Sheffield United 3 Spurs 1, which means no Champions League football and severe doubts for even the lowly Europa league.
I said before this game, we needed to win, a draw would be no good. We neither drew nor won, but was subdued by the Blades. No Champions League football next year, for us and Europa at this moment in time is looking doubtful.
Usually, in July we would be all waiting for football to restart and get back to our friends at our club. Instead, we have been behind closed doors – as if we were being punished (that is the fans) – forced not to socialise and other government state-sponsored lockdowns. At this moment in time, there is even no surety if we will be even allowed to get back into the stadium and watch our beloved teams next season.
Just a matter of interest; it was 26 years ago to the day (2nd) that our then Chairmen Alan Sugar took his appeal against a £600,000 fine, plus a 12 point deduction and an FA Cup ban, to court. Sugar thought the punishment was over the top and vindictive. He won his court case – of sorts. The points penalty was halved, but the fine was doubled. The reason I remember it so well was because, at that time, I was writing for various fanzines. The cause for the fines and points deductions: the main charge centred on us purchasing of three players, Mitchell Thomas, Chris Fairclough and Paul Allen. The club allegedly made a 'loan' which it was never the intention the players should repay to Thomas and Fairclough and an ex-gratia payment to Allen, before their fees being fixed by the tribunals but without the tribunals' knowledge. A player's income is taken into account when this body assesses the cost, and in these cases, it might otherwise have fixed a higher figure. The selling club could, therefore, claim that the fees were not settled honestly. But that was then, this was now.
I started off the day as usual, well, if you can call the lockdown usual? Up early for a trip to Sainsbury's – it doesn't get any better than that… even when ending the day watching Tottenham on the box. What a sad life we have under the current restrictions.
I have been reading a Dougie Brimson book ("Wings of a Sparrow") to help my mental state. At least it made me laugh and took me back to those days when humour was rife and normality, well, usual. Remember those times?
Just a matter of interest, it was 8 years ago today (3 July) that Daniel Levy gave Andre Villas-Boas a three-year contract. How long did he last? Again back to the here and now.
Before the TV game, I prepared myself with a glass of wine and some nibbles… I was expecting something special… I ended up finishing off a bottle of red. At least it dampened the pain.
To the match; Sheffield United picked up their first win since the Premier League restarted as they produced a remarkable spectacle against us to keep alive their hopes of playing European football next season. What a shambles (that is for us).
Blades' record signing Sander Berge opened the scoring for his team. Harry Kane thought he had equalised moments later, but his strike was ruled out by VAR because of a handball by Lucas Moura in the build-up. Moura was pushed and hassled by three Blades players, and as he fell, his hand touched the ball. A total farce. We were unable to mount a response after that as we fought to break through a strong Sheffield United defence but failed. Then Wilder's Blades added a second midway through the second half when Lys Mousset turned in Enda Stevens' cutback from close range. By then, it was basically all over. To add insult to injury Olie McBurnie scored their third.
After having his first goal ruled out Kane finally got a goal when he steered in Son Heung-min's cross for his 13th goal of the season, but it was to be only a consolation goal. We were thoroughly humiliated and lost any chance of repeating our previous seasons in the Champions League.
Mourinho will probably look back at the decision not to allow Kane's equaliser as a crucial turning point in the game. Kane scored a legitimate goal, but it was ruled out by VAR for a handball by Moura. As I said, it wasn't done through malice, but because of a foul by Sheffield players. And if the goal shouldn't have stood, then at least we should have got a free-kick.
Despite that frustration, we still had plenty of time to turn things around. However, we seemed to be lethargic and struggled to find our mojo, while in the second half we were simply outworked by the Blades determination. In other words, they smelled blood and went for it, while we just bottled it. The disallowed goal took the steam out of us. From professionals, we expect much more.
We have won just one of our last six Premier League games and look assured to miss out on a top-four finish for the first time since 2015. As for Levy; he will probably go ape shit, all that money he will now not get from Champions league football… sadly, he has only himself to blame. It wasn’t that long ago that we were well ahead of Liverpool, but we sat back, didn’t invest in the team, while they did… and now look at them. They won the Premier League, the European-Champions league and Worlds Super Cup, while we won fuck all!
We had a good run in under Pochettino – since 2009 – but that run has come to an end now. Whether we will ever get back to those exciting days, well, only time will tell. Mourinho needs at least a season, and new players, so that he can stamp his authority on the team and show us what he has still got left in him.
A very disappointing night watching NowTV. I ended up drinking four glasses of wine, which helped… then straight to bed… yes, I know it was only 8pm. It was either that or dwell on our misery, the bed seemed a better option.
Some stats for you, to rub salt in the wounds.
· Sheffield United have extended their unbeaten run at home to us in the top flight to six games (W4 D2) since their last defeat in December 1975 (2-1).
· We have lost our first Premier League away game against a promoted side since a 1-0 defeat to Queens Park Rangers in April 2012, ending a run of 23 such matches (W19 D4).
· Sheffield United have gained their first League victory since the Premier League restart in June, with more shots on target against Tottenham (five) than they managed in their previous three such games combined (three).
· Jose Mourinho has lost seven Premier League games as our manager, one more defeat (6) than he suffered in his first two seasons in the competition as Chelsea boss (2004-05/2005-06) combined.
· Harry Kane has now scored against all 29 of the Premier League teams he has faced - he is the only player to face more than one club in the competition and score against all of them. At least some good news to end on.
What next? Apart from drowning one’s sorrows in drink.
We host Everton on Monday, 6 July (20:00).
The quicker we can get this over with the faster we can put this shambles of a season well and truly behind us.
Best regards, Glenn
Best regards, Glenn