Day 89 – Project re-Restart

The pandemic couldn’t have come at a worse time for the world Sheffield United.
There we were back in March, riding a wave of positivity, optimism and unbeatenness [just check if that’s actually a word before you hit ‘publish’, please – Ed.]. We were injury-free, cruising, loving the support of the Bramall Lane faithful, every game a joy.

But, like much of football since its return, we’ve lost our sparkle a bit.

The first game was to be expected. Every team has been a bit unsettled, none of them are match fit and it’s all been a bit weird. And – as I mentioned here, seething (mostly) quietly under my breath – we should have got all three points there, anyway.
But Sunday delivered a really sloppy, really disappointing performance and we got soundly beaten by a rather ordinary Newcastle side who probably couldn’t believe their luck.

Look, it’s just one game – and only our third defeat of the year! (the others being to Liverpool and Man City) – but we’ve got a trip to Old Trafford tomorrow, and with three of our infamous and well-respected defensive quartet missing for one reason and another (and another), and ManU now apparently riding the same wave we were on in March, there needs to be a change in attitude.

We’d better buck our ideas up; we’d better buck them up sharpish. Capisce?

[reference] (because why wouldn’t you want to watch that again?)

If the second coming of the Premier League was dubbed Project Restart (and it was), then I think that Sheffield United need a Project re-Restart.

The fact is that we’ve always bounced back after a bad performance, and so I’m not distraught, but there are a whole number of things which could give us more of a chance tomorrow (different opposition, crowd, injuries, more money, bigger squad, suspensions, 5 days rest instead of 3, actually owning Dean Henderson etc.)

Otherwise though, it’s a pretty even playing field.

Whatever happens, I’m still a proud Blade and this season has still been absolutely amazing. Despite the disappointing return, we’re some distance from me wanting to bite your hand off for 17th place – something I thought I’d probably be doing with 8 games left.

Come on, as I often say, you red and white wizzzzzaaaards.

When we were top the league

Yes, Sheffield football is currently suffering, but I was recently reminded by a friend on Facebook that there was a time Рhowever brief Рwhen my beloved Sheffield United were top of the Premier League league Рand Man U were bottom:

Fans of the Manchester club may want to look away rather than watch that YouTube clip as Brian Deane and the Blades tear through Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce and Peter Schmeichel et al (see line ups below) on the way to a memorable 2-1 victory which I still remember.
And while – 19 years on – the Red and White Wizzzzzzaaaaaaards find themselves in unhappier times, it’s somehow reassuring to note that some things never change with a (slightly younger) Alex Ferguson er… blaming the ref for the defeat.

Whodathunkit?

That season we beat (amongst others) Liverpool (1-0), Chelsea (4-2) and Spurs (6-0) at Fortress Bramall Lane, finishing in 14th place overall with 52 points. Brian Deane ended the season alongside Hughes, Cantona and Le Tissier with 15 goals.

Happy days.

Sheffield United 2-1 Manchester United
Bramall Lane, Sheffield
15th August 1992

Goals: Deane (5) 1-0; Deane pen (50) 2-0; Hughes (61) 2-1.

Sheffield United: Tracey; Gage, Barnes, Gannon (Hartfield, 86), Beesley, McLeary, Bradshaw, Lake, Cork, Deane, Hodges (Bryson, 68). Substitute not used: Kelly.
Manchester United: Schmeichel; Irwin, Blackmore, Bruce, Ferguson, Pallister, Kanchelskis (Dublin, 68), Ince (Phelan, 7), McClair, Hughes, Giggs.

Referee: B Hill (Kettering).