RIVAL managers Danny Wilson and Gary Megson last night stressed the importance of winning tomorrow’s Steel City derby ‘for the fans.’
Wilson, a former manager of Sheffield Wednesday, sparked anger in both camps this summer when he returned to the city as manager of Sheffield United.
Lifelong Owls supporter Megson, meanwhile, is living a dream after taking the manager’s job at Hillsborough last season.
Over 27,000 tickets have been sold for the game at Bramall Lane, including 4,300 for the away end, and nearly 10,000 have been sold for a live beamback of the game at Hillsborough.
Wilson, the first manager in history to have been employed by both clubs, said: “We have to match the passion of our fans. It won’t be a case of the players geeing up the fans, it will be a case of us getting to a level with fans.
“If we do that, we will end up with a good result.
“This game is not about me although some people will make it out to be. From my point of view and my players’, it is very important that we go out and get a result for the fans. It’s their day.”
Owls manager Megson will use a framed photo of Wednesday supporters taken at the 1986 FA Cup semi-final against Everton at Villa Park to give his players even further motivation to beat the Blades
“I will show them the picture of our support before the game,” he said. “I have very few pictures and photos – because I don’t like looking back – but I have already shown the staff that and it’s incredible. I am going to ask for another photograph to be taken this weekend.
“This is a fantastic footballing city with great heritage and tradition,” he added. “I can only talk from our point of view but there would be very few other football clubs where a game going on six miles across the road would attract over 10,000 to the other stadium where no one is on the pitch. It’s a great testament to our people and we know what victory would mean to them.
“I view myself as a Sheffield Wednesday supporter but not like these people,” he added. “They are proper supporters, they go down to Bournemouth on a Tuesday night, they turn up to watch a screening of a game that is going on elsewhere. Very few football clubs can claim to have that sort of backing and I keep saying this football club has got to try to get to the standards of the supporters.”
Megson also issued a plea for good behaviour to both sets supporters, saying: “The fervour and intensity is brilliant but it has had a tendency the last few times to go too far, hence we are having to kick-off at noon on Sunday. We want to see it played really to the knuckle in terms of competing but we don’t want it going any further than that afterwards.”
Blades made a double swoop ahead of tomorrow’s game signing Blackpool duo Billy Clarke and Matt Phillips on a month’s loan.
Countdown continues: Page 30.