We’re not here to watch football, but if there’s football on at Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane, we will watch football. The season starts next week, so this was a preseason friendly against Hull City. For the most part, it was just that: played in a competitive, but good spirit. There was a bit of a fight after halftime though, which was quite exciting for a friendly.
Following on from their 2-2 draw with a full strength Newcastle United side last weekend, the Blades continued to (metaphorically) punch above their weight with a well-deserved 1-1 draw.
Apparently, we’re surefire favourites to go up this season. Just like the last few seasons, then. We looked good today, it would be nice if we could keep it going for the next 9 months.
Asked about the best atmosphere he had experienced in his time in England, Pochettino picked Bramall Lane. “They are a historic club currently in the third tier and for a Cup game there were 35,000 people in the stadium. So it’s that, not Old Trafford, or Stamford Bridge or the Emirates that stands out.”
Not wrong there, Mauricio.
And HITC Sport’s Subhankar Mondal evidently knows his stuff as well:
English football is not necessarily the most aesthetic, but support and passion in the lower leagues is probably the best in Europe. United regularly get thousands of supporters for League One matches, sometimes more than some Premier League clubs do.
The Sheffield-based club are one of the biggest of England despite playing in League One, and retain one of the largest fanbases in the country. What is refreshing about the United fans is that they have remained loyal and go to games despite their team not being in the Premier League or in the Championship.
I took the boy to his first Sheffield United game this afternoon. The Blades v Plymouth Argyle in the second round of the FA Cup. A potential banana skin of note.
(Just check out those blue skies, by the way.) (And please excuse his hair, he’d just taken his beanie off.) As local band Pulp once sang:
Do you remember the first time? I can’t remember a worse time
And at half time, 0-0 and having endured a thoroughly depressing 45 minutes, I’m not sure I could, Jarvis, no.
But then in the second half, things perked up. They got a penalty and they missed it and then we got a penalty and we didn’t. And then we got another penalty and we didn’t miss that one either. And with the boy thoroughly excited, we then slotted in another (not a penalty) and all was right with the world:
All’s well that ends well, and this did end well. It’s taken a while to get him there, but I’m glad we did. Another rite of passage in my (not so) little boy’s life.
There are other interesting images on that post as well. Namely the two shots of the placard on (I think) Fargate in Sheffield, featuring words from the Bible. It reminded me of going to the football as a kid and seeing the old man in the fluorescent orange waistcoat* on John Street with a placard. Every game, without fail, he’d be there, standing in the middle of the (closed) road outside turnstile 33. On one side of his sign was: “CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS” and on the other, more ominously ahead of any important match: “THE END IS NIGH”.
I suppose that “Nigh” (like “Temporary”) is a subjective measure of time: we’re 30+ years on and “The End” has yet to come. Still, I guess that when it does, he’ll be able to claim that he was right all along.
* I didn’t think this memory could be right, but having looked it up, TIL that amazingly, hi-vis jackets have been around since the 1960’s.