Day 3-4-3, although we were actually playing a 5-3-2.
Too little too late? Possibly. Probably, even. But the commitment and the sheer effort last night was a proper Sheffield United performance, not one of a team seemingly doomed to relegation. Our defeating both Aston Villa and the best efforts of the officials and their laughable red cardism was wonderful to watch (if slightly stressful at the end).
You have to watch that DMG goal a couple of times. Once to see the inch-perfect cross-field ball, and then a second time to ignore the inch-perfect cross-field ball, and watch McGoldrick’s run once he had pinged the pass out to George Baldock.
What a goal. What a performance. And a Sheffield Double as Wendy lost to relegation rivals Toytown in the last minute.
Mixed feelings (did you see the title of the post?) after last night’s football.
Happy (that’s the first bit) to see the return of Premier League football, albeit in weird, unsettling circumstances. And happy to get our first game out of the way: a wholly lacklustre affair at an empty Villa Park.
Not Happy, though (second bit now) about the goal that never was:
Just look at all those faces. They know. All of them.
Clumsy, sure. Messy, maybe. Maybe undeserved, even. But they all count.
Or usually they do, anyway.
But despite the fact that this was way over the line, the technology didn’t pick it up.
Hawk-Eye (the company responsible for the goal line technology) later told us:
“During the first half of Aston Villa v Sheffield United match at Villa Park, there was a goal line incident where the ball was carried over the line by Aston Villa goalkeeper, No. 25 Nyland.
“The match officials did not receive a signal to the watch nor earpiece as per the Goal Decision System (GDS) protocol. The seven cameras located in the stands around the goal area were significantly occluded by the goalkeeper, defender, and goalpost. This level of occlusion has never been seen before in over 9,000 matches that the Hawk-Eye Goal Line Technology system has been in operation.
“The system was tested and proved functional prior to the start of the match in accordance with the IFAB Laws of The Game and confirmed as working by the match officials. The system has remained functional throughout. Hawk-Eye unreservedly apologises to the Premier League, Sheffield United, and everyone affected by this incident.”
Quite why it wasn’t then referred to VAR, no-one really knows, but that’s only fuelled the number of conspiracy theories going around about this which are now rivalling 5G, the moon landings (or lack of them) and Bill Gates inserting vaccine chips (or whatever) in all of us.
For this morning at least.
Because if that extra point keeps Villa up, it will cost another club tens of millions of pounds. And if those two lost points means that we don’t make the Champions League this season, that will cost us tens of millions of pounds. Perennial Premier League favourites Man United will be chuffed though. Just saying.
Such are the implications and fine margins* of modern day football.
Of course, all this can be sorted out immediately by using the “definitive replay”. Because the goalie and the defender (and all the other players) can be removed from that image:
Sooo… Even if they were in the way, they won’t be once that is released.
When it is released. Then we’ll know. Any time now. Coming soon.
No one thing grabbed my attention from the information overload that I now find myself happily facing on a daily basis. This is actually a good thing for you, my reader, because it is unlikely that I will rant about the paranoia and misconceptions of an irritated acrophobe, celebrate my good fortune at the hands of David Cameron or mourn the demise of an unfortunate giraffe.
No, today has been far more relaxed and it is in that laid-back frame of mind that I give you the following items for you perusal:
But what the hell, it’s only a chair, and if it goes wrong, it goes wrong. It still made for a pretty set of pictures.
Next up, a brilliant story from South Yorkshire Police about how the European Cup – currently in Milan and already booked for Madrid next year – came to arrive in their West Bar headquarters in Sheffield, having been “borrowed” by an aggrieved pub visitor in Birmingham.
The tale is from 1982 after Aston Villa FC won the European Cup. The players had been celebrating at a pub in the West Midlands and, as the night wore on, the players had allegedly become more boisterous. A young man at the venue with his girlfriend took exception to their behaviour and asked them to show some respect for other customers. His request was allegedly met with more abuse. And so the man decided to play a prank on them. As no-one seemed to be paying attention to the European Cup, he decided to pick it up and see how far he could walk away with it before anyone noticed.
It’s a great story, made even more entertaining for me by SYP’s refusal – almost 30 years on – to commit that the Villa players had actually become more boisterous or had actually abused the young man in question.
Finally, another World Cup warning for the weary England fans who have already had to contend with race wars, earthquakes, snakes and tropical diseases. This time, it’s a reasonable request to be aware of online ticket scams.
According to the Office of Fair Trading, one in 12 ticket buyers are caught out by fraud each year. Research from online ticket marketplace viagogo suggests almost half a million Britons have been duped by a bogus ticket sellers in the past 12 months.
I’m forever deleting spam from illegal ticket vendors on my World Cup posts. But the only frustration for ticket buyers here was the fact that FIFA’s systems failedyet again when the last 90,000 World Cup tickets went on sale in South Africa this morning.
As someone – I can’t remember who – pointed out on twitter:
FIFA – You keep asking if South Africa is ready. We are – so why weren’t you?