The workplace and football brings out the best banter – especially if you work in a place that is cultured with various football team supporters. It must have been a dull day to be asked if you would support a merged Sheffield side.
There was a Leeds United fan, a Aston Villa fan and myself, a Sheffield United fan. I know that this probably sounds like the beginning of a bad joke but believe it happened. The pair of them was debating the finer points of football a few days ago until one posed the question if I could support a merged Sheffield side.
My response cannot be repeated online but it did get me thinking….
A merger between Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday would extinct 280 years of joint footballing history. We’ve both had our hard times in the past three decades that I can recall but all this would have been for nothing.
A merger between the two Steel City clubs has been on the agenda before in the late 1990’s but never had any serious merit. When the former Don valley Stadium was built for the student games’ at the beginning of that decade it was suggested that the stadium be re-developed and both clubs ‘ground shared,’ much like Manchester City did (but without sharing) when they moved from Maine Road.
Local transport links with the Supertram could have made a viable option for both clubs but I am sure that the supporters of both clubs would agree that it wouldn’t feel like home. Since then United have rejuvenated Bramall Lane into the modern stadium it is now whilst Hillsborough is still fondly idolised for its historic charm by neutral fans.
In today’s society it would be unthinkable and the biggest question would be where do they play and what colours would they wear. Thankfully it was just a rhetorical question and, to the best of our knowledge there are no such plans to join both clubs together.
The question of a merger by my colleagues was only said in jest, but I call out to my fellow football supporters. It doesn’t matter which side of the city you support, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Dundee, London etc – we are all passionate supporters at heart. But if your club was to merge with your rivals, could you support a new football club that is half your team and half your rival or, would you support someone else?
Maybe I would go back and follow Stocksbridge Park Steels on a regular basis. I went to quite a few fixtures when United were away and I had the opportunity to make the short journey to Bracken Moor. Or maybe I’d support a local side such as Rotherham or Barnsley. I might even take to trying to watch this elite Sheffield side for a few games, despite knowing that my heart would always belong to the red and white. It all seems unthinkable but if it did happen, what would you do?