Ahead of tomorrow’s fixture against Sheffield United, a game being billed as the ‘Disrespect Derby’, I caught up with Sam from the Dem Blades blog, to try and put all ill feeling to rest and make friends.
To begin with Sam, and a huge thank you for joining me, one thing all Norwich fans are itching to find out the answer to… Is Chris Wilder still violently tapping his watch?
Now we’ve established that, let’s talk about the game that’s being billed as the Disrespect Derby. I think a lot of Norwich supporters find the whole situation rather comical. Is there a genuine hatred for ‘Little Old Norwich’?
I’ve always hated (in the footballing sense of the word only) Norwich for reasons of Darren Huckerby. Rob Earnshaw didn’t help either. Nevertheless, ourselves and the Canaries have enjoyed solid support, home and away, for as long as I can remember so the ‘disrespect derby’ as me, you and around six other people are calling it, has developed into new, loud rivalry.
I like a rivalry. You don’t get it with ‘plastic’ teams like Bournemouth or Wigan or Reading and, if it’s the only positive thing I can say about Norwich, then I’m out and proud: you aren’t Reading.
Haha, I don’t think anyone is compatible to Reading in that sense. Cast your mind back to the last meeting between the sides, Norwich obviously nicking a 0-1 victory at Bramall Lane, what was it that got the Blades so agitated?
Unitedites were antagonised because of the ‘Norwich Way.’ Blades, like all football fans loathe any time-wasting outside of their own. Nobody time wasted like ‘your lot’ last year. As soon as you nabbed your goal, every Norwich player was keenly aware of Farke’s plan: take your time, waste every possible second you can. Granted, this was your right. But it riled us. As did the ref’s lack of action on the matter. (I just checked my blog from that game, I described Maddison as a ‘floor-to-floor’ midfielder – pretty apt).
It clearly riled Chris Wilder… see watch-tapping episode. Obviously, in the reverse fixture, we got our ‘revenge’ and even managed to waste a little time ourselves, The Norwich Way.
Interestingly, I was at QPR away last weekend where the Blades picked up their first three points of the season. At 1-2 up, in the dying embers of the game, we played fast and loose with the referees watch: falling over, taking the ball into the corner, changing throw-in takers – general time wasting. And we sang it…
Take your time, take your time Sheff United
Take your time, take your time I say,
Take your time, take your time Sheff United
Playing football the ‘Norwich way.’
Other than Ipswich, not sure how many times Norwich are sang about in a negative context. Is the ill feeling towards Norwich still there?
Now we’ve become friends, let’s talk Sheffield United. Obviously with the transfer window now have ‘slammed shut’, how do you rate United’s business as a whole?
Ask this question ten days ago, and I might’ve been nervously optimistic. Ask me now we’ve just signed Oliver Norwood, I am optimistic. Ask me at the end of the window once we’ve signed a striker – I’ll be very optimistic. The ‘soft’ transfer window has made everything a bit strange. Our business has happened later than I’d like, but I like the signing’s we’ve made – especially Oliver Norwood who has two promotions on his CV – I want more though and trust Wilder to deliver that.
Chris Wilder – a man more than happy to play the role of pantomime villain that former Blades manager Neil Warnock also enjoys – has proved to be a hit in the red side of Sheffield, Can he maintain or even improve the job he did last season?
It will be very tough for Chris Wilder to better our finish last season. This is because of resources at the gaffer’s disposal and nothing to do with Wilder’s ability as a manager. That said, he has a remarkable record over the past few seasons. He doesn’t know what it feels like to be ‘down and out’ and he has a taste for winning.
Add to that, the fact that two of our most important players (Paul Coutts and Kieron Freeman) were injured for most of last season and are now on the comeback trail, the result is a stronger squad. We lacked that last season – a squad – and I am hopeful that Wilder can use the players effectively over this long, hard, slog of a season. Perhaps he’ll sneak us into the playoffs.
Sheffield United impressed, particularly early on last season for the way they operated under Wilder. They were also impressive at Carrow Road in January. Who is your star man that City need to be wary of tomorrow?
United are a team, not a group of individuals and should be treated as such. That said, John Fleck is one of the top ten best players in the league and will boss the midfield – no doubt about that. Wilder has tried to play without Mark Duffy – in the hole behind the strikers – and I would say that most opposition fans cite him as our danger man. Other than that, Billy Sharp has 2-in-2; you can never rule him out.
Finally, what’s your prediction and line up for Saturday?
I have a feeling that it’s going to come together for us this weekend. Both sides have conceded six goals in the league so far, Norwich have scored a couple more than us. Perhaps I should be more nervous. I’m not, I’ll go … Sheffield United 3-1 Norwich.
John Egan – Richard Stearman – Jack O’Connell
Kieron Freeman – Oliver Norwood – John Fleck – Enda Stevens
Leon Clarke – Billy Sharp
Thank you to Sam for joining me, even if he did stitch me up in the reciprocal piece on his site. Let’s hope for a friendlier game and Norwich will strive to be there according to Chris Wilder’s time schedule…
City’s foot-shooting against the Baggies saw our panel face the ignominy of getting beaten by Albion fan, Jonn and (even worse) Siri’s random scoreline prediction. It’s ‘early days’ but Steve’s phone tops our rankings after being awarded a bonus point because it was only asked for a random number between 0 and 3 and couldn’t possibly have predicted that we’d ship 4 goals.
What about this weekend?
Penney predicts: I’ll be honest and say I don’t expect us to tough it out this time round. However, we have acquired the gift of Hernandez so who knows? I’ll go for 2-1 to the side managed by possibly my least favourite football manager.
(Sheff Utd for those who wondered).
Andy assumes: Both sides are still searching for their identities this season. I’ll wager that neither comes away hugely satisfied. 0-0 draw.
Gaz (G) guesses: I hate it when this happens, but head is ruling heart. With Wilder getting increasingly so, I can see the Blades exposing our current penchant for individual howlers. Evil 1, Good 0.
Cookie concludes: It’s either ‘tight but toothless’ or ‘potent but porous’. Having leaked goals aplenty, I reckon DF will revert to the former. Still got a sneaky feeling we’ll nick a goal, waste time and give them more reason to dislike us. 0-1 City.
Stew suspects: A tough one, and a big test of our resilience. We’ll stand up and be counted; Krul will be strong, Rhodes will cause the Blades problems. 1-1 draw.
The oppo’s opinion (Sam): I should be more nervous. I’m not, I’ll go … Sheffield United 3-1 Norwich.
Siri says: ‘I don’t really talk so much as issue forth electronic speech triggered by user interaction’. 0-1
Join the ‘fun’ by adding your predictions in the comments below. We’re keeping track and will publish a regular monthly update with the ‘full league table’.
Special mention to Keith B and Volcanopete who forecast a West Brom victory last time round.