Sheffield Derby Thoughts
A couple of post Monday rambles....

I hate the nervousness that derby games bring so it was good on Monday to have getting myself organised for fanzine selling on my mind! We sold some more in our quest to get well above our initial £1000 target for MacMillan via the All Wednesday fanzine, there will be more news next week on the final total after some sales at Derby on Saturday hopefully – mail order sales still open too!

It was SB’s 1st derby in our colours but it turned out 0-0, as under JL, but the comparisons stop there. This time our rivals knew, if they were not careful, they would get turned over - no 10 men behind the ball for us in the year 2019. Our back five were very good with Hector and Palmer being the stand outs. We know that Hector can be excellent, and occasionally slipshod, but Liam Palmer has been top notch for weeks now and looking every bit the right back who looks comfortable in his own skin at this level. The midfield work rate could not be faulted – the tracking and picking up of runners, and closing down space was very good. Unfortunately they couldn’t really get the offensive part of the game going and I suspect there was nervousness about over committing and getting caught on the break. Up top Fletcher was a Trojan but had to plough a lone furrow - FF didn’t look on it in the first half and once he couldn’t continue our choices were limited from the bench. I understand why SB went for Boyd in terms of solidity but he didn’t offer a great deal and maybe the pace of Matias might have been a better option? What ifs eh?

A point is no disgrace from that derby game – it kept our unbeaten run going and our total of clean sheets ticking along, as well as stopping Heeley from re-joining the top two. So, there are positives to take from it as there are from SB’s reign so far. He has clearly identified what is needed and he has the experience, know-how and contacts to try to make the changes needed, even in the context of a transfer embargo. He has also got a sure touch on the media and communications side of things and has landed well in that respect too. It won’t be easy next season but we are in safe hands and we can at least look forward to being competitive in the top half of the table. In the meantime we have to get as many points as we can in this season, get a bit further up the league, build some confidence and hopefully end on a positive note. Managing a first win in 13 years at Pride Park would be a good start!

Steve Walmsley

Some 52 years on from my first ever steel city derby match I arrived at Sheffield’s premier footballing shrine to enjoy the nights offerings; long gone are Springett, Megson, Eustace, Fantham, Mobley, Ritchie,Usher and other local heroes, images of whom still colour my memories in the magnificent Wednesday Blue. I left work in Barnsley well before 5 o'clock to secure a decent parking spot on Herries Road hard shoulder, better than paying parking fees starting at £ 5.00 a space, but no joy, so i parked up on the upward incline the Penistone side of Wadsley bridge. As i strolled down to the ground I began to wonder what tonight would bring - would we put the truffle sniffers to the sword (or humane killer) in their case, denting their aspirations of Premier league football?  I began to reminisce about previous derby games, the Boxing Day massacre obviously in the forefront of my mind, followed by the 2-1 butt kicking that we gave them at Wembley in "93", and the 1-0 victory in the last promotion year that saw Meggo absorb the chairman's toe cap up his exhaust pipe.

I was hoping for a real backing for our lads, which began to fire my imagination to the difference in attitudes of modern day supporters, who's mindset seems to have migrated over the years to a stance of intense tribal hatred, the 1960's/1970,s would see rival supporters sharing the same terrace, kept apart by police lines, until one side scored which prompted the other supporters to mount an attack, this may have sounded brutal but the bricks and bottles and darts and other missiles of the 1980s hooligans had not yet become commonplace. The 1990,s and onwards saw football hatred move to another level of pre-organised fights among rival supporters. When the noise levels were cranked up approaching kick off on Monday I hoped for a noisy but bearable experience with a positive scoreline, the fifteen minutes or so before kick-off saw three sides of Hillsborough on their feet bellowing out their club anthems, which culminated in a roof raising rendition of Hi Ho Sheffield Wednesday to fire up the players. Our lot certainly sang their hearts out that night, inspiring the defence far more than the attackers.

The game was nothing to write home about as far as a footballing spectacle was concerned, they had more of the play, we had the better chance to score. One downside to our lot was the brutal fouls meted out by the truffle sniffers defenders, especially the head high barging on Fletch, uncalled for and unsporting dangerous play, then we had the disputed penalty claim where "Gary Madine Drama Queen" ended up on the floor , claiming he was pulled. Well as far as I am concerned pulled pork is entirely legal so no foul. I missed the incident where missiles were thrown at one of their player’s, this has no part in football, especially as the club could now get in trouble. The raw emotion and passion and noise of the Owls supporters brought a lump to my throat several times that night, and the tribute to Claire Sunderland on the half time scoreboard made me even more proud to be an Owl that night, despite illness Claire had been an ardent Owl all her short life. Finally I missed the after match clashes, but reading on the blog and social media the police for all their efforts and resources still fall short when it comes to crowd control.  Ah well, we now move on.

Sam Morgan




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