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So long, and thanks for all the pork!
Tough day for for us yesterday but you still wouldn't want to be them

I did fairly well yesterday. Sod’s Law says that on the day Sheffield United get promoted you will have people coming round for tea and Mester will be a Blunt. A knock at the door, a “well done” through the most gritted of teeth and then we both politely pretty much parked it.

Tougher this morning though. A bad night’s sleep - eating too much rather than being kept awake by some nightmare vision of Wilder’s celebratory grinning teeth - and up early to hear Five Live celebrating the glory of Norwich and the Blunts (not of course technically promoted but L**ds winning two matches 7-0 would certainly bring on some sort of EFL enquiry). Bloody hurts today.

It’s been a fairly mad end to the season. Last Monday saw the bizarre sight of us all sat in the Barracks, seeing dirty L**ds go two nil down and just going “oh, right” rather than the usual dancing on the table-tops that this would engender. The media of course went into meltdown during the week about Man U fans being in a situation where if they beat City they might be giving Liverpool the title. But we’ve had pretty much the same nightmare dilemma for weeks.

Conflicted times on Twitter yesterday – on the one hand some people finding the words to say well done to United whilst at the other extreme a guy telling anyone who thinks the porkular foe have done well to unfollow him immediately. So, let’s just get it out there – you wouldn’t want to go for a drink with the guy but Wilder is a tidy manager who has somehow managed to get an average squad over the line. We all know you can’t do that in a Premiership environment and with their two owners still in feud mode it’s hard to see how they are going to finance the changes they would need to survive for long.

And there are some positives – no Sheffield derby for a start. I’m sure people on the outside looking in think we all rub our hands with glee at the prospect of a twice-per-season joust with United; the reality is I don’t know anyone who looks forward to the derby. Weird kick-off times (unless Sky say otherwise), all the usual drinking schedules to pot, and the Police going into civil insurrection mode. Won’t miss any of that.

And of course there is the whole L**ds thing. Football common-sense says that after their ignominious drop-off they will probably blow the play-offs, so whilst yesterday cast a fairly dark cloud it does have the merest hint of a silver lining. And it stuffs Look L**ds and L**dshire Television right up.

But the real source of our pain is the tortured what-might-have-been from Wednesday’s season. A positive gloss would be that Jos the Clown was taking us down until Steve Bruce came charging in on his (suitably reinforced) charger and turned our faces away from the gutter and up towards the stars. A few shrewd loan signings (and one sound permanent one) and a bunch of players suddenly turned unrecognisable from how they were under Luhukay.

We’ve all seen the mini-league tables that show where we’d be if the season had started at the dawn of Bruce. And we’ve all spent time saying we wouldn’t do the “what if” thing but then banging on about if the ref hadn’t had a Fergie-time moment against Norwich, or if someone had said “Don’t give Fletch the penalty (against Villa) when he can hardly walk” things just might have been different. But the fact is that Jos had managed to cobble things up just enough to make the play-offs a not quite attainable goal. And let’s be right, Bruce wouldn’t have come to our rescue any earlier than he did. So we have to hunker down, take the positives from this season and see what wor Steve can do during the close season and with one hand tied behind his back as we (literally) pay the price for previously trying to spend our way to glory.

Bruce is making all the right noises, although we none of us know yet how bad the restrictions are going to be. What we do know is that he’s here for the long haul, that he’s a shrewd player of the loan market, he has the right connections, and can wave some sort of magic wand over players who have previously struggled (can’t wait to see what he can do with Jordan Rhodes). So, if anyone can, Steve can.

Yes, we’ll have to look the other way whilst all those Premiership Big Beasts stride into town to take on (and probably bury) the Blunts. But at least most of our matches will kick off at 3.00 on a Saturday during a season where we will surely make a decent challenge.

But in many ways it doesn’t really matter which Sheffield team is in which division. Yes, the Blunts have gone up, but this season has also seen the All Wednesday film underscore a deep blue line underneath what it is to be a Wednesdayite, to shout loud about how whilst there are two league teams in this city there is something that tangibly stirs the blood so much more about one of them. Yes, they might be in the Premiership but We’re All Wednesday Aren’t We? 

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23.05.2019
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