Martin Smith column: Recognition for the city of Sheffield across world football? Forget it...

Arsenal's Granit Xhaka (left) and Manchester City's Kyle Walker (right) battle for the ball - it's all about Premier League teams, these days.
Arsenal's Granit Xhaka (left) and Manchester City's Kyle Walker (right) battle for the ball - it's all about Premier League teams, these days.
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Sad is the only word for it.

Not ‘sad’ in that put-down way people use but sad as in hurt.

Try taking a group of overseas visitors to both of Sheffield’s big football clubs. You might expect some recognition or acknowledgement of Wednesday and United’s place in the history of our national game.

But no, barely a flicker.

A polite smile or two, questions on how long it has been since either were in the Premier League and that’s your lot.

It’s not just our national game any more, it’s the world’s game.

A world that increasingly gets its information, knowledge and cultural references from satellite TV, internet coverage and social media.

A Premier League-obsessed world in which Sheffield’s big two football clubs currently have no part.

If we as a nation are obsessed with football’s celebrity elite why would anyone who has no local connection care about the rest?

In an age where information is available to billions on more subjects and phenomenon than ever before, awareness of anything outside football’s gilded elite is scarce.

The message is that history, especially football history, is bunk - unless it’s packaged as part of ta successful present.

In this growing global market only winning is remembered, and not for long.

It’s been said before but in world audience terms a city the size of Sheffield without a Premier League team is not just a city punching below its weight but a city that doesn’t have a fight to go to.

Some say they don’t care about the rest of the world and that they’d rather be away from Premier League celebrity fake money, and that may be true for some.

It’s an argument that says it’s an English game for local and regional audiences and why should we care what they watch in Delhi, Cairo or Fiji?

Not every team can be in the Premier League and the fact that we have four divisions of professional football to watch is something special in itself.

But Sheffield is the fourth largest city in England with pretty big ideas about its importance on the world stage, especially as a city of sport, The City Of Sport.

We see our football stadiums as loved and living arenas where lads, dads and daughters have their day and tell their tales.

But to many around the globe they are becoming relics of a past that only we care about.