Neil Warnock: It may be long overdue but it's justice – of sorts
Our columnist and the then manager of Sheffield United welcomes the verdict
Wednesday 24 September 2008
I'm delighted three independent judges have finally agreed the Sheffield United team I managed should never have been relegated. It's justice; belated justice, probably inadequate justice because you can't turn the clock back, but still justice. I'm pleased for everybody involved, especially Kevin McCabe and the board who never gave up.
I gave evidence myself. West Ham's lawyers used my book against us and picked out passages where I said a referee had cost us here, or a mistake there, but the tribunal obviously agreed with me when I said that Carlos Tevez had been instrumental.
If the rules had been adhered to he would never had been playing for them, and without him West Ham would never have caught us. We got 38 points, good enough to keep us up in a normal season. But the Premier League just wanted it settled quickly and then brushed under the carpet. I know West Ham got a record fine but if it had been a big club in jeopardy, not Sheffield United, they would never have got away with a fine.
I think Richard Scudamore has to take at a good look himself, and his actions, and see if he did everything he should have.
Of course, it's a bit late now, for the players who, like myself, are back in the Championship, for the staff who had to move on. I can see why Sheffield United asked for £30m, that is one season's revenue from all activities, but the loss is probably much greater. We would obviously have stood a good chance of building on survival and establishing ourselves in the Premier League.
Instead the club lost that opportunity and myself and the players have relegation on the CV, even if it should have an asterisk alongside it.
This decision gives me a little bit of closure. It makes you feel better knowing the tribunal agree we were in the right, but you cannot replace being a Premier League manager.
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