Sheffield United Fan’s Column: Dare we dream after an encouraging start?

Chris Wilder comes off the pitch with Danny Lafferty after the 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers.
Chris Wilder comes off the pitch with Danny Lafferty after the 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers.

I know it is a bit presumptuous to speak of consecutive promotions, seeing as only seven games have been played, but United’s start has been encouraging in terms of both results and performances.

Just to remind you, Dave Bassett’s United went straight through whatever the divisions were called in 1988/89 and 1989/90, then Nigel Adkins’ (whatever happened to him?) Southampton won successive promotions from League One to the Premier League in 2010/11 and 2011/12.

The Saints have, of course, established themselves as one of the upper-middle Premier League teams under a succession of managers, with one of the best academies in the country that sells players for tens of millions of pounds. They also apparently have a reliable recruitment policy that adequately replaces the players sold for a fraction of the cost. Southampton would be a good model for United to follow (apart from sacking the manager that got them promoted) but there’s a way to go before we can really start thinking about that sort of thing. But to think that Wilder made several changes at Bolton and they all fitted in seamlessly. Oh, and last season EE-L became a cult figure...will it be CC-V this time?

One strange thing I’ve noticed this season that differs from last is that matches tend to be starting on time and finishing earlier. There seemed to an increasing trend in League One for the teams not to emerge until a minute to three, meaning the kick-off was at three or four minutes past. Half-time also seemed to be longer in previous seasons, meaning that games often didn’t finish till 4.55pm. This season every Saturday game has finished between quarter to and ten to. Whether this is a deliberate policy or just a quirk I don’t know, and not that it matters much, except perhaps for those who like to leave early to miss the traffic.

And was widely reported (but not in The Star) that United’s last win at Bolton was in 1977 (I was there! and we got pelted with stones by Bolton fans after the match), but I definitely recall a David Carney goal (remember him?) in a win in the FA Cup third round at the then Reebok Stadium under Bryan Robson in January 2008. It was a rare good day for Robbo.