Blades fans told to put their cash on promotion

Sheffield FC v Sheffield United'Pre Season Friendly 09-07-2011'Frank Barlow and Danny Wilson look on
Sheffield FC v Sheffield United'Pre Season Friendly 09-07-2011'Frank Barlow and Danny Wilson look on

Former bookie Ted Hemsley has a tasty tip for Blades fans - get your money on promotion.

Hemsley, an ex-Bramall Lane hero and friend of new boss Danny Wilson, reckons Sheffield United are a good outside bet at attractive odds.

United are not widely fancied and, by common consent, Wilson has taken on a tough challenge considering the cuts to be made in a relegated squad and continuing uncertainty over his budget.

But Hemsley, who became a turf accountant after his playing days, is licking his lips over the prices on offer. And he’s happy to see the Blades’ promotion chances rated below Huddersfield, Preston and neighbours Sheffield Wednesday.

“I see United are 9-1 as an each way bet with William Hill and that looks good to me, quite attractive,” he told the Telegraph after casting a trained eye over the odds.

“I’m very optimistic about the season.”

Some might call it over-optimism or blind loyalty to a long-time pal, but Hemsley is a hard-headed football nut who is convinced United’s fortunes are on the turn. For all the controversy over his appointment, Wilson has a network of friends from the red-and-white half of the city who share the same conviction.

“TC, Len and myself are all big pals,” says Ted.

“Then there’s Frank Barlow and Bill Dearden who is on the way to work with Danny. We’re all delighted he’s at the club.”

All sentiment apart, legends like Currie and Badger insist Wilson is the man to bring a certain style back to the Lane - along with a fair bit of substance.

And Hemsley, for one, is convinced that club owner Kevin McCabe will put a stop to United’s recent high turnover of managers by giving Wilson a realistic amount of time to lead a return to the Championship.

“I’ll be absolutely amazed if Danny doesn’t get a couple of seasons to have a crack at it,” says Ted.

Judging by the depth of influential support for Wilson, you suspect there might have been a fair amount of ear-bending around the Bramall Lane boardroom prior to his appointment.

Certainly, McCabe was convinced enough to be prepared to ride out the storm over an unpopular decision.

Hemsley believes it is now abating. “There was a lot of disappointment at the time because the team had just been relegated,” he said. “People will jump on the slightest thing when they are upset and Danny became an easy target.

“I think that when the season is up and running, all Unitedites will get behind him. I know that when Danny left Hillsborough there was no love lost between him and the club at the time.

“I talk to a lot of people in football and when Danny’s name comes up you hear words like integrity, respect and honesty.

“Those are words that don’t crop up too often in the game these days.

“He also likes to play football. Whether we’ve had a winning team or not, we’ve not had pure football for a long time.

“I see Danny as a man who can rebuild confidence and re-educate certain players. It seems to me some have not been taught how to play the game.

“Danny will treat them with respect but he’ll be disciplined at the same time. He’s not a tall bloke but he’s a tough cookie who will stand his corner.”