Fortunately, the legendary former opening batsman was there to watch cricket, not football, and the Blades got another chance and took it in style, Oliver Norwood smashing home a pressure penalty in the ninth-added minute to secure his club's first win of the season, 2-1 over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The ball hit the back of the net seconds before the final whistle and with it came a rousing rendition of "Hecky and Stuart McCall". In a season laying bare the harsh realities of Premier League this was a dramatic victory to savour as much as any greasy chip butty.
It was all the sweeter because it looked like Jean-Ricner Bellegarde had snatched it away in the 89th minute.
As the fans dispersed, the man on the tannoy took out his Status Quo CD and put on one of the Great Escape. We will see, but when the odds are so stacked against you, you have to enjoy every win you get.
And you have to get them any way you can.
Dogged in defence for the first 45 minutes, the Blades earned the right to open up and unveil their shots in the second. Had they only come away with a point, it would have been a travesty.
That looked as it would be the case when Bellegarde responded to Cameron Archer's brilliant firework of a 73rd-minute shot with one which beat Wes Foderingham with a slight touch off the unfortunate George Baldock.
But Heckingbottom had spoken before the game about the leadership qualities of his defender and it was the right-sided centre-back who popped up on the left-hand side of the Wolves penalty area to win the spot kick Norwood converted.At half-time, an away win seemed by far the likeliest outcome but by being so Boycottian in defence they gave themselves the chance.
The first half was as bright as the dismal weather but for all the pressure Wolves applied, Foderingham had little to do.
The Blades played like the away team, allowing Wolves 62 per cent of the first-half possession, making life harder for themselves by constantly giving the ball back when they got sight of it. Goalkeeper Foderingham's kicking did not help but the 10 in red-and-white stripes all contributed to the sloppiness.
But by funneling players behind the ball with Baldock's return allowing a return to three central defenders, they were able to limit the visitors to one good chance in the opening period, and that from a miskick.
Nelson Semedo and Matheus Cunha – after good work by Sasa Kalajdzic – both shot over, the latter helped on its way by a Foderingham touch it perhaps did not need but he could not take the chance.
Robert Jones' refereeing was erratic but if Baldock was wrongly booked when he was more sinned against than sinner in the shirt-pulling stakes 22 minutes in, it only made up for the card his lunging tackle in the first minute should have brought.
Rayan Ait-Nouri had a shot blocked in the 26th minute but he really should have scored in the 33rd, Hwang's miskick presenting him with a chance he almost fell onto, steering the ball wide of an open goal.
With Auston Trusty switching to left centre-back to keep him under wraps, the Blades were able to limit the in-form Hwang's influence.
Former Blades loanee Tommy Doyle, on his first Premier League start, had a shot blocked late in the half and did well to close down Vinicius Sousa as he tried to break.
The Blades only shot of the half amounted to nothing, Oliver Norwood pinging it against a defender, and when Rhian Brewster's hamstring appeared to go in stoppage time, it ought to have left the Blades even blunter but whatever was said at half-time saw them re-emerge with far more intent.
The Kop was signing "We've had a shot" when Archer's effort dipped onto the roof of the net and by the 51st minute they had had two more, James McAtee curling over a free-kick his dribble won and Hamer clearing the bar when a corner was worked back to him.
Just winning that corner brought a huge roar from the Kop, keen to get ito the game and there were groans soon after when the ball bounced off the corner flag and went for a Blades throw-in rather than a corner.
Jaden Bogle won a free-kick and a yellow card for Doyle with his delayed tumble after being clipped by the midfielder but Hamer's delivery was comfortably taken by Jose Sa. Norwood was unable to get over a shot when the ball was rolled back to him.
Although the improvement more or close coincided with McAtee's introduction he was frustratingly sloppy with a number of quite straight-forward passes but it was his perseverance which made the goal, closing down the attempted clearance when he lost the ball.
It went straight to Archer, who carried it forward before smashing an unstoppable shot off the crossbar in the 73rd minute.
With the Wolves so cowed, Bellegarde's goal was a kick in the proverbials but Baldock refused to accept his fate and when Fabio Silva fouled him in the eighth added minute and video assistant referee Chris Kavanagh backed Jones up, Norwood took his moment in real style.
Sheffield United: Foderingham; Baldock, Trusty, Robinson; Bogle, Souza, Norwood, Thomas; Hamer (Osborn 90); Brewster (McAtee 45+1), Archer.
Unused substitutes: Fleck, Traore, Slimane, Larouci, Osula, Brooks, Amissah.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Sa; Kilman, Dawson, Gomes (Silva 81); Semedo, Lemina, Doyle (Traore 70), Aït-Nouri; Hwang, Cunha; Kalajdzic (Bellegarde 60).
Unused substitutes: Doherty, Bueno, Joao Gomes, Otto, Sarabia, Bentley.
Referee: R Jones (Merseyside).