The battle for Sheffield United – and that open top bus: Martin Smith column

The battle for Sheffield United’s Premier League future has begun.

Thursday, 9th May 2019, 12:15 pm
Updated Monday, 13th May 2019, 9:13 pm
Sheffield United Open Top Bus Parade

Not in the publication of Chris Wilder’s bold retained list, or in his search for players, but 160 miles away from Bramall Lane at the High Court in London.

This is where the Blades future will be decided.

Where the club ownership dispute between Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is being heard.

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The outcome may eventually determine what investment comes in to the club, what resources the manager has at his disposal and whether or not United are to be a one-season visitor or serious Premier league members.

With big-name, big-money sponsors thought to be in the pipeline the bewigged bargaining of big money lawyers in the capital will decide the club’s course for a decade.

No pressure lads.

*What about that bus?

Barnsley FC’s promotion celebrations were tainted for some because they used the same open-topped bus as Sheffield United had the week before for their victory parade around the town.

Unfortunate, but so what?

The Blades bus was re-liveried to feature the Reds crest and a strangely German looking flag (Reds’ away kit colours) instead of United regalia from the week before.

According to the DVLA the bus is a 10,000cc, 1996 ‘multi-coloured’ Volvo - but in this case you can have any colour you like as long as it’s red.

Truth is there can’t be that many open top buses for hire in South Yorkshire or anywhere else. One thing for sure though, every other un-promoted team in every other division would settle for a recycled vehicle if they meant they’d gone up. Whatever it said on the side.

*He’s one of the smartest, sharpest writers and broadcasters of his generation. Danny Baker, east end boy with a million stories and, more importantly, a man who knows how to get a million more stories from ordinary people.

Whatever this lifelong Millwall supporter was thinking of when he decided to tweet a picture of a chimp in a suit in reference to the birth of new royal Archie it probably wasn’t to make a racist jibe.

But that’s exactly what he did. There’s no escaping that.

Does that make him a racist?

Probably not.

It makes him careless and arrogant because a man in his line of work has to be all about detail and nuance.

The BBC had no choice but to sack him.