A funny old game of two halves, luck and parrots

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FOOTBALL. It’s an international language you know.

Even Danny Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, admitted as much during one of his regular media briefings recently.

The trouble is, as I discovered at Bramall Lane last weekend, soccer’glish might transcend continents, borders and oceans. But it can be impossible to understand.

One supporter, who had decided to watch events unfold against Tranmere Rovers from the relative comfort of the press box, captured my attention by barking-out orders in what sounded a familiar yet foreign tongue.

“Come on United,” this intriguing interloper kept bawling when it became clear at least two points were ebbing away from Wilson’s side. “They want it more. They want it far more than you.”

But what exactly does that mean?

Only after hours of meticulous research and a crash course in morphology and phonetics was I able to translate this fluent footy speaker’s instructions.

United, to my eyes at least, seemed to be giving 110 per cent. So Rovers were clearly way off the scale.

One hundred and 11 per cent on the determination-ometer. Maybe even 112 or 250.

(After all, you’ve got to take inflation into account).

Exactly how much I’m not sure because Wilson’s red and white army certainly looked as sick as parrots when they trooped down the tunnel after being held to a draw.

True, it was a funny old game of two halves with United shading things on points before Rovers wrestled back the advantage after the break.

So perhaps that was the problem. Wilson spent the build-up coaching his players in those thoroughly redundant principles of tactics, positional sense and technique when he should simply have locked them in a cage and teased them by placing a Mitre Tensile a few inches away on the other side of the bars.

Nevertheless, United did seem to have left everything out on the pitch.

Just as they did at Notts County on Tuesday en route to a thumping 5-2 success; a match which really did not need a goal as Stephen Quinn, Ched Evans, Matthew Lowton and Neill Collins enabled United to set out their stall early.

Which is good because, in the pressure cooker atmosphere of a promotion dog-fight, it really does pay to take things one game at a time, not get carried away or look too far ahead.

Hope that, at the end of the day, if you produce a performance then the results will look after themselves.

Assuming, of course, that Lady Luck decides to smile upon you. That the stonewall decisions go your way.

Which, as we all know, is vitally important because the form book always goes out of the window at this stage of the campaign.

It’s pages get torn-up and shredded into a thousand bits.

Something, especially when you’re at a really big club like United, Sheffield Wednesday or even Walsall for that matter, that is vitally important to remember.

Because, no matter how good your facilities are, no matter how tight your “good bunch of lads” are behind the scenes, every single opponent is actually far, far better than their record suggests.

Even if they are 1459 points adrift at the bottom of the table and have failed to win a match since Agincourt.

*Twitter: JamesShield1