Brian Deane: The story of the first Premier League goal
In a career with a plethora of nightclubs, Brian Deane felt over 200 senior goals – but he is chiefly remembered for one.
“People come and remind me and it is a fantastic feeling, I’m not going to lie,” he says. “Every now and again somebody comes out with a limited edition print and asks me to register it. And I ask if I could have a single!”
He did not understand it at the time but in 3.05pm August 15, 1992,” Deane left history. The Sheffield United striker’s early goal in their opening match of the season against Manchester United was the very first to be scored from the Premier League. Their 2-1 triumph at Bramall Lane that afternoon kicked off a remarkable, roller-coaster year for the Blades as they fought to retain their place in the national game’s elite fresh contest.
Manager Dave Bassett had made something of a’Harry Houdini’ reputation by maintaining United in the old First Division . Despite failing to win a match before just before Christmas, in 1990/91 they survived.
“Most of these players didn’t see themselves playing for the top groups but they were pulling together,” said Bassett. “My job was to be sure we stayed focused and didn’t let the setbacks affect us too much.”
Lacking the capital to invest in the team Bassett sought different strategies of getting the most. Exercises like paintball games and military assault courses were among his procedures.
“We had to get those little percentages that nobody else was thinking about,” Deane said. “When we began doing strength conditioning function, psychology and nutrition I do not think there was anyone else doing this at the time everybody was relying upon pure capability.”
A illustration of United thinking beyond the box was to maintain their annual Christmas celebration – only days before the beginning of the initial Premier League effort.
“Our physio Derek French, that was a right personality, proposed that we’re a team which were much better after Christmas,” Bassett recalled. “He said’why not we kid the gamers that Christmas is in August? They will not know any different and we could begin and roar .'”
Regardless of the merits of the tinsel and greens, the response in their opening match was positive. In the record books Deane had secured his position after just five minutes, heading the extended throw-in of Carl Bradshaw ago Peter Schmeichel.
“We had already planned what we’re likely to do in the last third using throw-ins,” Deane said. “My job was to get across my guardian, which I really did. And it worked flawlessly.”
A second from Deane in the penalty spot was shown to be critical despite Mark Hughes. So far it is that the Blades’ only win in six Premier League meetings with Manchester United.
It’d be another long period for Sheffield United. Six weeks 12, when they lost the return game at Old Trafford they had been awakened the table.
“We were bottom and we played Middlesbrough, it turned out to be a must-win game,” Bassett added. “We won 2-0. There have been several groups – Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, Ipswich – that were in that scenario as well so it we were in our very own miniature league”
An upturn in their group form coincided with an FA Cup run which required them to Wembley.
“Wednesday on the afternoon were better than people,” Bassett declared. “Chris Waddle felt a gorgeous free-kick, Alan Cork got us back in it but too a lot of our players had dwelt the moment, lived playing at Wembley, and their energy had gone”
Tragedy overshadowed the cup run. Goalkeeper Mel Rees, signed by Bassett near the end of the previous season, lost his battle with cancer at the age of 26. His public appearance was to walk the Wembley pitch around before the semi-final.
“This was one of those team-mates who was going through this horrific situation,” Deane said. “You believe these things do not touch you, but they do. And when you see it’s one of the team-mates that’s when it really comes home.”
Five wins in their final nine games made sure that United remained for the following season in the Premier League. The team of chris Wilder are currently targeting an identical objective.
“Chris was managed by Dave Bassett, he’ll know about man-management,” says Deane. “Those men are there because they must be there and if you look at the way they play that they have a fashion that’s extremely hard to play against.”
“They are relishing it, you can view it,” added Bassett. “It was similar to the Wimbledon group which came into the top branch. Gamers grow into it all of a sudden you begin to realise and they realise – that if they’re good enough they will endure.”
The last time the Blades lived at this degree they beat against Manchester United.
Is history going when they confront United on Sunday to be replicated?
Sheffield United vs Manchester United is live on Renault Super Sunday from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm. Sky Sports customers can watch clips that are in-game from the live match blog about program and the Sky Sports site.
Highlights will also be released on the Sky Sports platforms along with the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly following the final whistle.