It takes a lot to rile your writer here when it comes to commentary on Sheffield United, but Don Goodman pushed all the buttons last night at Sunderland.
We all have our favourite commentators and pundits. Some will grind the gears of certain fans while the same person will be top dog to someone else. It’s just how it works and like everything in football, is a matter of opinion.
But last night was bordering on the ridiculous at times. Normally the more impartial of Sky’s usual co-commentator selections – Andy Hinchliffe, ex-Wednesday, definitely enjoys seeing us lose – Don Goodman seemed to be on a one-man crusade against the Blades last night.
Goodman slams Sheffield United
There were a number of incidents in the game which seemed to really get Goodman going. But some of the game’s biggest moments almost seemed to offend the Sky man for going United’s way.
First, was the shocking challenge from Sunderland’s Trai Hume on Daniel Jebbison. The Sunderland man was more than late and extremely high. But instead of slamming the tackle, Goodman instead picked on United’s players for surrounding the referee.
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“If it was a Sheffield United player committing that challenge it would be OK in the mind of Sheffield United, wouldn’t it. This has got to stop, this surrounding of referees, this putting referees under pressure,” Goodman said.
“Literally six, seven, eight Sheffield United players sprinted to the referee, we can’t have it, it’s a yellow card. The ball breaks in an area where [Hume] thinks he can win it and clearly can’t, he’s second best. [The tackle] is aggressive, I’ll grant you that. To me, he just gets done by the quick feet of Jebbison, genuinely trying to [get the ball] but look at the swarm, that’s what it is, that is so ugly, I can’t tell you.”
Sure, it’s not great to surround refs. But Goodman was way off the mark here.
Secondly, Goodman went on and on about the goal from Tommy Doyle standing. Tony Mowbray has had a moan as well. Berge might have been inches offside, yes. But did Goodman point out John Egan being held at the same time in what could have been a penalty? No.
Finally, late in the game after Anel Ahmedhodzic had been praised for good defending knocking a man off the ball, a Sunderland player then barged into Ahmedhodzic late on to give a foul away. But again, Goodman seemed to be annoyed, insisting that when Ahmedhodzic did it, it’s good defending, but when the forward does it, it’s deemed an offence.
It marked the finale in a series of bizarre calls from the former Wolves striker. For whatever reason, Goodman seemed intent on having a dig at the Blades players. A glance at Twitter will tell you all you need to know about what Blades fans made of the co-comms. Most of which, can’t be repeated in here.
Sheffield United News View: An odd night of commentary makes the win even sweeter
It was almost infuriating at times listening to some of the commentary. It was the kind of frustration that can make you hit the mute button or even switch to the local radio dialogue with the game on in the background.
The challenge on Jebbison was the oddest of arguments from Goodman here. The United youngster was completely snapped and on another day, it’s a red. Indeed, in the PL, VAR probably overturns it and the Sunderland man walks.
In the end, that frustration made the final whistle sound even better. With a bit of luck, it was a one off night from Goodman, who we’re sure doesn’t actively hold any sort of agenda against the Blades.
In isolation, United winning this game – and getting a bit of luck – seemed to rile Goodman. Of course, us Blades won’t care now the result is done and dusted.
But on the whole, it was just something your writer here couldn’t let go. If he listens back, Goodman will surely understand where we, and United fans, are coming from.