Firstly, could you tell prideofnottingham.co.uk a little about yourself, such as how long you've been a fan for?
Linsbord; I just turned 50 and my first game watching United was in November 1971 when we beat Ipswich 7-0. I thought football was great but I've been waiting for a similar performance since.
YouFUMS; I was born a Blade in 1965, and I must have been to my first game around 4 years later. My grandad was a keen football fan, and used to take me along to Bramall lane with him. My earliest memories are of a 3 sided football stadium, with the 4th side housing the cricket pavillion. Watching great players such as Alan Woodward, Geoff Salmon, Tony Currie, and my boyhood favourite, Trevor Hockey.
The curse has stayed with me, and I have followed United to over 80 different grounds over the years. The Blades gene has been passed onto my 2 sons, and my 1 year grandson is already enrolled as a junior Blade...Childline have been informed!
40+ years of heartache and underachieving - sound familiar?- has been interspersed with spells of mediocrity, and an occasional highlight....cup semi-finals...play-off defeats...and flirtations in the top league. However, Your football club is part of what makes you who you are, and nothing will ever change that.
Are you happy with your pre-season, signings and new shirt(s)?
Linsbord; I'm happy with pre-season so far. The new manager has completely changed the style of play and it's great to see the kind of football we haven't really seen since Nigel Spackman left in 1998. In terms of new recruits we have Brandy, who you'll be familiar with and who is now starting to deliver on all that potential he showed previously. Still only 23 and a proper handful nowadays. McGinn looks a tidy CMF and Conor Coady on loan from Liverpool and the England U-20 Captain looks a very assured young footballer. Lyle Taylor was prolific for Falkirk last season but we know that doesn't mean he can cut it in the English Leagues. He does however possess a trick or two and has plenty of pace. McGinty and Johns, from Man Utd and Everton respectively, are really more development players and will probably see action in the cups or later in the season. So far we've retained George Long in goal and Harry Maguire at CB so I'm happy with that too.
I like the design of the new home shirt but not the quality of the fabric or the 'iron-on' sponsor logos. The away shirt is a catastrophe and looks like a Norwich reject. The worst part of it is the fact that it says 'football manager - hand held' on the back. I'll let you work out your own connotations of being handheld by a football manager - embarrassing stuff.
YouFUMS; Very happy that we have targetted young players. The oldest of the 6 new signings is 24 year old. We lacked pace last season, so the additions of Lyle Taylor and Febian Brandy will give opposition defenders something to worry about. We've added a defensive midfielder in Stephen McGinn to put pressure on captain Michael Doyles position, and have the bright young prospect, Conor Coady, in on loan from Liverpool. He's captained the England U'21s and made a couple of appearances for the scousers last season, so obviously has some pedigree. The final 2 signings are 19 yr old defenders, Sean McGinty and Jasper Johns, released from Man U and Everton.
I'm not one for buying a new replica shirt each year, I much prefer my Toffs 1971 replica. This years new home shirt looked pretty good when I saw pictures on the net and I was tempted into the club shop before our home friendly game last week. Trouble is, there are too many sponsor logos on the thing. The worse one being the 'Football Manager' on the middle of the back. I'm pretty used to one or two people pointing and sniggering behind my back, but this would cause severe paranoia, so I gave it a miss. The away shirt does nothing for me...it's yellow..it looks like a Norwich cast off. It could be a lot worse, have you seen your new away monstrosity?
How disappointed were you on missing out on promotion to the championship?
Linsbord; I wasn't remotely disappointed about failing to get promoted last season. Let me explain. The season before, of course we were disappointed. We had one of the highest goals-for tallies in Europe and were only 2nd in English football scoring behind Man City, yet our main striker gets locked up and we end up getting pipped at the post by our deadliest rivals. THAT season we played some great stuff and I was very disappointed although, as I was living darn sarf at the time I got to go to some great away games such as Yeovil, Charlton, Brentford, Bournemouth etc. However, last season Danny Wilson lost his bottle. Instead of wanting to go out and beat everybody he concentrated only on 'not losing'. This led to dour, slow and predictable football and I was glad to see the season finish to be honest. I was actually pleased we failed in the playoffs because I was afraid we would try the same tactics in the championship and thereby end up back down where we started.
