Throughout his time at Sheffield United, Oli Norwood has split opinion amongst the supporters with his performances. Those who rate Norwood will point to him being the best distributor of the ball with his excellent passing range as he attempts to dictate games. But when you’re the one trying to dictate games, that’s when you find midfielder’s give the ball away, which is what those who don’t rate him will say. Along with his lack of speed to get away from people in the middle of the park.
Whatever your opinion of the midfielder, Sheffield United fans should be paying homage to his achievements in a red and white shirt. The now 32-year-old initially signed on loan from Brighton in August 2018. Since then, the former Northern Ireland international has gained two promotions to the Premier League with the Blades, making it his fourth promotion to the top-flight in total.
But did you know he was never on Sheffield United’s radar until deep into the summer transfer window?
Oli Norwood opened up about his frustrations with Brighton on the official Sheffield United podcast:
“They [Brighton] said if we get a couple million quid you can leave. They’re going on to bigger and better things – no problem – no issue with that. It got frustrating because I was living in a hotel down there with my wife and a newborn baby, and basically I wasn’t going to be involved. So I said just let me leave, I’ll take a pay cut. I’ve never been money orientated anyway.
“They said ‘we want this, we want that’. Right okay, but you don’t want me here. This is where football gets a bit murky because a club doesn’t want you, but then you can’t leave until they’re happy.”
A familiar face wanted Oli Norwood, the midfielder revealed Nigel Adkins, who was managing Hull City at the time were lining up a bid.
“Hull dithered all summer. ‘Yeah we’re gonna put the bid in’. It was Nigel Adkins. I’ve got nothing but respect for Nigel. He signed me at Reading and I enjoyed playing for him. They were going to put the bid in but it just kept getting later and later and later in the window. And I was going well: what is going on? I’m stuck in a hotel in Brighton and I’m waiting to drive home.
“It got to a point where my missus had drove home with the baby at the time. I went into Brighton on deadline day and they’re still messing about. It’s business at the end of the day. But I went in and basically said just rip my contract up, I’m ready to walk away, I can’t be doing with this anymore.”
Out of nowhere the Blades came calling, literally
“I didn’t realise at the time, the loan window, there was a two week extension back then.
“Completely out of the blue, Knilly rang me. The most random thing ever. He was like ‘what are you up to?’ I was like nothing. They’ve told me I can leave…but they don’t want to let me go. Hull have put an offer in, it’s not enough. Hull are just messing about.
“Would you come to Sheffield United? I said if you want me, of course I will. This is getting late into deadline day. Chris rang me: listen, don’t worry about it, we’re going to get it done.”
Since that phone call, Oli Norwood has cemented himself as a modern day Sheffield United legend. Making 230 appearances [Transfermarkt] for the club, scoring 10 goals and racking up 20 assists, and boasting two automatic promotions to the Premier League.