Sheffield United relegated from English Football League Championship

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sheffield United F.C.
Barnsley F.C.

Bramall Lane will host its first game in the Third Division of English football next season for 22 years.

Sheffield United have been relegated from the English Npower Football League Championship, after a 2-2 home draw to Yorkshire rivals Barnsley at Bramall Lane on Saturday, their 45th game of the season. Though United's fate had been all but sealed in recent weeks, they could mathematically taken the relegation battle to the final day if the match had been won - and the results of rivals Doncaster Rovers and Crystal Palace had gone their way.

Despite pre-season hopes of a play-off place, 'The Blades' have been stuck in a fight for Championship survival for the majority of the season, which has been the result of three managerial changes in the period of just 8 months. Currently lead by former Port Vale F.C. boss (and a childhood United fan), Micky Adams, results have continued to be generally poor in 2011 - despite the departure of Gary Speed (who took over from Kevin Blackwell in August 2010, but left after just 4 months to coach Wales national football team).

The South Yorkshire football club controversially began a legal dispute with London-based West Ham United F.C. in 2007 following The Football Association's (FA) decision not to deduct Sheffield's relegation rivals points for ineligibly fielding Carlos Tévez (which subsequently lead to Sheffield United's relegation from the top flight of English football). Since then, numerous attempts to return to the Barclays Premier League have been unsuccessful, including a play-off final hosted at Wembley in 2009.

Speaking after today's game, a downhearted Micky Adams remarked: "I'm obviously devastated. There's a lot of disappointed players in the changing rooms today and I think they have every right to be disappointed. The team's a genuine hard-working group but they've just not been good enough. We have to share responsibility and I'll take mine".

Adams admitted he "can't say" whether he will still be in charge next season, though was adamant that he "wants to be the manager who brings them [United] back".

United will play in the Npower League 1 for the 2011/12 football season. As this was not Sheffield's last game of the campaign, the club could still move down to 23rd place, but cannot achieve a place outside the relegation zone.

Perhaps ironically, this event comes almost a year after cross-city rivals Sheffield Wednesday were relegated from the same division, meaning that next season will host the first Steel City Derby in the third tier of English football since 1980.