Sheffield United’s promotion sparks boom in demand for Blades tattoos
Chris Wilder is one of the most popular men in the red-and-white half of Sheffield at the moment, and at least one Blades fan is looking to get that love affair immortalised in ink.
Sheffield United's messiah, who has led them back to the promised land of the Premier League after years in the wilderness, could soon be a permanent feature on the calf of one devoted follower.
A portrait of him proudly thumping the club crest is one of the stranger requests received by tattoo parlours across the city experiencing a surge in demand for United-themed tattoos following the club’s promotion.
While many supporters are happy to bask in the glory of a season which will live long in the memory, others have rushed to get an indelible reminder etched on their skin.
One studio says it has received around 40 requests in the last couple of weeks from fans wishing to commemorate the triumphant campaign, while others have also reported a spike in demand.
The manager fans love to call ‘one of our own’ is not the only key figure in United’s return to the top tier who could soon be gracing supporters’ bodies, with at least one request received for a portrait of striker Billy Sharp on another follower’s calf.
Ben Smalley, owner of Skin Candii tattoo parlour in Woodhouse, said: “Sheffield United tattoos have always been popular but we must have had at least 40 requests in the past fortnight, which is a big increase on what we usually get.
“We’ve had quite a few people getting in touch who already have a Blades tattoo but want to get something added with the year they were promoted.
“We’re mostly United fans here but a couple of the artists support Wednesday, so there’s been some good banter.”
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It is Ben who has been asked to do the tattoo of Billy Sharp, and most of the 15 artists working at the busy studio have done Blades tattoos in their time.
But Roy Palmer is the employee who has really driven demand at Skin Candii, with his elaborate designs based on the club’s history and traditions – famously including a pictorial rendering of the Chip Butty song – proving a massive hit.
Ben has promised any United player wishing to take him up on the offer a free tattoo.
Over at Redemption Tattoo Studio, on Ecclesall Road, owner Jordan Stringfellow said the request for a portrait of Chris Wilder was part of a big increase in demand for Blades tattoos – which he does not expect to fall off any time soon.
“I used to work for a supply company and when Leicester won the Premier League there was a huge increase in demand for blue ink there, so we could see something similar with red and white ink over here,” he said.
“I’m a Wednesday fan, which is why I’m talking through gritted teeth, but although I know it’s strange to say it, I’m happy for United because they deserve their success.
“Everyone thought they would drop off, but they proved those people wrong, so the fans should enjoy the celebrations.”