Sheffield United have a storied history dating back to 1889 filled with ups and downs and a long list of legends to suit. The Bramall Lane natives have witnessed a wide array of icons turn out for the South Yorkshire club over the years. While their successes and lows have seen heroes rise to the occasion.
Legends have secured silverware for Sheffield United’s trophy history and helped the Blades to rise through the leagues. So, Sheffield United News has looked at the top 10 legends of this historic club. From Harry Johnson, their record goalscorer, to modern-day heroes, Billy Sharp and Chris Basham…
|Managers:||Jordan Harris (1968), Arthur Rowley (1968-69), John Harris (1969-73), Ken Furphy (1973-75), Jimmy Sirrel (1975-76)|
|Years at Sheffield United:||1968-1976|
Tony Currie enjoyed eight years at Sheffield United and used those years at Bramall Lane to become a Blades legend. The midfielder arrived from Watford near the end of Jordan Harris’ initial tenure as their manager and had an ideal start. His work to come would then earn him the nickname, Top Cat.
Sheffield United met Tottenham Hotspur for Currie’s debut and the midfielder headed home the first of his 68 Blades goals. The Middlesex-born maestro’s leadership would then later yield the captaincy under Ken Furphy in 1974. But his legacy was already written securely into the walls of Bramall Lane.
Such is Currie’s legend at Sheffield United that the club’s supporters named him as the greatest-ever Blades player in 2014. The club also renamed the South Stand of their historic stadium after Currie in 2018. Sheffield United sought to recognise his legacy having also impacted events behind the scenes.
Currie returned to Sheffield United to work in their Football in the Community scheme. He also later became a director on the board and later worked as a club ambassador. But his greatest achievement as a player was during 1970/71 as Currie helped Sheffield United secure their return to the top-flight.
|Managers:||John Harris (1964-68), Arthur Rowley (1968-69), John Harris (1969-73), Ken Furphy (1973-75), Jimmy Sirrel (1975-77), Harry Haslam (1978)|
|Years at Sheffield United:||1964-1978|
Alan Woodward cemented his place among the top 10 Sheffield United legends of all time from 1964 to 1978. His 14 years at Bramall Lane saw the winger display a ferocious shot and earn the nickname, Woody. He would also be an ever-present part of the Blades’ first-team during five league campaigns.
No Sheffield United player has ever yet played in every fixture of a league campaign more often than Woodward’s five terms. He also won a Blades record number of Player of the Year awards with four. The South Yorkshire outfit recognised his immense work in 1969/70, 1973/74, 1975/76 and 1977/78.
Woodward was also a set-piece specialist during his time as an outside right forward at Bramall Lane. He dazzled at dead balls for Sheffield United but also had the pace and skill to destroy defences from open play. While the winger’s debut goal saw the Blades beat Barnsley in the 1964 County Cup final.
He was capable of scoring some remarkable goals that worked Woodward’s way into the hearts and minds of Sheffield United’s fanbase. Those efforts also secure the winger a place in Sheffield United history as their record post-war goalscorer. He would move to America in 1978 after firing 192 goals.
|Managers:||Arthur Rowley (1968-69), John Harris (1969-73), Ken Furphy (1973-75), Jimmy Sirrel (1975-77), Harry Haslam (1978)|
|Years at Sheffield United:||1968-1978|
Arthur Rowley only served as Sheffield United’s manager for a short period in the 1960s but his time at their helm saw the club sign one of their greatest-ever captains, Eddie Colquhoun. The centre-half displayed immense leadership at Bramall Lane and led the Blades back into the top-flight in 1970/71.
Colquhoun was a pacey enforcer and had exceptional aerial abilities to take control of most defensive situations. He also had great longevity having started in 430 games and featured three times off their bench from 1968 to 1978. He even only missed 15 fixtures during the defender’s first seven seasons.
Sheffield United would later welcome Colquhoun back to Bramall Lane to serve a number of roles up until he retired. While his legacy on the pitch in South Yorkshire was established as a tough-tackling and no-nonsense Scotsman. Fans could also relate to Colquhoun, who savoured the bond they built.
|Managers:||John Nicholson (1916-31)|
|Years at Sheffield United:||1916-1931|
Johnson holds his own among the top 10 Sheffield United legends of all time as their all-time record goalscorer. The forward spent 15 years at Bramall Lane after starting his career with the club in 1916. He would later move on and join Mansfield Town in 1931 having scored 252 goals during 395 games.
