ON the weekend of the Sheffield derby, forgive me for thinking back to the Regional Sunday League and my time with Woodseats WMC.
It’s all because of last week’s Hillsborough derby against Chesterfield.
John Sheridan, for whom I have the greatest respect, and his coach, Mark Crossley, a likeable character, clearly thought that the better side lost.
Shez said his team were “a lot better” than Wednesday, and Big Norm reckoned they “battered” the Owls.
So, it took me back to my humble playing days when we Woodseats lads always admired a team called Rowlinson whenever we played them.
They were younger than us, could weave patterns across the pitch and you had to applaud the way they passed the ball around.
But we had pace and graft in midfield, two quick and skilful wingers, two goalscoring centre-forwards and a solid back four and keeper
If my memory is correct, we always used to beat them. It was the same when we won a big cup tie away from home against a team from a higher league. One of their players said to one of ours afterwards: “You’re not a footballing side are you?” My mate replied: “No but it’s funny - we just can’t stop scoring goals.”
I hope Chesterfield do well this season. I’m not having a go at Shez, for rightly sticking up for his team, and in fairness to him he did say that he was disappointed with the goals his team conceded, and he acknowledged that they haven’t been winning games.
I’ve heard a few Wednesday managers over the years play down defeats more than that and claim the Owls had played well. I thought that they were a bit blinded to reality and there was something wrong if the team let in too many goals in and couldn’t score enough.
But four successive wins and a rise to second in the table suggest that Gary Megson is getting it right with the methods and team that he has constructed in an attempt to get out of League One.
Let’s not be too simplistic, either. Teams can be tagged with a certain style of play but actually play with more skill and variety than critics admit, and that applies whether you’re Wednesday, Chesterfield or anybody.
Will the skill factor be so evident in a full-blooded Sheffield derby, when the tackles are flying in and players can be frightened of making mistakes? I guess the most common viewpoint is that city derbies are more about getting stuck in than tippy-tappy football, and Wednesday are not likely to be found wanting in that respect.
Lately they have looked a powerful, well-organised unit who score goals and are hard to break down.
But you cannot rule out Sunday’s game being swayed by a moment of brilliance.
Remember Etienne Esajas’s shot at Bramall Lane two years ago (which admittedly didn’t affect the result); Marcus Tudgay’s wonder goal there the season before that; and shots by Michael Tonge at Hillsborough in 2006 and Michael Brown at the Lane in 2003.
But if there is a decisive goal and it’s scrappy or lucky then I’m sure the winners won’t complain.