After summer’s icy blast, Wilson’s winter warmers

New mood: Danny Wilson has changed the feeling at the Lane
New mood: Danny Wilson has changed the feeling at the Lane
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IT’S not a verbatim recall but it went something along the lines of ... “We don’t want Wilson as our manager.”

Yes, it came from one of many disgruntled Sheffield United fans when the Blades unveiled their new manager last May.

His view seemed to be shared by a good few other Unitedites on that unsavoury occasion when Danny Wilson’s arrival press conference was interspersed with the sound of discontent from outside in the car-park.

As they say, look at them now!

Danny probably did wonder what he’d walked into. And he didn’t waste a deal of time in addressing the delicacy of the issue by going out to meet the fans some time later to explain himself.

He let them see that whilst his career may have figured prominently in the blue and white half (not to mention at Barnsley where there is no love lost at all with Blades followers), he wasn’t actually the Devil incarnate.

Go to Bramall Lane now and it is the changed mood that you notice.

Every club has its moaners - and some more than others. I’ve always thought Blades followers have had a tendency to look on the black side and grumble more than most.

The season they went up to the Premier League, there seemed to be a level of grumbling disproportionate to their healthy position.

Right now - and on my (admittedly limited) view from recent visits to United home games - the regulars have clearly warmed to what they are seeing and the football that has been set before them.

Yes, it helps if your team is winning and eight straight home wins is some going in anybody’s language, but I got the impression United fans were enjoying and appreciating the style of play that Wilson’s team are playing. Not only is their team winning but they have been entertained as well and it doesn’t get a deal better than that.

Indeed, I didn’t notice anything at all registering on the South Stand grumbleometer on either visit.

The fans, and no doubt many of those fierce critics of last May’s decision, are embracing Wilson’s team and they way they are.

Mind you, perhaps some of the pessimists will have noted that four of the next five games are away from home.

The second half of the season looks like being a great one for the city with both clubs sure to stay in the frame and I’d like to bet at least one of them gets a top two spot.

When, asked a colleague, were the Blades and the Owls last together in the velvet bag (which they now use to tip the balls into a glass bowl) at the fourth-round stage of the FA Cup?

It was the start of 2000 when both of them last got through third-round ties (the third round that season was in the second weekend in December).

Then, one of the current managers was involved.

Danny Wilson was manager of Premier League Wednesday in the fourth round in 2000 when they played Wolves who Wilson’s current Blades side could well face in a couple of weeks.

On that occasion 12 years ago, Wednesday got through a replay at Molineux 4-3 on penalties.

The only Wednesday player to miss a spot-kick was Richard Cresswell now, of course, with United.

United didn’t follow them through, losing at at Newcastle.

Wednesday made a fifth-round exit at Gillingham.