Sheffield United: 'Yes, recent history means our games with West Ham have an extra edge'
Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, believes the Carlos Tevez Affair is still relevant ahead of his team's visit to West Ham after admitting it brings "something extra" to meetings between the two clubs.
Saturday's match at the London Stadium is their first in the league since 2007, when United were controversially relegated from the top-flight despite campaigning for a reprieve when it emerged their rivals from the capital had fielded an ineligible player.
Revealing his respect for Manuel Pellegrini's side and noting how the major characters in the saga have all now moved on, Wilder conceded events back then continue to resonate with sections of both team's followings.
"I think it does," he said. "There's lot of water gone under the bridge, it happened a long time ago. I have a lot of admiration for West Ham, they are a working class club, similar to us, and passionate supporters. It wasn't to do with the players or the supporters, it was an administration decision which got sorted out, in initially, by the Premier League."
United were eventually awarded around £20m in compensation after an independent tribunal decided West Ham, who went on to finish 15th, would have accumulated fewer points had the PL not granted them permission to continue selecting Tevez. But United spent 12 years in the EFL, eventually sliding down to League One, before returning to the highest level last season. It was their second promotion under Wilder, who took charge in 2016. Two years earlier, his predecessor Nigel Clough helped United knock West Ham out of the Capital One Cup following a penalty shoot-out at their former home Upton Park.
"We've played them once already," Wilder, whose side are unbeaten on the road since January, said. "This is a new group now. We're just looking forward to going down there and seeing if we can keep intact our great away record. West Ham have got a fantastic home record."