Sheffield as a city mustn't miss chance to take advantage of Blades' Premier League odyssey

For those of a red and white hue, the buzz has barely subsided since May, when Sheffield United’s promotion to the promised land of the Premier League was secured.

Friday, 16th August 2019, 9:11 pm
The Sheffield United players and manager Chris Wilder celebrate promotion: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

Out of the Blades bubble, though, you’d hardly know that on Sunday the city is about to host a match in one of the planet’s most recognised sporting competitions.

When United were last feasting at the top table of English football 12 years ago, the party was decidedly different from when they were founding members of the new division in 1992. Now, though, the Premier League’s reach has gone stratospheric, to the point where it’s barely English at all; a truly global competition in every sense.

From last Saturday when the Blades began their adventure at Bournemouth and until May at the very least, the city of Sheffield will be beamed into the homes of billions of people around the world on a weekly basis.

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Dean Henderson John Egan, Chris Wilder and Billy Sharp of Sheffield Utd on the bus during the Sheffield United Open Top Bus Parade. Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Having a Premier League club brings with it a huge amount of kudos, something akin to being a host city in a major sporting event like the Olympic Games or the World Cup. However, you’d have to go to Bramall Lane itself to see signs of that prestige.

When United held their open-top bus parade to celebrate that promotion, city centre lamposts bore a banner reading: ‘We are Premier League’. By the next day they were down.

I recognise that this is very much a two-club city, both of which we are hugely proud, but we can’t always play down the achievements of some for fear of offending the other.

Sheffield United's Billy Sharp (right) celebrates scoring in the Blades' first match back in the Premier League last week

The city should be shouting from the top of Town Hall about the newly acquired Premier League status and doing all it can to take advantage, not waiting for the potential riches to come to us.

You can be sure that Nottingham, Derby and, dare I say it, Leeds would be, should their teams finally manage to achieve what one of ours has.