1. Friday was quite the night – on and off the field. Which is rather how things have gone at City for quite some time, with talking points split roughly between that which occurs on the greensward and that which does not. Whether off-pitch activities were positive or not depends upon your point of view, but at least there is no doubt about what occured on the playing surface. City won, vitally and (mostly) deservedly, and our hopes of avoiding relegation are the highest they’ve been for a while, and also showed up as a lie the notion that protest automatically hinders the team.
2. It had appeared that the flicker of optimism that victory at Forest brought had been extinguished by a hopeless display at Middlesbrough. That rotten evening ended up with City being level on points with 22nd once more, and emphatically back to square one. Well, a win over Sheffield United has advanced us a square or two.
3. The first half was a pretty dismal affair. It’s an oft-heard refrain that the Championship is particularly poor this season – well, if Sheffield United are notionally hunting a play-off place, then this really isn’t a good division. City, we expect to be poor. But their conspicuous mediocrity hints at a division that’s basically Wolves and Sunderland, with 22 sides of that differ only in the extent of their averageness in between.
4. But hey! One side elevated themselves from poor to approaching-alright in the second half, and that was City. Evidently encouraged by gaining half-time parity, the Tigers improved briskly and were on top when Dicko smartly finished Irvine’s cute little pass. And from that point we didn’t really look like surrendering the lead, which is perhaps the most impressive part of the whole victory given our porousness this season. A game that won’t have quickened the pulse of Sky Sports viewers, but by the end we were worth it.
5. Results elsewhere kept City two points ahead of peril, which is probably three given our freakishly superior goal difference. That places huge importance on tonight’s fixture against fellow strugglers Barnsley. It’s our game in hand, and gives us a chance to place a hefty five points between ourselves and ailing Birmingham in third bottom. The incentive is a big one: win, and we could become legitimately confident of lining up in the 2018/19 Championship. But so often this season we’ve followed up something positive with something foul, so we shan’t depend upon avoiding whatever the Auto Windscreens Shield is called these days just yet.
6. Off the pitch. Well, if you don’t like protest against people who routinely insult the supporters both by word and by deed, who routinely mislead, who price out children, the elderly and disabled in a calculated and unprecedented act of malice, who ejected Upper West Stand patrons, who brought you the Airco fiasco, the driving out of Steve Bruce, Hull fucking Tigers, then Amber Nectar probably isn’t for you, so you probably aren’t reading anyway.
7. The efficacy of the whistle and stress ball elements of protests are up for debate, but one thing that really hit the spot was the two lads who managed to get the sight of a large Allam Out banner beamed into homes and pubs across the land and perhaps beyond. To many fans of other clubs, the Allams are synonymous with the silly name change attempt and nothing more, but there is still work to be done getting the removal of concessions and much more into the nation’s footballing consciousness.
8. It was interesting to hear Nigel Adkins state that City lost the Nottingham Forest game on the back of a stress ball protest, given that he likely wanted City to lose that game. After all he wasn’t head coach back then, instead he was in the stands, hovering above Leonid Slutsky like a vulture.
9. While Ehab claims he can’t offer concessions on account of alleged supporter fraud, Nottingham Forest have no such qualms and are offering season passes for under 11 year olds costing just £10. Contrast that with the experience of a Sheffield United fan who paid £24 for a ticket for a 4 year old. So much for your claims about the club’s ticket prices being affordable
10. It seems Abel Hernández could be ready to return this week. Adkins said in his post-match interview on Friday that he considered putting the Uruguayan on the bench but decided against it. We’ve missed having a reliable, regular, proven goalscorer, more so during a insufferably fallow period in front of goal.