Archive | February, 2014

Luddendenfootball: a funny old game

23 Feb

Saturday 22nd February 2014

Burnley                     3.1                  Nottingham Forest

(Arfield, Vokes 2)                           (Abdoun)

Given our record against the top teams in this division and the encouraging performance against the Foxes in midweek, I was curiously (and a little bit uncharacteristically) optimistic for the trip north through Luddendenfoot to Burnley.

Luddendenfoot.

Professional northerner and poet Simon Armitage has written about the weird folk of Luddendenfoot who, according to the poem, are portrayed as frankly bizarre and odd. There were certainly a few odd goings on going on this afternoon.

The team line-up burst my optimism like an overblown hubbabubba inspired balloon being unceremoniously burst all over my face. No Reid. Djebbour and Abdoun to start. Talented players but up for a fight close to Luddendenfoot? Hmmmm.

Something was not quite right from the start. Or was it that Burnley were enjoying one of their best 45 minutes of the season? A bit of both.

Arfield made Fox look a bit of a fool by nutmegging him and powering a shot underneath Darlow. Vokes headed home at the far post. Sam Vokes: the same Sam Vokes who felt the need to celebrate in front of the Trent End in the corresponding fixture at the City Ground by deliberately cupping his ears towards us. He did it again here too. What is this guy’s problem? Is it just us Forest fans he likes winding up or is this something he generally does? There were 3 sides of Burnley fans to celebrate on front of but oh no, Sam Vokes wants to make a point about winding up the 1 side of away fans. Go away, you nasty high-scoring man.

Terry the kitman and Kevin Gomis sat miserably in the posh part of the away stand. Frankly, they looked as horrified and baffled as us mere mortals too. Vokes got lucky with a deflection for a third goal and they all trooped miserably towards us towards the tunnel at half-time. I feared a right old hammering.

However, we came out and to be honest, gave them a right old game in the second half and it would have been interesting to see what might have happened if one of our numerous efforts on goal in the early part of the half would have nestled nicely in the net as opposed to rebounding off the bar or being cleared off the line. Abdoun just about converted a penalty after Cox got tripped in the box and pride was restored somewhat.

What changed from the first half to the second? Well, Burnley couldn’t possibly play as well as they did in the opening period. Likewise, Forest couldn’t possibly have played any worse. Mackie withdrew deeper and started orchestrating attacks Reid style and Djebbour finally came out of shell shock and started holding the ball up.

This game confirmed what we all really knew but didn’t really want to face up to: automatic promotion is probably beyond us and we’ll have to face up to the pain of the play-offs…again. I have never been a big fan of Billy Davies’ off pitch demeanour but I have to credit him for his honesty in recent weeks for wishing his nemesis Nigel Clough well in the FA Cup and for giving credit for Burnley’s first half performance.

There was lots of frustration in the away end though which mainly stemmed from the perspective that since so many fans had travelled so far to watch this, we deserved better. I wish it worked like that but it simply doesn’t. Unfortunately, we came up against a very good side playing possibly their best 45 minutes of the season while we toiled with a severely depleted side. Every side has injuries but we certainly seem to be having particularly bad luck at the moment. Maybe it’s my fault for uttering to a mate the day before this game that were Andy Reid to get injured, we’d be well and truly screwed. Let’s hope Reid is back pretty soon or else….well, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

At least the trip through Luddendenfoot is out of the way for a while.

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So young…and so close

23 Feb

Wednesday 19th February 2014

Nottingham Forest           2.2      Leicester City

(Paterson, Reid)                              (Vardy, Mahrez)

This was a game from which we were going to learn a lot about our credentials for automatic promotion. It actually told us more about Leicester City and their relentless march to the promotion.