YouFUMS; I think we all knew how it would end, once we were confirmed in the play-offs last season. We'd gone into the last 5 games in poor form, and our Chairman had made another ridiculous footballing decision by sacking Danny wilson, and giving the job to Chris Morgan. Expectancy was low, and it was no surprise that we whimpered out to Yeovil.
Where do you see Sheffield United finishing this season?
Linsbord; Where do I see us finishing this season? Well we have a new manager, new system, several new players so I do think it'll take a few months for it all to click into place. I'm happy for us to build up a head of steam to become a force in the League even if it takes 2 seasons providing we can see some genuine progress. Having said that, I do expect us to finish in the top 6, especially as 2 excellent players in Miller and Diego de Girolamo will be back fit around the turn of the year so watch out for us in the run-in. I think we'll get stronger as we go, so I'll say my heart says top 2, my head says 4th or 5th.
YouFUMS; A lot depends on how well we start. New manager, new players, new system. I can see us getting stronger as the season progresses. If we can hit the ground running, then there's no reason why we can't be pressing for a top 2 finish. In reality, I think it may take time for players and systems to bed in, but we could finish the season strongly, and for once be favourites to get up through the play-offs.
On the 10th of June 2013, David Weir became manager. How is he settling in and what was your thoughts on this his appointment at the time?
Linsbord; David Weir. At the time of the appointment, a huge relief. They were looking to give it to Robert Page or Michael Appleton. David Weir came from nowhere, I'm told a call from Moyes to our Owner set the ball rolling, and I have to say I'm delighted. He's calm, intelligent, hugely respected, and he is starting to introduce some excellent tactics into the players. The guy clearly knows what he's doing and we're generally buzzing here about our prospects for the new season, if only in the expectation of hugely higher levels of entertainment.
YouFUMS; Fantastic appointment that has united our fanbase and given us new hope. When you consider some of the candidates that we were being linked with; Chris Morgan, Gareth Southgate, Robert Page, Wally Downes, Keith Curle Then to get someone like Weir, with all his playing experience and contacts in the game, a man who comes across as very knowledgeable and well respected. Then we can't help but be excited.
Since our last opposition view with a Sheffield United fan, James Beattie's moved into management. Would you have liked to of kept him on?
Linsbord; James Beattie. Superb the first time around, should have kept him then. Second time around he was fatter, slower, and spent all his time trying to fight with defenders. A waste of time. I wish him well but have no problem with us letting him go.
YouFUMS; Beattie is yesterdays man. He was great when we first had him in our team, scoring for fun...well, actually scoring for a reputed 30k per week!! We sold him at the wrong time, again that was a chairman decision, as I believe his goals could have got us back to the PL. However, to take him back after his stints at Rangers and Blackpool was an even worse decision as he contributed very little.
Can you single out your main threats to Notts County and who's been your best player in your pre-season?
Linsbord; Main threats....Porter or Taylor as core striker, Brandy and Murphy joining in from the wings, MacDonald pulling the strings behind the striker. I'm not giving anything away there because a delegation from Meadow Lane were at our friendly with Atromitos last Friday.
YouFUMS; I would have said Lyle Taylor. 29 goals in 42 games for Falkirk last season. But he may not start due to the form that Chris Porter has shown in pre-season. Porter is generally a scapegoat for Blades fans, but I admire the way he gets on with things. He knows his limitations, plays to his strengths; uses his height, holds the ball up, and gets the occassional crucial goal. He always seems to play well against Nottingham County
The player that I think could be the difference in the game is Febian Brandy. Top assists player for Walsall last season. He is so quick and direct, he will terrorise many defenders this season. I think this could be a 'breakout' season for him.
Another threat is Jamie Murphy. He took time to settle in last season after leaving Scotland. We have so many scots around the place this year, that he probably feels like he's still back home. He has been in good form pre-season.
Which Notts County player(s) do you see posing a threat to your team?
