Sheffield United and Leeds United are battling it out for that final automatic promotion place into the Premier League. It’s been 14 years since The Blades played in English footballs top-flight and 15 since Elland Road hosted a Premier League encounter.
Going into the final 180 minutes of the regular season, it’s Sheffield United that has the upper hand but which of these two Yorkshire giants (if any) would you like to see back in the “Promised Land”?
Paddy Power has compiled its own unique guide over the Easter break, to decide which of the two cities can be considered as Premier League ready.
ARCTIC MONKEYS V KAISER CHIEFS
We start with a bang here as two of the UK’s most successful bands in recent years go head to head to kick-off the competition. Sheffield based Arctic Monkeys proved to be a YouTube phenomenon before being unleashed on a British public to become one of the biggest selling artists of the past decade. Thanks to them, the sales of Barbour Liddesdale jackets went through the roof to become a staple of the terraces as well as Indie kids’ wardrobes.
It’s a pity that lead singer Alex Turner has disappeared up his own arse in recent times to try to create a more unique sound because there’s no doubt that these lads can be truly terrific on their day. Leeds Indie kings The Kaiser Chiefs are into their football so much, they named themselves after the side that former Leeds United legend Lucas Radebe arrived in West Yorkshire from in 1994. Their album Yours Truly, Angry Mob has become a modern day classic and the single “I Predict a Riot” is still the soundtrack used on any hooligan footage shown on satellite/cable television.
Sheffield United 0-1 Leeds United
THE FULL MONTY V THE DAMNED UNITED
An early setback for the steel city but they are right back in the contest with The Full Monty; a movie that was voted one of the great British films of the 20th century. The plot is a simple one; six blokes who are on the dole decide to take their kit off in front of hysterical bored housewives at a Sheffield Working Men’s Club. Any film that has the great Robert Carlyle in a starring role certainly gets our vote, and the scene in the dole office, as our tragi-heroes practice their dance moves whilst waiting to collect their Giros, has become one of the most famous in British cinema.
In 1974 Leeds United were the most hated club in England so when Brian Clough was appointed to succeed Don Revie as boss, there was only ever going to be one outcome. Clough’s 44 days in charge are beautifully captured by David Peace in his brilliant book The Damned United, but the film version, directed by Tom Hooper, is a huge disappointment. Admittedly, Michael Sheen does an alright job playing Cloughie but loathsome characters like Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles come up way too short to be taken as credible.
Sheffield United 1-1 Leeds United
THE LEADMILL V MINT WAREHOUSE
When your venue is heavily endorsed by DJ legend Steve Lamacq you know you’re onto a winner, but The Leadmill in Sheffield stands up on its own as one of the country’s premier locations for live Indie music. Lamacq has a vested interest due to the fact that he went to one of the city’s universities and spent most of his time there, but the Leadmill will always be synonymous as the place that gave Sheffield bands such as The Human League, ABC, Heaven 17 and Pulp their big breaks and when Indie bible The NME ever does a survey on the best music venues in the UK, The Leadmill will always be in the top ten.
Whilst people in Sheffield were walking around with an “Oakey” in the early 80’s, up in West Yorkshire, another phenomenon was taking place as the city of Leeds provided an early home for Goth music and by the mid-80’s, local bands like The Mission and Sisters of Mercy hit the mainstream as kids all over the UK started walking around looking like Edward Scissorhands. Nobody would have predicted then that 30 odd years later, West Yorkshire would be home to one of the most influential dance clubs in the country, but that’s what happened in Leeds in the shape of Mint Warehouse.
Top DJs from around Europe queue up to ply their trade at this venue which just like Ministry of Sound in London has become a brand within itself. Despite this, it’s The Leadmill that gives The Blades the lead.
Sheffield United 2-1 Leeds United
THREADS V THE BEIDERBECKE AFFAIR
When Threads appeared on our screens in 1984 depicting what would happen in Sheffield following a nuclear war, cynics remarked that the steel city was only chosen because it already resembled a place that had been heavily bombed, such was its reputation in early 80’s Britain. 35 years on and the drama, written by Barry “Kes” Hines is now considered to be one of the most accurate in depicting what would happen in the event of a nuclear war.
The BBC managed to shoot the entire series on a budget of just 400 thousand quid which is about what Blades striker Billy Sharpe probably now earns in his yearly pay-packet. The fact that Sheffield is now considered one of the UK’s most influential cities means that should the Beeb decide to do a modern day version of Threads, then they’d probably have to film it down the road in Barnsley.
James Bolam is best remembered as playing Terry Collier in The Likely Lads but in 1985, he found more success as woodwork teacher Trevor Chaplin in The Beiderbecke Affair, Alan Plater’s comedy drama which was set in Leeds. It’s basically the story of a love affair but it did spawn two sequels; The Beiderbecke Tapes and The Beiderbecke Connection with Bolam adding that touch of class to bring Leeds United level.
Sheffield United 2-2 Leeds United
BRIAN DEANE V BRIAN DEANE
So we thought “how the hell are we going to decide this contest?” then we remembered that England striker Brian Deane had two spells at both clubs. It’s incredible to think that the six foot three inch frontman of no fixed ability, got three caps for his country until you consider who was in charge of the national team at the time; a certain Graham Taylor and then it becomes a lot clearer.
Deane played 200 times for The Blades scoring 83 goals and 169 times for Leeds, scoring 38, but the very fact that he scored the first ever Premier League goal on the opening day of the 1992-93 season for Sheffield United against Manchester United, means that it’s the Blades that gets our vote in the battle for a Premier League return.
FT Sheffield United 3-2 Leeds United.