The ungainly jig of joy offered up by West Ham's new owner, Eggert Magnusson, at what proved to be the decisive goal in this match was vivid testament to his enthusiasm for the game. The task now for the club's admirable manager, Alan Pardew, is to ensure he and his prospective chairman are dancing the same steps.
The Icelander is a longstanding Uefa delegate and, perhaps even more to the point, a former professional player who still likes to turn out competitively two or three times a week. After the long period of uncertainty, the West Ham manager is clearly relieved to be working with a man who so transparently loves his football.
But there were signs after a vital win that lifted West Ham away from the worst of the relegation scramble that Magnusson and Pardew urgently need to compare notes. The new man has already been talking about earning a Champions' League place within the next three or four years, and yesterday he spoke enthusiastically of signing the Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips. "Alan has told me he has already asked Chelsea about him," Magnusson said. "It came out of Chelsea that we have shown an interest, but it has not gone any further. I know Peter Kenyon well and I think we will sit down and try and find the right fee, whatever that might be."
But Pardew said: "It was not actually true that we made an offer. They have said that we had made an enquiry. It's a bit unusual. That's all I'm going to say."
Pardew was also cautious about embracing Magnusson's vision of a Champions' League future. "It's great to hear that enthusiasm, but to get there in three or four years, that's quite a tall order," Pardew said. "If you look at my managerial career you'll see I've gone about it in quite a methodical manner."
The West Ham manager is keen for the players who have served the club so well in recent seasons not to be upset by a blaze of speculation over which new players will now be arriving in the January transfer window. And that includes the Argentine pair foisted upon him by Kia Joorabchian.
Carlos Tevez, fit and now starting to fit in after injury, received a well-deserved ovation as he was substituted in the 65th minute - although he still appears to lack pace. The Argentine spoilt the effect, however, by going straight home afterwards - to his London home, that is.
Pardew was exasperated, pointing out that he felt Tevez had played well but had then shown a lack of respect by disappearing. The Argentine, according to his manager, will have to give "a big explanation" today.
"He didn't give me a chance to tell him why I subbed him," Pardew said, adding that he had done so for tactical reasons following the loss of the centre-back Danny Gabbidon with a strained hamstring, bringing Teddy Sheringham on to add more height to the side against opponents who are always powerful in the air.
Today's discussion with Tevez - with the help of an interpreter - could prove interesting. But Pardew insists he has no immediate plans to offload either his tempestuous forward or his international midfield colleague Javier Mascherano, whose place in the team has been reclaimed emphatically by Saturday's goalscorer Hayden Mullins, who has just signed a four-year contract. "I would be happy to keep them both," the manager said. We will see.
His counterpart, Neil Warnock, performed a series of his own little jigs during a match where he was frequently enraged by the referee's decisions - on some occasions, justifiably. Having seen his side fall behind to the same corner routine that earned West Ham an earlier victory over Blackburn - Mullins coming in late on to Anton Ferdinand's near-post flicked header from a corner - Warnock vented his spleen as an equaliser in the fourth minute of injury time by Rob Kozluk was disallowed after Mike Riley ruled that Derek Geary - 5ft 6in - had fouled West Ham's keeper Robert Green - 6ft 3in - and caused him to spill the ball. Possible. But harsh. That's how it is when you're struggling.
Goal: Mullins (36) 1-0.
West Ham United (4-4-2) : Green ; Spector, Ferdinand, Gabbidon (McCartney, 63), Konchesky; Bowyer, Reo-Coker, Mullins, Etherington; Tevez (Sheringham, 65), Zamora (Harewood, 72). Substitutes not used: Kiraly (gk), Benayoun.
Sheffield United (4-5-1): Kenny; Geary, Jagielka, Davis, Kozluk ; Gillespie (Kazim-Richards, 76), Law, Montgomery (Nade, 58), Leigertwood, Quinn (Kabba, 58); Hulse. Substitutes not used: Bromby, Morgan.
Referee: M Riley.
Booked: West Ham: Mullins. Sheffield Utd: Montgomery, Gillespie, Kozluk.
Man of the match: Ferdinand.
Attendance: 34,454.Reuse content