Legend Deane urges Blades fans to inspire great escape

Brian Deane
Brian Deane

Brian Deane is begging his fellow Blades fans to back his belief that the season’s greatest escape is still on, writes Alan Biggs.

No-one has more links to Sheffield United’s precarious lifeline than the club’s former goalscoring hero.

Not only did Deane lead the legendary top flight safety surge of 1991, he played under manager Micky Adams at Leicester - and another of his old clubs, Middlesbrough, are at Bramall Lane on Saturday.

That is one of five home games which hold the key to whether United can close a seven point gap in seven remaining matches.

Deane, welcoming Adams’ association with his former Blades boss Dave Bassett and ex-striking partner Alan Cork, told the Telegraph: “The fans can play a massive part. As long as they keep believing, that will transmit to the players.

“For me, that could be the difference. Four wins out of five home games doesn’t seem that unbelievable. I’ve been there when we only had four points just before Christmas and still stayed up.

“The one thing about the club that you can’t knock is the way the fans have stayed passionately behind the team. That could be a big factor.”

Deane also insists the blame game would be a pointless exercise, whether it is aimed at the team, the management or plc chairman Kevin McCabe who has long underpinned the club after pumping in some £50m from his family’s business.

“I think Micky, Corky and Harry have inherited most of the problems - I don’t think anyone would argue with that,” he said. “It’s such a great club and to see it in this state is horrible.

“There’s been a level of instability for more than 18 months and you can go back to the losing play-off final against Burnley two seasons ago.

“Who’s to blame? I really don’t know. Some blame the management and some blame the board. Who really knows? Everyone has to take a bit of the blame, I suppose.

“But, if you won the lottery, would you go out and buy a football club? People who do that quickly realise they will take a bashing.

“Kevin McCabe has been there for the right reasons. It’s not working out at the moment, but that doesn’t mean he’s not passionate about the club.

“You’ve got people in there who really care. Look at Micky, Corky and Harry. Micky wears his heart on his sleeve with some of the things he says at times, but that’s because he cares.

“I played for Leicester where Micky was coach after Harry signed me and I had a good relationship with him. It was similar in some ways to the situation here because we developed a siege mentality at Leicester.

“The club went into administration but that only served to bind the squad together. Looking at the current situation with United, there are rumours that Coventry could go into administration. That would be unfortunate for them, although it might have a bearing.

“But let’s hope United stay up on merit. They gave themselves some hope with good wins over Nottingham Forest and Leeds. As long as they have the likes of Monty (Nick Montgomery) and Quinny (Stephen Quinn) around - and Morgs (injured skipper Chris Morgan) making his presence felt in the dressing room - they have a fighting chance.”