So here it is, not Merry Christmas but goodbye Bramall Lane for another season. It has gone quicker than Adrian Littlejohn and panned out finishing like him too. For what it’s worth (roughly 60p per game) here are my thoughts on DEM BLADES’ final home game of the 2017-2018 campaign…


The prematch situation for Preston was not too dissimilar to DEM BLADES. Both sides had an unlikely yet mathematical chance of making the playoffs. The crucial difference being that Preston supporters – win, lose or draw – have to travel back to Preston and therefore lose every away game.


Rather like Blackburn but a bit more decrepit. It was the birthplace of Tim Farron MP and for that, the residence are eternally sorry.


The first half started without a snickers and a cup of tea but it didn’t end that way. In between those coordinates there was football to be played, but not much of it. This being the case has not helped my ambition, in this very blog, to present my match report in analytical form. Many (three or four) have argued that my match reports are erroneous and half-witted, allow me then, to change your mind:

Unshackled; Freeman

This is a heat-map which cooly shows the hard-yards made up by Kieran Freeman. Unshackled, Freeman made steady progress in the first half and the wing-back, notwithstanding a few loose thwacks upfield, didn’t do anything wrong. Just look at the red, it tells you everything you need to know.

Freeman’s return was the upshot of a match that was always likely to be, like DEM BLADES playoff ambitions, the metaphorical dead hamster in the cardboard box to be buried not too close to the greenhouse in case we accidentally dig it up in the back garden. We’re not going to Wembley, but we are going to look back on this season with fond memories, very fond memories indeed – see 2-4 if you don’t agree. 

The fondest memory taken from this game, with a large Coutts-shaped caveat that I shall discuss in the Man of the Match section, was the Snickers/Tea combo I enjoyed in my seat at half-time. Other highlights included Chris Basham.

my-heatmap (2)What Bash lacks for in footballing ability he more than makes up for with trying. Give me a shit trier over a shithouse every day of the week. And Basham isn’t shit, he just can’t cross and occasionally fluffs a six-yard pass – only occasionally.  Despite this, he’s one of those players who could raise the smile from the stiffened trout lips of a Kardashian-wannabe fishwife.

Speaking of fishwives, I don’t actually know what one is. Neither do I know why Lee Evans lazily gave the ball away in the centre of midfield, allowing the Preston number ten to shoot from range. It was all Blackman could do to palm the shot to the waiting Alan Browne. He tapped into an almost empty net. Shit. 0-1.

DEM BLADES took to going a goal down with verve. Not bittersweet symphony, but saccharine sweet effort – another mention for Bash here.  There were shots and neat interplay. Messy interplay and shots. Shots and passing. Misplaced passes and placed passes. There was inevitably some goalmouth scrambles, which the Preston defence dealt with by throwing themselves into the ball and the game. There was very evitable time wasting, which the referee didn’t do much about.

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Hot spot on time wasting

Despite the keepers best efforts, the game went ahead. We had some shots and some chances but nothing came of it. After 6 minutes of additional time, the referee blew his whistle and not my mind. All over, 0-1 and I can’t help this was a lesson learnt in game management.

The players went off the pitch to applause from the twenty-eight thousand supporters and then came back onto the pitch to receive the applause of about nineteen-thousand supporters. The end of the Home campaign is nye, but there’s still a way to go in this blog. About 100 or so words anyway, but don’t fear, there’s Coutts to come.


Chris Wilder won’t be a Patsy for anyone but I’m happy to be a Steve for as many people who want me to be. I’ll say it how I see it, which is mostly blurry until I make use of my glasses. Nevertheless, my observation is this – and I may be going out on a limb here – Chris Wilder isn’t happy.

If he isn’t happy neither am I. On the wireless last night, the manager spoke of things needing to change; of how the ‘good’ players need to see a demonstrable willingness to progress ($$$$!); of the good feeling between the fans, playing staff and coaching staff.

I won’t forgive the board – any of them! – if it comes to pass that our manager leaves due to backroom constraints and boardroom pressures. Both competing parties stand to gain from Chris Wilder remaining in charge of our club. That is the crucial point to be made. It is always challenging to turn vitriol, sentiment and emotions into statistics, but here goes. I hope, Mr McCabe and Mr Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, you are reading this…

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“Sort it”

Man of the Match

I saw him at the end of the game and it was a marvellous moment. Hairs on the back of the neck type stuff. To see god in heaven, eh? In infographic form…

my-heatmap (1)

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