Sheffield United Football Club participated in League One, the third level of English football, during the 2013–14 season, after losing in the previous season's play-off semi final. The club appointed a new manager, former Scotland internationalDavid Weir, saw a new co-owner arrive in the form of Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and signed an influx of new players during the summer transfer window. Despite this the team saw a very poor start to the season, winning only one of their opening thirteen fixtures. This run of results saw David Weir depart the club to be replaced by former England International and former Derby County manager Nigel Clough. Despite beginning to improve performances on the pitch, United remained in relegation trouble into January, but then embarked on a lengthy run of form that would eventually see them finish in seventh in the table. Having been knocked out in the early rounds of both the League Cup and League Trophy, United enjoyed a lengthy run in the FA Cup, eventually reaching the competitions semi-final where they were narrowly beaten by Hull City.
United had spent the previous season challenging for promotion from League One under manager Danny Wilson. Despite spending much of the season in the automatic promotion positions, the team's home form was poor, winning only nine games all season. With results declining, United sacked manager Wilson in April, replacing him with coach Chris Morgan but this wasn't enough to change their fortunes and the side finished the season fifth. United met Yeovil Town in the play-offs semi-final but lost 2–1 on aggregate and were consigned to spend a third consecutive season in League One.
At the end of July, United unveiled new home and away kits for the following season. Produced by Macron, the home kit maintained the clubs traditional red and white stripes, albeit with the addition of a solid red panel across the shoulders and neck. The away kit was a complete change from previous seasons, consisting of an all yellow shirt with green trim plus green socks and shorts. The club also announced that the home kit would be sponsored by Spanish video game developer VSports, and the away kit would bear the logo of Chinese real estate company Top Spring. The following day the club also announced a new secondary shirt sponsor, with the logo for video game Football Manager appearing on the back of both the home and away shirts for the following season. In September United announced a secondary sponsor, with mobile phone distributor Shebang's logo appearing on the shorts of both the home and away kit.
Unlike the previous three years, Sheffield United opted not to undertake a pre-season tour of Malta; instead preferring a short trip to Scotland for three matches, before returning to England for a trio of friendlies against League Two sides. At the start of June Barry Robson agreed a deal with Scottish Premier League club Aberdeen, signalling his departure from Bramall Lane. Later that week youth Team coach and former assistant manager, David Unsworth, was given permission by United to speak with Kilmarnock about their vacant managerial position, but rejected the approach.
At the start of July Weir added to his backroom staff by appointing former Everton team mate Lee Carsley to the position of "Assistant Manager – Technical". United opened their tour of Scotland with a 1–0 win over Greenock Morton thanks to a goal from Chris Porter, before a second Porter goal in as many games helped United to a 1–1 draw with Cowdenbeath a few days later. Despite the club having only recently extended his contract, Jordan Chapell was joined Torquay United on a free transfer on 9 July, agreeing a 2-year deal with the south coast club. United then completed their Scotland tour with a 2–1 victory over Raith Rovers. Returning south of the border, United next faced and away trip to Bury where they had to come from behind to register a 3–1 victory at Gigg Lane. The following week Richard Cresswell was allowed to leave on a free transfer, signing a one-year deal with York City, followed by United signing Falkirk striker Lyle Taylor for an undisclosed fee. Taylor made his first appearance for United in a friendly at Mansfield Town the following weekend, helping the Blades to a 1–0 victory thanks to a goal from Fabien Brandy. On 22 July United continued to revamp their squad by signing Conor Coady on a six-month loan from Liverpool, before a strong United side headed to Alfreton Town the same evening, registering a 1–0 victory. United completed their pre-season fixture list with two games in quick succession, holding Greek Superleague side Atromitos to a 2–2 draw at Bramall Lane on 26 July, and then registering a 1–1 draw with York City less than 24 hours later. With the pre-season schedule completed David Weir confirmed that Michael Doyle would remain as Captain for the upcoming season.
August and September: The Prince of Bramall Lane
On the final day of the transfer window, United brought in young Belgian midfielder Florent Cuvelier from Stoke City on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee and centre-forward Harry Bunn on a one-month loan deal from Manchester City. The following day the club announced that Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad Al Saud, of the royal House of Saud and former President of Al-Hilal FC, had bought a 50% stake in United's parent company 'Blades Leisure Ltd' for the fee of £1 with the promise of providing "substantial new capital" with the aim of returning the Blades to the Premier League as "quickly as possible". The same evening, United reached the second round of the Football League Trophy, despite failing to score for the third game in succession, winning a penalty shoot out over Scunthorpe United after the game had finished 0–0. Back in league action United were again the losing side as they were beaten 3–1 by near neighbours Rotherham United. Later that week, youngster Elliott Whitehouse was allowed to join York City on a months loan to gain first team experience, before United's poor form continued as they slipped to a 1–0 defeat away at Carlisle United. With the side still struggling to score goals, United reached an agreement to bring in free agent Marlon King until the end of the season, quickly followed by winger Ryan Hall, who joined the Blades on a one-month loan from Leeds United. King and Hall both made their United debuts in the following game, a home fixture against Preston North End, but the Blades poor form continued as they fell to a 1–0 loss, their fifth consecutive defeat in the league and Preston's first victory at Bramall Lane since 1978. United ended the month with another defeat, this time a 2–0 away loss to Wolves.
