#PremierLeagueStories @SheffieldUnited – #ChrisWilder worried due to #coronavirus + #PLDefenders #JohnEgan #JackOConnell #ChrisBasham pick the toughest opponents + #EndaStevens #ContractRenewal ( and other Sheffield United stories )
Enda Stevens has said he is “delighted” to sign a new contract at Sheffield United that will keep him at the club until 2023. The left wing-back joined the Blades in 2017 and has been one of the most consistent performers in his time in South Yorkshire.
Enda Stevens said “I’m obviously delighted, As a group we’ve built on the success of last season, but we don’t want to stand still. We want to continue to do well and finish as high in the table as possible. The manager is building something special here. He’s keeping the core group together and now adding to it to make us even stronger and everyone is happy to be involved in the journey.”
Chris Wilder said “Enda has become one of the top players in the division, In his position, in our opinion, and he deserves rewarding with a new contract, that’s what we’re trying to do at the moment. His performances have been outstanding for both club and country and he is an important and integral part of our team in and out of possession.”
He has helped Sheffield United get within touching distance of a European spot as well as helping the Republic of Ireland team get to the Euro 2020 playoffs in which they will take on Slovakia behind closed doors.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has highlighted how the suspension of professional football in England will impact lower league clubs and local businesses. Wilder cited a recent interview with Gary Neville, the former Manchester United defender turned Salford City co-owner, which outlined the issues facing some League One and League Two sides.
Chris Wilder said “One thing I really admire about Gary is that he gets his hands dirty at every level. Now he’s involved with Salford. He knows the game better than anybody, inside and out. I saw an article with him and the impact is not worth thinking about; sponsorship, buying a pie and a programme. It will have a huge impact, most certainly, in the lower leagues. It will impact upon the pubs and people talk about Sheffield as a city, how much it’s been boosted financially as a city, with having Premier League football. But other people will be able to answer that better than I can.”
Gate receipts constitute around 6-12% of the total revenues that Premier league clubs earn. But the situation is much more difficult for the clubs lower down the food chain. Most of the clubs from championship onwards earn over 25% of the annual revenue from gate receipts and food & beverages sold during match days. And with their financial situation being so hand to mouth, a prolonged suspension of games could be a huge financial loss for many small clubs.
Sheffield United’s owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has decided to start a brand new football club in the Emirate of Dubai and will be known as Al-Hilal United (AHU). This could potentially have significant advantages to the Yorkshire club as they can trade players, coaches and facilities with the club and will have it easier in order to bring players to the UK post tightening of the immigration laws post Brexit.
Current UK laws say that in order to be granted a work permit to a player, they must have played a certain number of international and top flight domestic matches in their career. It is interesting to note that HRH Prince Abdullah already owns Belgian football club Beetschot, reportedly to park some of the future Sheffield United players in Belgium before bringing them to the UK. Laws in Belgium are more relaxed compared to the UK and they are more likely to be able to get a work permit coming from a European country.
This is a similar model of operations from the Sheffield United owner that to of the City Football Group who owns Manchester City in England, New York City in MLS, Melbourne City in Australia, Girona FC in Spain, Montevideo City Torque in Uruguay and most recently have been rumoured to have bought an Indian club as well.
Sheffield United’s defenders have given their verdict on the most difficult players that they have faced this season. John Egan, Jack O’Connell and Chris Basham have been a key component of Chris Wilder’s defence and have done a remarkable job at keeping clean sheets for the Blades.
Jack O’Connell said “Adama Traore. So quick, so strong. You just bounce off him. He’s the one. He’s special. Virgil van Dijk can pick you off with one pass as well. He put it through my legs as well, as I went to block it,”
Chris Basham said “For me, Sadio Mane. Mane was so … into the unknown. I didn’t know what he was going to don’t I don’t think he did either.”
John Egan said “The player who has impressed me most is Kevin de Bruyne, He hit a pass for Sergio Aguero in the only place he could have put it and I’m there thinking: ‘that’s world class. That’s the only time I’ve felt helpless on a football pitch this season. Genius.”
The Blades backline kept 10 clean sheets, conceded just 25 goals – a record only bettered by leaders Liverpool – and have been lauded by almost everyone for their consistently superb performances.