First things first, I am a football fanatic and as I arrived at Sheffield I began to grieve having left behind my one true love, my football team, Derby County. Now, I’m from Nottingham, home of the football team Nottingham Forest. Those who know their football will see the controversy here, those who don’t fear not, I shall explain: Nottingham Forest and Derby County are huge rivals so I’m a bit of a maverick.
I had 3 teams to choose from here – Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United or Sheffield FC. I immediately eliminated Sheffield Wednesday; they play in the same division as Derby and have the most expensive tickets – easy decision. Sheffield FC are the oldest football club in the world and play in a very low league so these were tempting as I really wanted to join a club with a smaller fan base but alas they play near Dronfield and I’m way too lazy to get the train. So by default I was left with Sheffield United.
It also happens that my mate managed to sort me out with a free ticket to a Tuesday night game at home against Bristol Rovers so I kind of just became a United fan.* Anyway, I was glad of the late 7:45pm kick off as I had plenty of time to nap after a super hard 2 hour day in uni. How was I so naive? 5pm sharp we were in a taxi to the stadium. I had forgotten a hugely important element of match day: the pub trip before the game (some would argue this is more important than the game itself). After talking football in the pub over a few pints with all the lads we were ready.
United’s stadium (Bramall Lane) is brilliant and as we approached we could hear the thousands inside (although we arrived outside the ground over two hours early, we arrived in the ground fashionably late). After trying my utmost to learn some chants beforehand I decided to leave it the proper fans and just enjoy the moment. Following some tense moments and multiple expletive outbreaks from various fans, United finally got a goal late on; the ground erupted and created a great atmosphere for the remainder of the match.
Post match and it was off to the pub again to analyse the game. As we left the pub singing United chants (I was guessing the words), the Bristol team bus drove past with the defeated players on board. We politely waved and all gleefully chanted ‘we’re all blades’ at them, which is United’s trademark chant and the only one I seem to have mastered.
Hopefully it won’t be long before my student loan allows me to return to a day full of chanting, pies and some pretty entertaining football.
*I just want to make it clear, Sheffield United are a second team I am just following and I still remain a dedicated Derby fan.