Two draws and a win. No losses. I repeat, no losses. To quote an awful film with Jennifer Aniston from her immediate post-Friends days, that is Soliiid. Solid effort. Nothing glamorous, but good old-fashioned, pull your socks up, solid.
When was the last time we went the first three league games of the season (and a cup game) without conceding defeat? I must admit, I had to rifle through the records for this one, but it was 2012 when we went five games unbeaten before succumbing to Man City on the 22nd of September. Not to be unbeaten in August would be lovely this season, and would go to show just how much progress Simon Grayson has made as manager.
We have already won in the month of August for the first time in five years and given that last year we were breaking records for having the worst start in Premier League records, this has to be a welcome relief.
Granted we have dropped a division, but some parts of the fanbase were fearing a drop through the leagues. Simon Grayson has installed some steel to the team, and I don’t just mean our new goalkeeper (I’ll get me coat).
I wasn’t at Hillsborough on Wednesday night (I still can’t believe they haven’t razed that place to the ground), but attempted to follow it on a live stream from some lad on Twitter. They equalised as soon as my feed was live; I took that as me being a jinx and reverted to watching the game on twitter—the modern equivalent of watching it on Ceefax (ask your Dads, kids).
But although we seemed to be under the cosh in the second half and missed a hat-full of chances in the first, the team didn’t buckle when it conceded. Compare that to last season. If Moyes was still at the helm, what’s the betting we’d have been on the end of a hiding and DM claiming we had played well?
This season reminds me of the 1988-89 season when we were newly relegated to the third division. Denis Smith was installed as manager, a quite unassuming guy who quietly got on with the job. He made some astute signings (notably one Marco Gabbiadini) and got us up as champions. Could same about to happen again? Is it too much to wish for? Is it, and I hate to go there, the hope I can’t stand?