SIR Alex Ferguson calls it squeaky bum time – for Huddersfield Town it has to be get off your bums time.
The finishing line is in sight and for Town it has to be a case of keeping their eyes firmly on the prize.
And as things stand the situation is looking healthy.
While the 2-0 home win on Tuesday night against Pennine rivals Oldham was not pretty the result was clever, and the three points gave the Terriers breathing space from the pack chasing them for the play-off places.
The reaction of the majority of fans to the win over the Latics also appears to be right on the button – it might not have been great to watch but winning is all that counts as a means to the perfect end to the season.
It is understandable that Town boss Lee Clark would like to see more convincing performances in the remaining six games, starting tomorrow at Brentford, but I am sure that he would settle for the ball going into the net off someone’s backside if it ensures that Town get a shot at reaching the Championship via a day out at Wembley.
Mathematically an automatic slot is still there to be played for and given that Town still have home meetings with Millwall and Colchester their influence on the shape of the top six come the end of the season is tangible.
But while it is fun to postulate about where the points will go in the run-in, the simple fact is that Town have to ensure that of the 18 remaining on offer they get as close to that total as possible and stuff how they come by them or what happens elsewhere.
Manager Clark has already stressed the importance of Town fans’ support both home and away and now is the time to get on your feet – obviously this might have to be metaphorically due to the stewarding at some grounds – and roar them to the finishing line.
CAN we stop beating ourselves up over the quality of our football please?
So for the first time in a while the Champions League semi-finals actually look like a European competition rather than the FA Cup semis with a Spanish club involved – well so what!
Barcelona’s meticulous 4-1 destruction of Arsenal in the Champions League last eight was humbling for the English game, but if you bought in to the reactions of some commentators on the game you would believe that the Premier League has become a Sunday pub competition overnight.
I will concede that for English clubs this season’s competition has been a bit of a wake up call, but I don’t buy the accusations that our game suffers a total lack of technique.
The shock factor was raised by the fact that it was the Arsenal team, perhaps England’s best passing side, who were played off the park – but while some of the Gunners looked as though they would struggle to trap a bag of sand, those wearing white shirts at the Nou Camp have not instantly become bad players.
The reality is that Barcelona, inspired by the stunning talent that is Lionel Messi, are just one of those sides who will write themselves into the history books.
A quick list would read Puskas-Hungary 1953, Pele-Brazil 1970, Cruyff-Holland 1974, Maradona-Argentina 1986, Gullit-AC Milan 1989 – there are probably other examples you would like to add, but these were simply teams that were irresistible one-offs empowered by footballers of unique ability.
Messi and Barcelona look set to join that pantheon this season and if anything Arsenal – and on a wider horizon English football – can rest assured that they were beaten by the best the game has to offer at a particular point in time.
A nice touch at the end of the Nou Camp game was Messi approaching the referee to shake his hand and then he counted off his goals as he requested the match ball – Lionel I think the ref had probably noticed!
IT MUST be tough being a Sheffield United fan at the moment.
For followers of the Blades it must be hard to know just what to wish for as the season reaches a climax.
Do they want to see West Ham relegated so they can have a pop at them in the Championship next season, or do they want the Hammers to stay up and, with a bit of luck, make their way into the top flight via the play-offs so they can take them on in the Premier League?
I suppose the ideal revenge would be for the Blades to go up while the Hammers fall but, whatever the feeling at Bramall Lane, I am sure their fans must have been spitting blood when they heard that the boys from the Boleyn Ground had cut up rough and officially complained over Fulham’s perceived failure to put out a ‘proper’ team against Hull City – a game the Cottagers lost 2-0.
While it is a different set of owners at the East End club these days, for a club who ensured their survival in the 2006-07 season by playing two essentially ineligible players recruited from Argentina – thus sending the Blades down – to start whingeing in this manner is just embarrassingly crass.