Tuesday night and, having barely had time to digest our defeat to Ipswich, it was time for “The Massive Club” v “The Bummers”. That’s how http://www.owlsonline.com/ previewed it anyway. Though not in that order. They originally went for Owls v Bummers before settling on Big Club v Small Club while predicting a crowd that’s smaller than the number of season ticket holders we have. Homophobia, delusions of grandeur and ninja editing before issuing a grovelling apology claiming the writer didn’t mean it. Classy.
In case you missed it Sheffield Wednesday fans invented football. Also banter, 1970s comedians, ale, pie, being a lad and moaning about modern football whilst sitting in an overpriced ex deathtrap next to a novelty band.
So they’d love me. Metropolitan liberal democrat plastic that I am I listened to the game on the radio with a glass of Malbec and Twitter on the laptop. I pretty much live tweeted it. How very moderne darling. In the dull bits (and given the lack of noise coming over the airwaves from Sheffield, trumpets excepted, there were quite a few) I knitted a new pink sweater for my boyfriend Nigel*.
Years ago I did go to Wednesday away mid week. It was one of those trips that you rarely forget. Having tipped up in town mid-afternoon we found the only pub open had a flat roof and one of our number was foolish enough to stay there for a drink. He got mugged. The rest of us explored town for somewhere to drink that didn’t look like it had been designed by a prison officer on his day off before getting a bus to the ground full of people moaning about the 10p round trip. We lost (we’ve never won there) and spent eight hours getting home via a mail train from Derby to Bedford and a seriously dodgy kebab that put me in bed for three days. Of course since then I’ve seen the light, bought myself a Man Utd shirt and a permanent Sky subscription with the clubcard points I earned buying Babycham and Abba records online**. If I fellate Nigel early doors I can watch all the Premier League footy I want.
*put the kids to bed
**had kids and got the sort of job where you actually have to turn up
Yet these professional Yorkshiremen had the last laugh, and to such an extent that the above could be regarded as sour grapes rather than a satirical response to the worst piece of football journalism I have ever read (and I sometimes read The Argus blogs). We lost. We lost 1-0. We lost 1-0 in the ninetieth minute. And, whilst it’s hard to do an actual match report from the radio, it’s clear that we again blew a large number of chances.
Before the radio commentary of our game had even kicked in Manchester City had scored at Manchester United. It was the sort of goal we’ll never score under Oscar unless a serious review of tactics and / or personnel is undertaken. They attacked early on and converted a rebound you see. Despite nominally using a similar formation to us they charged forward from kick off and forced an opening straight away. When they hit the post from the opening someone else was following up to tuck the rebound away.
When, all season, have we done this? When do we ever have enough players in the box to think that if we miss the first bite at the cherry there’s another one coming? When do we get out of our own half in the first ten minutes? When do we look like taking a team apart?
In case you think this is an attack on our tippy tappy approach to football, or the top down and bottom up approach to having one club with one identity it is not. That I support wholeheartedly. But does anyone remember when Gus first took over at Withdean? When he won us over by saving us in season one and storming League One the season after? Regularly we would play two of Glenn Murray, Ashley Barnes or Chris Wood. Look at that striker list and salivate. Last night Ulloa had to drop out with a similar problem to the one caused to me by my late night kebab in Derby and we were left with a starting eleven who had seven goals between them all season. In March. Ulloa is almost all we’ve got when it comes to scoring goals.
It has been a season long problem. Yes you can have bad luck but missing chances match after match, week after week, month after month isn’t bad luck. People say we failed to take chances last season yet at the same stage we had scored far more goals. In the last couple of months of the season we were putting three past Palace and six past Blackpool with the manager supposedly in turmoil. Can you see us scoring three in a game at all this season? No. Now we’re paying millions for a team that couldn’t finish a bowl of Frosties.
Something’s got to give. I have no idea what but if you do then send it on a postcard to Paul and Tony. And while you’re at it send Owlsonline one with a drawing of an old skool cock and balls on. They’ll appreciate that.