The attacker’s prolific nature also extended to scoring 201 of his goals during his 313 league outings. Johnson’s goals at the top of the Blades’ attack would also return an FA Cup winners’ medal with the Blades in 1924/25. But it would be the sole major trophy that the striker lifted with Sheffield United.
What’s more, Johnson scored a huge 20 hat-tricks with 18 in league games and two in FA Cup ties at Sheffield United. He even scored five times in one fixture to help the Blades thrash West Ham United 6-2 on Boxing Day in 1927. Johnson would end the 1927/28 season with 43 goals in all competitions.
Johnson’s career at Sheffield United also helped to secure the most recent of the Blades’ four FA Cup trophies. He was a key part of secretary John Nicholson’s squad that won the oldest national football competition in the world in 1924/25. While the forward ended nine terms as the Blades’ top scorer.
|Managers:||Ken Furphy (1975), Jimmy Sirrel (1975-77), Harry Haslam (1978), Ian Porterfield (1981-86)|
|Years at Sheffield United:||1975-1978, 1981-1986|
Keith Edwards was a quick and intelligent forward and displayed great anticipation to record a prolific record with Sheffield United. The striker scored 171 goals in 293 matches across two spells at Bramall Lane. He initially left for Hull City in 1978 but Ian Porterfield brought Edwards back three years after.
It was during his second spell at Sheffield United that Edwards cemented himself as a Blades legend, as well. While the club had fallen down to the fourth tier of the English game in 1981, Edwards went back to Bramall Lane and guided the club to the Division Four title during his 36-goal campaign in all.
Another promotion followed in 1983/84 as Edwards also ended a third straight campaign as their top scorer in all competitions. He would end five seasons in a row atop the scoring charts at Bramall Lane after re-joining the Blades. While the 1983/84 season was also his most prolific season with 41 goals.
|Managers:||Dave Bassett (1988-93), Nigel Spackman (1997-98), Neil Warnock (2005-06)|
|Years at Sheffield United:||1988-1993, 1997-1998, 2005-2006|
Three managers signed Brian Deane for Sheffield United as Nigel Spackman and Neil Warnock lured him back to Bramall Lane. Dave Bassett had first lured the striker to South Yorkshire in 1988 after the Blades had endured relegation to the third tier. But he would soon guide them back to the top flight.
Deane helped Sheffield United secure back-to-back promotions from Division Three and Division Two and remain in Division One. He would then create a piece of Premier League history on the opening day of the breakaway division in 1992. The striker scored the league’s very first goal on five minutes.
Sheffield United met and beat Manchester United to begin the new Premier League era with Deane scoring twice. While the striker would end the term – his last at the club during his first spell – as the top scorer for a fourth time. But Spackman would later convince Deane to return from Leeds United.
His second spell in South Yorkshire would prove short-lived as Graeme Souness would sign Deane for Benfica in 1998. Further moves to Middlesbrough, Leicester City, West Ham, Leeds again, Sunderland and Perth Glory then followed. Warnock then welcomed Deane back in 2005 before he would retire.
|Appearances:||More than 370|
|Goals:||More than 125|
|Managers:||Neil Warnock (2004-05), Bryan Robson (2007-08), Kevin Blackwell (2008-10), Nigel Adkins (2015-16), Chris Wilder (2016-2021), Slavisa Jokanovic (2021), Paul Heckingbottom (2021-present)|
|Years at Sheffield United:||2004-2005, 2007-2010, 2015-present|
Sharp is a modern-day Sheffield United legend and has also been the Blades’ captain since May 2016. Chris Wilder awarded the striker the armband after taking over at Bramall Lane. The striker had been back in South Yorkshire for the previous year having agreed to return for a third spell with the Blades.
It was under another of Sheffield United’s legendary managers, Warnock, that Sharp made his senior bow. The hometown hero honed his trade in Sheffield United’s academy before breaking through in November 2004. But Warnock would later sell the forward to Scunthorpe United come August 2005.
