Sheffield United RECAP: Memories of Leicester promotion day | Hecky 'next best option' as new boss | Blades warned to avoid this big mistake

The hump day is nearly over, Blades fans, and we’re almost another day closer to matchday this weekend...

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 7:00 pm

True, that may not be as appealing a thought as it once was, but it’s been another busy day of Sheffield United news as we gear up towards Saturday’s clash with Crystal Palace.

Sheffield United lead tributes as former goalkeeper Steve Conroy passes away

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Sheffield United have paid tribute to their former goalkeeper Steve Conroy after confirming he passed away after a “brave” battle with illness at the age of 64.

Born in Chesterfield, Conroy joined United’s set-up in 1972 but didn’t make his first-team debut until 1977. He established himself as United’s first-choice goalkeeper a year later, before suffering a broken arm in an Anglo-Scottish Cup game against St Mirren in 1979.

The injury kept him out for over a year, and he was a member of the team that was relegated to Division Four before bouncing back at the first attempt.

Conroy’s finest hour in a Blades shirt came against the European champions Liverpool in 1978, when he was outstanding in a 1-0 League Cup win for the Blades.

A general view of Bramall Lane - Michael Regan/Getty Images

Alan Biggs: If Sheffield United don't go for Slavisa Jokanovic then Paul Heckingbottom is next best option

He’s what might be termed the continuity candidate and there’s an awful lot to be said for continuity at Bramall Lane right now.

Not that there isn’t for Paul Heckingbottom, as a man or coach. Only that Sheffield United seem to be shying away from making a big statement having appeared to envisage a better future than the one Chris Wilder afforded them.

This change in itself was a big statement. Delivering action after words - and not a few of them slung in the direction of a double promotion winner - has presented a reality which it is expensive to embrace.

And if the Blades are not going for the best qualified man for the job - palpably Slavisa Jokanovic in my view and many others - then Heckingbottom makes more sense than alternatives.

Blades Glory, Owls Down - The day at Leicester City that Sheffield United will never forget, and Simon Tracey silenced a doubt

When Simon Tracey looks back on his long professional football career, with over 300 Football League appearances, one game in particular stands out in his memory.

May 5, 1990. Forget Star Wars Day and all that nonsense of May the fourth – it is the day later that was the true blockbuster for the Blades, as they took over Leicester’s Filbert Street on and off the pitch on their way to a 5-2 victory that sealed their return to the top flight of English football.

United's joy was compounded after the game with news that city rivals Wednesday had been relegated on the same day, sparking the iconic Green 'Un headline: Blades Glory, Owls Down.

"Leicester will probably always be one of the highlights of my career," Tracey, a bargain £7,500 signing by Dave “Harry” Bassett from Wimbledon two years earlier, admitted.

Driving instructor, pub owner and a couple of legendary managers - What happened to the Sheffield United side from the 1990 promotion day at Leicester City?

Today marks the 31st anniversary of one of Sheffield United’s most memorable days, as they and their supporters took over Leicester and the Blades regained their place in the top flight.

Dave Bassett’s side sealed their top-flight status with a 5-2 win at Leicester City’s old Filbert Street ground – on a day that city rivals Wednesday were also relegated – exactly 31 years ago today. But what happened to that legendary class of 1990 in the years since? Let’s take a look...

Sheffield United are warned to avoid the big mistake many teams relegated from the Premier League make

Sheffield United have been warned they must brace themselves for a gruelling battle for promotion from the Championship next season, with the failings they have displayed in the Premier League this term also likely to be punished by second tier clubs.

In an address to the squad he inherited from Chris Wilder, which can also be interpreted as a pitch to supporters as Bramall Lane’s board gives serious consideration to handing him the position on a permanent basis, caretaker manager Paul Heckingbottom reminded that spending two seasons in the top-flight is a guarantee of nothing when the new campaign gets underway.

Why Blades are playing for pound notes as well as pride

Sheffield United’s caretaker manager Paul Heckingbottom has disputed the idea that pride is the only thing his squad has left to play for this season, reminding they can still avoid being relegated as the Premier League’s bottom club.

Despite being condemned to the drop nearly three weeks ago and suffering a heavy defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, United are preparing for Saturday’s visit of Crystal Palace nine points adrift of 19th placed West Bromwich Albion with only four games remaining.

Although the odds of them overhauling their rivals from the Midlands are slim, Heckingbottom reminded that the difference between finishing bottom and only one place higher could be as much as £1.8m.

The moment Sheffield United caretaker Paul Heckingbottom took the gloves off

Paul Heckingbottom, Sheffield United’s caretaker manager, has ordered his players to show more urgency when Crystal Palace visit Bramall Lane on Saturday after accusing them of lacking aggression during last weekend’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

Despite attempting to build bridges with a squad he could soon be in charge of on a permanent basis, Heckingbottom told The Star he refused to sugarcoat his assessment of United’s first-half performance in north London - which he accused of being passive and compliant.

The former Barnsley, Leeds and Hibernian chief is now demanding a response when Roy Hodgson’s side travel to South Yorkshire, saying: “It was anger, basically, from how we started the game. I didn’t enjoy, and I don’t enjoy, watching passive performances like that."

United fans WON'T be allowed to watch their side against Newcastle United after Premier League decision announced

Sheffield United fans will NOT be allowed to travel to Newcastle United to see their side in Premier League action for the first time in over a year, the Premier League has announced.

Up to 10,000 fans will be allowed into the last two matches of the current season, provided the Government goes ahead with the planned easing of coronavirus restrictions on May 17.

Premier League chief Richard Masters raised the possibility of a small number of away supporters making up that number in a letter to clubs recently. But a decision has now been taken to limit this to home spectators – meaning that, all being well, 10,000 Blades fans will be allowed into Bramall Lane for their club’s final game of the current season, against Burnley on May 23.

Neil Redfearn signs new two-year deal at Sheffield United Women after impressive maiden campaign in charge

Neil Redfearn, the former Leeds and Rotherham United manager, has signed a new two-year deal to remain in charge of Sheffield United Women until the end of the 2022/23 season.

Redfearn, who succeeded Carla Ward as Blades boss ahead of the current campaign, led United to a top-four finish in the FA Women’s Championship season. They rounded off their campaign with victory over Blackburn on Sunday and finished just a point behind former WSL side Liverpool – another of Redfearn’s former clubs.

Redfearn’s staff will also remain at Bramall Lane. Luke Turner will become his assistant, while Josh Dowsett continues as goalkeeping coach and Shaun Hird will again combine his coaching role with his work at the regional talent centre. Adam Kennerley will join the set-up as strength and conditioning coach for next season.

Stephen Bettis, United’s chief executive, said: "After a competitive finish in his first season in charge, we are delighted that Neil has committed for two more years, the aim being to continue to progress."

Can you spot yourself in our gallery from Sheffield United's promotion day at Leicester City?

Exactly 31 years ago today, Leicester was turned into a sea of red, white and yellow as Sheffield United won 5-2 at Filbert Street to seal their place back in the big time.

Around two thirds of the crowd were Blades fans, who invaded the pitch in celebration after each of United’s goals. We raided our archive for the best pictures from the game – see if you can spot yourself, or anyone you know, in our gallery, which also features match action and dressing-room celebrations.