Sheffield United versus Reading

By Steve Mackan

   By day, Steve Mackan is a Pensions Administrator, by night he is a writer, dreamer, washing machiner.

After scores of people expressed their frustration with my lack of post-match blogging, I  have taken the decision to return. Yes, those five eager readers gave me a kick up the backside and now I have picked up the pen, put it down again, and reached for the laptop.

Anyway…to the game(!) – I hope you enjoy Reading just as much as their fans didn’t.


The tale I have to tell is a bland affair, interrupted by some very poor conversation about Dem Blades Quarterly Fanzine – Issue No.1. To the cynics who say, you’re only doing this one blog to try and shift a few more copies of that fanzine by ramming links and fake reviews down our throats: you shower of Doubting Thomases(!). These are not fake reviews.

“This is a fanzine with verve.” Richard Ashcroft.

In me seat

I was disappointed to miss the Boro game on Wednesday. I had had a meeting in London with a publisher about my novel, Girl Out of Office, a sprawling thriller set across three pensions directorates, where a bloke notices something seriously amiss on a Senior Leadership Skype Conference Call. As happened when I stood outside Penguin trying to sell my last novel,  Girl on a train without her Blackberry, the publishers didn’t didn’t give me the time of day. (It was about half-past three.)

Wrought with disappointment, I needed a pick me up. I needed Dem Blades.

…and then I saw the teamsheet. NO BILLY!?!?

I arrived in my seat with a look on my face that would make sour milk turn into arsenic. I opened my share bag of Wine Gums…The Horror! I had barely had the chance to curse the phenomenal overpopulation of yellows and oranges when fortune slapped me on the face like a jilted bride. Thankfully, it was good fortune. The whistle sounded, I dug around for black or a green, found a green, and then…

…1-0! Freeman nipped in at the back post to put us in front without a minute on the clock.

As the half went on, my Sharp-related angst melted away like butter on a crumpet. Stevens missing a sitter was one of a couple of chances we should’ve put away, but it punctuated by two Gary Madine thunderbastards.

The first came courtesy of the Reading defence. They dicked about with the ball near their own penalty area, Fleck won it, and seconds later Madine had cracked it in from close range. The second came at the end of the half. A cross from the left fell to the bloke who I am told used to be a twat, and he made jam out of the onionbag once again Reading, it was clear, were toast. 3-0.

“11/10.” Diane Abbott on Dem Blades Quarterly Fanzine

Half time small talk

I was very glad when my next door neighbour Ian Somnier, who used to play hide and seek on his own at 4AM, moved away. But it wasn’t terrible to see him again at the Lane. He bumped into me as I was circumnavigating a six-foot lard arse in the queue for the loo. Ian and I got chatting. Small talk fell awkwardly out of our mouths, like a hellish wooden conversation written by an author who can’t do dialogue:

“Are you still involved in that fanzine Steve.”

“Yes, I am involved in that fanzine Ian Somnier. In fact, I have a copy on me now. Would you like to read it.”

“No thanks, Steve. I wouldn’t like to read Dem Blades Quarterly Fanzine – Issue No.1 at this moment in time.”

“But how did you possibly know it was called that?”

“Intuition Steve.”

“Well, let me know if you would like to purchase a copy Ian.”

“If I ever do want to buy a copy. How would I do that?”

“Well Ian, it’s quite simple really. Imagine that these words are on the internet and you can just click when I say the word ‘here‘ and it would take you to our online shop”

“I think I understand Steve.”

“Goodbye, Ian.”

And that was my half time.

The second half, and THOUGHTS writ large

I suppose I should say that after we threw away a 3-0 lead against Villa, I was nervous about doing the same in this match. I wasn’t. Let’s tell it like it is: Reading were very poor. Speaking of reading and the poor, I would modestly propose that Jonathan Swift, the Royal’s number 10, was emblematic of their full-weight light-weightedness. Just my view.

The opposition ‘danger men’ posed no threat. Mo Barrow was more wheelbarrow. The winger, Meite, looked like he was trying running through his own bubble bath. And Lewis Baker appeared underproved. They were not good at all.

It was little wonder then that we struck the fourth goal a short while into the second half. John Fleck, who was busier than a sweetcorn kernel in a vegetable war, struck from range and the ball whistled into the back of the net as cleanly as alternative facts slot into our national consciousness.

As it would turn it out, this was to be the final goal of the game. We had the chances to make it five or six – a couple of those spurned by debutant Scott Hogan Josh – but all in all a cracking win. The final whistle sounded right on cue, and I took the remaining oranges and yellow wine guns back home to Dawn – a song in my heart and a stone in my shoe.

“Let me come back next week and tell you what I think.” Theresa May

The End

It had been a strange few days. The stuffing knocked out of me against Villa, the stuff of nightmares when my novel was roundly rejected, stuff and nonsense spouted by Pulis after we beat them on Wednesday, and a good stuffing against Reading.

All in all, a decent week. A great week to be Blade. And whilst we might rue dropped points and missed opportunities, it’s always a worthwhile effort to be grateful for what you have (Chris Wilder…health…family) especially on days like Valentine’s (which I am told passed without mention on Thursday).

Well…I love Dem Blades, and I love my wife Dawn Mackan. And so I’ll leave you with the poem I would’ve written to her, had I remembered…

Roses are usually Red, 

Your name isn’t Siobhan, 

I’m glad all over, 

When I’m watching YouDawn. 


Man of the Match

Paul Coutts

One thought on “Sheffield United versus Reading

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