Martin Smith: Football is back – so who will be top dogs in the Steel City?

Jos Luhukay and Chris Wilder
Jos Luhukay and Chris Wilder
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Football – it might not be coming home but it’s definitely coming back.

With the heat-wave and our flirtation with World Cup happiness behind us we can get on with the real thing - worrying, spending money and gloating/moaning about our teams.

The social and sporting Supernova, our national game and obsession re-appears in our Sky on Friday night.

And boy are they letting us know about it.

But there’s little mention of Sheffield.

Wednesday and United are among bookies favourites to go up this season along with Stoke, Forest, Villa and Derby - then there’s Leeds with yet another explosive character Marcelo Bielsa in charge, a man described as ‘the best coach in the world’ by Pep Guardiola.

But neither Sheffield club makes Sky’s sides tipped for promotion despite their short odds.

Both have made steady progress over the summer, both will fancy the play-offs and it’s sad that Sky is dazzled by big money, big names and even bigger reputations.

Sad but no surprise.

So who will finish Sheffield’s top dogs?

Probably too close to call but with the Blades unity and momentum from last season they might just shade it – just don’t put your mortgage on it.

n ‘A pain in the arse.’

That’s how a certain Welsh cyclist described the people of Sheffield the last time he was here on his bike.

Geraint Thomas, Tour De France winner 2018 was a little scathing when in this area for the 2014 Tour’s ‘Grand Depart’ Yorkshire.

The county’s country roads, suburban bends and army of over-enthusiastic selfie-takers did not make for a smooth passage to or through this city from the start in York.

This is a man who rode for three weeks through France with a broken pelvis the year before to help Sky team-mate Chris Froome to success so he knows about pains in that particular area of anatomy.

The kid who came next to last in the Tour De France 12 years ago went on to win two Olympic golds and crowned it on Sunday with the yellow shirt on the Champs Elysee.

Everyone loves a fighter who won’t give up, especially in Wincobank.

The pains-in-the-you-know-where’s who stood on Cote de Newman Road and in the hills around Sheffield four years ago to welcome the Tour like to think we are partly responsible for Thomas’s eventual triumph.

Selfies or not, we did our bit.