FA Cup: Blades Have The Hunger To Cause Wolves An Upset, Says Chris Basham

The defender has no doubts that upsetting Wolves would be a big step towards putting the Sheffield United back on the map
09:35, 09 Jan 2022

Chris Basham used to play football with painters and decorators. And the veteran defender even worked at McDonalds before his career took off in incredible fashion.

But the Sheffield United ace has come a long way since his Stafford Rangers days - and now he wants to get the club back to the promised land. Basham was one of the Blades’ outstanding performers in their first season back in the top flight. The reliable defender played in every game for the club as they finished ninth and came within a whisker of qualifying for Europe.

The club have since been relegated back into the Championship after two seasons in the Premier League, but under new boss Paul Heckingbottom they have lofty aspirations. And Basham has no doubts upsetting Wolves in the FA Cup at Molineux today (Sunday), would be a big step towards putting the South Yorkshire outfit back on the map.

“We’ve only just gone down last season, so we’re hungry to perform against Premier League opposition,” stressed Basham, now in his eighth season with the Blades.

“Putting the stamp down in the last few games has been great. I’ve seen a hunger in the side. There’s a determination to keep clean sheets and win football matches.

“Can we perform on the big stage come Sunday, well I hope so! It’s going to be a tough game, but there’s a hunger about us and a hunger from the manager for us to do well.

“Hopefully we can beat Premier League opposition and get in the hat for the next round. 

“The lads want to play against Premier League sides and play against the best in the world.

“They’ve [Wolves] just beaten Manchester United, so they’ll be thinking they’ve got a chance of silverware this season.”

Having been released by boyhood club Newcastle United when he was 16, the teenager worked in a McDonalds to make ends meet.And after resurrecting his career at Bolton Wanderers he quickly found himself on loan at semi-professional outfit Stafford Rangers.

“I had to clean my own boots at Stafford and, to be fair, I had to do that at Blackpool as well,” reflected Basham, now the Blades’ longest-serving player with over 300 appearances under his belt.

“I signed for Blackpool when they were in the Premier League and I thought it would all be luxury, but it was really tough to play there.

“When I was at Stafford Rangers it was one them where you’d train with the team on a Friday night and on a Saturday we’d just turn up and play games.

“I was making mates with lads who were painters and decorators. They were coming to games in their overalls, so that was a shock to the system.

“But from being at Bolton and playing with Nicholas Anelka, to going to Stafford Rangers and playing with a gas-fitter and an engineer was a bit weird.

“But it was a great learning curve, just like when I was at Rochdale. We got to the play-offs and Keith Hill was a demanding manager. 

“He was not scared to tell me if I was not doing right, but would also out an arm round you if you needed it.”

And what about his days serving Big Macs and fries to paying punters to earn a few quid?

“I got released from Newcastle when I was 16 and then I had two years at Gateshead College,” admitted Basham.

“I basically needed to get myself out and about for work. About five miles from the college there was a McDonald’s. I had a little moped and I used to drive there and pick up my money from doing night-time shifts.

“I just learnt a lot about industry and it’s proved to be a really good thing because it’s shown me how to live my life. It’s shown me to have respect for everybody.

“It shows you can work for something and still have that dream at the end of it as well.

“It makes you feel how privileged you are to have that dream having been around the block.

“I still drive through that McDonalds now and there’s still the same staff working there. I’m the one playing in the Premier League, but it’s still nice to say hello.”

Sheffield United are 5/1 to beat Wolves with Betfred*

Basham revealed he has chatted with new Heckingbottom about a new contract at Bramall Lane and the 33-year-old is confident the club have the ability to get back to the top flight if they start fulfilling their potential.

“I’m buzzing about the place and the way things are going,” added Basham.

“There’s only one aim for this football club – and that’s to get back to the Premier League.

“Yes we’ve had a stuttering start, but there’s always been that aim there and hopefully we can produce that again.

“I’m enjoying playing more regularly. Hopefully things will happen in the next few weeks with my deal, the club have always backed me.

“I’ve been here eight years, so why would I want it to end? The manager wants me to stay and so do I.

“When my time’s up and I’m not performing on the football pitch, well then that’s when I’ll have to be honest with myself and with the club. 

“But I don’t think it’s time to step away, I still feel as though I’m at the top of my game.”

*18+ | BeGambleAware

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