Day 248 – Another defeat

United lost again last night and the situation is looking rather grim.
This season is going to be a slog.

So I thought I’d clear my mind a little by putting some thoughts on here.

Firstly, there’s no point in my reading any more match reports. In fact, if you’re a match reporter, you might as well get them all written up now. Save yourself some time in the long run. Because last night was exactly the same again:

– Unlucky to lose.
– Deserved at least a point.
– Just couldn’t take their chances.
– A great performance by the opposition keeper.

You just need look at the stats:
23 crosses, 21 shots – 18 of them inside the box – 17 chances, 81% pass completion…
to see that there just needs to be a small change in our luck and we’ll be on our way.

Those are the numbers of a top performing team. And we are performing well – the ball just won’t go into the net. And sadly, that’s the stat that matters. It’s no wonder Chris Wilder is “scratching his head”. We all are.

We’re missing the crowds. Sure, so are all the teams, but a packed Bramall Lane gives us an extra two men. We’ve known that for a long while. I think we miss that more than most.

We’ve had some really bad luck: look at Haller’s goal for West Ham last week, for example. A thunderbolt of note, sure, but look more closely at how the ball got to him via an intricate series of fortuitous rebounds, and you soon realise that in any other season, it simply wouldn’t have been there for him to hit.

We’ve had some horrible decisions go against us:

(clearly not a foul)

And then that John Egan red card in Birmingham. Another Villa Park travesty.

We’ve got injuries to key players. Those are all BT Sport and Jurgen Klopp’s fault, obviously.

Yesterday, two of our infamous back five were unavailable again (the first matches that Enda Stevens has missed since September 2018!!) and even one of our replacements was injured. We can’t afford to buy top internationals six-deep like the big clubs. And yes, it would have been nice to bring a few more players on, but apparently you make a rod for your own back sometimes.

Sure. That’s exactly how the decision was made, Jurgen. That’s how all the decisions are made: The Premier League and Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder.

Sir Jurgen is fast becoming the Donald Trump of the Premier League, deposing Sir Alex and then Sir Jose. All fun and smiles until something doesn’t go his way, then suddenly it’s Mr Mardy Bum. (Sorry, TA – but my view on this isn’t new to you.)

But I digress. Often.

There’s no need for a change of manager. I don’t think that would make any difference. Unless it’s actually him that’s cursed (because someone around Bramall Lane clearly is). He’s doing a great job.
And there’s actually no need for panic. We’re good enough to get out of this and we just need that one break to get us on our way. How that happens, I don’t know. But yes, it really does need to happen fairly soon.

I’ve been a United fan all my life: forty[redacted] years. I’ve seen some wonderful highs (not least last season) and some desperate lows – I will never overlook the fact that I’ve seen us relegated to Division 4. But I don’t ever remember seeing a run like this. Especially not when the belief is clearly still there, the performances are still really good and the effort is almost tangible – yet the results just won’t go our way. One or two games would be “just one of those things” that happens to all clubs. But ten games in a row? It’s bizarre.

I’m at peace with the situation now. That’s not to say that I’m in any way happy about it.
But while the 100% effort is there – and it clearly is – I’m not going to complain. The lads are doing their best and that’s all we’ve ever asked from any Blades team.
This is the Premier League: this is the exactly the league we want to be in. We’re playing the best teams in the land – some of the best teams in the world – and we’re just, just off the pace.

I still believe. And so should you.

Day 247 – Recaps and explanations

Right. Lots to discuss here.

I’m sitting outside in the sunshine on another perfect day at the cottage, the gentle breeze taking the edge off the heat of the late spring sunshine, my computer in front of me and the blackest of Carling Labels at my side. Christine and Queens is playing on my Spotify Daily Mix and life seems generally rather good right now.

It wasn’t always this way, though. The Other Project, which I have mentioned a few times over the last couple of weeks, was selling our house. And that has been extremely stressful, with suspensive clauses everywhere and deadlines being stretched until the very last moment.

Long story short, the last of those clauses was met yesterday, which was incidentally the last day of one of the deadlines. And that’s every reason to celebrate, which we did last night, before crashing into bed just before 9, dead from stress, insomnia and physical exhaustion. Hence yesterday’s blog post*.

It’s been a great measure of just what the human body is capable of on auto-pilot.
And yeah, ok, that blog post wasn’t a good example.

And so we’re all done on our house, which means that we can now move to our new place. And no. It isn’t in the UK or Canada or New Zealand or Perth. It’s here: in SA; it’s in Cape Town.

It’s actually just up the road, which makes me wonder why we are paying so much for it.

Hmm.

Of course, nothing happens quickly in these real estate things, and so we’re looking at a few months before we actually do move anywhere. And by ‘anywhere’, I mean the new house that we have bought, I hope.

