Why Sheffield United promotion hero Simon Tracey will always remember famous day at Leicester in 1990

When Sheffield United's team coach arrives in Leicester on Sunday, manager Chris Wilder may just close his eyes for a second and allow his mind to wander back to one of the greatest days in the club's recent history in the East Midlands city.

By Danny Hall
Saturday, 13th March 2021, 5:00 pm

It was May 5, 1990 and when United made that very journey to Leicester, they did so backed by a remarkable away following that has since become the stuff of legend. A 5-2 victory at the old Filbert Street secured United's promotion to Division One, and conservative estimates from the day suggest that around two-thirds of the 21,134 crowd that day were Blades fans.

Pitch invasions greeted every one of United's five goals that afternoon, and the celebration was complete when news filtered through that Sheffield Wednesday had been relegated to the Second Division, on the same day. That day's Green 'Un summed up the mood perfectly: 'Blades Glory, Owls Down'.

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Wilder rates it as one of the greatest days of his life, but both sides have gone through their ups and downs in the near-31 years since that memorable day.

United spent four years in the top flight after winning promotion that day before being relegated in 1994, and have only spent three seasons at English football's top table since.

Leicester, meanwhile, have experienced administration, moved to an impressive new ground and made history by winning the Premier League.

On Sunday, a side with aspirations of sealing a Champions League spot will host one facing demotion to the Championship.

Promotion celebrations after Sheffield United v Leicester City - 5 May 1990

But to fans of a certain vintage, games between Leicester and United will conjure up memories of one game in particular forever more.

For players, too.

"I got two promotions in my first two seasons at Sheffield United and sometimes, when you look back, it doesn't sink in properly," goalkeeper Simon Tracey told The Star.

Blades fans at Filbert Street for Sheffield United v Leicester City - 5 May 1990

"That's probably what happened in my case. That day at Leicester, though, will always be one of the highlights of my career.

"Not just because of the end result that gave us promotion, but the support we got that day was unbelievable.

"We nearly had three sides of the stadium and the famous illuminous shirts we had stood out head and shoulders in the stadium.

"It was one of the biggest-selling shirts in the club's history but I think in the end they had to get rid of them, because they were the same colour as the police and stewards!

"Even though we went a goal down, we soon got back into the game. We were a team that could score goals."

Tony Agana and Brian Deane, such a deadly strike partnership up front, netted three times between them that day, with Paul Wood and Wilf Rostron also getting in on the act on a day of celebration for the red and white half of the Steel City.

The current season doesn't look like it'll end in such euphoric fashion - but those times will come around again. And when they do, the heroes who deliver them will be remembered as fondly as Wilder, Deane, Tracey and Co. in the annals of Blades history.