Wembley again

Big day today, as my beloved Red and White Wizards head down to Wembley Stadium for the FA Cup semi-final against Hull City. My Dad and brother will be there and I’ll try (as before) to guide them safely in. I’ve seen United in 3 FA Cup semi-finals, all of them with us in a far better situation than our current League One position. In fact, if we win today, we’ll the first club in over a century to get to the final while playing in the “third tier”.
However, our record in those semi finals is “less than great”, sitting at 0-3.

Not for want of trying though. Who could forget this amazing moment from our 0-1 defeat to Arsenal at Old Trafford in 2003?

That’s how close we were. I was sitting (obviously, I wasn’t actually “sitting” at this point, but the point still stands (pun intended)) looking right along the goalline and I still cannot explain how Seaman kept that out.

But that was then and this is now. Sadly, our recent record in Wembley games is equally poor. The omens, they are not good, but I do like this sentiment from our manager:

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Because given our circumstances and the teams we have had to play (and beat) to get to this point, we should already be proud of what we’ve achieved, but what’s the point of resting on our laurels now? It’s been the way for a while in this cup run that any step further would be something amazing. So why not go for one more?

33,000 Blades fans will be there to cheer them on:

Retail Sales Manager Lisa Crossland said:
“As quick as new merchandise is coming in, it is selling. This morning alone (Tuesday) we have sold more than 800 T-shirts, 600 flags, 300 car flags, 250 foam Wembley hands.”

I’ve long since given up on trying to predict the outcomes of Sheffield United games, save to predict them as being generally unpredictable. In getting this far, the team has already proven that we have the ability, we have the belief. Now we just have to go out and put it all into practice this afternoon.

Hold thumbs.

Don’t throw your lifelines away

There aren’t many pop videos which begin with a poem written by a king.
In fact, if you can name any at all, I’ll be impressed. And that’s going to leave you high and dry when that “name a pop video which begins with a poem written by a king” question comes up at the next pub quiz you go to.

Instead then – tell them about this video: Lifelines by a-ha, which is prefaced by a poem written in 1977 by King Olav V of Norway :

When I look back
I see the landscapes
That I have walked through
But it is different

All the great trees are gone
It seems there are
Remnants of them

But it is the afterglow
Inside of you

Of all those you met
Who meant something in your life

And then the video, based on the Norwegian short film A Year Along the Abandoned Road and filmed in the abandoned Norwegian fishing village of Børfjord.

…and presented to you this evening not just to assist with future pub quizzing, but also to mark two months before a-ha’s last ever gig in the UK, which will take place on November 27th at Wembley Arena: one of the venues where I saw them perform on their Lifelines tour (on 12th October 2002).
The 27th November 2010 is, incidentally, also the date that I land in the UK for The Last Hurrah tour.

It all seems to fit.