Alex Miller: David Mitchell and a lonely four-pack - let's go to the well one more time with Sheffield Wednesday
There’s a well-known bit from ‘00s sketch show ‘That Mitchell & Webb Look’ that sums up the exhaustion of the whole thing best.
David Mitchell, he of ‘Peep Show’ and ‘Would I Lie to You?’ and ‘lots of other things’ fame, strides around a football stadium with the breathless air of a Richard Keys-type Sky Sports presenter, satirising the spirit of non-stop football coverage stuffed into our eyeballs these days whether we like it or not.
“It’s all here and it’s all football, always,” Mitchell says, increasing his frantic tone with every line. “It’s impossible to keep track of all the football, but your best chance is here.
“Thousands and thousands of hours of football, each more climactic than the last. Constant, dizzying, 24-hour, year-long football. Every kick of it massively mattering to someone presumably.
“Watch it all, all here, all-time, forever. It will never stop! The football is officially going on forever! It will never be finally decided who has won the football! There is still everything to play for and forever to play it in! So that’s the football, coming up, watch it, watch the football, watch it, watch it! It’s going to move, watch the football!”
And we do. We’re still locked up. And they’re still talking behind plinths on the telly.
To drag ourselves another week closer to normality we settle in for something resembling the way our lives used to be, a longing for that Tuesday night at the pub watching the Championship League with your pals.
Only there are no pals, you’re cradling a warm four-pack and you’re sat in front of Forest Green Rovers v Scunthorpe. And you don’t know why.
But like slavish zombies we drink it all in. We’re all inside and we’ve completed Netflix, what else is there to do? Good Morning Sports Fans, The Football Show, Soccer AM, Football League Years, Gary Neville’s Soccerbox, Football Countdown, Soccer Saturday, Soccer Special.
Then there’s TalkSport, 5Live, LadBible videos of something mildly amusing that happened in the Russian second tier and, yes, a dozen articles a day delivered to your phone by the good folk at The Sheffield Star. We stare blankly at the game that used to make us laugh and cry and love and hate.
It’s been a long season and it’s exhausting. Fans, players, media; we’re all shattered.
So where are Sheffield Wednesday in all this? With nine matches to go and relegation to fight? Where does it leave the thousands upon thousands of Wednesday fans who have been stripped of the matchday experience that inspires this multi-billion pound industry?
The fact is that this feeling of shattered apathy, while exacerbated by the club’s league position and general shoe-dragging, is not exclusive to S6.
And while the direct impact of an engaged fanbase is lost while stadiums sit empty, the love and support of a fanbase through social media can be felt by players and staff; they’ve said so themselves, time and time again.
So let’s shake ourselves. Throw some cold water over your faces and do some star jumps. Because we’re going to the well one last time.
This Sheffield Wednesday side will know its fate inside six weeks. Perk up your Twitter postings and reach for that iFollow purchase.
Nine to go. Let’s have it.