When Wolves and Sheffield United lock horns on Sunday, Nathan Blake will be watching on keenly as two clubs close to his heart compete.
The former striker performed in the Premier League as a youngster for the Blades and won promotion back to the top flight in old gold in 2003.
Blake sat down for an extended interview in the official matchday programme, which is available from around Molineux for £3.50 and online here.
Snippets of Blake’s interview are available below, with the full version printed across three pages in Sunday’s programme.
How important was it for you to achieve that promotion in Wolves colours?
Playing at Bolton and Sheffield United, you’d hear things about Wolves being desperate to get back into the top flight and it didn’t materialise, regardless of what they threw at it, so I was really pleased to achieve promotion. The first one is always the hardest, it’s the one that gets the wheels turning, and you look at where the club is now, yes they’ve been down to League One, but winning is a habit and if it isn’t started, people tend to forget how it’s done.
Dave Jones and Dave Bassett managed the majority of your time at both clubs, how difficult is it to compare them both?
I couldn’t compare the two. Dave Bassett and Colin Todd were probably the best managers I played for, along with Eddie May at Cardiff, and I couldn’t put Dave Jones in that category for whatever reason, I just didn’t think he matched up to them with the way they used to treat players – man-management, so I can’t speak highly enough of them.
How did the team spirit compare in the Wolves and Sheffield United camps?
Wolves and Bolton were the best groups I played in. We had a great set of lads at Wolves, with a mix of experience and youth, and we all got on. We had a lot of banter and a lot of fun, every day in the dressing rooms when we used to train in the tennis club, which threw up a few surprises from time to time. It was a brilliant dressing room. Sheffield United was different because I was the youth and there was a lot of experience, by the time I got to Wolves I was the experience. You don’t really have responsibility as a youth player, just train and play, but it’s slightly different as an experienced player, you’re expected to lead and play. We had players like George Ndah, Matt Murray, Joleon Lescott, Lee Naylor, Paul Butler, Shaun Newton, Colin Cameron, Kenny Miller, Dennis Irwin, Paul Ince, we had a really tight bunch of boys who all got on with each other. It was brilliant on a day-to-day basis, we actually looked forward to after training in the dressing room as much as training because the banter would fly about.