Sheffield United Fan Column: Blades’ rivalry with Norwich City will endure… perhaps all the way into the Premier League next season

There were a few sub-plots to United’s memorable encounter at Norwich, going back to the Canaries’ win at the Lane last season when their late arrival brought admonishment from Chris Wilder and their time-wasting tactics brought a new song from Blades fans when we won at Carrow Road later in the season.

Thursday, 31st January 2019, 12:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st January 2019, 12:13 pm
Billy Sharp scored twice at Norwich: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Interestingly, last weekend the local Norwich paper the Pink ‘Un described Wilder as “spiky” and “abrasive” who has a “customary scowl”.

Daniel Farke, meanwhile, is “smooth”. Blades fans might not recognise these portrayals; to us, Farke is the spiky one who stretches the rules, whereas Wilder – though he could hardly be described as smooth – is the honest, play it hard but fair type.

But things seem to be smoothing between the pair, despite a couple of spiky exchanges on the touchline.

There now seems to be a mutual appreciation stemming from the way their teams play; United the same as they always have done, Norwich transformed into a free-flowing team that has ditched its unsavoury face.

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Farke’s post-match interview was also conciliatory, calling the 2-2 draw “a game between two high quality sides” and “high-quality Championship football between two attacking sides”.

Press and pundits were equally effusive in their praise: “A pulsating clash” – The Observer; “A match worthy of the occasion” – Sky Sports; “The best Championship game I have seen this season” – Ian Holloway; “The tempo and the intensity felt a notch or two higher than a standard Championship game” – Norwich Pink ‘Un.

There was indeed a ‘big fight’ feel to the match; Ali v Frazier, Leonard v Duran, Eubank v Benn, Froch v Groves.

Like these great rivalries, the competitiveness will endure, perhaps into the Premier League next season.