Jon Newsome’s Sheffield Wednesday Column: Why I’m looking forward to Owls playing United more than I was a few weeks ago

Kieran Lee and Steven Fletcher are among a number of players who have been in fine form in the past few weeks
Kieran Lee and Steven Fletcher are among a number of players who have been in fine form in the past few weeks
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Unfortunately I never had the pleasure of playing in one and it’s something I’d love to have experienced.

My first ever recollection of a Steel City derby was the Boxing Day 4-0 massacre in 1979. I had just turned nine years old and remember listening to the commentary of the game on a radio in my bedroom.

Ian Mellor being congratulated by Mark Smith, Terry Curran and Jeff Johnson after giving Wednesday a 1-0 lead against the Blades after 25 minutes on Boxing Day 1979.

Ian Mellor being congratulated by Mark Smith, Terry Curran and Jeff Johnson after giving Wednesday a 1-0 lead against the Blades after 25 minutes on Boxing Day 1979.

I can remember bombing down the stairs every time Wednesday scored to let my dad and brother know the great news.

When you look back now and realise that there were over 49,000 at Hillsborough that day it must have been a truly amazing experience, even more so because we were in the old Third Division!

The run up to Sheffield’s derby this week will leave the players in absolutely no doubt whatsoever as to the importance of Sundays match.

Whether they are local lads or from afar the importance of a local derby is never usually lost on them. I’m sure we’ll have the usual ‘its only three points’ thrown out somewhere along the line but let me tell you that each and every one of those players and staff will know that there is way more to it than that.

One of the most fraught derbies I played in was the ‘old farm’ derby between Norwich and Ipswich. It was vicious!

Unbelievably there is something like 50 miles between the neighbouring teams but the dislike for each other was plain to see beforehand and even though I wasn’t from that area I knew only too well what it meant to those supporters come kick off!

Looking at the form book going into the game you would probably say that both sides could do with the three points and with Wednesday seemingly coming into a vein of form I have got to be honest, I am looking forward to it far more than I was a few weeks ago.

The fact that we have picked up some very good points over the last week or so and United have probably had, on Saturday, their first taste of real disappointment since the start of the season adds even more spice to what is already a fire cracker of a game.

I’m sure it will be frenetic, played at a ridiculous tempo at times and every inch will be fought for and well earned.

I hope our passing game will take the sting out of the game and frustrate the visitors who I can see coming flying out of the blocks.

I’m sure Chris Wilder and his staff will have them pumped up for it and can see them trying to press us early on and try to unsettle us that way.

Tactically it will be a very interesting game and one that I am eagerly anticipating.

What every player will be aware of is that they will have to keep their heads and try not to allow themselves to get caught up in the emotion of the day. That’s not always an easy thing to do at times, especially when tempers are running high and a few hefty tackles have gone flying in.

The way that the game has now gone determines that a clear head has to be kept at all times. You simply cannot allow yourself to cross that line and get caught up in anything on the day that will let your side and the fans down. In days gone by there would have been a few ‘markers’ set out in the first ten minutes or so but not now.

A single mis-timed tackle usually results in a yellow card whatever time the clock says, so patience and a clear head will be the order of the day.

It is definitely a game that has been missing throughout the city for too long now and whoever comes out on top will undoubtedly have the bragging rights for a few months until the next encounter.

Monday morning at work will potentially be a sour start to the week from one lot of supporters.

Let us hope that it’s not us!


I think it would be fair to say that given the start to the season that Cardiff have had, most people would have probably taken a point before heading off to the game last Saturday.

Now don’t get me wrong, you go into a match determined to achieve the best that you can, and a win was undoubtedly the aim but to then concede an injury time equaliser is a real blow and no one will be hurting more than the players.

Sometimes football is unfair like that and by all accounts we were excellent on Saturday, especially in the first half when that man again, Gary Hooper gave us a deserved lead.

Away from home you know that you are always going to have to deal with a period of pressure from the opposition but there is nothing more sickening than conceding in the last minute or so. All the effort that has got you so close to three valuable points seems wasted and sometimes it is a real bitter pill to swallow.

On such a long journey the mood on the coach will have lightened, as you get nearer home.

The initial disappointment of the result starts to subside a little and unless you’ve been on the receiving end of a real hammering it sometimes allows you to put things in to perspective.

They will have been given plenty of opportunity to try and get over their disappointment and what better game to sharpen your attention than the forthcoming Sheffield derby.

Jon Newsome is the owner of prestige, sports and performance cars specialists, Automarques 21-23 Leigh Street, Sheffield S9 2PR
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