‘Glad we lost’ - Sheffield United legend’s controversial take on 2009 play-off final after failed drug test

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Paddy Kenny was banned from football for nine months after he had taken a banned substance in an over-the-counter medicine.

Sheffield United legend Paddy Kenny has admitted his relief at losing the Championship Play-Off Final in 2009 after a famous failed drug test following the match.

The Blades finished third in the Championship under Kevin Blackwell and the side defeated Preston North End in the semi-final to set up the Wembley Stadium clash with Owen Coyle's Burnley side.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The final proved a tight affair with an early Wade Elliot goal proving decisive for the Clarets as Sheffield United were condemned to another year in the second flight.

Goalkeeper Paddy Kenny had been at the club for seven years at that point and was a mainstay in the starting XI. However, after that final, the shot-stopper was called in for a random drug test for a banned substance he had taken through an over-the-counter medicine.

Speaking to the I Had Trials Once podcast, Kenny relived that time of his career and admitted that it was a blessing for him that the side lost that match.

He said: "I built my career up to a certain level. I was older and more confident. People to this day will go, you were off your t**s. It's totally incorrect. I had a chest infection and I took six ChestEze tablets over three nights, which was the build-up for the play-off semi-final first leg against Preston.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I got drug tested before the second leg after we beat Preston. I got dragged in for a drug test. Everyone is on the pitch celebrating and you have to write down everything you take. At the time I was on Voltarol because of dodgy knees, paracetamol, you name it and the ChestEze. I'd not even wrote nothing down, they jumped on the fact I'd had these ChestEze.

Burnley won the Play-Off Final 1-0 in 2009 (Image: Getty Images)Burnley won the Play-Off Final 1-0 in 2009 (Image: Getty Images)
Burnley won the Play-Off Final 1-0 in 2009 (Image: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

"They couldn't get their head around the fact I hadn't put everything down. It came out after the play-off final when we lost to Burnley. When you look back I think, I'm glad we lost because if we won there'd have been hell on. It took three or four weeks for it to come out after the drugs test. I didn't get done for enhancing my performance, I got done for negligence."

Kenny stayed at Bramall Lane after failing the drugs test and returned to the first team after serving his nine-month suspension, but a poor relationship with Blackwell led to his departure from Sheffield in 2010.

Speaking about his approach to life when banned from training, Kenny admitted it gave him the motivation to put the hard yards in. He said: "I had to focus. I thought, I can't put weight on, I've got to come back fitter than I ever have done, I've got to prove people wrong and there had been people at Sheffield United who stood behind me.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Paddy Kenny branded his former boss a ‘whopper’ (Image Getty Images)Paddy Kenny branded his former boss a ‘whopper’ (Image Getty Images)
Paddy Kenny branded his former boss a ‘whopper’ (Image Getty Images) | Getty Images

"I went to the gym about five or six times a week and I was a member at the local golf course. My day consisted of getting up, going to the gym and straight to the golf course, where I'd play on my own.

"I like to think I'm quite mentally strong anyway so I just set my target out. The Saturday afternoons were the worst ones. I wasn't allowed to train, go the grounds. It's mad."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.