Sheffield United have made the headlines this season for all the right reasons.
Chris Wilder’s side have been simply magnificent, establishing themselves as one of the best sides in the Premier League and one capable of qualifying for European football next season.
But 18 years ago, the Blades were making the back pages for all the wrong reasons. That’s because on this day in 2002, Sheffield United set an English football record – one that hasn’t been matched again since.
In a First Division game at home to West Brom, Neil Warnock’s United side were reduced to SIX MEN, causing the game to abandoned, the first and only time it has ever happened in professional English football.
It has to be one of the most bonkers games ever and we’ll provide all the moments of madness from that ill-fated day in Sheffield 18 years ago below.
The first red card was administered after just nine minutes, when United goalkeeper Simon Tracey was given his marching orders for handling the ball outside of his area.
The next 56 minutes were rather calm in the scheme of things, with the red card kept in the referee’s pocket and West Brom simply scoring two goals against their 10-man opponent.
But on 65 minutes, all hell broke loose.
Sheffield United substitute Georges Santos was sent off for a horrendous tackle on Andy Johnson, an act seen as payback after Johnson had fractured Santos’ cheekbone with an elbow the season before.
In the melee following Santos’ act of violence, fellow substitute Patrick Suffo was sent for an early bath for headbutting Derek McInnes, reducing the Blades to eight.
With all subs made, Michael Brown and Robert Ullathorne couldn’t make the full 90 due to injury and the referee had to call a halt to proceedings on 82 minutes with West Brom 3-0 up.
After the game, Baggies boss Gary Megson said: “There will be no replay. If we are called back to Bramall Lane we shall kick-off and then walk off the pitch. I’ve been in professional football since 16 and I’m 42 now. I’ve never ever witnessed anything as disgraceful as that. There is no place for that in any game of football, let alone professional football.”
Let’s hope we never see a game like that in the Premier League!
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