When a team places faith in such young talent such as Lascelles, Darlow and Paterson, it should be accepted that they are liable to occasionally make mistakes. On such occasions, they should be encouraged and should walk off the pitch knowing that the crowd is fully behind them. Frankly, I am astounded that these lads have played so long and managed not to make more mistakes than they have. So, on the occasion of Darlow and to a lesser extent, Lascelles making a right old hash brown of a long punt from you’llneverbeatWesMorgan to allow Vardy to tap in, it was a smidge disappointing to hear the crowd conveniently forgetting the fact that these lads have been amongst our outstanding performers during the great injury crisis of 2014. Of course we were disappointed, frustrated and lots of other adjectives but to hear ironic cheers from the Trent End when Lascelles or Darlow found a Forest shirt with their passes from then on was, frankly, a little…well…disappointing.

We football fans are very quick the nail the blame on individuals and find a scapegoat when things go against our teams, as exemplified in the individual marks out of 10 awarded after international games in the national papers. There’s nothing wrong per se with the whole marks out of 10 concept but it often seems to me to confirm an agenda to name and shame the weakest performer and hound then out like a nasty episode of Big Brother. Mistakes happen and as long as they are infrequent then we should all move on.

Anyway, the reaction was fantastic especially as Leicester were looking dangerous whenever they came forward. Paterson somehow nodded in to the top corner from the edge of the box and Mackie robbed Morgan as he was caught wishing he was top of the table in a red shirt. Penalty awarded and Reid converted. It would have been harsh to send Morgan off even though technically he was the last man.

Coming back from one down against a particularly stingy team who rarely fail to win after going ahead was not in the script. Collins and Radi were doing good jobs and we looked dangerous on the break. Yay.

And then strange things happened.

Terry the kitman had a quiet word the shell-like of a chap on the sidelines. He subsequently had a chat in the shell-like of all of the ball boys. Answers on a postcard, please. Also, young Kasper Schmeichel impressed me with his reaction to Wasilewski and Mackie almost coming to blows. Schmeichel intervened by encouraging both men to calm down equally rather than focusing on winding the opposition player up more in order to get a reaction. Fair play to him. Furthermore, we didn’t sit back on our lead. We counter attacked superbly well with runners from midfield coming from all directions when the opportunity arose.

And then it happened: the worst possible thing that could happen. A sending off. No, not one of ours but one of theirs. And we all know how good Little Billy’s teams are when playing against 10 men….

Leicester kept the ball well and went for it. Paterson went within spitting distance of a man in blue and he went over in the box. On first view, it looked like a penalty to me as Paterson challenged clumsily from behind; a striker’s naïve challenge. Seeing it since, it looked soft but after sending off Konchesky, the referee needed little encouragement to award a penalty and a challenge from behind in the box was like flying a big red flag with ‘PENALTY’ written in bold, italicised and highlighted. Darlow did well to save the penalty but we were sluggish on the rebound. All square. Grrr.

Equalising with 10 men from a penalty rebound in the last 10 minutes is what promotion winning teams do away from home; to be honest, it’s what champions do. However, we gave them a right old scare with a patched up and exhausted team. Well done us.

Blades and Trees: it’s complicated

15 Feb

Sunday 16th February

Sheffield United     3.1         Nottingham Forest

(Coady, Porter 2)                   (Paterson)

The national press have been getting themselves in a bit of a tizzy all week with some even claiming that the meeting between these sides is the most interesting of the ties in the 5th round of the FA Cup. Naturally, most of the attention has been focused on the rather tempestuous relationship between Billy Davies and Nigel Clough. You know how it goes: Dad, Forest, Derby, knees in the back, East Midlands rivalry, etc. What has been of particular interest to me though is the presentation of the rivalry between the Blades and the Trees.

There is no doubt that there exists a deep enmity between the two clubs. However, to simply encapsulate this rivalry by putting it down to the Miner’s Strike of the early 80s and consequently, the Nottinghamshire/Yorkshire ‘scab’ labels is all a little convenient and simplistic. Forgive me: I am not an expert in the complex field of strike disputes and certainly don’t wish to wade into this particular debate with open toed sandals when only steel capped work boots would suffice. But it is fair to say that it’s a little more complicated than that.

