DEM BLADES’ strong display was not enough to prevent a 1-2 defeat to Bristol City, whose youthful manager is as long in the tooth as he is short in the…height.
Lee Johnstone is often quoted as being ‘softly spoken’ and ‘forward-thinking’. Like a nonce in a car, who has ditched the packet of sweets and instead is offering out ‘FIFA Ultimate Team Packs.’
“Hoofball with technology”
“We utilise hoofball with technology,” said Lee Johnstone of his off-the-pitch techniques, which supposedly maximize player performance. On the coach to Sheffield, Johnson put his entire squad and coaching staff through their paces. “Every time we travel I make the entire coach-load play Candy Crush with the wrong hand. It’s a really sweet way to encourage the players to think outside of the box,” Johnstone explained. He’s a bloke that is full of ideas. “Next time out I think I’ll get them to drink an energy drink whilst thinking about being really lethargic.”
Moreover, the pint-sized manager stresses the importance of the fine details. He allows his wife to pick his touchline outfit as a means of inspiring his players:
“Whether its a blazer, a scarf or my flat-bottomed boat shoes, if I look smart and tall, then my players can play their best.” But you don’t wear flat shoes, Mr Johnstone, you wear enormous heels. “So I do,” is how he would’ve responded if I could’ve asked him that question: the man in the orthopaedic shoes hypothetically standing corrected.
DEM 90 MINUTES
After a poor showing against The Lie-Ins last weekend, DEM BLADES came out of the traps like a greyhound chasing a hare, except they were on a football pitch and they were chasing three points.
Despite dominating proceedings throughout the majority of the first half, DEM BLADES conceded another goal from distance. The Bristol player, Patterson turned Jack O’Connell and unleashed an unstoppable shot that was long and rangy in the same way that Lee Johnson isn’t.
The second half began in a similar vein to the first and DEM BLADES attacked from the off. Leon Clarke picked the ball up in the right-hand channel and drove towards goal and hit a fierce strike into the top-left corner, which the steadfast goalframe could do nothing about.
The Goalframe was excellent throughout. Firstly, the post prevented Mark Duffy’s curling freekick. Secondly, the woodwork denied Billy Sharp’s twenty-five-yard effort with an excellent clearance over the bar. Between the Bristol keeper and the crossbar, a third attempt was kept out when Sharp’s header was steered away from the goal line. Finally, the upright prevented Duffy’s second-half strike from nestling in the bottom left-hand corner. The lanky Goalframe was uncompromising at the back, showing grit and white hot steel in the face of a barrage of attempts by DEM BLADES.
The game was like butter about to be spread on toast, a bit soft- no, on a knife edge. That was until John Fleck opted to leap into an honest, but dangerous tackle that earned him a red card: flecking hull.
Late in the game, Bobby Reid overcame his aversion to Friday night fixtures. Perturbed by the re-arrangement, Reid could not enjoy his usual evening out swinging and he looked out of sorts as a result, but his excellent inswinging cross was met by the foot of Aidan Flint who slotted home the winner.
Maybe it’s time for Chris Wilder to change things up. When you go head-to-head with a manager of Lee Johnstone’s stature, then you’d hope to impart some of his methods. Perhaps Wilder could ask DEM BLADES players to watch videos of dead dolphins to rile them up ahead of the Derby in January- just a thought.
Personally, I’m an advocate of a complete overhaul. Sod the 3-5-2, it’s never gotten us anywhere. It’s time to move away from an attacking, passing approach and toward a more forward-thinking hoof. If you combine a back-to-front approach with your missus choosing what outfits you should wear on the touchline, then you, Mr Wilder, might be half the manager of Lee Johnson (which would make you shorter than three-feet.) Wilder, pull your finger out, change it up or it’s time to go.
Man of the Match
The goalframe: DEM BLADES tactics would work if it weren’t for the persistent interference of this stand-up, thick-as-a-post giant.
Steve Mackan has been described as a “pretty good journalist with short hands,” for his excellent editorship of The Shatton Periodical. Why not read the first instalment of his review of DEM BLADES promotion season over breakfast? Cerealised on page five.