It’s fair enough to say that fans of Vale’s next opponents are not in a very happy place right now…
REP talks to three Sheffield United supporters ahead of their game with the Valiants.
About the fans…
JohnDenver – I’ve been a clapper since 1988.
Rodley – I’m a fourth generation Unitedite.
Roygbiv – My first game in 1988 but I was too young to take it in. My first season as a Blade who actually knew what was going on was back in the 1990/1991 season.
How are your team doing ?
The signings have been patchy and given the squad was a bloated mess to begin with…
JohnDenver – Grinding out occasional and deeply ugly victories in order to maintain mid-table mediocrity isn’t what we hoped for. Pre-season optimism was high, but as soon as we saw the team play we knew it was all based on Adkins’ record, not the players he had to pick from.
Rodley – Expectation was high after appointing a manager with a proven pedigree of delivering promotions at clubs of various sizes and circumstances. The bubble burst at Gillingham away – the first game of the season.
We’ve resorted to an attritional style once Adkins realised we can’t defend (remember Neill Collins?). The signings have been patchy and given the squad was a bloated mess to begin with we’ve not shown much consistency. It’s all been a bit incoherent but I suspect this is probably a reflection of the turnover of players and managers in the last few seasons. Occasional a ray of hope bursts through the clouds of despair; young Dominic Calvert-Lewin looks a good prospect and talismen Sharp and Brayford are quality at this level on their day.
Roygbiv – Terrible. Worse than any of us thought possible. The worst United side I have ever seen by some margin.
Where you think you will finish?
JohnDenver – Eighth.
Rodley – 7th-8th, but I’m not ruling out the last play-off spot.
Roygbiv – The lowest I personally will have ever seen my club finish. I’ll say about 14th. Hopefully
Who should we watch out for?
JohnDenver – Che Adams is our only player of pace, power and spontaneity. Unfortunately, for all his natural ability, he hasn’t learned how to play football yet. The rest are uniformly pedestrian.
Rodley – Sharp is a decent finisher. Brayford is capable of overlapping effectively from right back. If you have any pace you should be handle the rest of them.
Roygbiv – Only Billy Sharp is worth the shirt.
What are your thoughts on your manager?
He underestimated the task he inherited and misread the squad’s abilities…
JohnDenver – He underestimated the task he inherited and misread the squad’s abilities (they can only play in the way Clough intended). Only since reverting to dirge football have we achieved results. The fact the fans haven’t given him any stick shows how little regard they have for the players at the club. In truth we still should be in a play-off spot despite everything, so he has underperformed somewhat.
Rodley – Despite the cringe-worthy management spiel and mediocre recruitment, most recognise he has the track record which trumps most alternatives. Next summer will be key to sort out of the mess of the squad he’s inherited and if we’re in and around the top eight for the rest of this season I think/hope he’ll be given the necessary time to sort things out.
Roygbiv – Seemingly insane.
What are your thoughts on your board?
JohnDenver – The board have spent more than enough to achieve success but repeatedly demanding each manager earns promotion in one season has led to squad full of no-marks and desperation short-termism signings. Their ability to back the right horse and stick with it has been non-existent, cost them millions and cost the fans a worthy team to follow.
Rodley – We’ve been in League One for five years, so it’s not been good. Poor managerial appointments, giving the wrong managers lots of money to squander and recent inertia in the JTW don’t bode well. Needs more direction at the moment.
Roygbiv – They have made many Blades hate the club they have grown up supporting and for that I hate them.
Any views on the current Port Vale team?
JohnDenver – Is Michael Brown still playing? Pleased the big lad you had up front [Uche Ikpeazu] earlier in the season won’t be playing for you.
Rodley – Michael Brown is the only one of note. A hero at the Lane for many for a great couple of seasons. Wish we had a few with his tenacity in the team now.
Roygbiv – Michael Brown is a reminder of what it used to be like going to Bramall Lane. He will get a bigger cheer than all of our players.
Did you attend the reverse fixture earlier this season?
JohnDenver – Nope, but was pleased to miss it given the result and old-style hooliganism that went off at the away end. Must have been an awful trip for most Blades fans.
Rodley – Missed it unfortunately, but sounded eventful in more ways than one.
Roygbiv – No but I recall that the lad who is now at Blackpool bullying Collins and Edgar and making them look like 3 year old girls.
Any views or memories of players/managers involved with both teams?
Page was a decent centre half for us and is a good fella…
JohnDenver – Brown is the obvious link – he had an astonishing 18 months in a Blades shirt around 2003. Somehow his career then descended in to midfield cloggery at subsequent clubs.
Rodley – Page was a decent centre half for us and is a good fella. We need a player of his ilk right now desperately. Brown I’ve mentioned. Sagi Burton disappeared without a trace. Marcus Bent was a steal back in the day but turned out to be a wrong ‘un.
Roygbiv – Aside from Brown, Rob Page is well liked by our fans. I spoke to him once and he was stunned at what was happening at United. Heaven knows what he thinks now.
A score prediction?
JohnDenver – 1-1. No idea who’ll score, but if your team’s fitness is decent you should boss the final quarter.
Rodley – 1-0 Blades. Brayford.
Roygbiv – 2-1 Vale. We will score a Billy Sharp pen after going 2-0 down. Not sure on your scorers but one of the goals will be classed as a “worldy” by your fans as one of your players easily runs past our tired, pathetic players and slots one in.