Retro Football: Sheffield United Boss Dave Bassett Defends ‘Monstrous’ Tactics In Letter To Local Journalist, 1995 (Photo)

Chris Wright

27th, November 2015



Photo: Dave Cannon/Allsport

Here’s a cracking little curio from the archives concerning Dave ‘Harry’ Bassett (a Proper Football Man™ if ever there were) and the “monstrous” tactics he employed to get results while in charge at Sheffield United in the mid-1990s.

The yarn starts with a particularly sour article published in the Liverpool Echo on 8th March, 1995 – a match report to be precise – following the Blades’ 2-0 win over Tranmere at Bramall Lane in the old First Division.

Here’s how the report originally appeared…


Echo reporter Hyder Jawad goes in hard on Bassett and his players, complaining that Tranmere were subjected to a “bruising” and “unattractive” battery after describing United’s long-ball approach as a “tactical monstrosity”.

He further accused Bassett’s side of “applying their own interpretation of the laws of football” with their relentless “over-acting and time-wasting”.

It’s strong stuff. However, what really stuck in Harry’s craw was Jawad’s assertion in the opening paragraph that Blades legend Tony Currie had been fobbed off with a “menial job” at Bramall Lane in return for his years of loyal service – with his lowly duties including writing signs for the toilet doors and such.

Here’s Harry’s brilliantly brusque rebuttal, issued formally on official club stationery…

dave-bassett-sheff-utd-long-ball-tactics2 dave-bassett-sheff-utd-long-ball-tactics3

Jose Mourinho’s petty press conference quibbles start to pale in comparison, don’t they?

(Scans via)

Posted in Football League, Managers, Newsnow, Photos, Retro

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  1. Hyder Jawad says:

    Wow! This takes me back. And, yes, Bassett is most certainly a “proper football man”. Later on, I had a laugh with Bassett over this incident. Probably not my finest moment but great to read the passions here.

  2. Chris Wright says:

    Thanks for getting in touch Hyder. Much appreciated. Glad everything was smoothed out in the end!

  3. Dave Bassett says:

    I don’t remember ever having a laugh with you Hyder, looks like you’re still fabricating nonsense in the media!

    • Hyder Jawad says:

      But it’s true, Dave. Promise. Villa Park. Press room. At the bar where they distributed the food to journalists. About eight or nine years ago. I introduced myself to you. You remembered your letter, and my report (obviously), and you laughed about it. You even shook my hand.

  4. Dave Bassett says:

    Looking back I do remember telling somebody to fuck off. Perhaps it was you.

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