Alan Biggs’ Sheffield United column: Why Blades legend Tony Currie has faith that Blades can go all the way
As he was jokily teased by text last Saturday night, he got the score wrong. “Sorry x,” came back the typically droll, deadpan reply.
But Tony Currie certainly got the result bang on at Elland Road - never mind it being 1-0 rather than 2-1. And who’s to say he won’t also be right about Sheffield United going on to automatic promotion? Suddenly there’s hardly a dissenting voice. The Blades legend’s insistence that United are also the most entertaining team in the Championship may be open to debate by followers of Norwich and Leeds, their top two rivals. But there is no doubt that when it comes to a sense of unshakeable belief in the outcome, no dressing room is more unyielding than Chris Wilder’s right now. And to my mind, no question either that there is a better equipped squad, as a host of winning permutations are fast proving. “I don’t see a weak link - every position is covered,” said Blades legend Currie, now a director, talking to me ahead of the Leeds win. “And none of them give up. Fantastic squad, fantastic team spirit.” This point is an echo of his own glory days: “I think we’ve got the best midfield in the league ... I did last season too ... Paul Coutts was a big loss.” It’s a measure of United’s strength that an orchestrator as accomplished as Coutts has been unable to regain a regular place. But there is one aspect in which TC feels that much-vaunted midfield still has power to add. Even in the case of Oliver Norwood, a ball-player after his own heart: “First time I saw him he pinged a ball right to left, 50 yards, and I thought ‘he’ll do for me.’” It’s just that Tony feels Norwood’s ability to “ping” - and that of Mark Duffy, perhaps his most admired player - should be put to better use within sight of goal. “He doesn’t shoot enough - and I always tell Duffy to shoot as well.” Their combined eight goals this season (Duffy has five) isn’t too shabby but Currie feels they can add more end product to what he agrees is “without a doubt” the best-to-watch Blades team since his era alongside Alan Woodward and co almost five decades ago. “This team is just fantastic to watch, flying wing backs, flying centre backs. Dean Henderson will be coming up the wing soon, I tell you.” But it is the other side of the game - the steel, both mental and physical - that hardens the conviction that this really is United’s year. And to some degree it is also holds a mirror up to Currie’s great days. “Whether we won, lost or drew the fans went home happy because they saw that team doing their best,” he told me on Sheffield Live TV. Efforts currently are approaching superhuman, seven games without conceding a goal - including the big dig-ins for victories over Brentford and Leeds. Added to which: “Chris knows what he’s doing. I have every faith in him - near enough everything he’s done has worked. He’s top man, beats himself up if we don’t win or lose. “I tipped us to go up automatic last year and I think we missed a trick. I think we should have done and I think Chris thinks that as well. “I tipped us to go up again (top two) this year. We’ve got a better squad than last year. The best squad in the league for me. “And we play the best football in the league for me. So I’m supremely confident.” Top that for belief.