I saw them at the Brentford game and knew immediately that they were a bad omen. They scuttled out of the toilets at the back of the KOP, red-eyed and weird. Two streaks of stoned teenager, but this is what it means to be a Blade these days. I can’t quite remember when this became a thing, but their wild, gaunt expressions have lingered like the remnants of their half time spliff.
I didn’t countenance on seeing them again. But they happened to leave the Riverside around the same time as me and were finishing off a baggy of caffeine, pretending it was cocaine.
Berating the cheating official for ruling out an offside goal, they eventually lolled past me, side to side, chanting aimlessly about beating a wife that I’m sure they didn’t have. They looked younger than their nineteen years suggested. Lanky with jackets too big for their shoulders. Running out of the ground at a quickstep, bowling over fellow Blades in the process.
Something grabbed me and I knew to follow.
I saw them minutes later; part of a bigger group now. All identically steamed up with caffeine and a dab of speed. Huge children gathered together, terrifying in their unique ugliness. In an equal and opposite reaction, Middlesbrough equivalents stood in their way. A mirror image: steamed up with speed and a dab of caffeine.
I got there too late to tell who started it. But they were all screeching and throwing precise punches, bravely, via the medium of a glass bottle. I got out of there as quick as I could; jogging past a wounded ten-year-old who was nursing their bloodied fist after throwing a wild jab.
I’d hoped that was the end of it.
But in the aftermath of Tuesday’s defeat to Cardiff, I happened upon them again.
@Saturday_Stoner1 Cant believe it Wilders shit. Clarks Too slow. Too old. Think we’re doomed. Should av brooks on from start #twitterblades
He was probably punch-drunk off the beatings he dealt to his invisible wife. Is this what takes to be a Blade? Negativity in the face on a tough start to the season? @MassiveKOPtoiletstoner2 certainly thought so.
@MassiveKOPtoiletstoner2 Wot a joke. Were going down. Wilder sort it out now!!! #twatterblades
I’m sure Chris Wilder has got better things to do than attempt to coax a win out of his newly promoted side. Recycling the Peroni bottles or changing his car tyre: the bloke is surely less concerned with the Blades fortunes than he is the day-to-day grind of family life?
I hope Chris can find the time to give the Blades the same attention he did last season, or the season before at Northampton. In both cases, he had a shaky start before winning the league, so I’m sure he learned to balance the rigours of management with his 5-o’clock-sharp, evening meal.
I’ve not looked at Twitter since and I won’t be sitting on the KOP this weekend, but here’s to hoping that the KOP stoners put down their joint, take a seat and watch a match, or would that mean they aren’t true Blades?