Story and photo: Brent Moya
Twenty-four months after moving to Scunthorpe, Billy Sharp has sealed his return to Sheffield United. I caught up with the free scoring forward to hear about his future plans and growing up in Burngreave.
Sharp was brought up in Burngreave and attended Byron Wood Primary School and Ecclesfield Comprehensive.
“My happiest memory is playing football on Edgar Street. Alan Shearer was my childhood idol,” reminisced Sharp.
As a youngster he played for Under 8 Middlewood Rovers before attending the Rotherham United School of Excellence, before signing for Sheffield United as a School boy in 2002, progressing through the academy.
He made 2 appearances for the first team but was sold to Scunthorpe for £100k in 2005. Billy soon became a fans’ favourite at Glanford Park, netting 24 times during his first season with the League One outfit.
Sharp led his team to promotion into the Coca Cola Championship with a 31 goal haul during 2006/07. In all he scored 56 goals in 95 games during his 2 seasons with the Iron. His goal scoring exploits led to predictable interest from a number of clubs who made their interest known at the season’s end.
Whilst the prospect of working under his former charge Brian Laws was appealing, the chance of a dream return to his boy-hood club proved too tempting
“I grew up at Sheffield United and want to be a hero for them,”
Ultimately it was The Blades who stole a march on their rivals by re-signing the lifelong Blades fan for a fee of around £2 million. Sharp will wear the number 24 shirt next season.
His experience is impressive for such a young player, scoring his first hat-trick while on loan at Rushden & Diamonds in 2005 and winning promotion with Scunthorpe last season are his career highs.
“I haven’t had any lows yet – touch wood!”
Looking ahead to the steel city derby later on in the season, Billy said
“It’s the first fixture I looked for – United will obviously win!” adding, “We’ve a great chance of winning promotion having kept a strong squad from last year”.
He recently attended a presentation night for Earl Marshall Juniors F.C.
“It’s nice to put something back into the community and see a smile on kids faces.”
“My ambition is to play at the highest level (The Premiership), I owe it all to my mum and dad – they have been my biggest influence.”
He has this advice for young players keen to follow in his footsteps;
“Work as hard as you can, keep your feet on the ground and most importantly enjoy playing football