Firstly, the chants of ‘scab’ towards Forest support are not the sole domain of Blades fans only. Years spent in the Championship has exposed us to numerous trips to Yorkshire heartlands such as Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday. Typically at such places, the away Forest support is serenaded early on with a few half-hearted chants of ‘scab’ before a retort of chants questioning the age of those who started it. All very childish but all is done and dusted so those involved can get on with watching the game. Is this scenario more intense at Bramall Lane? A little. Not really. Perhaps. Maybe. Not that I’ve noticed.

That’s not to play the whole thing down though. The righteous bastion of truth known as Wikipedia states that: “Sheffield United also have, along with many other sports teams across Yorkshire, a strong rivalry with Nottingham Forest.[13] This can be attributed to the miners’ strikes of the 1980s, where workers in the pits of Nottinghamshire did not join the strike (known locally as scabbing) while miners from Yorkshire did.” It is certainly true that there is needle between the two clubs but it is interesting to note that the section above entitled ‘Rivalries’ only comes after mention of all aforementioned Yorkshire clubs and also West Ham United (that Carlos Tevez has a lot to answer for).

In short, it’s not just Blades that have an axe to grind with Nottinghamshire over events in the early 1980s. There’s more to it than that. But why?

Firstly, a strange phenomenon has occurred recently: a kind of mutual respect between Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest fans. Trips to each other’s grounds seem to be a highlight of the season for each. Perhaps this is because there is a lot of common ground between the two: big clubs in the 80s fallen on hard times having spent a few years down in Dante’s inferno – otherwise known as League 1. Furthermore, both sets of fans can unite in a rivalry between Leeds United and of course, Sheffield United. Indeed, my most recent visit to Hillsborough saw Forest fans and Owls fans sharing a packed tram uniting in anti-Leeds and Blades songs. All very good humoured too. I wonder whether the atmosphere would have been filled with such bonhomie were it Blades and Trees. Probably not.

So maybe this ‘coming together’ between Owls and Trees stokes the anti-Blades thing further. But if it were simply the Miners’ Strike that fuels the Blades/Trees thing then relationships between Owls and Trees would surely not be so cordial and any fixture in Yorkshire for Forest fans would require upgrading to ‘fierce rivalry’. This is not the case. Of course, it could be that a more nuanced phenomenon is happening here and that the Miner’s Strike is more particular to Blades than Owls in terms of geography and socio-economic demographics of the fans of each Sheffield club. As I said, I am no expert regarding this.

As usual though, it’s events on the pitch that go further to explaining the rivalry. Naturally, the mind drifts back to May 2003 and that play-off semi final. If there is a ground zero for the rivalry then I suggest this is it. There is no real reason for hating United after this game: they won and they scored more goals than us. No real complaints. It’s just that losing out hurt.

It hurt bad.

There was little consolation in the fact that we played our part in an epic and memorable game. It hurt bad for many reasons: we were two up at Bramall Lane and threw it away in a collapse reminiscent of an England batting order in Australia. Forest hero David Johnson crying on the pitch at the end. Blades fans made Johnno cry! That was hard to take. This result though precipitated the collapse of a much loved Forest team. The season after saw Forest finish an unremarkable 14th and the one after that saw us relegated to League 1. We sold crown jewels like Jermaine Jenas, Andy Reid, Michael Dawson. David Johnson broke his leg a mere four months after these momentous events at Bramall Lane (incidentally at the City Ground in a welcome 3.1 defeat of the Blades) and never really found his shooting boots after this. Other quality players like Jim Brennan, Gareth Williams and Mathieu Louis-jean also moved on quickly and an exciting young team was denied its chance to fulfill its potential. And why did it have to be Des Walker’s own goal that was the nail in the coffin? Anyone but Des. (Incidentally, often forgotten is the last minute chance we fashioned right at the end of the game from a delicious Reidy cross (nothing’s changed) to Louis-jean at the far post who did everything right in heading the ball firmly down and were it 6 inches to either side of the keeper would have broken Blades hearts.) Still, if ifs and ands were pots and pans…but they’re not.

