Sheffield United: James Shield’s Blades Column

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‘UNACCEPTABLE.’ It’s the new ‘Tactically Naive.’

Well, at least if my Twitter feed following last weekend’s defeat by Yeovil Town is anything to go by.

Sheffield United, apparently, just aren’t supposed to lose to the likes of Gary Johnson’s side. Ideally, they wouldn’t.

Unfortunately, as those of us who witnessed the 2-0 reverse six days ago can testify, they can. Despite the fact that, on paper, Danny Wilson possessed the more accomplished players.

The same could be said for Rafa Benitez when Chelsea were beaten by Swansea City recently. Or, scrolling back further, Pep Guardiola and Barcelona during their semi-final with the Londoners in last season’s Champions League.

Further evidence that the football we all pay to watch isn’t some sort of scientific computer simulation. Rather a battle of wits and technique between 22 or so talented but fallible humans.

‘Tactically Naive’ is one of those phrases that grates like Cassandra Peterson’s fingernails across a blackboard.

We all, yours truly included, vehemently disagree with the tactics our various team’s manager employ at times. And we’ve got every right to vocally articulate our opinion.

But to label the person responsible for devising them as callow, especially when the vast majority of us have no experience of professional sport, is just daft. A bit like asking Kaoru Ishikawa to explain the principles of Cause and Effect then dismissing the now deceased professor as a fool.

Speaking of which, it was disappointing to hear Johnson describe last weekend’s atmosphere at Bramall Lane as “Not particularly good” before adding: “And my lads made sure that was the case.”

He was right. On both counts.

Now I know that we football fans reserve the right to shout all manner of obscenities at others and still get precious when someone else has a ‘pop.’

You get used to being showered with opprobrium after becoming a journalist. So, just to clarify, in this instance I’m not criticising. Simply making an observation.

Those who sarcastically cheered when a certain United player was substituted, shouted ‘Olé’ when United pieced together some passes towards the end of the match or booed them off at the break are perfectly entitled to vent their spleen. Providing they don’t stray beyond the bounds of decency, that should always be the case. But they must also accept such actions have consequences.

Again, it is possible to draw parallels with Chelsea where the febrile atmosphere at Stamford Bridge is one of the factors which have contributed to the Spaniard’s charges performing better on the road. Not that the mood music at S2 is in any way comparable with SW6 right now. But you get the point.

Losing to Yeovil , eighth in the table and having won four of their previous six games is annoying and disappointing. Distressing even.

But unacceptable? No.

That’s a lack of interest, effort or commitment.

*Twitter: JamesShield1