Linsbord; County have some good players and have made some astute signings, with pace and creativity amongst them. I think you will do well this season and before a ball is kicked I have you down for top 8 with playoff potential. At this stage I'd pick out Fotheringham, Haynes and Dumbuya as ones to watch from the clutch of new players but I do think you'll miss Judge. We all wanted him down here
YouFUMS; Obviously a player like Haynes is always a threat. He has power, pace and an eye for goal. Our centre halves are strong in the air, but always look clumsy when a player is runnung at them. I also like that big oaf, Showumni. Is Sheehan still in your team? If so, then you have a player capable of putting some dead balls for Enoch to attack, that could make it difficult for us.
What formation and team do you see David Weir starting with?
Linsbord; No comment.
YouFUMS; From what we've seen so far, he likes to keep the centre of the park very tight, with 2 defensive midfielders, but also likes to use the wings in attack. So the formation is a 4-2-3-1. This then can easily change to 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 with the players at his disposal.
How do you Notts County doing this season and have you looked into any of our signings ahead of our game on Friday?
Linsbord; No comment.
YouFUMS; I think you will be one of a dozen clubs that has a chance of finishing in the top 6. You have picked up a quality finisher in Danny Haynes, and I also saw that you had signed Dumbaya from Crawley. It seems you have a lot of pace available to play with the likes of Zoko also being no slouch. I honestly see you finishing somewhere between 4th and 8th.
Can you tell us who you see finishing in the top 6?
Linsbord; Top 6 Sheffield United, Wolves, Peterborough, Bristol City, Preston, and either Rotherham, Milton Keynes Dons, or Notts County.
YouFUMS; Wolves are the obvious choice for champions. They still have a championship squad, and are still getting parachute payments. I'm a big admirer of Shaun O'Driscoll and his methods, and so expect Bristol City to be up there also. Brentford, Peterbrough, Notts County, and ourselves for play-offs. As a long shot, look out for Rotherham making a charge on league 1.
Please tell us about Sheffield and the facilities around Bramall Lane?
Linsbord; As for the facilities etc, for those who haven't been before, come out of the station and turn left
Safe pubs with excellent beer and food are: Rutland Hotel on Paternoster Row - very close to the Station, the Devonshire Cat on Wellington Street - a bit of a walk but worth it and the ground's not too far away. If you're not wearing 'colours' the Sheffield Tap at the Railway Station is a beer-lover's paradise. Most pubs near the ground are a bit scruffy although the new one on London Road, The Bell Jar is OK. Aside from these places, good food and good beer is a tad further afield. If you just want a pint, look for the Red Lion on Charles Street, again very close to the station and again, a safe place for visiting fans.
Inside the ground you can get expensive fizzy wee if you want a drink. We've just done a deal with Pukka Pies but if Bramall Lane is anything like previous seasons they'll sell out by 12 seconds after the half time whistle.
After the game it will either be very peaceful as we all exit, but if there's been any tension inside just be sensible as every club has its nutters, so just keep your head down and get to your transport quickly and quietly, just as I do when I come to Meadow Lane
For any other info I always use http://www.footballgroundguide.com/ - never let me down yet.
Right then, that's that. I hope you enjoy the visit to the world's oldest professional football ground, and I hope everything passes off in the right spirit, although when Brandy gets that penalty you will be spitting feathers - Hopefully we'll be spitting Magpie feathers by full-time, in a footballing sense at least.
All the best for the new season Joe, at least from Saturday onwards. Cheers
YouFUMS; Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane is a proper old lady of football, much like Meadow lane except that Bramall Lane is better dressed. The oldest professional football ground in the world has a wealth of history. If you get a chance, take a look at our club museum 'Legends of the Lane', to see how the stadium has evolved over the years.
Our Club is in the heart of the city, unlike our blue n white sisters that play in South Barnsley. So when visiting Bramall lane, you have all the amenities of the city centre, just a 10 minute walk away. Bus station, Train station, a plethera of pubs and eateries all within walking distance.
I hope the game lives up to it's historical billing. Enjoy your visit to the home of football, but I hope your journey home is a miserable one.
Up the Blades! Up the Magpies!
Pride of Nottingham would like to thank Linsbord and YouFUMS for taking the time to answer our questions, we wish Sheffield United all the best for their season but tomorrow is all about NOTTS COUNTY!! Come On You Pies!!