So defeat here on that May evening hurt. It arguably set the precedent for our subsequent glorious play-off semi final defeats to Yeovil Town, Blackpool and Swansea City.

Oh, and Neil Warnock was in charge of the Blades. Neil Warnock. It’s not only Forest fans who may just have an axe to grind with this gentleman and to be honest, as time has irreversibly marched on, my feelings towards him have softened a little. But my word was he a detestable chap back in those days. But it’s not his behavior on that May evening that provoked ire, rather it was an accumulation of lots of little things. There was the whole ‘Battle of Bramall Lane’ saga involving West Bromwich Albion in which, to cut a long story short, Warnock’s team either got sent off or got injured which resulted in the game being abandoned with the Baggies three goals up. At the heart of this was a horrific challenge on Andy Johnson, once of Forest and like numerous other players, now plying his trade elsewhere.  [i] This doesn’t reflect particularly well on Mr. Warnock and even goes as far as eliciting sympathy for the Baggies boss at the time, Gary Megson and rest assured, that is no mean achievement from a Forest perspective.

But perhaps it was the game between Blades and Trees on 19th October 2004 that really cemented the rivalry. It wasn’t a particularly seismic game in any other respect: a 1.1 draw with Liddell and Johnson scoring for each team but with accompanying red cards for Quinn and Impey and the sight of Warnock doing what he generally did: riling opposite managers by challenging every single innocuous decision made by the referee and generally behaving like a hyped up chimp on the sidelines. Again, not pretty.

Now I am fully aware that in many neutral fans’ eyes, we currently have a manager who is not best liked by most other supporters and as for the press goes, well, better to not even go there. In fact, some may even go as far as to say that Mr Davies is the modern equivalent of Mr Warnock. That may be true and this is no attempt to plant a flag in the moral high ground between the two managers.

What the above does illustrate though is that to put this rivalry down to the ‘Miners’ Strike’ seems to simplify it somewhat and takes it into a different realm which perhaps it has no right to go. Of course there is a rivalry which is partially geographically driven but mostly football-related. The fact that Clough and Davies will meet again certainly adds another dimension to this particular fixture too. The fact that Forest have sold their away allocation (approximately 5,000 tickets) certainly suggests that it is a biggie for us but don’t be fooled into thinking that this is our cup final: tickets were available for £10 to season ticket holders and trips to Sheffield have been particularly profitable for us in recent history with winning visits to Hillsborough. And Sheffield is quite close to Nottingham. And we haven’t got this far in the cup since…well, what seems like an age.

Let’s hope that the game takes centre stage on this occasion though, rather than sideline antics.


[i] The full details run something along these lines:  Simon Tracey sent off for the Blades, WBA 2 goals up, Georges Santos almost breaks Johnson’s legs – gets sent off, Patrick Souffo gets sent off for head-butting McInnes, Blades down to 8 men, Michael Brown and Rob Ullathorne go down injured which leaves Blades with only 6 remaining men on the pitch. Match abandoned. Apologies for any inaccuracies.

Were you one of the 13,262? The best goal you never saw

10 Feb

Huddersfield Town      0.3       Nottingham Forest

(Paterson 2, Henderson)

Huddersfield Town.  McAlpine Stadium. Galpharm Stadium.  John Smiths Stadium.

Unfortunately, these incarnations of the home of Huddersfield Town are not the home to a legendary goal that has entered into Nottingham Forest folklore, myth and legend.

The venue: Leeds Road. October 3rd 1989. League Cup.  Step forward Mr Tommy Gaynor.

