Sheffield United fan on Gary Speed, Yorkshire derbies and Championship expectations ryanlufc September 24, 2010 Away Fans Views 5 Comments Thanks to Karl Smout from http://footysphere.tumblr.com for taking part. Ryan – It’s all set to a be a cracking Yorkshire derby, are you looking forward to the trip to Elland Road? Do you think that the game will live up to expectations? Karl – A trip to Elland Road as a Blades fan is always an *ahem* ‘interesting’ experience. There’s no love lost between these two great Yorkshire cities and with all them fair-weather Leeds fans turning out I’m sure there’ll be a proper old-skool crackling hot football atmosphere. Ryan – Gary Speed was a hero during his days as a Leeds player & Sheffield United fans need no introduction to him. What was your reaction when he was announced as Kevin Blackwell’s replacement? What are your first impressions of him as a manager? Karl – It wasn’t a surprise that Speed was named as our manager once Blackwell got the boot and the vast majority of Blades supported his appointment. There were a few voicing concerns about his lack of managerial experience but he’s ticked all the boxes so far. Of course he’s got a huge amount of respect within the game both for his achievements as a player and for being a top bloke. It’s clear he’s got his own views on how his team should play and there’s been a noticeable change in our style of football. Gary Speed looks set to be a good manager for the Blades Ryan – Blackwell has taken a lot of stick from some Leeds fans after his time here but others, including myself believe he did a good job. What did you make of him? Were you glad to see the back of him? Karl – Kevin Blackwell, well where do I start? The football in the main was terrible, the worse seen for a long long time at the Lane, but it brought results. You cannot argue with his win ratio nor the way he got the team to the play-off final on a very limited budget. But, but, but, it was so very painful to watch, it made your eyes bleed. It was so very dull and drab and it drained the very life force from your soul as you watched it. Glad he’s gone. Ryan – We all know what Richard Cresswell is capable of, but who else in your team has caught the eye so far this year? Who should we be looking out for? Karl – Leon Britton is an excellent player. His passing is amazing. It’s not something we’ve been used to for some time, seeing a player comfortable on the ball and passing it like a dream. A wet dream, I’m sure he’s caused a few. Ryan – Last season you just missed out on the play-offs. Is the aim to make them this season? Where do you realistically expect to finish? Karl – Speed has publicly stated that his goal this season is promotion. But the league is so very open and probably well over half the teams in the division reckon they can finish top six. We do need some new faces especially in midfield and if we get a couple of decent signings then there’s no reason we can’t finish in a play-off spot. Ex-Leeds man Cresswell is always a goal threat Ryan – Leeds have opened the upper tier & there’s expected to be around 35,000 there for Saturday’s game. I would also say that Sheffield United are our main Yorkshire rivals in this league. Do your fans feel the same about Leeds? Do you feel much of a rivalry with Leeds? Karl – Oh yes there’s definitely a rivalry with Leeds. After our simple blue-and-white cousins from the other side of Sheffield I would say that Leeds are most United fans second most hated team. Ryan – So far Barnsley are setting the pace for the Yorkshire teams. Who do think will finish highest out of all the Yorkshire teams? Karl – Can’t see Barnsley doing owt this season in fact I’d have them down as relegation candidates. Being totally impartial I’d have to say that the Blades will finish highest of all the Yorkshire teams but you’ve got to give credit to Donny for the way they play. They may well be this season’s dark horses. As for Leeds a top ten finish should be in the clubs sights. Ryan – If you could sign one current Leeds player for Sheff Utd, who would it be? Karl – Every team should have a player called Snodgrass, especially one that can play on both wings and as a striker if needed. Ryan – Finally, what’s your prediction for the game? I’m going for a tense 1-1 draw. Karl – Same here, hoping for lots of goals, preferably all the back of the Leeds net but can’t see past a low-scoring draw. Ryan – Thanks for taking part, best wishes for the rest of the season.