Last day

The last day of an absolutely terrible football season (for Sheffield United, at least). We’ve broken all the wrong records, and it’s been pretty depressing to watch since before day one.

Mismanagement from the board, tactical naivety, a plethora of individual errors, a fragile mentality, a million injuries, a decent slice of bad luck, disappointing loanees, NOT ENOUGH MONEY, and some iffy refereeing decisions… it’s just all added up.

But we are in the Premier League. The best league in the world. And that’s worth remembering.

Because at the end of it all, I have to remind myself that we’re playing teams who can spend a billion pounds or more on the best players in the world. And while that certainly isn’t an excuse for a lot of what we’ve been put through this season, it certainly is a reason for some of it.

A lot of fans are saying that they’re looking forward to being in the Championship again, without the prima donnas and the piles of cash that rules the roost. Bigger fish in smaller pond and all that.
Without VAR too, but I’m always interested to understand how people have forgotten about the pre-VAR days when we complained about the referees and not the technology. Just watching the League Two play off final right now, and the ref made a howler with a penalty decision which would have changed the direction of the match (and likely the winner), and VAR saved the day. We’ll have to accept that sort of thing again, and we’ll be happy about it, right? Right.

More personally, the return to the Championship is also going to mean that I have to spend shedloads of GBPs on a streaming package so I can watch the games. And that’s not going to be pretty in ZARs, especially after the 29th.

Anyway. Last day. Last game. Last chance for a bit of pride. Not much else to play for, nothing matters, so the pressure is off, right?

My stress levels with still be in the high nineties at 5pm. It always matters…

Knife crime solved (but not stone/rock crime)

Incoming from one of our crime correspondents back in the UK, this:

Knifes should BANNED!!

Claire’s gone in hard there. No messing around. No hesitancy. No doubting her feelings. Some question over what might be her home language, but that’s really beside the point.

Knifes should BANNED!!

Given that this is an emotive subject and looking her upfront, overt statement, it’s unsurprising that others might choose to voice their own opinions on this subject. And Top Fan Sharon is right there, not even bothering with even basic punctuation, feeling that the words speak for themselves.

Yes I agree but how .

They’re the staple of every kitchen

Knifes are indeed the staple of every kitchen. Knifes and other utensils. And also food. But you never hear of anyone being stabbed to death with a spatula or a Asian-style pork belly with ginger and lemongrass, now do you? It’s clearly knifes that are the problem and that’s why knifes should BANNED!!

And, in theory, this somewhat draconian, but well-meaning plan, whilst making basic cooking and eating rather difficult, would likely eradicate knife crime pretty quickly. But the yoof of todayTM aren’t foolish. If they can’t stab you with a knife, they’ll just turn to other means of… er… “protection”, like spatulas stones / rocks ! . And as Sharon points out:

Can’t ban those.

Not like knifes.

The world is made up of stones / rocks ! and if we were to ban stones / rocks ! , then we’d have nothing to stand on. Banning stones / rocks ! makes the whole knifes should BANNED!! idea seem like a walk in the park. Although not Mortomley Park, obviously. The police cordons are still in place there.

The fact is that there is actually a really good law banning kids (or anyone else) in the UK from carrying knifes, and there has been since 1988, when MPs debated the motion “knifes should BANNED!!” in Parliament and came up with the Criminal Justice Act in response.

So knifes should BANNED!! albeit at the expense of the culinary arts. And with stones / rocks ! seemingly impossible to restrict or control. It looks like we might be losing the war on juvenile crime. Still, at least they chose to go down the stones / rocks ! route and they haven’t turned to firearms.

Or have they? How on earth (still here, made of of stones / rocks ! – can’t ban those) are we supposed to deal with that situation?

Claire’s back to sort us out:

yeah also gun!

I’m sorry, what? Pray explain, Dawn?

gun need banned

What? All of it?

Like under the extensive, far-reaching, oft-updated Firearms Act of 1968, you mean?

