Football / Fan's Eye View: Bye-bye Deano, Hello Flo: No 39: Sheffield Wednesday

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The Independent Online
SINCE we were born in Kent and have lived there all our lives we should really support a rubbish team like Crystal Palace, Charlton or Gillingham, but luckily our dad comes from Sheffield and has brought us up to follow the best team in the world: The Blades.

We started going when we were in the Third Division against teams like Fulham and Gillingham, and we even went all the way from Tunbridge Wells on the train to Wigan (we won 2-1 and Deano got both goals, but we don't like him any more because he plays for Leeds). The Blades were promoted that season so we were in the Second Division.

The final day we went to Leicester and won 5-2 so got promoted again. There was a pitch invasion and we wanted to join in but dad wouldn't let us, but it was still good because the United grown-ups were throwing us up in the air to celebrate. There was some fighting caused by the Leicester trouble- makers and that was quite exciting.

Now we are in the Premier League. The first season the team were very unlucky and didn't win a game until Christmas. Everyone said we would be relegated and even we could see the funny side, but in the end we won seven matches in a row and finished ninth. We go to Sheffield as often as we can, plus all the London matches against teams like Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham.

Last season was the best, even though The Blades didn't win many matches, because we went to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final against our deadly rivals, Wednesday. We had a lot more balloons and fireworks than they did and we also made much more noise, especially when Alan Cork equalised just before half-time. That was fantastic, and we were able to sing one of our favourite songs: 'Alan Cork, Alan Cork, Alan Alan Cork, He's got no hair but we don't care, Alan Alan Cork.' Our other favourite song is the famous 'Greasy Chip Butty Song', but we won't put the words because dad has already printed them in the Independent.

Our favourite players are Alan Kelly (Ireland's No 1), Franz Carr, Alan Cork and Glyn Hodges. Unfortunately Glyn is suspended after a fight with a Wednesday player in the derby at Hillsborough so he misses the first few games of this season.

We also liked Bob Booker and used to sing 'Ooh Ah, Bob Bookah' but now everyone else has copied that. Dad says Booker was not a very good player but had a cult following among the Blades fans. Quite a lot of Sheffield United players are like that.

Patrick, our oldest brother, hates football even though dad took him to a few United games when he was little. Oliver, our other brother, is a Blades fan but he doesn't go very often nowadays because he prefers riding our pony, Ivan.

On Saturday it was great because we were the mascots for the first match of the season. It cost dad pounds 100, but for that we each got a football signed by all the team, plus tickets in the family enclosure and lots of photographs. Dad says it was worth it because he got to meet his hero, Tony Currie. We went in the dressing-room and met Dave Bassett and all the players, who were really friendly. We saw everything that goes on behind the scenes, including the press box and the police video room - they are right up on the roof of the South Stand but showed us how their cameras can zoom in and read the writing on someone's programme over on the other side of the ground.

Then we took part in the kick-in before the match and had our own penalty shoot-out, so now we know what it is like to score at the Kop end (even some of the players have never done that). We had our picture taken on the pitch with Dave Bassett and Jostein Flo, our new star striker from Norway. Best of all, we led the team out in front of 20,000 cheering fans.

The Blades beat Swindon 3-1 so we have made a brilliant start, even without Flo and Hodges. When they are in the team, we will be unstoppable.

Dominic and Alex Marsh Aged 11 and 9

(Photograph omitted)

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