The last time Sheffield United were a Premier League club, Fernando Alonso was Formula One World Champion and Mika was topping the UK Singles Chart.
2007 ultimately proved to a year of heartbreak for the Blades as they were relegated to the second tier yet for one of their players, it would be the beginning of an illustrious career in the top flight.
Phil Jagielka joined United’s academy at the age of 15 and quickly made his way through the youth ranks at Firshill Crescent before making his Bramall Lane bow in 2000 against Swindon Town. After a season where he only made sporadic appearances for the club, the defender began to establish himself as a regular for the Blades over a four year period where they remained in the Championship.
Although the club threatened to achieve promotion on several occasions under the guidance of Neil Warnock, it wasn’t until the 2005/06 season that they took the step that was necessary for them to achieve their goal of Premier League football. With Jagielka at the back, United were unflappable throughout the campaign and secured a second-placed finish behind runaway leaders Reading who won the league with a remarkable total of 106 points.
Back in the top flight for the first time in 13 years, the Blades would ultimately come up short in their battle for survival with both West Ham United and Wigan Athletic finishing above them yet for Jagielka, it was a superb individual campaign. Not only did he play in every single league game for his side but he also made an incredible cameo appearance in goal against Arsenal. After Paddy Kenny limped off with an injury, the defender had to go in goal against the Gunners and to the amazement of the club’s supporters, managed to keep a clean sheet as United prevailed 1-0.
Jagielka’s run of 133 appearances for the club was eventually brought to an end when David Moyes decided to sign him for Everton for a fee reported to be in the region of £4m. A good start to life at Goodison Park saw him claim a permanent place in the starting eleven for the next eleven seasons as he became popular amongst Toffees fans. Although the 36-year-old has failed to win a major trophy during his time at Everton, Jagielka’s longevity will be remembered by followers of the Premier League as he is one of only a few players to make of 300 appearances in the competition.
With Marco Silva now in charge of the Toffees, the defender has been used sparingly yet he has not made any plans to retire just yet.
This means that if Sheffield United do indeed secure promotion to the top flight in May, they could re-unite with Jagielka next season which could provide a fitting end to the former England international’s distinguished career.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience