Sheffield Wednesday: Nicky Weaver on the Sheffield derby – “You remember them forever”

Nicky Weaver with Cameron Dawson
Nicky Weaver with Cameron Dawson
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Nicky Weaver knows what it feels like to play in one of the longest-running derbies in English football.

Thirteen years ago Weaver started in goal as the Owls suffered a 1-0 defeat in the Sheffield derby at Bramall Lane.

Weaver, who grew up supporting Wednesday, said: "I played in number of derbies in my career, including the Sheffield and Manchester derbies.

"They are not enjoyable but they are massive games you want to play in. There is a lot of tension.

"You're glad you have played in them when they are over. You want to be on the winning side because you know there is that much at stake."

He vividly recalls his Steel City derby experience.

"I was the only Sheffield born player who played in the game so I was particularly nervous," said Weaver, now the Owls' goalkeeping coach. "They are big occasions.

"I remember not wanting to lose and make a mistake because it lives with you forever.

"We ending up losing through an Alan Quinn goal.

"He is still the only player to score for both teams in the derby.

"I only played one in derby and I've got a 100 per cent record and it is not the 100 per cent record you want. I was do disappointed."

If anyone is acutely aware of the significance of the fixture, it is Weaver.

He said: "Being a Sheffield lad and living in the city, it (football) is everywhere you go.

"For example, the Manchester derbies were fantastic and some of the biggest games I ever played in but I wasn't a Manchester lad. I could always come back to Sheffield and get away from that side of it.

"I live in Sheffield now and my kids go to school here so everywhere you turn people are talking about it (the derby).

"They are fantastic occasions and stick out in the memory of the fans because you remember them forever.

"They mean a lot. There are two great clubs and there is a lot history between them.

"It is one of the biggest derbies in the country. You've got the North London derby, Manchester United v Manchester City, Liverpool v Everton but this is right up there. It's a huge game.

"When I was at City and we played United, we weren't a threat to them and playing Liverpool was United's biggest game.

"But now City are the top team in Manchester so City are United's biggest game.

"The biggest game for United and Wednesday is always each other. As soon as the fixtures come out, the United games are one of the first you look for as Wednesday fans.

"It's a massive game and it doesn't matter what division the two clubs are in. 

"But at the end of the day, they are only three points up for grabs. That's the most important thing. 

"Hopefully we will be on the end of a good result." 

Asked whether players could enjoy the build up to the derby, Weaver said: "You just want the game to come around as soon as possible. People are always talking about it.

"As a player, you just want the game to come around and get stuck into it. "

The form table suggests that United head into the game as favourites. Wednesday lie a distinctly middling 17th in the Championship while the Blades sit in third position.

"You would imagine people will have us down as the underdogs," conceded Weaver. "The fact is United are at home so they are going to massively outnumber us fan wise.

"United are doing really, really well at the minute. They have got quite a settled team and squad. They have turned a lot of the draws they were getting last year into wins.

"Obviously, United are a bit above us in the league table so they are going to be favourites.

"But it doesn't really matter. We are confident within ourselves. We have got players who know the Championship well. We have a mixture of youth and experience in the team.

"We know we can beat anyone on our day as we have already proven this season. We will be going there all guns blazing trying to get the win."

Should Wednesday's players require any extra inspiration ahead of the forthcoming meeting, they need only cast their mind back to January when they held United to a creditable goalless draw in in Jos Luhukay's first match at the helm.

"It was a good result that night," said Weaver. "We had been on a little bit of a sticky run before that game.

"Sheffield United were doing really well at the time and we were the underdogs but we got a good result."

Nicky Weaver factfile:

Place of birth: Sheffield

Age: 39

Position: Goalkeeper

Height: 6ft 3in

Previous clubs: Mansfield Town, Manchester City, Wednesday (loan), Charlton Athletic, Dundee United, Burnley, Wednesday, Aberdeen

International honours: Ten England Under-21 caps

Five Nicky Weaver facts:

He helped Manchester City secure three promotions.

Weaver played for the Owls in two separate stints, clocking up 54 appearances for the South Yorkshire club.

Weaver, part of the 2012 promotion-winning Wednesday team, played over 350 matches in his career.

He returned to Hillsborough four years ago, taking up the role of academy goalkeeping coach.

Weaver was officially appointed the Owls' first-team goalkeeping coach in July 2018.