James Shield’s Sheffield United Column: Blades prove some clubs really do care

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Yes, they can get it wrong sometimes.

But, six days ago, they got it so, so right.

Sheffield United’s decision to recognise David Spencer, one of their most dedicated and loyal supporters following his passing last week, proved talk of complete disconnect between fans and clubs is nonsense.

That, in this corner of South Yorkshire at least, the relationship is flourishing. Alive and well.

I didn’t know Shred, as he was known to many, personally. However the tributes paid by those who did, on both sides of the Steel City divide, confirm he was a much-loved, unassuming guy.

Which is why the decision that United’s players should wear black armbands during their match at Crawley Town was the right one. Nothing flashy or flamboyant. Just a simple gesture of respect that struck the right tone.

Football and its followers can get a raw deal at times. Not least by those who, despite publicly pledging allegiance, make grand but misguided statements which expose their ignorance about what truly makes it tick.

It wasn’t Millwall hooligans who rioted at Rotherham or Chelsea racists that abused a passenger on the Paris Metro.

Just hooligans and racists. Nothing, for all its problems and faults, has the power to bind folk together like our great sport.

Yes, it’s tribalism brings out the worst in people. More often than not, it brings out the best. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always make ‘good’ copy or television news.

Because football isn’t about rights deals or transfer fees. Whatever many so-called expert commentators and, yes, journalists would have you believe.

It’s essentially about people. Ordinary, not famous or high-profile, ones.

United recognised that at the Checkatrade.com Stadium. So too did their hosts who should be applauded for posting their own tribute on the ground’s electronic scoreboard. And, it must be acknowledged, those members of the Sheffield Wednesday community who laid a wreath within the confines of Bramall Lane.

Football is often painted as an ugly business. But we’ve just been reminded why it’s called the beautiful game.

Twitter: @JamesShield1

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