Kevin Gage's Sheffield United Column: I hate clichés - but here are SEVEN I feel apply perfectly to Blades' win over Aston Villa on Saturday
Whenever I hear pundits discussing a game or even read articles and reports on it, a little bit inside of me dies when the same old football clichés get trotted out.
I’m quite sure that despite my best intentions, I’ve sometimes inadvertently blurted out one or two, and immediately hated myself for doing so!
It’s instinctive, especially on live recordings as a commentator or reporter, and with the endless streams of content available these days especially in the Premier League, it’s sometimes difficult to avoid them!
With that in mind then (and getting my excuses in early!), I could happily throw about half a dozen football clichés at Sheffield United’s game Saturday versus Aston Villa – and they’d all be spot on!
(CLICHÉ ALERT)….”A game of two halves”. I’ll say! The first half was nice to watch, and we passed the ball around quite beautifully but without hardly getting a shot on their goal. There was a reluctance, it seemed, to try something out of the ordinary to break the deadlock as we opted too many times for the safer, often sideways option.
(CLICHÉ ALERT)….”The game needed a goal”. The United players were out warming up five minutes early during the half-time interval, and the intent was clear. From the restart we attacked with far more vigour and purpose and got the all-important first goal.
It was worth waiting for as it was an absolute peach! When we need a bit of impromptu individual skill, there were quite a few players on the pitch who were extremely capable and from a Blades point of view, we were looking to David McGoldrick, Lys Mousset, Ollie Norwood, John Lundstram, John Fleck, and also lately in Enda Stevens’ and George Baldock’s direction.
I think it’s fair to say that we weren’t expecting an outrageous and perfectly executed back heel to come from a certain Chris Basham! It was a sublime piece of skill.
(CLICHÉ ALERT)….”McGoldrick needs one to go in off his backside”. It won’t, of course, but we know what you mean! He was magnificent again on Saturday, as we all knew he would be. He oozes class all over the pitch as he glides into spaces.
Yes, he’s had the most shots in the Premier League without scoring but it’s really not an issue. He’s the lubricant that makes this team’s finely-tuned attacking engine run so smoothly and most importantly, he’s still arriving into the penalty area and getting on the end of chances.
(CLICHÉ ALERT) – Still on the subject of McGoldrick: “Once he gets one, he’ll get a few”. What’s the logic behind that then? Not necessarily true, is it? Maybe he will, maybe not. Fact is, we don’t care! He’s been outstanding all season, a crowd favourite, and rapidly becoming a club legend.
(CLICHÉ ALERT)….”Bramall Lane needs to be a fortress”. I HATE this one! At the end of the season, it’s highly unusual for any team in any league to have a better away record than a home one. It’s actually a very rare thing indeed.
As things stand we are still unbeaten away from home, and have picked up 12 points. The win on Saturday gave us 13 points from our home games. Although it would be fabulous to keep picking up away points, logic says that our home form is going to be crucial in the second half of the season. A ‘fortress’ implies that we make BDTBL an impenetrable home and slay anyone who dares try to enter.
I actually think the opposite…. Welcome them with open arms. Feed them with greasy chip butties and tempt them with barrels of Magnet. And then, when they least expect it, slaughter them with wave after wave of attacking midfielders, overlapping centre-backs and rampaging strikers!
(CLICHÉ ALERT)….” Let’s not get carried away or take anything for granted”. Two clichés together but the same meaning. Usually combined with “take one game at a time”. We understand the words and what they mean, but we’re Sheffield United, we’re in the Premier League, and we’re seventh with 25 points for God’s sake. Graham Souness calls us Barcelona, whilst Shearer and Wrighty on Match of The Day rave about us! Even Charlie Nicholas tipped us to win this week! Let’s allow ourselves to get a bit carried away please!!!
But then as someone once famously said (CLICHÉ ALERT) – ”footballs a funny old game” and we’ve seen many other teams implode and plummet down the league haven’t we? To be honest, I don’t think that’s going to happen to us as we are simply too good a team and our performances have been too consistent over such a long period of time. But hey I could be wrong, and as you know, I hate using clichés, but I’ll finish with this one... “I’m not counting any chickens”!
Kevin Gage owns The Manor House hotel/bar/café, High Street, Dronfield. Follow him on Twitter: @gageykev