SHEFFIELD UNITED: ‘Crazy’ years of United’s fall from grace

Unlucky Blade: Andy Taylor was hit by injury
Unlucky Blade: Andy Taylor was hit by injury

FREED defender Andy Taylor has branded Sheffield United’s fall from top-flight contenders over the last three years as “inexplicable” and “absolutely crazy”.

Taylor, one of 11 players axed by Blades manager Danny Wilson earlier this week, told The Star: “When I joined the club in 2009, United were pushing for promotion to the Premier League.

“We had all sorts of injury problems and loan players coming in but we still finished eighth in my first full season at the club.

“It was inexplicable that we got relegated the year after, although all the managerial changes did not help.

“We have just had a decent season in League One but ultimately we weren’t quite good enough. The changes in the last three years have been absolutely crazy.”

Blackburn-born ace Taylor was one of the first names on the teamsheet when Kevin Blackwell was in charge at Bramall Lane.

However, the 26-year-old’s career has stalled since he damaged his cruciate and lateral knee ligaments in his left knee in the Boxing Day clash with Hull City in 2010, an injury which kept him on the sidelines for nearly 15 months. He made his first-team comeback only in March.

Taylor said: “I played virtually every game when I first joined the club and we had a solid back. There was myself, Chris Morgan, Matt Kilgallon and Kyle Walker so that is a pretty good back four. I really enjoyed playing in that side.

“But since then it has just been one thing after another. I feel like I have had so much bad luck.

“To be out of the game for 14 months was tough and to watch the club go through relegation was hard to take. It has just been a horrible time. I was hoping that I would maybe get another year to show what I can do at United.”

Taylor came on as a late substitute in the play-off final defeat to Huddersfield Town. He missed United’s fourth spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out, which would have put Danny Wilson’s men 2-1 in front with one kick to go. His effort from 12 yards cannoned back off the right hand post.

“I was very confident when I stepped up to take it,” he said.

“We had been doing them in training and I had been smashing every one of them into the bottom corner.

“I just walked up and thought I would do the same again. I thought I had struck it sweetly and it was in so I was shocked when it hit the post and bounced back past me.

“I was absolutely gutted and disappointed to miss.”