In Dem Blades Annual (which you can of course buy here) I described Nigel Adkins as a bloke who led the Blades with the authority of preheating instructions and who could, in defiance of cold hard logic, simultaneously limp with both legs.
For now, let’s consign the bloke to a child’s History Colouring Book, leave our orange crayon in the past and focus on the here and now…or at least try…
I went for a pint before the game, got chatting to a Hull fan and, problematically for my initial proposal that we should do otherwise, quickly got onto the subject of Adkins…
I can only have spoken to him for a matter of minutes, but minutes were enough. Bizarrely, the guy buys into the positive claptrap. “I think he needs time. If the players bought into his methods I think we’d quickly start climbing up that table, honestly I do,” he said.
As much as I try to swallow down the saccharine bull twaddle, I cannot escape it. It radiates around me like the C17H21NO4 that once hurtled through Jose Baxter’s bloodstream. “Really?” I asked him, “Do you really think all that New Age bull is a sensible way to treat adults?” He quickly fired off some ideas of his own about collaborative matrices and Systems Thinking, draping me in a veil of sopping wet meltiness and leaving me in a state of baffled delirium.
As it would turn out, he was a manager at a call centre and his co-workers called him TJ despite having already cleared the hurdle of childhood. He told me to lighten up, “Why so serious man?” he said, his voice grating and coarse like parmesan.
I quickly downed my pint and left him…Why so serious? Cos he’s a Joker. Cos he left our club in chuffin ruins and whilst I’ve almost gotten over it, I can see the peril he’s leaving your lot in and….argh fuck it. Why do I even care?
DEM 90 MINUTES
They say that winning when you’re not at your best is the sign of a true Champion, but they (the couple sat behind me) become so bored throughout the course of the first half that their conversation turns to whether or not Dean Henderson would turn off an Ed Sheeran song if it came on the radio on the team bus…
We had the better of the game without grabbing it by the scruff of the neck. The Hull players were slowing down proceeding given any opportunity to do so. Goal kicks and throw ins were undertaken at the plodding pace of a dying elephant. Certain individuals went down for minutes at a time clutching their head like a Blades fan in late 2015.
It was an Adkins’ plan to a tea: “bore the fuckers”. It was successful insofar as it got them to half time at 0-0. In fact, it was successful enough for the most part of the game, nullifying Wilder’s team in the second half too.
I’ll be honest, I’m in no mood to summarise it. It wasn’t great to watch. I’ll leave analysis to others more attuned to understanding the minutiae of the game. Ultimately, we won the Man in the Glass Derby courtesy of a David McGoldrick penalty, sending the keeper the wrong way and sending me into rapturous jazz hands.
Note: Just before we scored, you were all mistaken in thinking you saw Paul Coutts giving the ball away which lead to a clear-cut chance for the opposition. That didn’t happen. It was a mirage enabling the attack that saw us score the winner – just so you know.
Final score, Blades 1-0 Hull.
We did it. At least we did it for now…top of the bastard league. The negativity that had built like a teen spot after the opening couple of games has dissipated like acne with the advantage of time (and Ollie Norwood).
It’s a great start for Dem Blades and I look forward to future journeys on the road which I am sure will provide more and more interesting twists, turns and half-time snacks.
Man of the Match
The Scotch Knight Rises: Paul Coutts