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Sheffield United… win or bust? Or rattle and hum? 27/11/2006

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

It’s always tempting to over-dramatise the significance of individual games, as Sky are wont to do on an almost weekly basis and particularly so this weekend.  Nonetheless, it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that tomorrow night’s game has rather a lot riding on it.

Not only are we pitched against a side who are immediate rivals for position at the foot of the table, a side who we’ve been regular adversaries of over the years with more than a few memorable encounters even discounting the two epic meetings last season.  But in the context of our wider season the implications are perhaps further reaching than the three points at immediate stake.

Marlon’s injury is without reasonable dispute the most consequential development of our season so far;  it’s easy to forget that many of those draws where three points were missed by dint of our failure to convert chances occurred with King in the team, nonetheless a lack of cutting edge has been our downfall thus far and addressing this shortfall in January is imperative.

In this context, getting some points on the board between now and then is kinda imperative from the point of view of who we might attract.  Win a game or two, leave ourselves at least in touch with the rest of the division and we might be able to cherry pick from all but the very richest pickings from Division Two (David Nugent, one assumes, is already beyond our means, as are the majority of experienced Premiership strikers worth taking).  But struggle and even they might question whether they’re not better off where they are.

Between now and Christmas we have difficult away trips to Liverpool, Newcastle, and most immediately Manchester City, whose flimsy away form has been propped up by points harvested at home.  So wins in our two home games are a must, and in Tuesday’s game all the more so in setting the tone for what must follow.

It hasn’t fallen badly for us.  The weekend’s Blackburn postponement has given our players a break, whilst Sheffield had a trip to West Ham which left them in victim mode after being denied a late equaliser by a contentious refereeing call.  Meanwhile articles on the club’s Official Site and recent public appearances by Aidy Boothroyd can leave none in doubt regarding the emphasis placed on the importance of a rowdy following.

From that point of view it’s probably no coincidence that the two games in recent years in which Vicarage Road really has risen to the challenge, the Palace play-off game and the pivotal relegation scrap with Derby two seasons earlier, were both under floodlights.  Both had a gravity that added to the intoxicating intensity, but this game is hardly insignificant.

At the Supporters’ Trust AGM a week ago, Aidy Boothroyd’s reaction to being told that Health and Safety concerns had prohibited the distribution of free Trust rattles was that folk should “smuggle them in anyway”.  Whether it involves smuggling rattles, saucepan lids, steel bands or just your lungs in tomorrow night, just bloody go for it.  It’s not as if we’ve not been practised in smuggling items into football grounds after all.

Sheffield have one away goal all season.  We can’t allow them a sniff tomorrow night.  By giving it some welly from the stands, we’ll be doing our bit.


1. thehornet35 - 28/11/2006

Completely agree with everything in the article, we MUST get three points, and why cant we be the noisest, most inhospitable fans in the 1st Division? It cant be that hard as all the big clubs seem to have a ‘no shouting’ policy for most of the home fans…

2. Nick B - 28/11/2006

I’m not paranoid, but the ref’s from Yorkshire……….

3. MP - 29/11/2006

match report:


4. FC - 29/11/2006


5. Adrian Spender - 29/11/2006

Bust. Completely bust 😦

6. Stuart Phillips - 29/11/2006

bust, it would now seem.

7. Joseph - 29/11/2006

Someone please put lead in the training ground balls, so we can learn to pass it on the ground! Our better players were completely by-passed last night.
Having said that, it can’t get much worse, therefore it must and will only get better. Maybe come May we can look back on this miserable November evening and laugh.

8. Colin Wiggins - 29/11/2006

Two wins in a row is six points. With Hameur and Ash back we can do that! No more defeatism please. Or Aidy will come round and bawl you out.

9. Nick B - 29/11/2006


10. nickb - 29/11/2006


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