... The Blades had finished the seasons end eighth in the Coca-Cola Championship and only five points behind the play-off pack – a late surge to towards the end of the season gave a glimmer of hope for the united faithful but it wasn’t to be.
Many fans would argue that a poor relation in terms of tactics were to blame for the demise of not finish in a respectable place whilst others suggest that injuries were at fault – after all at one part of the campaign boss Kevin Blackwell could list an entire Injured XI with what turned out to be a slim squad.
Due to those injuries loan players were drafted in and subsequently the club went over budget on wage demands, leaving a cost
Following the season’s finale Mr. Blackwell allowed several players to leave on free transfers after their contracts had ended; Jonathan Fortune, James Harper, Glen Little, Derek Geary, Sam Wedgbury, Justin Haber, Liban Abdi, Henri Camara and Ian Bennett.
Nick Montgomery and Gary Naysmith were also to see their contracts end in the summer but both held further negotiations; midfielder Montgomery would sign a new contract whilst former Scotland international defender Naysmith would reject a deal and move to Huddersfield Town instead.
Meanwhile Jordan Stewart (Skoda Xanthi) would leave the Lane for pastures new and keeper Paddy Kenny would controversially be sold for £750,000 to Championship rivals Queens Park Rangers. Kenny missed all but two fixtures of the 2009/10 season due to suspension after proving positive for taking an illegal drug.
The sale of Kenny meant that at that time the Blades only had one shot stopper on their books; Estonian Mihkel Aksalu.
New recruits were soon drafted in, defender Johannes Ertl (Crystal Palace) was the first to sign and were quickly joined by Maltese striker Daniel Bogdanovic (Barnsley) and Leon Britton (Swansea City) on free transfers after their contracts had ended by their respected clubs.
The football fixtures were eagerly anticipated by the football World in the middle of the month with Sheffield United being disappointingly handed an away day at Cardiff City on the opening day and a return trip to Wales (Swansea City) on the final day also. On Boxing Day United would face Hull City and in an unusual occurrence Barnsley would form a South Yorkshire derby for our final home fixture of the campaign – maybe it would spark a promotion party?
Blades-Mad would also be handed the rights to publish the fixtures in full; though a day prior to the release the Blades would be drawn away at Hartlepool United in the first round of the League Cup.
Towards the end of the month Kevin Blackwell saw a number of players join on trial; most notably former full-back Robert Kozluk (Barnsley) and Tom Williams (Peterborough United) who had both been released by their respected clubs.
They also took on board three unknown foreign based players; French, Belgian and Spanish nationality – whilst no names were mentioned at the time it was understood that the Spaniard had featured over 70 times for Athletico Madrid.