October began with the arrival of defender Simon Lappin who signed on a 28-day loan from Cardiff City on 4 October, while Chris Porter was allowed to leave in a similar deal for a spell with Chesterfield, and young striker Harry Bunn extended his own loan spell with the Blades for a further month. Lappin made his debut that same night as United scored their first goal in nearly seven hours of football, when Marlon King netted to earn a 1–1 home draw with Crawley Town. Another loss followed, this time to League TwoHartlepool United in the Football League Trophy, a match during which David Weir was barracked by the home support. This was to prove Weir's last game in charge as he was sacked three days later. With the club's Under-21s coach Chris Morgan in temporary charge once more, United dropped to the bottom of the League One table as they were defeated 3–2 by Coventry City. With United still to appoint a permanent successor to David Weir, Mick Wadsworth was appointed as first team coach on a temporary basis to support Chris Morgan, and the pair guided United to only their second win of the season as they beat Port Vale 2–1 at Bramall Lane.Ryan Hall returned to Leeds United, only to be immediately suspended by his parent club for a breach of discipline, while Morgan and Wadsworth remained in charge as United held Peterborough United to a mid-week 0–0 draw at their London Road Stadium. This was to prove Morgan's last game in charge of the Blades as former Derby County manager Nigel Clough was appointed as David Weir's permanent successor on 23 October 2013. Clough's tenure got off to a winning start as his new charges comfortably beat Crewe Alexandra 3–1 at Bramall Lane, before Clough made his first signing for the Blades a few days later, with Leeds United defender Aidan White joining on loan until New Year's Day.
December started with the Blades progressing to the third round of the FA Cup with a 2–0 away win over Cambridge United thanks to goals from Jose Baxter and Jamie Murphy. With the academy leagues entering their winter breaks, United allowed a number of their academy prospects to undertake loans to local non-league sides over the Christmas period. In their next match, United recorded a 1–0 home victory against Swindon Town with Jose Baxter scoring his second goal in as many games. The club then announced further restructuring off the field, with Julian Winter leaving his position as chief executive, before being held to a draw on the field, in an away encounter with Stevenage. United entertained Oldham Athletic on Boxing Day and had to come from behind to register a 1–1 draw, before finishing the year with a 3–1 home victory over Tranmere Rovers.
With their scheduled mid-week league fixture called off due to a waterlogged pitch, the Blades next game was an away trip to Crewe Alexandra, where United's poor away form continued with a 3–0 defeat. United claimed another Premier League scalp in the FA Cup, thanks to a goal from Shaun Miller in the final minute of extra time, as the Blades recorded a 1–0 away victory over Fulham in their fourth round replay. Later that week Sean McGinty returned from his loan at Northampton Town, and Aaron Barry was allowed to leave United, and signed a permanent deal with Derry City in Northern Ireland. The following weekend saw United record a 2–0 home victory over fellow relegation strugglers Shrewsbury Town, marking their first league victory of the calendar year, with new signing Stefan Scougall scoring his first goal for the club. With the loan window re-opening, Joe Ironside joined Harrogate Town on a months loan, ahead of United's fifth-round FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest, which saw them progress to the quarter finals after a 3–1 home victory thanks to two goals in two minutes from late substitute Chris Porter. Nigel Clough continued to reshape his squad the following week by bringing in midfielder Ben Davies on loan from his former club Derby County on 19 February, with Davies agreeing to spend the remainder of the season at Bramall Lane. United finally began to climb the table, moving out of the relegation places, as they recorded back-to-back league wins, beating Gillingham 1–0 away from home, and then registering a comfortable 3–0 victory over Bristol City at Bramall Lane on 22 February. Academy product Jordan Hodder joined Buxton on a one-month youth loan to get some first team experience, and on 25 February Conor Coady had his loan deal extended until the end of the season. Later that evening, the Blades registered a 1–0 away victory over Colchester United, thanks to a late penalty from substitute Chris Porter.
The 'Legends of the Lane' at Bramall Lane to celebrate Sheffield United's 125 Birthday.
March started in a similar fashion, with a 1–0 away win at MK Dons with Stefan Scougall scoring the only goal. This was followed by a 2–0 home victory over Peterborough United on 4 March with goals from Porter and Davies, his first for the club. Later that week, with a number of the squad having picked up injuries and a busy fixture list ahead, Kieron Freeman joined United on a one-month loan from Derby County to act as defensive cover, before Nigel Clough was named as the League One 'Manager of the Month' the following day. Returning to FA Cup action, United booked their place in the semi-finals at Wembley Stadium after they beat Charlton Athletic 2–0 at Bramall Lane on 9 March. United played their third home game in a row three days later, and a 1–0 scoreline was enough to condemn Carlisle United to a league defeat, meaning the Blades had registered their tenth straight win in all competitions. United's winning run was halted in the next match however, as they were held to a goalless draw away at Preston North End. On 21 March Callum McFadzean joined Burton Albion on a one-month loan, while striker Shaun Miller joined Shrewsbury Town a day later, agreeing a loan until the end of the season. United's next league fixture was a gala fixture as the club celebrated 125 years since its formation, although the party was soured as Wolverhampton Wanderers inflicted the club's first defeat in eleven matches, winning 2–0 at Bramall Lane. After Elliott Whitehouse was allowed to join Alfreton Town on loan, United returned to winning ways with a 2–0 away victory over Crawley Town thanks to two goals from Conor Coady. On the deadline for loan deals, Sean McGinty joined Rochdale for the remainder of the season. March's final fixture saw United lose at Swindon Town, with a late goal condemning them to a 2–1 defeat.
April and May: Wembley yet again but no promotion
Updated to games played on 3 May 2014.
Source: BBC Sport
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored † Coventry City deducted 10 points for exiting administration without a CVA (C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.