SHEFFIELD UNITED: Tears but no fears as Lane skipper accepts clear-out

We'll be back: Michael Doyle is urging United to regroup after Wembley misery
We'll be back: Michael Doyle is urging United to regroup after Wembley misery

MIDFIELD general Michael Doyle is unfazed at the prospect of there being a major clear-out at Bramall Lane this summer following Sheffield United’s heartbreaking defeat at Wembley.

The hard-working player, one of the scorers in the epic penalty shoot-out with Huddersfield Town in the League One play-off final, which the Blades lost 8-7, says he does not fear a mass exodus.

Several high earners, including influential midfielder Lee Williamson, are out of contract and likely to move on as United prepare for a second successive year in the third tier of English football.

“What will be will be,” he told The Star. “It happens at every club.

“We want winners, hungry people and we want to go one better.”

Saturday ought to be one of the highlights of Doyle’s career. The Dubliner wore the captain’s armband and had the honour of leading the team out on to the pitch before kick-off.

But, with United missing out on promotion by the smallest of margins, the experience turned out to be Doyle’s “worst” moment in football. The loss reduced the experienced central midfielder to tears.

The 30-year-old skipper said: “I never thought I’d cry over a game of football, but that’s just the way it goes. We didn’t deserve to lose like that because we have had such a good season.

“Losing the final hurts and it is the worst feeling of my career - but it also has to be our motivation next season, and we have said that in the dressing room.

“We have to come back in pre-season, work harder and try to win the league.”

Doyle refused to blame goalkeeper Steve Simonsen, who missed the decisive 22nd spot kick.

“When it goes to penalties, you never think it’s going to go to 11 and that the keepers are going to have to take one,” he said. “Steve was unfortunate not to save their keeper’s.

“Simo didn’t deserve that with the game he’s had and the season he’s had; he’s been outstanding, but unfortunately it had to be him.”

United boss Danny Wilson said: “There’s a massive amount of disappointment on our part - that goes without saying - but the team should still look back on the season they’ve had, the football they’ve played, and feel very proud.”