This week we speak exclusively to Kevin Gage an adopted Blade who made the move to Sheffield during the 90's and still resides there today.
Kevin turned out for the Blades in the old Division One alongside the then newly formed Premier League scoring 7 goals along the way.
We speak to Kevin now about his time at Bramall Lane as a player and now as a fan!
How much did you know about Sheffield United before signing for the club?
Football-wise I knew an awful lot about the Blades because of the style of play I’d played before with Wimbledon & the ex-Dons players in the team such as Hodges, Gayle, Gannon, Tracey, etc. I’d kept an eye on the clubs progress up the divisions whilst I was at Villa & remember going to WBA on opening day of a season when as a newly promoted team, Blades won 3-0 with Agana & Deane running riot!
You worked with Dave Bassett both at Wimbledon and the Blades – was he a big influence on your career?
Obviously after the success & coming through the ranks & playing under Bassett for years at Wimbledon, he had to be an influence. However I don’t don’t honestly think that he was a great help to my actual technical football development as I had to adapt after a few years from being a ball -playing attacking midfielder to a full-back to get into the team!
However the consequent success we had meant I was more than happy to do so & to settle into that role. Importantly though , I also learnt a huge amount with regards to standing up for myself, commitment, passion, desire & general life skills that stood me in good stead in my football career.
What is your greatest memory as a Blade first of all as a player / secondly from following the club?
The memories that stand out for me personally as a player tend to be for the goals I scored, so the one against Villa at Villa Park was very special as I didn’t get on with Big Ron who didn’t give me a chance in his first team, resulting in my move to the Blades. It was a very sweet revenge moment!
And the other special moment was walking out at Wembley in the 1993 FA Cup semi... the noise & all the balloons & colour was incredible. Off the pitch I was extremely honored to be voted Player of the Year in 1995 & to see my name amongst some true Blades legends!
From following the club now for nearly 20 years since I retired, there have been plenty of ups & downs to be honest.... it’s the Blades way isn’t it?!
Being in the away end for promotion game v Northampton two seasons ago was great & then witnessing the scenes at MK Dons was just amazing.
But for sheer unadulterated joy & drama I’m going for Peschisolido's goal in the Forest play off... unbelievable moment. Being at Wembley & being 2-1 up during the half-time interval in the FA Cup semi-final v Hull under Nigel Clough was extra special too... for about 25 mins we thought we were going to make the final !
The best player you played with during your time at Bramall Lane?
Deano was our main man & a huge player for us during my time as a player at the Lane but I always pick Glynn Hodges as the best actual player I played with.
We played together in the Wimbledon Youth teams & broke into the first team at similar times. For many games we played on opposite wings in a 4-2-4 formation. His left foot was superb & when playing fullback I loved him in front of me as I could burst forward with the confidence that he get the ball to me. On his day he was unplayable for defenders & at over 6ft, a real physical presence too!
Who did you support growing up? Would you class yourself as a Blade now?
As a kid I lived right out in the leafy suburbs of Surrey with no football teams nearby. My nearest club was Aldershot about 15 miles but was never interested in supporting them. I never really supported any one particular side but just watched out for most of the London sides, with a fondness for QPR the most probably as it was the first pro game I’d ever been to aged about 10. Due to my Dads work commitment there were no opportunities for me to go to football regularly.
It was just BBC Match of The Day & ITVs The Big Match for me in those days! My Dad took me to Brentford once or twice as he worked nearby & he played for their juniors so I looked out for their results too.
Therefore when I finished playing I was more than ready to adopt The Blades as ‘my’ team and had been coming to games even after I left as a player in 1996. I still live in the same town (Dronfield) that I moved to when I joined the club in 1991, so the local connection has always been there.
Finally, what are you up too now - are you still involved in the game?
These days I own & run The Manor House Hotel on the High Street in Dronfield. It’s an 11-bed hotel with a very busy main bar & a cafe bar/lounge area.
I’ve also been employed by SUFC as a Match Host & Compere in the various function suites at Bramall Lane for about 15 years, and I also now do the co-commentary for the Blades ifollow subscription service.
I love still being a part of the club and whatever & wherever I end up in life, I absolutely know that it will now never change. Blade for life now, come what may!
Thanks to Kevin for a fantastic insight into his time at Bramall Lane, stay tuned for more interviews and daily memories of upcoming fixtures throughout the season.
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