Former Sheffield United defender Gary Naysmith has told of his sorrow for his old pals at Bramall Lane after his club’s Wembley win condemned them to another season in League One.
Huddersfield’s Naysmith missed the final through injury, but can now say he is a Wembley winner after three attempts.
Yet, although the former Scotland international is delighted Huddersfield gained promotion at the expense of United, he feels a great deal of sympathy for his former club and acknowledges the play-off system is a “horrible way to lose”.
“The bus journey home would have been the longest of their [the United players] lives because it was for us last year when we lost to Peterborough,” Naysmith told The Star.
“It is a horrible way to lose and end the season.
“Everybody says that if you are going to get promoted that the play-offs is the way to do it. Winning at Wembley is the best feeling but if you lose it is the worst feeling in the world. I have seen both sides of it.”
He celebrated the joyous moment by savouring a cold bottle of beer before meeting up with close pals Chris Morgan and Nick Montgomery, of United, at the home of English football.
Before Town’s penalty shoot-out victory over Sheffield United at Wembley, Naysmith had tasted defeat on two occasions in play-off finals - with United in 2009 and the Terriers last season.
He added: “United will feel disappointed because they finished third and nine points ahead of us in the table. It will take them a while to get over the disappointment and I think we found that this year. We remained unbeaten for a long time but there was a lingering doubt in the back of our mind that we had gone 43 matches without defeat and it had not got us anywhere.
“I am so happy we have been promoted because I think we deserve it as a club for the strides we have made over the last couple of years, but I am gutted for United as I have got a lot of friends there in Morgs [Chris Morgan], Quinny [Stephen Quinn], Monty [Nick Montgomery] and Cressy [Richard Cresswell]. I had a drink with Morgs and Monty after the game. That was something we agreed regardless of the result.”
Naysmith, who missed the all-Yorkshire final because of knee and calf problems, is backing United to be among the frontrunners for promotion next year.
The 33-year-old: “They will be disappointed because a club like Sheffield United belong higher than the league they are in. The players have to go away and have a good break and be ready to go again.
“Danny Wilson has done a great job so I am sure they will bounce back.”
Of the final itself, Naysmith said: “There wasn’t lots of great football and the two teams really cancelled each other out.
“When you look at the 120 minutes, we had the better chances.”
“Just credit to everyone who took a penalty. I have played football 16 to 17 years and it is not something I would have put myself forward for.”