Five Sheffield United fans give their views ahead of their game against Port Vale…
Thanks to REP for posing the questions
About the fans…
JOHNDENVER – I’ve been a regularly attending fan for 29 years, and a season ticket holder for the last 12 or more.
SOUTHESSEXBLADE – I’ve been a Blade for 46 years and most of them have been frustrating or disappointing.
TBW57 – I’m a Johnny Come Lately. When I moved to Sheffield I chose United over (ahem) any other team in the city.
PUNKBLADE – I grew up in a Blades household and was told that if I wanted to support Wednesday I would have to find a new home, even though neither of my parents are from Sheffield or were originally Blades (excellent parenting!).
BAYINGBLADE – I’m a third generation Blade, my grandfather saw “Nudger” Needham play but his hero was Billy Gillespie. I was raised in an Owl area but I never wavered. George Best and Bobby Charlton played for the opposition in the first match I saw and we matched them on the day. I then followed the demise to Division Four, back again and, well you know… I’ve been a season ticket holder for 30+ years. Little BB is a fourth generation Blade.
How are your team doing?
JOHNDENVER – We’ll finish top – it’s almost done already. That’s miles better than most expected given the truly dreadful season we had last year and the collection of half-hearted, ageing, immobile chuffs we had wearing the shirt.
SOUTHESSEXBLADE – Top!
TBW57 – Give over!
PUNKBLADE – We’re finally escaping this league as the best team in it. Even the most optimistic fan wouldn’t have predicted the style in which we have achieved promotion with quality football and loads of goals. Current form is that of champions and these players seem able to take any challenge in their stride. The divisional title awaits.
BAYINGBLADE – We are doing better than expected, we will win the league!
What are your thoughts on the manager?
JOHNDENVER – He’s done a phenomenal job. He’s passionate, always honest, surprisingly advanced tactically, very adaptable, and clearly commands respect. Who knew?
SOUTHESSEXBLADE – Genius.
TBW57 – Top man. Honest, down-to-earth and a genuine fan living his dream.
PUNKBLADE – Chris Wilder has returned the pride to this club and its supporters. At the beginning of the season the expectation was to mount a more serious challenge for the top six after last season’s shambles, but fans were preparing themselves to be patient in allowing him two full seasons to achieve promotion.
The speed with which he has turned a bloated, under-performing squad into a hardworking, well-drilled, successful group is quite staggering.
In reality he achieved this in just one transfer window, with January’s business giving us extra depth and strength that the division couldn’t compete against.
Wilder’s ability to notice, and fix, a problem is far beyond anything I’ve seen from a United manager in the past, both in the transfer market and during games.
He will admit mistakes and give everyone a chance, evidenced by new signing Chris Hussey disappearing from the match day squad after a poor start to the season, and the transfer-listed Kieron Freeman and Paul Coutts knuckling down to become key players.
Best of all, he’s one of us. He knows what makes the fans tick, so he knows exactly what his players must do to make the most of our loyal support. It’s something special to see your club succeed with a fan as manager and a fan as captain.
BAYINGBLADE – He’s made an encouraging start to what will hopefully be a long managerial career with SUFC.
The players to watch?
JOHNDENVER – We don’t have a superstar, beyond the obvious Billy Sharp, but all are comfortable in their positions and very good players at this level. There are no weak links.
SOUTHESSEXBLADE – Fleck, Clarke, Billy is due a goal, O’Connell, Invincible (Wright), Ahh, flip the whole damned lot of ’em!
TBW57 – Everyone. Seriously. You can’t relax for a second because every player in the team is a potential goal creator/scorer.
PUNKBLADE – The match winner genuinely could be any outfield player. John Fleck has somehow managed to stand out from a very good group this season, and seems to have found another gear in the last couple of games adding goals to his impressive assists tally. If he is rested, I think this could be the game for Samir Carruthers to put on a show. Billy Sharp is due a goal.
BAYINGBLADE -The whole of the midfield are a class above anything in this division, the defence can leak the odd goal but we have the divisions leading scorer and can score goals from anywhere. And we do! If you go one-nil up, don’t believe for one moment that you’ve got us beat.
A score prediction?
JOHNDENVER – I think we could lose this given our preparation and Vale’s need for points. I was surprised to see Chris Eagles still playing – he often did well against us in the past, and has a history on the wrong side of town. So the runes point to 1-0 Vale, Eagles. But if we’re sober and on form we will win. 2-1, Sharp winner in the 88th. Failing that it’ll be a draw. You heard it here first.
SOUTHESSEXBLADE – Don’t do predictions, but Billy Wilder wants the title and what he wants he usually gets!
TBW57 – I expect a Blades win by a goal or two. Vale are going to have to put on a great performance in order to avoid defeat.
PUNKBLADE – 3-0 Blades, Clarke to continue his scoring run (I can’t believe I’m saying that!), one for goal-machine Freeman and Carruthers to break his duck. I’m hoping Bolton also win so we can seal the title on the telly on Monday.
BAYINGBLADE – A reverse of our record win, 10-0 Port Vale.