Saints Fans Finally Get The Chance To Thank Billy Sharp !
Thursday, 12th Sep 2019 12:10
Billy Sharp played a vital role in firing Saints back to the Premier League in 2012, his reward was to be forced out of the club to make way for Emmanuel Mayuka, now Saints fans get the chance say thank you on Saturday.
On Saturday hopefully Billy Sharp will play some part for Sheffield United and give Saints supporters the opportunity to thank him for his contribution to the club even though it was for only a short period.
He signed for the club in January 2012 from Doncaster Rovers and had put a dent in our promotion campaign earlier in the season when he scored the only goal in our defeat up in Yorkshire.
But he more than repaid that after signing, scoring on his home debut against Burnley and also netting both when his old club visited and were defeated 2-0.
But it was in the final 8 games that he really found the net, as Rickie Lambert faltered slightly only scoring three times, both in a 2-0 win at Palace and a consolation goal as eventual Champions Reading beat us 3-1 at St Mary's, Billy came into his own, scoring 8 goals.
He scored in 5 of those last 8 games, including two as mentioned against Doncaster, then both in a 2-2 with Pompey at St Mary's and another brace in a 3-1 win at Peterborough, a consolation at Middlesbrough and finally soothing the final day nerves with an early goal against Coventry.
Those 5 goals in the run in made a five point difference in those final games and kept our noses in front of West Ham as it looked like we may falter and be caught.
Billy's reward was to be forced out of the club by then Chairman Nicola Cortese, at 26 years old he should have been at the peak of his career and looking forward to a crack at the Premier League, but Nigel Adkins was already at odds with Cortese who anted Sharp out so he could strangely bring in Emmanuel Mayuka.
Billy's chance in the Premier League for Saints amounted to 4 minutes in the opening game at Manchester City, a game in which Guly started with both Sharp and Rickie Lambert on the bench and a further 14 minutes at home against Wigan, Guly starting again.
His final game at the club came in the League cup at Stevenage when he scored in a 4-1 win.
Driving him out of the club made no sense, he was an impact player he could have made a difference, Mayuka signed for £3 million started 1 game that season plus another 10 off the bench and failed to find the net and looked awful, he would only play another 4 games as sub in the following season, he never scored a Premier League goal for the club before leaving for Metz in 2015 on a free transfer, why he was signed against the wishes of Nigel Adkins we will never know, ultimately though, like Guly's arrival two years earlier, it signalled the beginning of the end for a Saints manager.
The 700 or so Saints supporters present might have thought that this might be the start of a flourish for Billy in the Premier League, but by the Saturday he was playing for Nottingham Forest on loan where he would spend the rest of that season and then the next he was loaned out again firstly to Reading and then to Doncaster, he would never play for the club again before being sold permanently to Leeds in the summer of 2014.
The treatment of Billy after the goals he had scored for the club was shameful and Saints supporters never really got the chance to say goodbye back in 2012, so hopefully we can rectify that on Saturday at Sheffield United, the travelling supporters can hearily applaud him and perhaps even chant his name.
Without Billy Sharp joining Saints in January of 2011/12 season we would almost certainly have not made automatic promotion and as we know the play offs are a lottery, his was perhaps not the greatest contribution in terms of games played, but it was in perhaps the impact he had in that final run in.
It has been great to see Billy back in the Premier League and great to see him score a goal as he did equalising against Bournemouth on the opening day, hopefully he doesn't score on Saturday, but I like many other Saints fans in our Promotions season appreciate what he did.
Not bad for a fat lat from Sheffield as he once described himself.
Photo: Action Images
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