Not many Premier League survival races can boast the drama that the 2006/07 campaign conveyed.
Sheffield United, Wigan Athletic and West Ham United were all at risk of being relegated on the final day of the season with two of the sides facing each other.
A moment in time – Sheffield United, 2007
The Blades were playing their first season in the top flight for 13 years and had put themselves in the position where a victory over the Latics at Bramall Lane would definitely see them avoid the drop. However, a draw or a loss for Neil Warnock’s side would give West Ham the chance of securing survival if they could beat champions Manchester United at Old Trafford.
A poor start to the game saw the Blades fall behind to a goal from Paul Scharner yet Jon Stead’s header pulled them level before they fell behind again via a penalty from former player David Unsworth.
With United trailing at half-time, news filtered through to Sheffield that Carlos Tevez had given the Irons the lead against the Red Devils, meaning that the home side needed to score again to relegate Wigan who had entered the fixture on 35 points but with a better goal difference.
One of the most frantic second half’s you are ever likely to see ensued with Danny Webber hitting the post for the Blades before Lee McCulloch was sent off for the Latics. Warnock’s side continued to pile on the pressure yet they couldn’t break down their opponents. Their relegation was confirmed moments after the final whistle as West Ham held on to record an unlikely victory.
However, the Irons’ survival was shrouded by controversy due to the nature of their purchase of Tevez, who had been instrumental for the club since joining in January. According to The Independent, the club had to pay £18m in compensation to the Blades and were fined £5m after being found guilty of fielding the Argentine striker despite not owning him outright.
This would have been little consolation for the Yorkshire-based outfit who eventually fell all the way to League One before returning to the Championship with Chris Wilder in 2017. In contrast, West Ham United have now established themselves as an attractive Premier League outfit thanks largely to the fact to their move to the London Stadium three years ago.
Nevertheless, the two sides could resume their rivalry next season if United achieve promotion to the top flight, which would be their first season at that level since their infamous relegation 12 years ago.
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