Jan Aage Fjortoft on infamous day he and Brian Deane left Sheffield United - Sheffield United News
Jan Aage Fjortoft on infamous day he and Brian Deane left Sheffield United
10 May 1997: Jaan Aage Fjortoft of Sheffield United celebrates a goal during the Division One first leg play off match against Ipswich Town at Bramwell Lane in Sheffield, England. The game was drawn 1-1. The second leg was drawn 2-2 and Sheffield Unitedwent through on away goals. Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport

Jan Aage Fjortoft on infamous day he and Brian Deane left Sheffield United

Jan Aage Fjortoft has explained how the infamous day that both he and Brian Deane left Sheffield United came about.

In January 1998, Blades fans were shocked when two of their strikers left Bramall Lane on the same day.

Deane made the move to Benfica in a £1m deal, having only returned to the club for the same price the previous summer.

BBC News reported at the time that chief executive, Charles Green, was honouring a promise to the forward to inform him if a continental side showed interest.

As for Fjortoft, he made an £800,000 switch to Barnsley – who were a division above the Blades in the Premier League at the time.


It left United with just two recognised strikers in Dean Saunders and Gareth Taylor. Having reached the playoff final the previous season, it would be another eight years before they were promoted back to the top flight.

Jan Aage Fjortoft remembers that bizarre day

(Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

Fjortoft had his own meeting with Green just 24 hours before his move to Oakwell. As the Norwegian explains, it was a little unorthodox.

“We were playing Bury away at Gigg Lane. I remember I was standing in the shower after the game,” Fjortoft told the Inside United podcast.

“Suddenly Charles Green comes into the shower and said; ‘Listen Jan, we have agreed a fee with Barnsley’.

“So I said; ‘OK’.

“He said; ‘Can you talk to their manager tomorrow, Danny Wilson?’

“I said; ‘OK. Charles, I want all my money paid up’.

“He turned around and said; ‘OK’. So that was done in 18 seconds, that deal.

“This was on the Wednesday and on the Thursday I’m going up to sign the contract and I’m sitting in Danny Wilson’s room. And he said: ‘By the way, have you heard they have sold Brian Deane as well?’

“I knew that would not go down well with the Sheffield United fans. It was a very special day.”

Having bought a house in Sheffield and settled in the area, Fjortoft says he almost returned to the Blades. It was as part of a swap deal involving Taylor, but Barnsley turned down the offer.

Instead he ended his six-year spell in England with the likes of Swindon Town and Middlesbrough as well, to move to Germany.

Fjortoft spent three years with Eintracht Frankfurt, before finishing his career back in his native Norway.

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