Why Sheffield United's appointment of Tony Currie as a director fills a gaping void on the Blades board
Tony Currie's appointment as a Sheffield United director, less than a fortnight after a stand at Bramall Lane's was renamed in his honour, fills a void on the Championship club's board which has existed since Derek Dooley's retirement over a decade ago.
Currie, the former England international and officially United’s greatest ever player, was confirmed in post on the eve of Saturday’s defeat by Swansea City.
His presence, whilst serving the strengthen their ties with the past, means Chris Wilder can now rely upon Currie to provide a footballing perspective when decisions are taken behind the scenes. It was a role the late Dooley performed to good effect before stepping down in 2006.
“I will be sitting in board meetings, listening to everything that goes on and, if I am needed to, have an input on the football side,” Currie said. “I am entitled to do so. It will be very daunting for me, it will be something totally new at my age. I am looking forward to it.”
Currie, who made nearly 400 appearances for United between 1968 and 1976, celebrated the 50th anniversary of his arrival from Watford in February. Awarding him a more hands-on role, the 68-year-old has previously served as football in the community officer and ambassador, could also mark the start of a trend towards a Bayern Munich style model, whereby ex-players help shape policy behind the scenes.
Ted Hemsley and Len Badger, two of Currie’s former team mates, are still regular visitors on matchdays together with several of Wilder’s ex-colleagues.
Julian Winter, who served as United’s chief executive until shortly after HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud became co-owner in 2013, spent a brief period on their books before injury cut short his career. But the 52-year-old, now of Huddersfield Town, still boasted a strong corporate background after graduating from Sheffield Hallam University.
“I am absolutely delighted to become a director of the club,” Currie said. “Who would have thought when I started out with the Blades as a teenager that I would now hold this position? To be recognised in this way is very special. The club have been brilliant to me.”
“Sheffield United means everything to me. It has become my life, it is my life,” he added. “If I had stayed and become manager and got fired, then I would probably not have had this relationship.
“I would have probably gone somewhere else and that would have been the end of the Sheffield relationship. So, as far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t change a thing looking back. I’m honoured and very proud to serve.”