My First Game: Forging Sheffield United memories with my Dad that lasted until he passed away

As part of our #myfirstgame series, The Star will feature one supporter’s memories of their first experience seeing Sheffield United on these pages every day this week.

Tuesday, 24th March 2020, 5:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th March 2020, 5:41 pm
My First Game

Today it’s the turn of Claire McBurnie.


My love affair with Sheffield United started just like most of the Blades fan base - Dad taking children to their first games.

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It was the summer of 1999 and I was 10 when my dad took me to Bramall Lane to buy tickets for the opening game of the season.

We didn’t have season tickets because my dad’s work shift had no guarantee we could go every week. We also took a trip to Meadowhall after Bramall Lane, and my dad bought me the new home shirt for that season – I can remember that it cost him £25.

My first game was in August 8, 1998 against Swindon. My dad took me to a pub in Doncaster, where we lived, and then to another in Sheffield. I'm sure it was called Dodgers, next door to the Leadmill, but I could be wrong.

I remember walking to the ground with excitement, turning onto Shoreham Street and seeing the ground with the other United fans walking up to it. We went through the turnstile on the south stand and every time I went, I ran up to the wall between the south stand and the Kop to try and get a glimpse of the pitch. I was too little to see over the wall and I could only see the kop.

My dad bought me a programme with Steve Bruce’s face on, as it was his first managerial game. The seats on the south stand were wooden with a red backrest and sat behind us was a young boy, similar ages to me and his dad. I felt like I was at home. I don’t remember much of the game but I do know United won 2-1 and Graham Stuart and Vas Borbokis both scored in the first half.

Every time United scored turned to my dad and he gave me hug, which we did till I got older and taller. From then I was hooked. It was a bond that bought me and my dad closer together till the day he died.