Chris Wilder hailed as over 1,000 Sheffield United fans turn out to meet Blades legends at Sheffield author Steve Cowens' book launch

Around 1,000 Sheffield United fans converged on Ponds Forge as two legendary former managers of the Blades were hailed at the latest book launch of Sheffield author, Steve Cowens.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 4:24 pm

Cowens, whose previous books detailed his time as a member of the Blades Business Crew, released ‘Take My Hand’ this summer, detailing the story of his life following the club he loves.

And Cowens welcomed a host of past Blades legends to his launch at Ponds Forge, where Chris Wilder and Dave Bassett were guests of honour amongst former players including Brian Deane, Dane Whitehouse and Bob Booker, who travelled up from Brighton.

Cowens sold around 1,000 tickets for the launch, with Blades fans also given the chance to secure a photograph with Bassett and Wilder – two legendary managers in United’s recent history, after both led the Blades into the top flight from the third tier during their times in charge.

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Chris Wilder was given a standing ovation at the book launch of local author Steve Cowens - Kevin Wells

Harry Maguire, the former United defender and a hero of England’s run to the European Championship final this summer, donated a pair of his match boots and a signed England and Manchester United shirt, which were auctioned to raise funds for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Former United favourites John McPhail, Tony Kenworthy, Simon Tracey, Kevin Gage, Tony Currie, Wayne Quinn, Ted Hemsley, Paul Beesley, Mark Todd, Derek French, Keith Edwards and Mark Todd also turned out for the event, while Wilder was given a standing ovation when he was introduced for his first, large-scale public appearance since leaving his boyhood club by mutual consent back in March.

“To have 1,000 fellow Blades attend my book launch, including my family, close friends and fans of our beloved football club, has made me immensely proud,” Cowens told The Star.

Cowens released his latest book earlier this summer - Kevin Wells

“The fact that 18 Blades legends not only attended the event but embraced it and really enjoyed themselves, made me so proud to be a Blade.

“But the main thing for me about my event was that it gave our fans a chance to say thank you to Chris Wilder. When he was introduced on stage it showed the respect they have for him and what he did for us.

“I was extremely emotional as I know Chris well and as, he came on stage to that adulation I said to him: ‘This is what they think of you, Chris.’”

Dave Bassett joined Wilder as the guest of honour - Kevin Wells

Cowens, who organises the popular Mosfest music event in Mosborough, has seen his events business badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, with Mosfest unable to go ahead in 2020 and 2021.

“It was immensely challenging to get this event over the line in the current climate,” he added.

“It has been touch and go with the changing rules and regulations but we got there in the end and everyone had a great night. It was special.

Brian Deane, Ted Hemsley and Tony Currie were also in attendance - Kevin Wells

“Because I’m in the events business, lockdown and the restrictions has ruined my business but it also gave me the time to write ‘Take My Hand’. I’ve enjoyed writing it and revisiting my memories of following my football club around the country.

“The response to the book has been unreal. I’m one very happy and proud Blade.”

To buy a copy of Take My Hand, visit

The Bramall Lane legends posed for a team photo at one stage of the evening - Kevin Wells
Bob Booker remains a popular man with Blades fans, 30 years after his departure - Kevin Wells