Sheffield United received £100k for Sharp, yet would spend £2m to bring him back in July 2007. The weight of expectations proved costly, however, and another move followed in July 2010 as he joined Doncaster Rovers for £1m. He would later join Southampton, Nottingham Forest, Reading and Leeds.
But Nigel Adkins put Sharp’s prior issues in the past in July 2015 as Sheffield United paid Leeds £500k for his return. This time, the striker made the switch stick and Sharp has proven himself as a Sheffield United legend. He twice led the Blades to promotion into the Premier League in 2018/19 and 2022/23.
|Managers:||Dave Bassett (1989-95), Howard Kendall (1995-97), Nigel Spackman (1997-98), Steve Bruce (1998-99), Adrian Heath (1999), Neil Warnock (1999-2000)|
|Years at Sheffield United:||1989-2000|
Dane Whitehouse established himself as a Sheffield United legend during an 11-year career as a one-club man. The midfielder broke through from the Blades’ academy side in 1989 and spent more than a decade at Bramall Lane. He also amassed 278 appearances and scored 51 goals in all competitions.
Big money moves were never enough to tempt Whitehouse to leave the club he loved. He served the Blades with absolute dedication and his skills helped take the Blades into the top-flight. But a serious knee injury sustained from Gareth Ainsworth’s tackle took it all away at Port Vale in November 1997.
Injuries had often been a part of Whitehouse’s game but Ainsworth’s tackle damaged ligaments and nerves in his knee. The midfielder worked to come back from the injury but the damage proved too severe. He would ultimately have to retire in 2000 and end a career which started when he was 18.
Whitehouse had shown great skills before the injury to earn interest from some of the biggest clubs of the time. He had also scored in both Steel City derbies against Sheffield Wednesday in 1991/92. While Whitehouse’s 25-yard thunderbolt against West Ham was one of the goals of the 1993/94 campaign.
|Managers:||Harry Haslam (1978-80)|
|Years at Sheffield United:||1978-1980|
Sheffield United fell back into Division Two in the late 1970s. But the Blades were ahead of the trend in 1978 as manager Harry Haslam and chairman John Hassle headed to Argentine. The Bramall Lane club sought to take advantage of the talent in South America after La Albiceleste won the 1978 World Cup.
Few teams had tapped into the Argentinean market at the time and Sheffield United had their sights on a young Diego Maradona. But they would pull the plug on a deal and instead chose to sign Alejandro Sabella and Pedro Verde. Haslam was convinced that Sabella had such flair that he would be special.
Sabella arrived at Bramall Lane to a hero’s reception and delighted the masses with great technique for two years. The Argentine’s unique style quickly proved Haslam was right with his talents far exceeding the second tier. Sabella could glide past players and get fans off their seats whenever he got the ball.
His time at Bramall Lane would ultimately be short-lived as Leeds swept in for his signature in 1980. But Sabella had left his mark on Sheffield United’s history and established himself as a legend of this historic club. While his magic also enhanced the Blades’ reputation at a time they fell off the radar.
|Appearances:||More than 380|
|Goals:||More than 10|
|Managers:||Nigel Clough (2014-15), Nigel Adkins (2015-16), Chris Wilder (2016-21), Slavisa Jokanovic (2021), Paul Heckingbottom (2021-present)|
|Years at Sheffield United:||2014-present|
Sheffield United took advantage of Basham leaving Blackpool at the end of his contract to sign a club legend. The defender arrived at Bramall Lane in a Bosman move in July 2014 and has gone on to play in more than 380 fixtures. He has also helped the Blades climb back up the English football pyramid.
Basham joined Sheffield United on the back of the Blades’ worst league campaign since 1982/83. The club had ended the term seventh in League One but would go on to win the title in 2016/17. Another two seasons on and the Premier League would also beckon with promotion from the Championship.
Sheffield United stunned the top-flight on their return to the Premier League for the first time since 2006/07. Wilder guided the Blades to a ninth-place finish – their best top-flight result since 1991/92. But Basham and co could not keep the South Yorkshire natives clear of relegation the following term.
Two seasons is all it would take for Sheffield United to work their way back, though. Basham played a regular role under Paul Heckingbottom to earn another promotion into the Premier League. The club had extended the centre-half’s contract until June 2024 ahead of the 2022/23 Championship season.