This young man joined us from Doncaster Rovers in 1988 after hitting 7 goals in 33 appearances. I say ‘young man’ as he was in many ways, a classic 80s Clough player in the sense of him being a skilful player with an eye for goal but with some limitations: step forward Garry Parker, Colin Walsh and Gary Crosby. That is not meant to be derogatory as Parker was one of my favourite players as a kid. However, Walsh, Parker and Gaynor were similar in the sense that they weren’t the most mobile of players; tall and rangy. However, they compensated for this in numerous ways: Parker and Walsh with cultured left feet and a knack of scoring vital goals, Crosby with his ability to glide with the ball past defenders and a winning smile, and Gaynor with outrageous skill.

A rather stuttering start to the season brought us to Leeds Road: the home of Huddersfield Town, themselves enjoying a rather unspectacular start in the 3rd division but featuring a squad containing some interesting names such as Aidy Boothroyd, Chris Hutchings and Peter Withe.

Stories are numerous but facts are few. We know that the score ended up 3.3 with Forest progressing thanks to the away goals rule after a 1.1 draw at the City Ground. We know that Gary Crosby and Nigel Clough also scored for Forest. We know that Craig Maskell netted twice for the Terriers and Mike Cecere bagged the other. We also know that Tommy Gaynor scored a cracker of a goal.

Accounts vary: “Ooh Tommy Gaynor was a great player. I remember him scoring a superb goal in the League Cup away at Huddersfield, dribbling from his own penalty area, beating several players before crashing a 20 yard shot in the Terrier’s net.” (Posted by Norwayred, May 17, 2009)

But footage is scarce. If there once was footage on YouTube, it is there no longer.  I can only imagine in my mind’s eye, reconstructing it into a slalomesque run as defenders slide hither and thither but Gaynor’s tricky shoulder drops and Cruyff turns ensure he evades the desperate lunges.

I don’t know though. I wasn’t there.

Of course, there are countless other goals that I didn’t see. But it’s the ones that you missed out on even though you were at the match that really nag at you and eat you up from inside out.

Last season, I travelled all the way to Burnley on a cold Easter day to see us turn in an insipid performance. We went one down in the first half. It was cold. We didn’t look like getting anything out of the game. The 90th minute came. I was cold. I had a long drive home to South Lincolnshire. I was very cold. The 92nd minute rolled around so I got my proverbial coat and trundled miserably to my car. Did I mention I was cold? The radio informed me that we had earned a draw thanks to a 94th minute penalty converted by Lewis McGugan. Great. All that way and the one bright spot of the game in our favour, I had missed. Awesome. Yeah, I know; serves me right for leaving early.

Going back into the mists of time, I have a slightly bigger confession to make.

The first day of 1992. Home to Luton Town. (Some of you older and anoraked fans are probably way ahead of me and have already got to the punch line). Not an especially special game; a 1.1 draw in a season in which we finished 8th. However, in many ways, this was a never to be forgotten game for which special t-shirts have been made.

A young Mark Pembridge had put the Hatters in the lead. The game was petering out into a disappointing start to a new year as I entered my 16th one on this earth. From the front of the Trent End (left of the goal about 8 steps back just behind the kids section: I was a bit older now and stood just outside that section now I was a proper grown up), mum and dad probably beckoned me to make a move in order to get over Trent Bridge ahead of the traffic and get back on the M1 up to Rotherham. In my absence, for some reason, Des Walker decided to wander upfield and found himself one on one after being slipped through by Nigel Clough. Not only was the angle acute but he was facing Steve Sutton, on loan from Forest. No matter. Without hesitation, Walker rammed the ball into the top corner for his only goal in Forest colours in 409 appearances over two stints.

Thanks, Des.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8w0jI8ncF0

This is all rather cathartic and it helps to face up to such demanding situations. I feel sad though that the very place where Tommy Gaynor scored this legendary goal in an otherwise forgettable game is no longer: it is now the site of a retail park a few hundred yards away from the current Huddersfield Stadium. A plaque marking the centre circle was there but disappeared in June 2103; sadly not the first time as it had gone missing in 2000 too. I hope it has been returned. It is the only tangible evidence that a game was played there that lives on in legend and stories.

