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Scraping the barrel

Filed: Tuesday, 12th June 2007
By: Matthew O'Greel

Sheffield United have asked supporters of bitter rivals Sheffield Wednesday to support their so-called 'campaign for justice'.

Blades fans intend to demonstrate against their relegation from the Premiership on the streets of Sheffield tomorrow, after plans to march in London were shelved due to a lack of interest.

But with minimal interest being registered by supporters even in their home town, campaign organiser and Blades fan Richard Batho has turned to followers of Sheffield's other Championship outfit - Sheffield Wednesday - to support the (pointless) cause.

"Hopefully fans from both clubs - United and Wednesday - will turn out because this has the power to affect everyone," Batho told the Sheffield Star. "United supporters must attend in numbers but it would be great to think that everyone from the region, whether they follow us, will also lend us their backing."

Unsurprisingly perhaps the call for unity has tickled supporters of Wednesday who were, on the whole, delighted when the Blades - known by Wednesday fan as 'The Pigs' - were relegated from the Premiership thanks to a final day home defeat to Wigan.

Posters on popular Wednesday messageboard Owls Online have reacted with humour to the call for unity. One poster claimed that "there's more chance of Carlos Tevez turning up as a guest of honour in a West Ham shirt", whilst another added that he "might go - and point, laugh and sing songs such as '10 points and you fooked it up'".

Meanwhile a second smaller gathering is set to take place in London tomorrow lunchtime when Blades fan Sean Bean is set to lead a handful of selected Blades fans into Parliament for a meeting with a small group of MPs.

That group - estimates to be around 20 strong - includes the MP for Sheffield Attercliffe, Clive Betts, who was recently suspended from the House for doctoring offical papers thereby allowing his 'Brazilian rent-boy lover' to remain in the UK.

A photo-call has been set for 11.30am on Victoria Embankment (close to Westminster Pier); TV and radio are both expected to cover the event.

* Sheffield United claim that West Ham United should have been deducted three points instead of being fined 5.5m as a result of being found guily of contravening Premier League rules with regard to Carlos Tevez's contract - a figure that would have (conveniently) seen United relegated instead of the Blades.

However Sheffield's case is undermined by the fact that there is no precedent for such a punishment, and that when they beat West Ham United 3-0 in April, Carlos Tevez played on the opposing side. Coincidentally this was overlooked by the Blades until their relegation was confirmed.

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