On Friday evening, I saw Jarvis Cocker in the mouth of a cave. I have no idea what he was doing there, but I had rocked-up to Peak Cavern to learn a thing or two about rope making. I asked him whether my voucher entitled me to a lesson. He explained that tickets cost thirty-five quid and were almost sold out. I explained to him that instead of a jaded pop-star, I’d prefer an expert to guide me through the nuances of the art: from string, to twine, to rope, to cable.


On the topic of laying cables, I normally spend £3.72 on a twelve-pack of home brand toilet paper. A shit ticket is a shit ticket you see, and this week I’ve had my fair share of shit tickets to contend with. If thirty-five pounds to see Jarvis Cocker in the mouth of a cave seemed steep, thirty-nine pounds to see Barnsley in Barnsley, made little to no sense.

On Friday, I explained to Mr Cocker that I wasn’t interested and abandoned the rope making, drove home and emailed the customer service team to ask for a refund. I had already forgone any modicum of sound-judgement and shelled out the best part of fotty sheets (as the locals say) to see DEM BLADES on Saturday. There was no turning back.


Not far from the M1, so you can at least turn back.






When I arrived in my seat, my view was obscured by a massive pole, or at least I think he was polish, he was certainly fat. For  thirty-nine pounds I expect to be able to see the game, so you can imagine my complete exasperation when my line of sight was also blocked by a huge structural pillar.

That exasperation was ameliorated by missing Barnsley’s opening goal. The Ticks had a corner, which was cleared to the edge of the box, only for one of their League One-bound players to drive the ball into the roof of the net. 1-0. I saw none of it.

The first half was mired in football. Poor football. DEM BLADES couldn’t string together two passes and, as I was soon to find out, the Barnsley pie-sellers could hardly string together two sentences.

With forty-minutes on the clock and my stomach rumbling, I decided to nip into the ‘concourse’ to purchase a pie. Here is what happened:


All in all, I successfully snatched missing out on the game and a Cheese and Onion Pie from the jaws of gloomy defeat.


Against Barnsley, even KnewWho had the nouse, wherewithal and know how to grab a point for DEM PIGS earlier in the season and, therefore it is only fair to describe the result as an absolute shithouse. A shithouse for a shit ticket.

Thirty-nine pounds + diesel money + cheese onion pie. This adds up to the potential cost of around six rope making lessons (without Cocker-inflation). Had I invested my money differently, I might have the skills to craft a rope of sufficient strength to help DEM BLADES pull themselves into the playoffs. Alas, I didn’t.

As ever, my fate is entwined with United’s to an extent where my decision making is done for me by a monkey in my brain wearing a smart white away shirt with DEVLIN on the back, holding two inflatable clappers, one red, one white. Nevertheless, just like the twine that I never turned into rope, this can all be used as an alternative but delicate thread in life’s rich tapestry.

One day we’ll look at this match and laugh, until then, Wilder out.

Man of the Match

Paul Coutts.


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