There’s loads to do, but we’re not doing any of it this weekend. We deserve the break that we’re having right now. And if this lunchtime drink makes me sleepy this afternoon, well, guess what?

I will happily nap this afternoon.

It’s been a horrible couple of weeks, but I think we’re through it now.
And we have aa lot to look forward to, which is a real privilege this year.

 

* it’s a personal thing.

Day 243 – Continuing the positivity

After yesterday’s minor – but important – successes, I had a quick gander over at Brian Micklethwait’s New Blog, as I do several (or more) times each week.

Says Brian:

I’ve been feeling down in the dumps lately, and I came to realise that the permanent photo on my computer wasn’t helping. It was of a boarded up house in Brittany, and it was there because that seemed appropriate for the times we are all trying to live past. But, because it was so appropriate it was also deeply depressing, just like the times we are all trying to live past, and it was making those times, for me, even worse.

I’m with you, Brian. I think we all are. 2020 has been an absolute slog.
We shouldn’t underestimate the toll that it has taken on us: we all deserve some recognition for making it through the last few months.

Brian has taken steps to cheer up his background and bring some additional inspiration into his daily life by selecting this photo of the Tate Modern from his archives and setting it as his desktop background:

There is no hidden meaning here. That’s a full-on promise in neon lights (or, given the colour, more likely Xenon or an Argon/Mercury mix, but those technicalities shouldn’t distract from the clear mantra). Yes:

EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT

Brian’s post made me look at my desktop background too. And yes, I had – subconsciously, I think – done exactly the same thing as he had, taking this photo of a typical scene in the Tankwa Karoo and then desaturating it to give me this far more sombre image, which seemed somehow more appropriate and which has been sitting as my backdrop for the past few months.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. But it doesn’t promote happiness, and having read Brian’s post, I decided to find an image that would. I would want a landscapey photo for my desktop background, nothing too busy.
Trouble is, I seem to have a lot of landscapey, not too busy photos that don’t quite fit that bill:

 

I especially like that third one, but it’s not very happy happy joy joy, is it?

Yeah, I have a lot of photos, but very few of them are suitable for a (positively) inspiring desktop.

I’ve ended up going with this one:

OK, I see the rough seas and the dark clouds, but I also see the sunshine and I see hope.

And I see Suiderstrand, which always makes me happier.

And I remember that EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT.

Right? Right.

Day 242 – Mostly positives

I started my Monday morning with a long list of jobs to do and things to achieve.

Wait for it…

And I did and achieved most of them. Ta-dah!

There is food in the kitchen cupboard once again and the lawn is mowed. Mown? Mowed?
Mowned.  Let’s stick with mowned.

The delivery I had to do down south was straightforward, and the meeting that I hadn’t been looking forward to very much, went well… I think.

This evening, I attended a webinar on the dining room table about online safety for my kids, and it was interesting, even if the guy did go on a bit too long. I’m not sure that Mrs 6000 was supposed to download and play Among Us while he was talking, but that does appear to be what happened. I must just watch her screentime…

Even the kitchen cupboard flinging a glass at me late in the evening failed to dampen my spirits. I actually love the new sparkly effect across the floor in front of the fridge. I can’t believe we never did this before.

Tomorrow promises rain (hence my getting the mowning done today) and there are still a couple of outstanding tasks I need to take care of (not least vacuuming and mopping the kitchen floor now), but generally, this has been a very good day.

More of this sort of thing, please.

Day 238, part 2 – An interesting day

Interesting for starters because of the fact that you’re probably wondering what happened to Day 238, part 1.

Well, paradoxically, while that’s written and saved on the back end of the blog right here, I haven’t published it yet, because it could be detrimental to events in real life and so I’m saving it until everything is done, dusted and… and… something else beginning with D.

I’ll let you know.

You may remember that I was struggling a little yesterday having endured a night of insomnia. Well, I took a little tablet last night and slept very soundly indeed, thank you very much. Less good were the continued effects of the dosage until about 11 this morning, because I had a real day to get through. Still, it appears that I have managed to survive and the afternoon even went rather well. There’s big news that I can’t quite share yet.

I know – that’s already two things I can’t tell you about, which is a bit crap. There might be more than two, but I can’t recall very much about this morning, I’m afraid.

We’ll get there, I promise.

Sadly, given the trials and tribulations of the last few days, I haven’t really got around to checking in on the latest on the virus or the local (or even international) news. I have a vaccine post planned for the near future and after today’s events (see above) (or rather don’t) there’s suddenly every chance that I might now have the time to write it.

Right, enough of this cryptic crap. Let’s see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully something rather better and more entertaining than this drivel. Thanks for staying with it this long.
Or commiserations – whichever.