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By Bulldog Drummond
Mind you, we do get a few 3pm saturday fixtures still; it is just that we don’t get many of them (which is what makes them seem weird). And playing the bottom club in the league is as unglamorous as it gets, especially when it is another club that seems to be part of the ever growing sportswashing programme. Here are the two clubs’ league positions.
Sheffield United is a loss-making club that is waiting for… well, I am not sure what. Armageddon maybe. Father Christmas? Something, that’s for sure. But I don’t know if they know either.
Here’s a quick rundown. In 2006/7 they were in the Premier League and got relegated. Their top scorer was Rob Hulse with eight. Life in the Championship was clearly a bit much for them so then they tried League One, until they won that in 2017. After two years more in the Championship they came runners up and had a two-season spell in the Premier. Then bottom of the league in 2020/21 they tried the Championship again but that still clearly wasn’t to their liking as they came second in 2022/23 and rose up once more.
But to be fair in 2014, they reached the F.A. Cup semi-final at Wembley and the following season reached the quarter-finals of the F.A. Cup and semi-final of the Football League Cup. In 2023 they got to the FA Cup Semi-final again.
The trouble is that when they keep making these trips to the championship their income shrinks by around half, although they did get £45m in parachute cash last time.
Most of the time they lose money too, which is very careless and they ought to find somewhere to put it safe. They lost £16m in 2021/2. So they sold players along the way, including Aaron Ramsdale, of whom you may have heard and for whom Arsenal paid £24 million.
So for five of the last seven years they have had seasons which have resulted in relegation or promotion or a failed attempt through the play offs. They also had a transfer embargo earlier this year as a reward for not making stage payments for transfers on time. But they do only spend 63% of their income on wages. There was a time at the end of the previous decade when it was almost 200%.
The wage-to-income ratio was 63% in 2021-22, higher than the previous two years, but way below 2018-19.
Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who as one can tell from the name is a local lad, has said he wants to sell the club and find another toy (ok, he didn’t say that, but it feels like that), but he wants £140 million for the club. And yet he went to such efforts including legal challenges to get hold of the club in the first place running a long legal battle with the then co-owner property developer, Kevin McCabe
The home and away table will be pretty much as you will expect from the above
|20||Sheffield United away||4||0||0||4||3||9||-6||0|
But we can try for a bit more perspective with last season’s home and away results… We have added the points per game for this table as obviously being in the Championship last time around Sheffield United played four more away games than Arsenal played at home. The numbers suggest that last season, even though it was a promotion campaign for Sheffield U, their away record did not match Arsenal’s home record.
|3||Arsenal 2022/3 home||19||14||3||2||53||25||28||45||2.37|
|3||Sheffield United 2022/3 away||23||12||4||7||26||20||6||40||1.74|
Sheffield United did bring in some new players last summer to strengthen their squad for the Premier League: Cameron Archer, a centre forward from Aston Villa for €21.55m, Gustavo Hamer (defensive midfield) from Coventry for €17.30m, Vini Souza from Lommel SK in Belgian’s second tier, Auston Trusty joined from Arsenal for €5.80m and Bénie Traoré from Swedish club Hacken for €4.60m and Anis Slimane from Brondby in Denmark’s top division. Details come from Transfermarkt.
So obviously the name that interests us is Auston Trusty. He came to Arsenal from Colorado Rapids (owned by Kroenke Sports and Entertainments of course). He spent 2022–23 season on loan to Birmingham City for whom he played 44 games – which effectively must mean almost every match.
In August this year he moved to Sheffield United and has played for them four times. He has played twice this year for the United States.
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