Sheffield United fans shouldn't get wound-up by Premier League pundits' poor research, you'll probably have the last laugh

Everyone in football loves a bit of nostalgia.

Friday, 9th August 2019, 10:19 pm
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder (right), Billy Sharp (centre) and goalkeeper Dean Henderson (left) celebrate promotion to the Premier League: Dave Howarth/PA Wire.

Retro kits, social media clips of great goals and iconic players and heaving terraces help us to recall a time when things were a little simpler and your Saturdays were spent ankle deep in someone’s wee.

What we weren’t expecting this summer, was for punditry to get in on the act.

For, when it comes to opinions on Sheffield United, some charged with sharing their expert knowledge on various TV and radio shows and podcasts appear to think it's 1989.

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There's something about that red and white kit that immediately takes some people back in time. Back to a period when the only stats Bramall Lane’s defenders were judged on was how high and how far they could kick the ball. When the midfield was virtually non-existent, stood with their collective heads in the air watching another clearance sail over them towards Brian Deane. When Billy Whitehurst was booting people onto Shoreham Street just because he could.

It’s incredible that 30 years on, some people still believe that the Blades are this punchy, physical force, bloodying noses both literally and figuratively and fighting their way through the division, scrapping for points.

Anyone who has watched them over the past few years knows just how far removed this current United team is from that lazy stereotype.

Last season they weren't one of the best and most exciting footballing teams in the Championship. They were THE best I’d seen.

There was barely a side that could touch them for their bold, innovative, flamboyant, almost-kamikaze-at-times style of play.

But fire a question at some pundits about how they think Chris Wilder's side will fare in their return to the Premier League and they’ll trot out the old ‘big, strong, physical side’ lines again.

Naturally, Blades fans have been fuming at this. Everyone likes to listen to and read about former players and journalists speaking in glowing terms about their football teams and woe betide anyone who should voice an opinion that goes against the grain.

But does it really matter? Do you really care what anyone who doesn’t really watch your team and who could barely name you one of your players, thinks?

This is a time when the airwaves need filling on BBC 5live, Talksport, BT Sport, Sky Sports News, seemingly thousands of podcasts and the odd time the pundit in question will be caught on the hop by something that exposes a gap in his or her knowledge. Now they could just hold their hands up and admit that, but when on air that doesn't make for great broadcasting.

Instead of hammering those who get it wrong, just have a little chuckle to yourself when it’s proven.

I have no doubt that United will be gaining a lot of admirers this season from people who had previously not watched Wilder’s team. I have no doubt that this can be a hugely memorable campaign for the Blades.

And when it’s over, you can say ‘I told you so’ as the egg drips down numerous faces. Just don't get too worked up about it, for in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter what other people say.