Ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s Premier League tie at the Emirates Stadium versus Sheffield United, which will be refereed by Tim Robinson, I spoke to one of their supporters. Thank you to Hal from Sheff United Way for answering the questions!
How long have you supported Sheffield United?
All my life and I’m older than I’d like to admit!
What are your hopes and expectations for the 2023/24 season?
What are your views on your manager?
I like Paul Heckingbottom, seems a very good man, and a good manager as he’s proved since joining United. He’s putting out fires left right and centre, dealing with injuries, players leaving and all whilst trying to get a tune out of eleven players in the toughest league on Earth, a league that keeps getting tougher with new rules, more money and inconsistent timekeeping!
Style of play and tactics – direct/passing/hybrid? One(s) to watch now and in the future?
It was a 3-5-2 of sorts, now it could be anything with the injuries, 4 at the back was played for the first time starting a match against Manchester United with defenders playing together that none of us would have pencilled in as our starting defenders at the beginning of the season. We may go four again at the back as needs must for Arsenal. Then a midfield that will either be packed and one up top or, more likely, we stick with our two up top philosophy, and four in the middle moving around in a diamond as we have no real wingers, we’ll see.
Random fact about your Club?
The first club called ‘United’, a Sheffield United shirt from the 1990s features in Batman Begins and 2004 Walt Disney film National Treasure which stars Sean Bean, and Nicolas Cage as the lead character. There is a scene where Bean’s character is writing on a yellow notepad. Near the top right corner of the notepad is a doodle of the Sheffield United club emblem, the crossed blades and a dot to represent the Yorkshire rose. In terms of players, we nearly signed Diego Maradona…
Which were your favourite and least favourite matches involving Sheffield United?
There are so many for both category. I really loved our FA Cup quarter-final penalty shoot-out win against Coventry 1-1 back in 1998 with Alan Kelly and Wayne Quinn the heroes.
Least favourite, Wigan at home 2006/07. I was asked to leave the stadium by security as I was one of the last people left, I just couldn’t move after full-time. A part of me and my love for football died that day.
Which sides do you think will finish in the top four and which do you think will finish in the bottom three?
The top four will probably be the current top four.
The table will really take shape in the next few weeks, it’s a mini league at the bottom with 5 or 6 teams and they’ll interchange throughout the next few months. I’d love to say the Blades will survive but that will depend on factors out of our hands, such as injuries, they are really mounting and it’s getting unsustainable. I really believe a full-strength United side could stay up in this league. Luton, Everton and Bournemouth could all get stuck in that dreaded bottom 3 if we get our act together quickly.
What are your thoughts on Arsenal?
I think they’re going great ‘guns’ under Arteta and will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, could easily see them winning the FA Cup too.
If you could steal one Arsenal player for your own team, who would it be and why?
Aaron Ramsdale so I can force him to train and play when he’s being paid to do that!
What is your prediction for this match?