Sheffield United: ‘Big ugly lads playing horrible physical football’ and ‘a poor man’s Leeds United’ – Preston fan’s bizarre Arctic Monkeys-inspired view of Blades after victory at Deepdale
Sheffield United strengthened their automatic promotion hopes on Saturday with victory at Deepdale, which also dented Preston North End’s hopes of reaching the Championship play-offs.
And some North End fans took the defeat worse than others, judging by a remarkable fans’ view piece on the LancsLive website in which fan Keith Harrison dismissed the Blades as a ‘poor man’s Leeds United’ and ‘big, ugly lads playing horrible, physical football’.
Harrison’s bizarre piece also compares Chris Wilder’s current Blades with the sometimes-direct approach of his predecessors, Dave Bassett and Neil Warnock, and accuses United of ‘time wasting, play-acting, niggling’.
Showing a deeply complex understanding of Sheffield’s cultural offerings and accent, Harrison continues: “By ‘eck, they’re gritty – the footballing equivalent of Arctic Monkeys’ first album. By contrast, in the lexicon of Sheffield bands, North End would be ABC.”
Considering that said Monkeys album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, became the fastest-selling debut album in British music history when it was released in 2006, it’s not a bad comparison.
United, in reality, have attracted plaudits galore for their tactical approach under Wilder, including the innovative use of overlapping centre-halves.
“Sheffield Utd don’t surprise you - they’re a poor man’s Leeds,” Harrison wrote.
Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
“Always have been. Big ugly lads playing horrible physical football. Plot a path from Dave Bassett through Neil Warnock to Chris Wilder’s team and it’s virtually a straight line.
“By ‘eck, they’re gritty - the footballing equivalent of the Arctic Monkeys’ first album. By contrast, in the lexicon of Sheffield bands, North End would be ABC.
“Callum Robinson, Sean Maguire and Lukas Nmecha are capable of the odd classic, but they’re largely lightweight.
“That was clearly Alex Neil’s plan on Saturday; don’t play Sheffield at their own game. Play football instead. Different class, our Alex.
“And it might just have worked if North End had taken their chances and if referee Gavin Ward had been stronger. But we didn’t, he wasn’t and we got beat 1-0.”
‘Sheffield’, as Harrison writes, actually won 3-0 at Gresley on Saturday while Sheffield United completed the double over his side. Blades fans will be hoping they can respond in style tonight, when they host Leeds at Deepdale.