WITH just over two weeks to go to the big kick-off, Sheffield United and Wednesday have been limbering up in different ways.
The Blades are perhaps looking for a spot of divine intervention this season after a blessing of the Bramall Lane stadium led by the Bishop of Hallam, the Rt Rev John Rawsthorne, and Monsignor Kilgannon from Mother of God Church on nearby Abbeydale Road.
Club chairman Chris Steer, director Scott McCabe and club ambassador Tony Currie were among United representatives who were also joined by Kevin Bradley, the director of St Wilfrid’s Centre, which works with homeless people and of which Monsignor Kilgannon was a founder.
Bishop John led prayers and spoke of the challenges involved in creating the right spirit.
“A football club, in the heart of a city like this great one is, can work to bind people together and be an influence for good,” he said.
“Sheffield United is held in great regard with good reason. It has a great family spirit and operates in a really inclusive way in the city.”
Holy water was sprinkled about the ground.
Meanwhile, a more traditional run-up to the new season was witnessed at Hillsborough as up to 5,000 Wednesday fans turned out for a fun day last Sunday.
They watched the first team train on the pitch, bought the new home shirt, queued for autographs and took part in activities around the ground.
Chairman Milan Mandaric said: “It was a great day and you can see what this club is all about with such incredible support.”