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The Super Blades- A Sheffield United Story

Started on 26 June 2014 by TheNortherner
Latest Reply on 8 July 2014 by Zed
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Just to fill you in

As I didn't write up last season after the disaster, I will just fill you in on who did indeed join the club, as many mistakes were learnt from...

Luke McCormick joined as back up goalkeeper from Plymouth.
Ash Taylor joined for £375k from Tranmere to fill the void left by a departing centre half.
Dwight Gayle joined on loan from Crystal Palace.
Tyrone Mears joined on a free from Bolton to replace the departing John Brayford, whose load expired.
David Edgar came in on a free to partner Harry Maguire at centre half.
Conor Coady made his loan from Liverpool permanent and joined on a free at the end of his contract.
Dean Moxey came in on a free from Crystal Palace.
Kazenga Lua Lua came in for £825k from Brighton to play a key role on the wing.
Isaiah Osbourne came in on a free to boss the midfield.
Keith Treacy, like Coady, made his loan permanent.
Josh Magennis came in on a free as a back up striker.
Bradley Orr came in on a free due to Mears being simply abject.
Matt Smith came in to provide another option- the big man up front.
Owen Garvan joined from Crystal Palace.

They are the players who came in before and throughout the 2014/15 season.

Pre Season

So, after guiding the Blades to survival and a mid table finish in the Skybet Championship in their first year back in the second tier, Steve Claridge set up four friendlies with the intention of setting his team up for a big season where the hope was to push on for more after only falling away from the play off positions in the last two months of the season. The friendlies went as follows...

Pre Season 1; Sheffield United 2-2 Crewe; Dean Moxey, Jose Baxter
Pre Season 2; Halifax 1-2 Sheffield United; Dwight Gayle, Tom Thorpe
Pre Season 3; Sheffield United 1-3 Chelsea; Matt Smith
Pre Season 4; Sheffield United 2-0 Sion; George Boyd, Dwight Gayle

No trees were pulled up, no massive surprises, and the team were ready to hit the ground running for the new season. The match against Chelsea was a bit of a disappointment as Sheffield United were 1-0 up until the 75th minute, but then the international class of Chelsea began to tell and three quickfire goals put paid to the dreams of beating the big boys.

Next post, which is imminent, will be that of the new signings this summer.

Transfers In

Nicky Bailey has arrived on a free transfer after Millwall released him and he will provide competition for Osbourne, Coady, Cuvelier, Wallace and Garvan for the central midfield roles and I hope he will be able to help push the team up the league.

Tom Thorpe, centre half, was a transfer target back in the League 1 days but he turned down Sheffield United in favour of going to Championship side Bournemouth. However, they have now released him and he comes in as a fourth centre half to compete alongside Maguire, Edgar and Taylor. He is only young and may well develop into a top quality player during his time at the club.

George Boyd is a name familiar to all managers who have taken a job at a Championship club and, after his release by Hull, he was brought in to add to the depth of the squad and to hopefully do a bit more than chip in from his favourite left sided role.

Nene was a player who became available and was brought to Claridge's attention late in the summer and the 34 year old ex-PSG winger will add a bit of class and experience to the team, despite managing to get injured in his first appearance for the club.

Elliott Hewitt is a young, Welsh right back who arrived after his Ipswich Town contract expired and he will be first choice in this position as he is far better than Orr and has potential to go a long way. After the farce of Mears, a good quality full back had to come in and Hewitt fits the bill.

Matt Smith made his loan stay permanent and he is the perfect target man at this level and, despite the fact he won't be starting too much with Gayle- his loan was made permanent- and Stevie May ahead of him, he will hopefully provide a very useful option from the bench when it is required.

As for the players who went out...

Jamie Murphy left for Birmingham City for £400k after barely featuring during Claridge's time at the club. Tyrone Mears left on a free to head to Ross County and he will not be missed, nor will Josh Magennis, who departed for £180k after his move didn't really work out and he chipped in with a grand total of one goal from 22 appearances last season. A collection of players, including Neill Collins and Jamie Hamill left on free transfers after not featuring much at all.

Now, time for the new season...


So the season began with Claridge's men aiming to go a bit better than their 13th place finish last season and to hopefully push on to reach the play offs, although the board seem to be happy with settling for another mid table finish- I will not all ow the players to settle and we will aim to improve in every way possible.

The season begins...

Game 1; Skybet Championship; Sheffield United 0-0 Brentford
Game 2; Capital One Cup; Sheffield United 2-1 Oldham; Jose Baxter, Dwight Gayle
Game 3; Skybet Championship; Wolves 1-4 Sheffield United; Jed Wallace (2), Stevie May (2)
Game 4; Skybet Championship; Sheffield United 1-3 Reading; David Edgar
Game 5; Skybet Championship; Derby 0-3 Sheffield United; Stevie May, Jose Baxter, Jed Wallace
Game 6; Skybet Championship; Middlesbrough 2-1 Sheffield United; Stevie May
Game 7; Capital One Cup; Bury 0-2 Sheffield United; Jose Baxter (2)
Game 8; Skybet Championship; Sheffield United 1-1 Bournemouth; Kazenga LuaLua

A mixed bag- two wins, a draw and two losses in the league- has led to Sheffield United sitting in 13th place as we enter September. Stevie May, the hero of the promotion campaign of two years ago, was the target of two bids from Fulham in the summer of between £800k and £1m, but these were obviously turned down and has netted a few goals to show he has no wishes to leave as of yet. Jose Baxter has been a key player for both of Claridge's years at the club and he has started this season in devastating form, with an average rating of 7.8 from his six games so far- Stevie May may well be the man who leads the line, but Baxter is the one who is pulling all of the strings for this team.


An unbeaten month for Claridge's men sees Sheffield United end September in a lofty 2nd place...

Game 9- Skybet Championship; Sheffield United 3-0 Cardiff; OG, Ryan Flynn, Kazenga LuaLua
Game 10- Skybet Championship; Sheffield United 3-2 Sunderland; Dean Moxey, Dwight Gayle, Kazenga LuaLua
Game 11- Skybet Championsip; Brighton 0-1 Sheffield United; Jose Baxter
Game 12- Skybet Championship; Burnley 0-2 Sheffield United; David Edgar, Stevie May
Game 13- Capital One Cup R2; Sheffield United 2-1 Reading; Jose Baxter, Stevie May
Game 14- Skybet Championship; Ipswich 1-1 Sheffield United; Stevie May
Game 15- Skybet Championship; Sheffield United 3-0 Barnsley; Jed Wallace (2), Dwight Gayle

A superb month with the only dropped points coming against Ipswich as a tactical fiddle failed to pay off as Claridge aimed to target an out of position centre half in midfield and in the end it turned out an utterly boring match. However, that is the only blemish of the month and Jed Wallace's superb performance in the derby against Barnsley was a joy to behold and he has played his way into consideration for regular roles in the team after his goals and performances this season.
Nene! Good signing! And good start to the season!

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