Sheffield United - Retro: When 35-goal Keith Edwards led Blades out of Fourth Division

Keith Edwards
Keith Edwards
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Sheffield United put an end to the nightmare of playing in the bottom tier of English football as they won the Fourth Division championship 35 years ago.

Ian Porterfield steered them back in the right direction by clinching promotion in his first season in charge.

Chairman Reg Brealey and manager Ian Porterfield

Chairman Reg Brealey and manager Ian Porterfield

So the Blades had spent just one season in the basement division to where they had sunk the previous season amid the drama of a Don Givens penalty miss with a 1-0 home defeat to Walsall.

Porterfield had taken over the previous June after leading Rotherham United to the Third Division championship, the lure of a long contract offered by new chairman Reg Brealey, tempting him to take over at Bramall Lane.

Promotion was to be start of an 11 year period which was to see the Blades back at the top of the game as founder members of the FA Premier League in 1992-93.

United went up in fine style, finishing the season with a 19-match unbeaten run and over all scoring four goals 10 or more times.

Bob Hatton: 15 goals in promotion season

Bob Hatton: 15 goals in promotion season

Biggest score was a 7-3 home win over Northampton - Edwards scoring a hat-trick.

The final match, on May 15, 1992, was a 2-0 win at Darlington, when 11,130 fans - nearly all Blades - at Feethams.

Fittingly, the Keith Edwards-Bob Hatton combination sealed the win, which ended with United fans invading the pitch from all sides of the ground.

The home season had finished on a high note, too, with Peterborough United being beaten 4-0 with an Edwards double and goals by Tony Kenworthy and Colin Morris.

Edwards had also hit a brace in the previous home match, a 3-1 win over Rochdale, veteran striker Hatton getting the other.

Edwards scored 35 goals for United that season in a two-part Lane career that saw him score 171 goals in 293 appearances.

Hatton hit 15 league goals, as did Kenworthy though his total included nine penalties.

In the first year of three points for a win, United finished on 96, five in front of Bradford City and Wigan Athletic.

* United’s team at Darlington: Waugh, Charles, Garner, Matthews, MacPhail, Kenworthy, Morris, Trusson, Edwards, Hatton, King.