While Sheffield’s natives shivered amid the snow of early Spring, 1986, one resident wasn’t alone in dreaming of a life in sunnier climes.
Free-scoring Blades striker Keith Edwards was the subject of considerable interest from Spanish side Sevilla, so much so that the Liga team invited United over for a friendly to get a closer look.
The timing was perfect for the Blades. They’d been without a game since the beginning of February as the big freeze gripped the north and a break away, in mild weather, will have done them the power of good.
And it did...eventually.
United, the first English side to play on Continental soil since the ban following the Hysel Disaster, beat the Spaniards 3-1 with Edwards scoring early on and then having a hand in two other goals, both penalties, converted by Colin Morris.
“He has a special feeling for goalscoring,” said Sevilla chief scout Pablo Blanco. “He is quick and knows what to do in the box.”
On their return, United were terrible, losing 3-0 away to Millwall, but finally on March 11, Blades fans got the chance to see their heroes again as Edwards re-enforced the reasons why teams were so keen on securing his services, with a fine display against Bradford City at Bramall Lane.
The Star’s United reporter Tony Pritchett described Edwards performance as bringing a ‘touch of the Seville bull-ring to misty Bramall Lane.
The prolific Blades striker twice found the net, prompting cries of ‘Ole!’ from the Kop, in keeping with the Spanish theme and Tony Pritchett added that it would ‘take a big sack of Pesetas’ to prise Edwards from the Lane.
A figure of £250,000 had been mooted and it took 14 minutes against the Bantams to see why as the marksman headed in from a Morris cross.
Don Goodman pulled one back for Bradford but Mel Eves restored the advantage for the Blades having been set up by Steve Foley.
And with five minutes to go the man of the moment latched onto a pass from Ray Lewington, sidestepped and despatched past Peter Litchfield in the Bantams goal.
Alas, Edwards would never get the move to Sevilla, though he did leave United at the end of that season, moving to Leeds in a £125,000 deal. Ironically his final games in a Blades shirt would be in a friendly against Sevilla at Bramall Lane.
Sheffield United: Burridge, P Smith, Bolton, Lewington, Stancliffe, McNaught, Morris, Edwards, Eves, Arenott, Wigley (Foley 36)
Bradford City: Litchfield, Oliver, Withe, McCall, Jackson, Evans, Hendrie, Goodman, Campbell, Singleton (Ellis 67), Abbott
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