THE SHARP BLADE: Sheffield United miss out on Real Zaragoza clash

IT seems like only the other day since last season ended with the heartache of relegation.

But already preparations are well under way for next season, with the announcement of a raft of pre-season fixtures.

On the face of it the opposition - Sheffield FC, Worksop Town, Doncaster Rovers, Alfreton Town, and Stocksbridge Park Steels - might not fill many Blades fans with excitement, but just the prospect of seeing a new Sheffield United team under the leadership of a new manager following a few agonising footballess weeks is enough to whet our appetites.

And there is still one pre-season date to be confirmed after a proposed clash with La Liga outfit Real Zaragoza - a team who beat the mighty Real Madrid last term - fell through.

That fixture would surely have brought in a decent crowd and given the club a small cash boost. Not to mention the prospect of being able to see some sexy football on the hallowed Bramall Lane turf.

Excitement and anticipation over the forthcoming season will be ratcheted up another level this week when the 2011/2012 fixtures are revealed.

For the the disappointment of our demotion to the third tier of English football, there is the consolation of two mouth-watering derbies against that lot from S6, which will have added spice now there is a former Owl at the helm at BDTBL.

Speaking of Mr Wilson, he already seems to be making great strides in his efforts to win over the many Unitedites who were angry at his appointment.

Last week the new Blades boss took part in a Fans Forum, organised through a Blades message board.

Danny Wilson was far from obliged to take part in this question and answer session. Judging by the hostile reception he received when his appointment was announced, it would have been understandable if he had avoided this event like the plague.

But fair play to the man, he turned up and spoke frankly with the fans who attended. And he won a lot of respect in the process.

And I’m sure he is eager as any Sheffield United fan to discover when we will playing our local rivals, and then orchestrating a plan to pull off a famous double over the Owls.

UTB

The Sharp Blade