Preparing to take on your former club in one of the biggest Yorkshire derby games in recent history and meeting your wrestling hero… it’s been quite a week for Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp.
Earlier this season, the forward became the leading goalscorer in English league football this century, and met WWE legend Mick Foley after the Blades' 2-0 win over Brentford on Tuesday.
The unlikely meeting between the pair happened after Sharp used Foley's iconic 'Mr Socko' wrestling move as a goal celebration in a match against promotion rivals Norwich City earlier this season.
Sharp explained the sequence of events that saw Foley travel across the Atlantic before enjoying a full English breakfast at his Sheffield home, cooked up by his wife Jade.
“Some of my friends made a WhatsApp group and wanted to give me my next goal celebration. It was the Royal Rumble coming up and one of my friends was like ‘why don’t you do the Mick Foley ‘socko’ celebration?’
“We were playing Norwich away and we got a penalty just before half-time and I managed to score it. I then got the sock out, did the ‘socko’ to one of my team-mates in George Baldock and it just went mental from there really.
“I didn’t really know what was going to happen if I did do it. But Mick Foley then saw it on Twitter and tweeted about it and Sheffield United then reached out to him and organised for him to come to the Brentford game.
“The club put a driver on for him who I knew and he rang me to say that Mick wants to meet you before the match. So I told my wife he was coming round to the house and she cooked up a full breakfast for him. He really enjoyed it and we got to know each other before the match. It was a bit surreal at the time.
“I was a bit nervous about him coming to the game. I didn’t want him to come all this way to see us not get a result. But we won 2-0 so we didn’t disappoint him and he said he really enjoyed it and would love to come again.
“He’s a really nice and cool guy and obviously it’s quite a cool story to be involved in.”
The Blades take on Leeds at Elland Road this weekend knowing that a win will see them leapfrog their Yorkshire rivals into second place in the Sky Bet Championship.
But when the two sides met at Bramall Lane earlier this season, a late goal from Pablo Hernandez saw the visitors earn a 1-0 win.
Sharp, who joined Sheffield United from Leeds in 2015, believes that even if they do not take all three points on Saturday, his side are still in with a shout of gaining automatic promotion.
“The last match we played against Leeds was a cagey game and one we’re disappointed not to take any points from.
“We’re all really looking forward to this game on Saturday. We’re hoping to get the result but we know whatever happens it’s not over yet and we can still achieve promotion.
“Obviously we want to go to Elland Road and give a good account of ourselves and get as good a result against them as we can.
“It’s a brilliant place to play football and I’ve been lucky enough to play there as a Leeds player.
“I enjoy playing there as a Sheffield United player as well. It’s a great stadium, a fantastic atmosphere and one that all the boys here are relishing to play in front of.
“We just need to stay on the toes of Leeds and Norwich for as long as possible. If we jump into the top two on the last game of the season then that would be fantastic. There aren’t any easy games in this league. “
One of the few remaining players from Sharp’s time at Elland Road is now Leeds captain Liam Cooper.
The pair remain close, but Sharp says he will not be easing off against his former team-mate, who recently captained the Whites for the 100th time, when they face off on Saturday afternoon.
“Liam Cooper’s a good friend of mine and it’s nice to see him doing so well.
“Captaining Leeds for more than 100 times is no mean feat. We won’t be friends for 90 minutes this Saturday but after the game I’ll be speaking to him.”