Sheffield United: Blades stars feel the love on open-top bus parade as city of Sheffield salutes their Premier League heroes
For a man who seems to spend more time on the buses than Blakey, Stan and Jack, Chris Wilder sure has showed no signs of being sick of the sight of the city of Sheffield coming out in support of his Blades team.
Two years after a similar procession followed the League One title triumph, Wilder was front and centre again on the open-top bus as it snaked around the centre of Sheffield, allowing Wilder and his Premier League promotion-winning side the chance to soak up the acclaim they were so rightfully given by their jubilant fans.
Compared to 2017, this seemed a slightly more tame affair, although that probably stems from Wilder himself not almost falling off the bus and dropping the trophy as he did two years earlier.
Not that this was a tea party, either. Two players, who shall remain nameless, began on the beer some hours earlier than the scheduled meeting time of 4.30pm at Bramall Lane before the bus was pre-loaded with boxes and boxes of cider and lager ahead of the players climbing on board.
They did so to cheers from a decent crowd assembled in the Bramall Lane car park, waving flags and tooting horns and soaking up every minute of their team’s achievements. Halfway through the trip a pyro was thrown onto the top deck; harmless enough for the players on the top deck, in the open air (and the early evening rain).
Not so great for those assembled on the bottom deck, with nowhere for the smoke to go. But on an evening of this scale – Blades officials estimated 10,000 fans were set to turn up – that seemed to be the only real trouble. This was an evening of celebration rather than conciliation and, as the rain fell from the Sheffield sky, the full repertoire of Blades songs were sent back up.
Some poked fun at rivals Wednesday and Leeds; others honoured crowd favourites, like David McGoldrick and Billy Sharp. John Egan’s ubiquitous ‘Allez, Allez, Allez’ song got more than one airing, before, on a stage erected in front of the Town Hall, Martin Cranie grabbed the microphone and launched into an emotional rendition of Robbie Williams’ Angels. The love certainly wasn’t dead tonight.