"I will miss it..." Sheffield United promotion-winning captains Billy Sharp and Chris Morgan reveal secrets of the armband

As the only two men to lead Sheffield United to promotion in the last 30 years, it’s fair to say that both Chris Morgan and Billy Sharp know a thing or two about the art of captaincy.
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Both men, former teammates at Bramall Lane, donned the armband for some time, with Morgan inheriting the captaincy from Robert Page and Sharp leading his boyhood club to two promotions after being handed the job by former manager Chris Wilder.

The captaincy role is an important job that carries a lot of prestige, respect and responsibility – both on and off the pitch.

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“I think for club captains, the role is bigger off the pitch,” Morgan, who led United to the Premier League in 2005/06 and captained them in the top flight, told The Star.

“But when you go out on the pitch, you do have to lead the team. I learned quite quickly, when I first got a captaincy at about 22 or 23. Early on I felt like I was struggling in games and I think I was trying to do too much.

“I soon learnt that being a good captain involves doing your own job first, and do it properly, and the rest of the lads will follow.

“But when you first get it, you sometimes feel like you’ve got to do this and that and one thing and then the other. And the main bit on a Saturday, you potentially let yourself down.

Billy Sharp and Chris Morgan celebrate with Sheffield United's Kyle Naughton after he scored the winner at Huddersfield TownBilly Sharp and Chris Morgan celebrate with Sheffield United's Kyle Naughton after he scored the winner at Huddersfield Town
Billy Sharp and Chris Morgan celebrate with Sheffield United's Kyle Naughton after he scored the winner at Huddersfield Town
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“The job on a Saturday is still the main bit and I’ve given that advice to other captains later in my career. ‘Don’t get distracted by everything else’.”

It was advice handed down to Sharp soon after Wilder made him his skipper after taking charge of United back in 2016. Sharp spoke to Morgan, Nick Montgomery and a host of other previous captains he had played under for advice, but tried to go about things his own way – and to some success, too.

Heavily involved in the community, Sharp is a superb ambassador for the Blades off the pitch and is often seen visiting a young fan or helping good causes when time commitments allow.

Both men recognise their responsibilities as captain off the field as well as on itBoth men recognise their responsibilities as captain off the field as well as on it
Both men recognise their responsibilities as captain off the field as well as on it

“I think that’s important,” the Blades skipper told this newspaper.

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“I’m from Sheffield and a lot of people do reach out. I can’t do everything but I try to do as much as I can.

“I feel I’ve done alright. I love wearing the armband and I will miss it. It’s a feeling that never gets old and it actually gets more special every time I put the armband on. It’s been great to do that over the last few years, and it’s made me better. As a player and as a person.”

“It’s great to hear Billy say he looked at people like me and Pagey for guidance,” Morgan, now an agent and media pundit, added.

“It’s about being a link between the dressing room and the manager, I think, without being a snitch or a mole.

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“I believe that the senior players are massive to a football club. They can ruin a football club, or they can choose where that football club is going. And Billy has certainly helped do that.”