I think that what these erstwhile ladies are missing is the fact that actually knifes are BANNED!! and also gun – gun are banned, too. Also, stabbing and shooting people are banned. Even with a spatula.

It’s almost as if the people carrying the knifes and the gun, and doing the stabbing and shooting, don’t really care about what the law says that they can or can’t do.

Why, I’d wager that they’d even throw stones / rocks ! at each other (and probably everyone else, lol) if it was illegal.

It was worth a try, but it does seem that your well-meaning, poorly expressed, grammatically disastrous comments aren’t actually going to help.

Because, to be honest, all this nastiness actually comes down to the people.
But banning people is like stones / rocks ! –
can’t ban those!

The only thing that could actually make this situation any better is some legislation about social media.

Yes: Facebook should BANNED!!

United & Off The Pitch

My beloved Blades sent out a press release this week. They’ve teamed up with a company called Off The Pitch. OTP appear to do data analysis around the business of football. I’m not into business data of any sort, but I do know when there’s some corporate BS being used, and this press release was full of it.

But of course it was, because when I went to the ABOUT US section of OTP’s website, I was greeted with this:

Did someone drop the word “media” in there just for shits and giggles? Or am I missing something to do with the English language here? Because however I try to phrase this punctuation-free header, I can’t get seem to get it to make sense.
At the very least, surely if you’re going to use “is”, you have to use “medium“, right?

Basically, it seems to me that we’re buying this package so we can pay less for our players and pay our players less in the future.

But then the press release is packed full of boardroomisms and buzzwords:

Carl Shieber, Sheffield United’s Head of Football Administration, expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership: “Our partnership with Off The Pitch opens a realm of opportunities for Sheffield United. It provides an invaluable platform for benchmarking against other clubs, both domestically and internationally. This alliance is a step towards a more analytical approach in our business, commercial development, and player trading strategies.”

“Alliance”, “Platform”, “Benchmarking” and “Strategies”. Nice try, Carl.

But then OTP CEO Mads blows him away with this spiel:

Mads Meisner Christensen, Co-founder and CEO of Off The Pitch, shared his thoughts on this significant agreement: “We are excited to equip Sheffield United with a diverse range of tools to enhance their operational efficiency. This partnership is set to provide Sheffield United with a strategic edge in the transfer market, helping them to identify and leverage market inefficiencies for optimal results.”

Blimey! “Leverage” alone is worth 10 points! “Optimal” and “Strategic” are just the icing on the cake.

The thing is, how are we supposed to have any sort of edge – strategic or not – in the transfer market, when it seems like most of the clubs in Europe are using this same system? Did we pay more for the gold edition or something?

I don’t pretend to get it. I don’t have to get it.

But if we could just use plain English from now on, I would have more chance of getting it.

Summed up

With the visit of my dad from the UK, we were able to enjoy Christmas 2.0 this morning. No point in posting gifts back to the UK when there’s someone coming over who can take them back. No point in posting anything to South Africa, full stop.

If I could be summed up in garments, then this would be very close to a perfect fit (no pun intended). Henderson’s Relish Tee, the iconic (and now “Retro”, sigh) 1990 Sheffield United away shirt, and a 6 Music Dad cap (IYKYK).

Add in the Mushy Peas and the Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts and I’m clearly totally predictable.

And also very happy. Thank you.

You can’t win

Ah. The magic of the Third Round of the FA Cup. A wonderful opportunity for the smaller clubs to take a pot shot at the big boys.

And it’s great if you are a smaller club. Nothing to lose.

Get hammered? Well you were up against top class opposition. Internationals.

Lose? Plucky performance. Well done. On to the next league game.

Win? Write your names in the giant killing history books. Sutton United. Ronnie Radcliffe. Fucking Wrexham.

Of course, it’s the other way around if you’re the big club. No-one is saying anything incredible about Lille, despite this result:

Literally, you can’t win.

But we did.