*Please note change of date from 8th to 13th May* Come and support your local team in the Meadowhall Cup Final at Bramall Lane on Tuesday 13th May! Kick off is at 7.30pm and tickets are a bargain £3 (£2 concessions) from FURD in advance or £4 on the night (Cherry Street/South Stand entrance).
Dreams will come true for a multicultural Sheffield football team when they run out at Bramall Lane on 13th May.
Sharrow United was founded eight years ago just a goal kick from Sheffield United’s ground.
The team was put together by three Asian teenagers who walked into the nearby Football Unites Racism Divides office and announced they wanted to form a team. The side quickly grew to represent Sharrow’s diverse community.
Now the Meadowhall League Division One side includes players from Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kosovo, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, and of course Sharrow.
After seven successful seasons, in which the side has climbed up the leagues, Sharrow are within touching distance of a piece of major silverware.
On the evening of May 13th they’ll run out at Bramall Lane against Wadsley Bridge in the Meadowhall Cup Final.
“They’re a really strong team now,” says Howard Holmes, coordinator at Football Unites.
“They’re a shining example of the undiscovered talent amongst under-represented groups in the city, particularly the Asian players. Although there are virtually no Asian players at professional level, some of the lads in the team are among the best players in adult Sheffield football.”
Secretary Kevin Titterton says the team are ‘really up for the final’ and explains how the lads have had to fight their way up from the lower leagues.
Playing mainly against pub teams in the lower divisions, the speed, skill and athleticism of the young Sharrow players meant that opponents resorted to kicking, tripping and punching in a desperate attempt to compete.
Racial abuse often followed and scuffles took place - on three occasions referees had to abandon games.
“There was some trouble in the early matches because a lot of the people either playing or spectating were, well, racist.
“It’s not so bad now because these lads have changed people’s perceptions. They’ve proved Asians can play football and they’re respected for it. We’ve let the football do the talking.
“The cup final means a lot to us. Some of the lads have overcome suffering in their homelands and some, like me and the coach Keith Ward, are from Sharrow.
“We’re running out at Bramall Lane representing Sharrow and that’s the stuff of dreams.”
Despite the early difficulties the team flourished and has had plenty of white players over the years as well as Sharrow-born players, asylum seekers and refugees.
All agree football has turned around their lives.
“Most of the lads are United fans too so that makes playing at Bramall Lane even more special.”
Sharrow clinched their place in the final after they fought back from 2-0 down to beat premier league side Crosspool 3-2 in extra time.