It is everything the European Sup League was not – a match being played due to the talent of the players and not the size of the owners’ wallets. One that has arisen due to the nature of promotion and relegation. Both teams are in the Premier League on merit and both want to stay in the division on merit, and merit alone.
Alas for Sheffield United the Championship awaits, having been relegated already. But there’s no backroom machinations taking place to try ensure they stay in the top flight. Their players will still fight for their fans and not for those in the boardroom and will look to beat Brighton and play for victory rather than big pay cheque.
The money-hungry rebel clubs have said they’re sorry – from a certain viewpoint it seems they’re sorry for the backlash they caused, rather than actually trying to destroy 133 years of footballing history – and it remains to be seen what the 14 other Premier League clubs will do in terms of dishing out punishments. But these two sides could do worse than put on a decent show this evening to remind the pariahs that football is about more than £300 million welcomes from Florentino Perez.
Brighton have already done their bit by getting a well-deserved draw at Chelsea, one of the breakaway six, and need a win tonight to put their fans’ minds at rest regarding relegation worries.
For Sheffield United next season starts here – they’ll want to leave the Premier League in good form with which to take to the second tier.
This may not be the most glamorous of matches but for many it will English football at its finest – competitive and passionate.
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