Sheffield United Fan’s Column: The weekend weather set me wondering

Tobias Figueiredo and Leon Clarke in the snow at Bramall Lane last weekend: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Tobias Figueiredo and Leon Clarke in the snow at Bramall Lane last weekend: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
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I can’t recall ever seeing a match played in such varied weather as that we experienced last Saturday.

A few minutes before three the ground was bathed in bright sunlight but as the match began we could hardly see the Bramall Lane end because of the first of several snowstorms. They were at least two more occasions when the sun shone again but towards the end the snow returned worse than it had been all day. The red lines on the pitch made it extra surreal. Pity the game didn’t match the dramatic conditions.

It’s rare these days that games are played on snow, thanks to undersoil heating and the ultra-conservative approach to public safety on the roads around grounds. God forbid that somebody should slip and break their wrist on Shoreham Street.

Having said that, I remember a game at Pride Park in January 2004 when the temperature was minus-six. The pitch was perfect but the surroundings were icily treacherous and on walking away from the ground we saw an elderly man slip and smash his head on the pavement. Fortunately paramedics were close by. Note that Derby postponed their game against Cardiff last weekend because of safety concerns around the ground.

Moving from cold to hot, the most sweltering temperature I remember was the League One play-off final against Huddersfield in 2012. We got cheaper tickets than against Burnley three years earlier, knowing that the pain would therefore be slightly less when we lost, but all that did was place us in the oven on the lower tier in the corner.

The sun was directly in our faces and heat was reflecting from all sides back towards us. I don’t think we could have roused ourselves even if United had played well and won, which of course they didn’t. The fact that Wembley was giving away free cups of water tells you how hot it was. Wembley never usually gives anything away for free.

The wettest is a toss-up between two matches at the end of the 1982/83 season. One was at Valley Parade, when out of nowhere a torrential thunderstorm drenched everybody on the open end, which in those days was split between home and away fans. The police kindly moved the Bradford fans on the tiny Midland Road side to let some Blades fans under cover, but there was not enough room for us. The other was a midweek night at the old Eastville six weeks earlier, when we spent the entire 90 minutes with our backs to play as a gale blew horizontal rain onto the open away end. We later learned that Mike Trusson had scored a wind-assisted shot from 50 yards and that we had lost 2-1.