Star writer Les Payne’s

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GOT my first glimpse of the Blades this week. Certainly a bit different aren’t they? Unbeaten for a start!

Now, it wasn’t perhaps the clearest of sightings bearing in mind I was viewing it from the lower tier of the away end amongst Portsmouth fans (should you ask, it was to do with relatives).

Actually, it was quite enlightening. Not least because I always get to watch my football from side on, never from behind the goal, a vantage point many only ever see their football from.

I got a totally different perspective on things. Certainly a different game from down there!

Not quite sure about judgement when play is in the other penalty area, mind you. Not sure I could safely ‘blame’ a goalkeeper or anybody else from that distance which so distorts things.

Mind you, it looked a penalty even from where I was. A few around me weren’t so sure!

At the start of the second half I found myself about ten seats away from ‘Pompey John’, Portsmouth’s No 1 fan and quite a character.

He’s the guy the cameras always pick out with the 2 foot tall, checked top hat and the blue and white ringlets wig.

He’s wearing only a waistcoat over bare body, shorts and he’s padding about in ‘shoes’ that are Coco the Clown ones with the bulbous front.

Perhaps he’s kept warm by his multi-tattoos including three figures down one leg which signify the time of a particularly well-known train that noisy Pompey fans would catch to Fratton station for night games. Away fans were advised not to catch it!

Anyway, the Blades certainly operate a different way to last season. They’ve swapped flair and multi-attacking options for a more functional, well-drilled, organised operation.

Needs must if you’re stripped of some leading players and Danny Wilson and his staff must get huge credit at this juncture for what has been achieved thus far - not least the second best start in the club’s history.

They looked pretty well organised to me which is a starting point and, importantly, is bringing them results and they’re still unbeaten.

Incidentally, the club is currently equalling the longest unbeaten run ever assembled throughout the club’s history.

It stands at 22 unbeaten which has happened twice within a single season (1899/00 and 1935/36) and once across two seasons (11 at the end of 1970/71 and 11 at the start of ‘71/72).

To this season’s 17 can be added five unbeaten at the end of last season (games that go to penalty shoot-outs are classed as draws), therefore the club is on a run of 22 without defeat.

Avoid defeat at Bristol Rovers tomorrow and no Blades fan will ever have seen their team unbeaten for longer.

Now, even from where I was on Monday night, that looks pretty decent to me.

Not for one milli-second, when I read the allegations of what was supposedly said, did I think that any Premier League referee would be stupid enough to use the word ‘monkey’ to a black player.

We’ve spent ages around here trying to ‘guess’ what might have been said. Someone even suggested that there might have been an admonishing “cut monkey business out and let’s get on with it” remark.

The stakes are extremely high. Either Mark Clattenburg’s career is over or Chelsea and the accuser have some serious explaining to do.

Either way, there won’t be a winner.