BLADES fans are well aware that Norwich City boss Daniel Farke encourages the Dark Arts. Despite the German’s denial, some would say he should be pink with embarrassment.
News that he ordered the away team’s dressing room to be painted that very colour at Carrow Road in the belief that it lowers testosterone levels and has a calming effect on the oppostion, only served to confirm how desperate Farke is in efforts to push the boundaries.
Visiting Leeds United must be colour blind. At the first opportunity to test the theory Norwich lost 3-0 and were jeered off by their own supporters, having taken only four points from their opening five Championship matches. Three defeats, two of them at home.
The German grand master won’t admit it but anyone who saw the Canaries shameless display of play-acting and time-wasting which began as soon as they had taken a 23rd-minute lead at Bramall Lane last season, was left in no doubt.
Not least frustrated Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder. He had to find himself a seat in the South Stand after being dismissed midway through the second half of a 1-0 defeat. His crime kicking the ball at his opponent’s water bottles much to the satisfaction of Farke and his sniggering bench.
“There is a fine line between being professional and taking the mick,” said Wilder who acknowledged nevertheless that his intervention within Norwich’s technical area was a step too far.
Apart from the Canaries valiant attempt to win a Bafta nomination, their inability to hand the team sheet in on time and reluctance to reappear for the second half as United and the match officials were left waiting for over two minutes, served only to rile Wilder further.
Eleven months on and denials from both managers that any ill-feeling exisited. Fat chance. If a repeat performance was in the Canaries game plan, John Egan’s header to give the Blades a ninth minute lead altered all that.
It didn’t, however, stop Norwich from once again keeping the Blades waiting for the second half to resume. Neither did it prevent the visiting bench from pointing an accusing finger after Wilder joyously took a wild fresh air shot at a ball knocked out of play and in his direction for a Norwich throw-in with the match delicately poised at 1-1 and time running out.
But United’s boss had the last laugh. Billy Sharp’s winner in added time afforded him the opportunity for a wild celebration just a little too close to the visiting technical area for Farke and his disgruntled staff’s liking. "I don’t have to apologise to anybody for the way I act and I behave. It is my club, my team, my players,” said Wilder afterwards which suggests words were exchanged.
The next instalment is due in January when hostilities resume and Wilder has his first view of the pink palace. I can’t wait.