While tomorrow sees the first games of the new Championship season in England, there’s one game that was so big, it needed a day all of its own. Or something.
That game is the titanic battle between promotion favourites Middlesbrough and promotion favourites Sheffield United at the Riverside Stadium. And it all kicks off tonight at 8pm (UK time).
Fortunately, Sky TV have recognised the gravity of this clash – probably after noting that last season, promotion favourites United were also drawn away at promotion favourites Birmingham City, who later went on to er… be promoted.
In an added twist of fortune, SuperSport have recognised that Sky have recognised the gravity of this clash and have also decided to screen it. In South Africa. Tonight. Live.
After the bitter disappointment of last season (which was actually only 9 weeks ago, give or take), it’s hard to raise my hopes yet again, but somehow, I will. I always do. I always will.
So, COME ON YOU RED AND WHITE WIZZZZZAAAAARDS!
(noting that, of course, you’ll be in your away strip for this evening’s game)
Well, that was suitably depressing.
Same time, same place next year, I guess.
Think I’m still in shock, so more may follow, probably involving swear words and general anger.
My god, that Mike Dean is a complete twat.
Ooh look! It’s started already!
One part joy, two parts relief.
Well done, boys!
It’s tomorrow, and here’s the match report, featuring some sporting words from Preston manager Alan Irvine:
I can’t speak for previous play-offs and it wasn’t down to luck this time in any case.
Sheffield United were better than us in both games and deserved to go through overall.
Compare and contrast that with Didier Drogba…
Written on my Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 after one of the most nerve-wracking 45 minutes of my football-watching life.
Today’s the day.
At 1315 BST, Sheffield United will kick off their game at Crystal Palace and about several miles away, Reading will kick off against Birmingham City. Between them, the results of these two games will determine who will be promoted into the Premiership.
This might not have a huge impact on your day, but it is already having a huge effect on mine. I can’t eat anything (apart from bagels for breakfast and a satsuma), I can’t drink anything (although, if I’m fair, I have managed a couple of cups of coffee) and I can’t sleep. But that’s because I have a teething daughter.
A touch of spice is added by the fact that the manager of Crystal Palace is a lifelong Sheffield United fan and therefore wants Palace to win (as it’s his job) and United to win (because of his emotional ties).
And before anyone says – “Well, how about a draw, then?”, that won’t be good enough for United.
So – all to play for and it is thus, I sing the Oath of Allegiance:
You fill up my senses…
Like a gallon of Magnet.
Like a packet of Woodbines.
Like a good pinch of snuff.
Like a night out in Sheffield.
Like a greasy chip butty.
Like Sheffield United.
Come fill me again.
And now I must go, because my daughter is hitting herself repeatedly over the head with an orange plastic cricket bat. That’s the influence of the IPL.
…fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eigh… oh, hello!
I was just counting my chickens before they’ve hatched.
In other news, following a nail-bitingly tight 1-0 win at Reading, my beloved Sheffield United now occupy second spot in the Championship. That’s an automatic promotion place, which means that they’ll be back up where they belong in the Premiership next season. Bring it on!
Good Friday passed without too much incident. There was some muffin making and some kalahari kreef braai’ing.
Yum. Seriously Yum.
Tomorrow brings with it the chance to go and see the UEFA Champions League Trophy on display at the V&A Waterfront, which won’t be busy in the middle of the school holidays. It’s fine – I can cope with a few thousand screaming children.