Sheffield United’s Chris Basham eager for a second bite at the big time

CHRIS BASHAM believes the tough routes to the top undertaken by several in the Sheffield United squad will provide extra fuel to the club’s attempts to stay in the Premier League.

Sheffield United's Chris Basham (left) in action during the pre-season friendly match at Oakwell, Barnsley. (Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire)
Sheffield United's Chris Basham (left) in action during the pre-season friendly match at Oakwell, Barnsley. (Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire)

The Blades head to Bournemouth on Saturday looking to lay down an early marker following promotion.

For Basham, the trip to the south coast will be the latest step on a remarkable journey. It has taken him from being rejected by Newcastle United as a teenager to a short stint working in McDonald’s and then reaching the top flight with Bolton Wanderers only to – by his own admission – not do himself justice.

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“The togetherness comes from the background we have come from,” said Basham. “From non-League to League Two and upwards. We all have our own story and that hunger drives us on. We all just want to prove ourselves and do right by this football club.”

Sheffield United's Chris Basham (left) and Burton Albion's Lucas Akins battle for the ball in pre-season (Picture: PA)

Basham’s return to the Premier League after almost a decade away has come via hard work and perseverance – qualities United will need in abundance now back among the elite.

“I went back to the restaurant recently,” said the 31-year-old, who after being released by Newcastle went to work in the Gateshead branch of McDonald’s.

“It had all massively changed, that is what McDonald’s is all about. They get people in and then get them out. But it gives you experience as to how things work in the real world.

“Ten-hour days are really hard. It is much better being finished at about 2pm these days.

“I could never have thought life would work out like this. Not even reaching Championship football, if I am honest.

“I was in non-League but here I am playing football as a professional and as a living. It is unbelievable.”

Basham bounced back from that rejection by Newcastle to play 19 times for Bolton in the top flight only to then slip down the leagues to Blackpool and then Blades, who he joined in 2014.

“I didn’t really do myself justice at Bolton,” he said. “That is why I was so emotional (when United went up). It is hard as a young kid. That is why you do not have many appearances until you are 21-22 and you have made that step up.

“I am at a club where I have played more than 200 appearances, know the structure and I want to keep doing my bit.”