Chris Lakey: Norwich City v Wilder Thing ... is it wrong that I sort of like him?
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It will go down as one of the very best rants of recent times - who can forget Chris Wilder losing it after his Sheffield United side lost to Norwich last season?
It matters not that the Blades made up for it at Bramall Lane this season, and that apparently Wilder apologised to Daniel Farke for his words.
If you need a reminder, here we go with a potted explanation: traffic in Sheffield was bad and City arrived a little later than they should have for the game. No late kick-off, no real harm to the hosts to be frank. But Wilder wasn’t chuffed - he was unhappy with everything from City’s alleged time-wasting to their late arrival. But, you suspect, mostly with the ‘time wasting’.
“Dear me, where do you start?” he said in a rant caught exclusively on video by our very own Paddy Davitt. “They put the team sheet in at 1.45pm, but was there a lot of traffic around Sheffield about 1pm?
Well, get here a bit earlier then. What you do is get a coach driver to do his job and find out if you are in the city centre there might be a bit of traffic. There might be a bit of traffic around 1.30pm at a football stadium when about 28,000 are turning up.
“Do a little bit of homework and possibly set off 10 minutes earlier. There wasn’t a crash on the M1 or whatever, they came up on Friday night. Get to the game on time and show the opposition manager and captain and referee and fourth official and the assistant and the assessor a little bit of respect.”
It went on and on but really is well worth a look.
Now, I love a good rant - most of my best ones are on the way home from a footy match, in the car, on my Jack Jones.
But Wilder’s beats them all because it is completely over the top. And it is over the top because he lost, and football people hate losing. It’s what makes them good, usually, at what they do. And much as I came out the other end very ambivalent towards Wilder, I do admire him for getting a big tune out of his team.
You may remember he accused City of blatant time-wasting – a bit rich considering every team in the land, including his own, would do exactly the same.
But again, it’s part of that ’must-win’ mentality.
Daniel Farke has the same, he just shows it in different ways. His public image is one of control, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, out of sight, he has a hair dryer stored away somewhere.
And that’s the thing about rants: in general, if the ranter isn’t out of control, it isn’t a rant.
Remember Kevin ‘I’d love if it...’ Keegan losing it on a radio interview about Newcastle’s ultimately futile Premier League title race with Manchester United in 1996? Sir Alex Ferguson had suggested some teams, like Leeds and Nottingham Forest, tried harder against his side than Newcastle. Keegan took the bait: “When you do that with footballers like he said about Leeds - and when you do things like that about a man like Stuart Pearce... I’ve kept really quiet but I’ll tell you something, he went down in my estimations when he said that. We have not resorted to that.”
Back in the day Barry Fry, then Peterborough manager, and John Sitton, who had a short-lived spell in charge of Orient, ranted at their players in the dressing room at half-time - but they knew they were on camera and it was frankly a competition to see who dare say the naughtiest words the most times. Pathetic attempts at proper, capital R, Ranting.
Playing to the camera disqualifies a rant – Chris Wilder certain didn’t do it because Paddy’s i-Phone was in front of him.
Any Roy Keane stuff is not a rant: it’s too controlled. When he blasted his own international manager, Mick McCarthy, during the 2002 World Cup, it was too controlled. Because most things Keane does are under his control.
“I didn’t rate you as a player, I don’t rate you as a manager, and I don’t rate you as a person,” said Keane. “The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country.”
There was more, but it’s not fit for this publication.
I have little doubt that at Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon, Chris Wilder will explode about something: it may appear trivial to us, but it will be deadly serious to him. I think it’s passion and he just can’t hide it. And in a funny sort of way, I hope he never does.