday’s nostalgic meeting of the Blades and Wimbledon, two outfits he transformed beyond recognition in a brilliant managerial career.

And it’s quite possible in my view that Chris Wilder may one day rank alongside him.

Appropriately, the current boss made a point after the 4-0 win of hailing the support to him of former greats like Currie.

It was fitting, too, that Bassett could feel the love back at the club he hauled up two divisions to a run of four seasons in the top flight.

But, as Taylor himself might have put it, can we not seize the moment? (He and Elton John are still statue-less at Watford, by the way).

Great tradition aside, Sheffield United is not so blessed with heroes that it can afford to have no lasting - and living - celebration of two legends on this scale. Even if it’s ironic that they worked their magic at Bramall Lane in very different ways.

Bassett’s football was not the type the flamboyant and gifted Currie preferred to play and watch.

Currie’s individual artistry was far from the traditional hallmark of the Bassett team.

But then “Harry” could mostly only afford belt and braces. That he stretched them so far is the wonder of what he achieved.

And it takes all types and styles to give football such rich diversity.

This column feels we should celebrate them both and do it soon. While they are in our company and hopefully for many years to come.