Sheffield United's top 30 players - number 30

Welcome to HITC Sport's run down of Sheffield United's top 30 players ever, beginning with James Beattie.

James Beattie became and still remains Sheffield United's most expensive ever recruit.

When the former Southampton and Everton striker arrived at Bramall Lane for £4m, as reported by the BBC, his task was to fire the Blades back from whence they came - the Premier League.

Beattie, who had five caps for England, certainly did his bit, scoring 22 goals from 41 Championship appearances in his debut season - one a 30-yard free-kick to equalise against city rivals Wednesday - but United, despite recovering from a prolonged hangover, ended the campaign in ninth.

The goals continued into 2008-09 and whether from open play, a set piece or even the penalty spot, they were rarely short of emphatic. His spot-kick technique - a slow saunter towards the D, followed by a 180-degree spin and sprint back to the ball, like an aeroplane transitioning between taxiing and take-off - was particularly endearing.

Unfortunately, the Blades were unable to match Beattie's talents collectively, and he was sold to Stoke City in January 2009 for £3.5m, as reported by the Telegraph, having scored 12 times in 24 appearances during his second season.

Following spells at Rangers and Blackpool, Beattie returned to the Lane in November 2011, but was unable to hoist United out of League One.

Nevertheless, the now 38-year-old was a class above during his first spell in S2 and almost certainly arrived a year too late.

James Beattie stats

Sheffield United appearances: 84

Sheffield United goals: 34

International career

Caps: 5

Goals: 0

Other clubs: Blackburn Rovers, Southampton, Everton, Stoke City, Rangers, Blackpool, Accrington Stanley

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