Danny Wilson got absolute pelters. Derek Geary, who went on to enjoy cult-hero status, was barracked by supporters following his transfer to Bramall Lane.
But, even though he has directly crossed the Steel City divide, Chris Wilder does not believe Caolan Lavery will receive a hostile reception after joining Sheffield United from Sheffield Wednesday earlier this week.
Lavery, a former Northern Ireland under-21 international, became the 30th player to represent both clubs when he agreed a three year contract on Tuesday evening. Wilder, who made 127 appearances for United before being appointed manager in May, said: “Yes, there’s always that rivalry. But I was a team mate of Carl Bradshaw here, a fantastic player who started his career over there (Hillsborough) and ask any fan here what they think of him.
“Caolan isn’t the first and he won’t be the last. Brads, in my era, was a great example. He carved out a career here, was a big player for us and a great success. If, like Brads, they stick the lot on the pitch, leave everything out there and have a go, everything else goes out of the window. I believe Lavs will do that for the team and us.”
Wilder, citing Lavery’s own uncompromising approach, added: “Del Geary was the same. He didn’t come straight from Wednesday but that’s how he was viewed. It’s always down to the player themselves. Caolan had options but never once did he stall about coming here. I don’t think there are many like him out there, with his hunger and desire at that age. I’ve seen him when he’s played against my teams in the past. He’s a handful and chucks himself at centre-halves.”
Wilder, who was still in charge of Northampton Town when Lavery joined Portsmouth on loan last term, believes the 23-year-old’s arrival will bring a new dynamic to United’s attack.
“Lavery is an outstanding signing for us,” Wilder said. “We’ve got a young player who is hungry, aggressive and wants to run in behind with natural pace. We didn’t really have that in the squad. He comes at a great age and will turn into a good player for us. He’s got natural pace which, perhaps, we haven’t had enough of in the squad.”
“We worked hard for Caolan and the board have been very supportive on that,” he added. “We just wanted that aggressive type. He’s not up to speed yet so we’ll monitor him and take care. I just believe that pace frightens defenders. He scores goals wherever he’s gone. We’re looking forward to working with him. He rejected a contract at his other club and has shown a big desire to come to us.”