A monologue for Terry the Kitman

9 Feb

Saturday 8th February 2014

Blackpool            1.1          Nottingham Forest

(Keogh)                                                (Lascelles)

Even I’ve got to admit that it was a bit brass monkeys today. I thought about wearing a long sleeve shirt…for about 10 seconds and then I slapped myself around the face a few times for even considering such a thought. A bit of rain and wind never did me any harm and I’m not going to start wimping out now. Besides, big day today: new kit.

It used to be simple: red kit at home, away kit away depending on what colour their lot play in. We did have a phase when some daft uns wanted to wear those cycling shorts underneath their normal shorts. That fad didn’t last long though.  Some of them like to wear a long sleeve underneath their top these days but I don’t let em: just wear the long sleeve Forest top you pillock. Don’t know they’re born, half of em.

But now we’ve got this white thing with a bit of blue in it. White isn’t a bad idea for away colours: we’ve had that a few times before. White is a bit Derby but if they’re wearing red as an away colour then fair enough. Bugger to wash though. But blue? We have dabbled in blue as an away colour in the past but it’s not something I like. What’s wrong with the yellow? As for the current grey thing as the away kit, well, don’t get me started.

Thing is, there’s not many teams play in red AND grey so I can’t see many occasions when we’re going to need to play in white. They should play in skins if there’s a colour clash; that’s what we used to do.

I hate coming up here to Blackpool. It’s not the cold – I can handle that no problem – it’s the fact that we never win up here.  A few scrambled draws seem to be the best we ever get up at this godforsaken place. Same again today too. Although we got our noses in front, it was the same old story away from home again as we conceded a late equaliser. Again.

This run of away games is a bit tricky at the moment: all these hotels and getting the whatever colour kit we’re wearing clean in time for the next game. I do like the massive cooked breakfasts in the hotels though: even if I have to elbow Reidy out of the way for extra sausages. I keep trying to sneak some extra bacon onto young Paterson’s plate to bulk him up rather than just the bowl of Ricicles he has but I think he just passes it on to Reidy. I don’t mind though: Reidy can have all the bacon he wants if he keeps playing like this. It’s the gaffer who’s the worst though: can’t get him away from the self-serve buffet.

With all that sand on the pitch, the state of the kits as they came off made me wince a bit. I’ll have to put some Cillit Bang in the machine to get them clean again. We don’t need them until Tuesday when we’re at Huddersfield and in any case, their lot play in blue and white: we should be ok to play in red.

Coach journey home was a bit of a drag: Young Paterson and Darlow were playing that crap they call music on their phones while the gaffer was putting a power point slide show together for tomorrow. Reidy was asleep.

As long as we keep winning at home and getting points away, we’ll be ok. And as long as I keep remembering to bring the right kit, I’ll be around a bit longer.

I love it when a plan comes together

6 Feb

Wednesday 5th February 2014

Preston North End          0.2          Nottingham Forest

(Mackie, Henderson)

When Henderson slammed the ball decisively into the corner of the net in the dying seconds of this game, this was the moment when justice was served.

Frankly, it was nothing less than we deserved after successfully lulling Preston into a false sense that they could win the game.  The manner in which we teased their players by pretending that we were unable to string a pass together, although derided in some quarters, turned out to be a masterstroke of tactical genius straight from the shelf of Mourinho. In some games, a team will get forced back into their half under a constant wave of pressure. In such cases, fans will cry out for their defence to get out: don’t defend so deep.

Not here.

No way.

We expertly sat back, soaked up the pressure and picked them off at just the right time. Hendo’s clinical finish was our just rewards.  We earned this.

Some will have you believe that Preston were the better team: I don’t know what game they were watching but they must be neglecting the marauding run from Mackie deep into Preston territory which served our intentions for the second half. For me, it’s not the amount of possession that you have in the opposition half but the quality of the run. It doesn’t matter that this was perhaps one of only two forays into enemy territory; Mackie’s lolloping legs took him from his own half right to the penalty box. Have that.

