PRESS | Carlos on his first ‘roller-coaster’ derby

PRESS | Carlos on his first ‘roller-coaster’ derby

After five long years without all the fun of the fair, Sunday heralds a chance to step back on the Sheffield derby roller-coaster.

Despite Steven Fletcher and Carlos Carvalhal’s determined show of indifference at today’s press conference, even those masters of the straight face couldn’t quite conceal their glee at the prospect of a full house and that unique, stomach churning atmosphere that derbies bring.

Back in April, Glenn Loovens was asked whether seeing the Blades’ promoted to the Championship would spur Wednesday on through the play-offs.

“Not really. We don’t think about them”, he said.

Now it seems ‘them’ is all anyone is thinking about.

For some fans, the prospect of a couple of tasty Steel City derbies was almost enough to numb the end of season disappointment. For all, surely the first game we looked for on the 2017/18 fixture list was United at Hillsborough.

The presence of more journalists than usual in the media room confirms the Steel City rivalry is also enough to pique the interest of sports editors across the region.

Both Fletch and Carlos have previous on derbies, helping to put Sheffield’s affair into perspective.

Besiktas fans wield plastic chairs in another riot

When CC recalls Galatasaray vs Beșiktaș an involuntary shudder ripples around the press.

Blimey, if you’re talking fairground rides that’s got to be Oblivion. Which doesn’t mean Sunday will be a gentle spin in a giant tea-cup by comparison.

Fletch points out that the less well documented rivalries bring a tastiness of their own, noting his surprise at the ferocity of the Blackburn/Burnley confrontations he played in.

So, will it be all blood and guts on Sunday?




The science on roller-coasters is they cause a rush of blood to the head.

The positive G force can be enough to stop the flow of blood to your brain and eyes, causing tunnel vision or even blackouts. Negative G from a steep fall makes your hair stand on end.

There are one or two examples of the tunnel vision thing on social media at the moment. ‘Nobody who ever played for Wednesday would ever make it into a United team’. ‘Nobody who follows United deserves an ounce of respect’. ‘I’m gonna get you… Not if I get you first.’ You know the kind of thing.

Thankfully, most fans on both sides will simply be heading to S6 with slight foreboding, great excitement, and a sense of occasion at how brilliant it is to live in a city with two well-supported ‘proper’ clubs.

By the time they reach the ground, fans may also be wondering at the genius that moved the match to coincide with the Sheffield 10k and the return of several thousand second and third year university students.

Perhaps it was a master stroke?

The collective struggle through road closures, traffic jams and diversions uniting fans of all persuasions.

The atmosphere will be special

The bonhomie of actually making it to their seats before kick-off marking our equivalent of a Christmas Day front line truce. Just don’t mention the Boxing Day massacre…

But of course, we *will* mention the Boxing Day massacre, because it’s the rivalry and the getting one over on each other that makes derbies a bit like dysfunctional family gatherings.

You don’t have to love them, but think of all that history we’ve shared. And we’d miss them if they weren’t there.




When asked what the key to winning a derby is, CC gives a typically enigmatic reply, halfway between ‘If I tell you I have to kill you’ and ‘No comment.’

Fletcher and Carlos agree it’ll be emotional. And the head coach’s preferred emotion is joy.

“We want to make the fans happy… [the squad] don’t have any reason at this moment to be unhappy; exactly the opposite.

“When you are happy you do things with more creativity and try to do things with a smile on your faces.”

Can the master tactician harness this happiness and apply it to the task of out-thinking Chris Wilder’s Blades?

Can Fletcher’s calm head help minimise that derby staple of the flying tackle followed by a red card? (Incidentally, Hutchinson is back in training).

Our battle-scarred number 9’s experience tell him to “just [keep] your head, don’t let the emotions get to you, do what we’ve been doing up to now.”

Keep doing what you’re doing, Fletch

Playing at home, with a run of seven games unbeaten in the league you would ordinarily agree with Chris Wilder’s assessment of Wednesday as the favourites. We see what you’re trying to do there, Mr Wilder.

Having rested key players in last weekend’s defeat against Norwich, United might arrive with fresh legs as well as a point to prove and maybe three to take away.

But following the sucker punch at Cardiff, Wednesday’s coaching team have had a clear week to hone their tactics.

That is usually a good sign for us …

The truth is, both sides are in pretty good shape.

The proof will come at 1.15 on Sunday, when the talking stops and the match begins.

“Let’s look forward to kick off, let’s try to win the game,” says Carlos.

We are in no doubt that Carlos and his players understand the importance of this derby to the fans. Will it be a win, lose or draw against our city rivals?

When the whistle blows for full time, those stories of when and where and how we last saw a Sheffield derby will have a new chapter.

There might even be a new song in it.

Play nicely everyone.

.OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE



Owls Alive
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @ABGalvin

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