Why a Sheffield United game against Leicester City 30 years ago was one of best days of Chris Wilder's life

For Sheffield United fans of a certain vintage, games against Leicester City immediately conjures up memories of a glorious day in May, 1990.

Thursday, 16th July 2020, 6:00 am
Dave Bassett celebrates United's promotion with his wife Christine. (Photo by Allsport UK/Getty Images)

That day's Green 'Un summed up the mood perfectly: 'Blades Glory, Owls Down'. The Blades had that afternoon secured promotion back to the First Division with an unforgettable 5-2 victory over Leicester, while Wednesday would take their place in the second tier after losing 3-0 at home to Nottingham Forest.

The 1989/90 season was immortalised on film with the legendary United! series, which followed manager Dave 'Harry' Bassett and his players as they looked to seal promotion from Division Two, just one year after earning their place in the second tier.

And the series had the fairytale ending as United went to Filbert Street on the last day of the season and won 5-2, with the official crowd of 21,134 that day thought to be made up of two-thirds Blades fans.

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Unitedites invaded the pitch after each of United's five goals and Bassett was stripped to his underpants by supporters after the final whistle. In the United side that day was a certain Chris Wilder, recalled for the final three games of the season, and one fan remembers running onto the pitch towards the end of the game... and making plans with the United right-back, to meet up on London Road that evening.

“That day at Leicester will rate as one of the greatest of my life,” Wilder said. “What a day. There were Blades fans in the team as well as me and to do the job, on the last day at Filbert Street, was an incredible memory - made even better by the demise of our neighbours.

"After the game we struggled to get into the car park back at Bramall Lane and it was even harder to get back into town after for a drink. I just remember London Road being closed… it was the biggest street party ever.”

“With Harry, it was all about winning football matches and identifying the players that he wanted," Wilder added.

"Playing to a system that was successful and innovative. He was one of the first people to bring sports scientists into football – he was always looking to find new ideas and new ways. His record, in terms of promotions, is phenomenal and the way he set his teams up, his desire to win matches, and the building of team spirit were special.”