Preston might feel aggrieved but this would be a short-sighted view. After knocking on the door for practically the whole of the second half, we finally put the game to bed. Never has a victory been more deserved.

Bring on the fifth round.

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

2 Feb

Sunday 2nd February 2014

Nottingham Forest         3.1          Yeovil Town

(Paterson, Cox, Djebbour)                   (Moore)                              

What day is it again? I’m a bit confused, a bit out of synch, a bit like an elderly relative expressing the notion that those days between Christmas and New year’s just merge into one and that, ‘I don’t really know if I’m coming or going’.  I know how they feel.

Poor Dan Harding doesn’t seem to know if he’s coming or going after seeing Danny Fox signed from Southampton to dislodge him from the first team…again. I feel a bit bad for Dandy Dan and his Bambi legs as he’s come on leaps and Bambi bounds recently but didn’t Danny look foxy? Like a wily old fox with a cunning plan and bags of energy to boot (or burn, lots of people have pace to burn these days: maybe we should burn their pace instead of fossil fuels. Just a passing tangential thought. That’s all) And Jamie Mackie seems to be coming and going a lot recently too: he came on for the 2nd half against Watford, bagged a goal, ran around a bit, even more than usual, and although he started today, he ran off towards the end. But there’s more to Mackie’s game than running around a lot: he also looks exceptionally like everyone’s favourite Mathgeekthiefhardmanspy Matt Damon. And that’s a good thing…we need more Matt Damon lookalikes in this world. What if we run out of Matt Damons? That would be a bad thing.

Stand up if you love Fawaz. Stand up if you hate Derby. Sit down if you are a Forest fan standing in the Upper Bridgeford otherwise you will be asked to leave since you are patently obstructing someone else’s view and not utilising the moulded plastic for which you have paid through the nose. Stand up. Sit down. I’ll sit. Getting a bit old for all this standing and sitting. I might just write a carefully worded letter to Fawaz expressing my gratitude for spending shedloads of money on players. Probably best to write a strongly worded letter to Derby informing them of my attitude towards their football club and its state of affairs too. On second thoughts, it’s probably best to just tweet it. Or Facebook it. Or Snapchat. MSN? Does anyone use MSN anymore? Did anyone over 15 years old ever use it? I bet Jamie Paterson did. He certainly looks young enough with his boyish good boyband looks. I bet Reidy uses a typewriter though. A cultured one mind, while sipping absinthe and mourning the fin-de-siècle. He’s that classy.

That first 10 minutes though…how good were we? The answer is very good. Obviously. A goal too. I’m giving it to young Jamie as he might get someone from home to phone in if he doesn’t get it registering their displeasure regarding such a state of affairs. Better head that one off at the pass. Done. Jamie; it’s yours. It was going in anyway. And then those pesky Glovers went and did what they usually do: make us all go quiet and visit our own dark place, the chasms in our minds where we prefer not to dwell for too long. They’re good at that. They even channelled the spirit of Aaron Davies at one stage. That wasn’t nice. Not nice at all. Good job we scored again. That Simon Cox, eh? Runs the channels, works hard, holds the ball up and they’ve recently brought out a new model which scores goals too. Awesome.

Djebbour came on. He ran around, he was game. Churlish to point out that he hardly touched it when he scored a goal. A goal I could have scored. A goal my 8 year old daughter could have scored. A goal Darren Bent could have scored. No. Let’s not get silly now. Reign it in.

So two home games and two home wins. On paper we should have got them anyway so it never really mattered whether we did or not because contrary to popular opinion, football is played on paper, not grass. There’s a thin layer of paper underneath the pitch, soaking up moisture like a layer of old newspaper underneath the shavings in a guinea pig hutch. Maybe. Either way – EASY EASY EASY. We are going up etc……..All we’ve got to do is beat Leicester, beat Derby away (coz we ALWAYS do that don’t we?), beat Burnley and QPR away and loads of other teams too. Which we will. There you go; a rare moment of chest beating optimism. Enjoy it.

When’s the next game again?