Steelers: Nottingham Panthers signing two former Sheffield players 'won't help them get the edge' over their rivals

Nottingham Panthers' key appointments of two former Sheffield Steelers' players won't help them in the future battles between the two rivals.

By Bob Westerdale
Thursday, 18 July, 2019, 14:02
Mark Matheson by Hayley Roberts

That is the view of Steelers’ official David Simms, who guaranteed that the same level of hostility will exist in the 2019-20 season.

Simms said both Mark Matheson and Tim Wallacehad served Steelers well during their respective years at the steel city club.

“Tim didn’t have the best of years as a player – I think he only had the four goals – but when he went to Milton Keynes he did a terrific job holding a sinking ship together,” he said.

“So he has earned his stripes and earned a crack at coaching one of the big clubs.”

Matheson “will do a good job wherever he goes,” he added.

But Simms stressed that now they were both Nottingham assets: “They are the enemy and they should be put to the sword.”

He said in the history of the two clubs, he could not think of players who had left Sheffield to go to Nottingham and won a significant championship.

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Simms refereed to the likes of Jeff Sebastian, Rick Brebant, Mike Blaisdell, Brent Bobyck, Danny Meyers and Alex Dampier who had all succeeded in Sheffield after making the switch.

Those who later returned to Nottingham like Scott Allison and Dion Darling “won nothing”.

“Nobody has gone from Sheffield to Nottingham and won. And I expect Mark and Tim to keep up that tradition.”

Simms thought the Wallace-Matheson combination, and their knowledge of the inner-workings at the House of Steel, would not give them an edge over Sheffield: “We have got a new team again, second year running.

“So many new faces, so many new players and a new coach so it is not even the same systems. It is a completely different club.”

Matheson and Wallace played alongside Steelers’ British core but Simms said: “I don’t think it is an advantage to Nottingham those two guys having a Sheffield background.”

Simms felt Nottingham’s Summer recruitment had been underwhelming so far – but they were always likely to sign big-hitters with strong résumés.

“I don’t think you can ever write Nottingham off… they will have good goaltending and they will be well coached.”