Ex Blades star, gives his opinions on the current crop and his time as a Blade.
Between 1987 and 2000, Dane Whitehouse played 275 times for his beloved Sheffield United, scoring 50 goals in a period that saw highs & lows. Promotion’s up through the divisions and final day relegation heartbreaker in 1994.
In the 1997 season, Whitehouse had hit a real purple patch and was in some excellent form when the Blades travelled to Vale Park for a Nationwide League Division 1 clash with Port Vale. The game itself was an uneventful 0-0 but for the injury of the Blades winger Whitehouse. It was caused by a tackle by Vale’s Gareth Ainsworth, now with QPR who receives a tirade of abuse from the Blades faithful whenever he returns to the Lane.
Whitehouse was given a squad number for the 99/2000 season (24)but was unable to recover enough to make a successful comeback, despite a handful of reserve team outings. Whitehouse became a real cult hero at Bramall Lane, not only due to his love for the club, but also for his habit of scoring against Sheffield Wednesday. The most notable cases in the 1991/92 season when he scored in both games as the Blades did the double over their City Rivals.
So, enough of the past, here’s a quick Interview with Whitehouse, regarding himself and the Blades:
I. What have you been doing since your career was ended prematurely almost 10 years ago?
I work in Sheffield at the wholesale markets delivering flowers and plants around yorkshire.
II. You had hit some excellent form the season it happened, you beat Stockport County 5-1 almost single handed, how long do you think you could have continued to play?
Hopefully I would have carried on playing till my late 30s, I kept myself fit and strong but you dont really know when age catches up with you.
III. Things at United have really changed in the last few years, it doesn’t seem long ago since we were crippled in debt and battling with relegation, but since, we’ve spent a season in the Premiership and had spent the majority of the time at the right end of the Championship, who do you think is responsible for such a turnaround. Is it Neil Warnock’s appointment or is it much bigger than the manager?
I don’t think it’s down to one person. It’s a club effort starting from the players on the pitch which gets the fans coming, to the backroom staff who look after everyday running of the club, to the directors who put money into the club to buy players and take the club forward.
IV. Ferencvaros, Chengdu Blades & Central Coast Mariners. These foreign links are obviously good publicity & will generate revenue for the club hopefully, but will United see benefits on the pitch as well?
We can see the benifits these links have brought to the club redevelopment of the ground new training ground and new players and long may it continue. I think it will with the people in charge at the moment
V. What set you aside from a lot of other Blades players was your desire for the club, do you still attend the games?
I try and get to as many games as possible, but I work satirday mornings so sometimes it’s difficult.
VI. Despite the performances of Stephen Quinn so far this year, United could still do with an out and out left winger much like yourself, do you see any players about who could fill that position?
There are not many wingers out there to choose from as a lot of teams play different formations which cuts wing play out.
VII. If you were a United player today, the link of Whitehouse to Beattie would no doubt provide the majority of the Blades goals, much like the Cotterill – Beattie link last season. Despite rumours linking him with a move away, it looks as though he’s staying, can he have as much of an impact in his second season?
I was impressed with him last year he created a lot of chances for our forwards and he should be able to take that form into this year because he will be more settled.
I think the question led him down the David Cotterill path, rather than James Beattie, which I had intended.
VIII. There were highs and lows in your time playing; one of the lowest was the relegation from the Premiership, what was the feeling like on that day, and on the other end of the scale, what was your best moment as a Blade?
It’s not a nice feeling. I was very upset like everyone else seeing fans cry because it means so much to them but it happened so you have to get on with it and put it right next time. The best moment for me was doing the double over the pigs and scoring in both games wot a buzz
IX. You’ve laid on goals for some excellent goalscorers, Deane, Blake, then later in your career Gareth Taylor, to an extent. Who were you most confident about getting on the end of a cross and who was the best player you played with overall?
We had some great strikers when I played. I didn’t have a favourite because my job was to put a ball in the box for them. I didnt have a best player because i could name quite a few we had some great players in my time and we gelled as a team. We had fantastic team spirit and we all worked for each other which is how it should be. I’ll let the fans pick their best individuals.
X. At the other end of the scale, it’s a bit of a cliché question but who was the best player you played against?
It’s difficult because I played against some of the best players of that era ie Shearer, Gascoinge, Cantona, Ian Wright.. I could go on for ever.
XI. Do you still keep in touch with any of the players who you used to play with or who were about at the time?
Yes, I still see brads and Mitch (Ward), Trace (Simon Tracey), Bees (Paul Beesley), (Brian) Deano, Brian Gale, Jon Gannon
XII. Finally, how do you think United will do this year & what do you see for the Blades in the future?
Got a great chance of going up as long as we keep players the club as a whole as a great future on and off the pitch and long may it continue UP THE BLADES!!