Champions!

After they gained promotion while I was camping by the Orange River, Sheffield United were crowned League One Champions this afternoon, after Bolton failed to beat Oldham in the Lancashire derby.

I may have shed a tear.

This makes the Blades only the third ever team to win all four divisions of the English league. It’s been a great season, and I’m actually rather hopeful for our chances of a decent finish in the Championship next year.
But that’s still months away, and we have three more games to play this season.
The pressure is off for once, so why not enjoy them? It’s going to be well-deserved party time at Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane for the next few weeks.

Defeatwood Town

Bad news for those of you not into football, because I am into football and today, despite the fact that my team didn’t actually play, has been a good day.

Let’s mentally wander up to Uwe Rösler’s Highbury Stadium (no, not that one, this one) and enjoy Nicky Ajose’s late goal for relegation threatened Swindon Town.

That goal means that Fleetwood Town lost today, and remain in third place in League One on 69 points.

With only the top two guaranteed to go up, I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations and I reckon that even if they were to win all of their remaining 6 games, Fleetwood can ‘only’ get 87 points.

That means that if Sheffield United can win just two more games (taking them to 88 points) they are assured of promotion.

FINALLY!!!!!!!

However, further rudimentary calculations suggest that if Sheffield United win on Wednesday at home to Coventry, and Fleetwood lose on the same evening at Oxford – it’s a done deal.

I am going to be a quivering wreck of emotions and mounting anticipation this week.

Be gentle.

The Magic Number

De La Soul fans will know what I’m on about.
It’s three, and today’s blog post is documenting my first EVER hat-trick for my football team, a mere 12 years after I first pulled on the team jersey.

Some players get hat-tricks fairly regularly, but as a big, slow defender, I generally don’t get near the opposition goal much. To be honest, sometimes I don’t even get near the opposition half. But last night for some reason, caution was flung to the wind and I stepped up for one surprisingly calmly taken goal in the first half, another smooth finish halfway through the second, and then a desperate smack from a rebound off the keeper in the final 2 minutes.
Meh. It still counted.

My next hat-trick, should I have started some sort of pattern here, will therefore come in 2029, by which time I will be [ever so] old and we’ll all be playing football on hoverbikes and with laser footballs (or something).

I’m joking, of course. I will never score another hat-trick. Which is why I’m telling you all about this one. Our game last night might not have lived up to the excitement of Leicester’s or Sheffield United’s, but I’m unconcerned by that.

Three – it’s the magic number.

Team talk

We lost our 5-a-side football match last night. These things happen. It’s never great when they do, but there’s more to life than winning.
There was a cricket match on at Newlands and we were a bit short on players. No-one is saying that those two things were connected, but it would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention that suspicions were voiced.

Anyway, at half time, there was only one goal in it and there was, as they say, all to play for.
We huddled as the coach called us in for the rousing half time team talk.

He began:

Listen, guys.
We’re a goal behind.
They are younger, fitter and faster than us.
We are older, fatter and slower than them.
They have four substitutes.
We only have one.

It made for difficult listening. Not least because it was all true.
We knew that we were up against it.
But here came the motivational bit, the clarion call to action, the stirring, inspiring conclusion to the monologue. The words which would carry us triumphantly through the trials and tribulations of the upcoming twenty minutes:

Except… that was it. There was no more. At that point, he wandered off the field, Heineken in hand.

Funny thing is, it didn’t really sink in at the time. It was only in the post-mortem after the game that we realised just how lacking in encouragement the team talk had been. That said, in no way am I blaming the lack of half time positivity for the disappointing result.

But I have to say that it certainly didn’t help.

Health update

Following promises made in the post about yesterday’s Run In The Sun, I’d like to inform readers that the only bits of me that are sore are all of them.

But it’s a “good sore”, as if my body is grudgingly acknowledging that it needed a bit of a push to move it towards some greater degree of fitness.

Younger readers may not appreciate my concern that tomorrow morning, being a critical 48 hours on from the exercise in question, may be a whole different story.