Martin Smith column: Root marches on as Owls and Blades start moaning again

England's Joe Root during day four of the 3rd Investec Test match at the Kia Oval, London.
England's Joe Root during day four of the 3rd Investec Test match at the Kia Oval, London.

Here we go again.

It seems like five minutes since last season ended - it’s actually 13 weeks for Sheffield United and 10 since Wednesday last kicked a ball in competitive anger.

So get your one-eyed glasses, matchday-mouth and lucky pants ready it’s all kicking off again.

So what have we learned since they last thrilled us?

We know that football at the top end of the game is even more mad than it was.

Paris St Germain ready to pay £160 million for Brazilian Neymar from Barcelona, Manchester United to pay £40 million-plus for a 29-year old midfielder and Manchester City will pay £50million for just about anybody.

Neymar

Neymar

A couple of weeks ago this column asked if our big two clubs - both founder members of the original Premier League in 1993 - could ever get back to the big-time.

A lot of you said you weren’t bothered and that you’d rather stay out of the money madness of the world’s most bloated competition. Yeah right.

That’s not how it looked on fans’ faces after Wednesday’s play-offs defeat against Huddersfield.

For some the hope is too much but professional football is about competing to be the best and the best are in the Premier League. Sheffield’s big two and their fans need to be aiming to get back up there asap.

Of course the doubters have already started.

Some Wednesdayites are full of doom over the 2-0 defeat by Rangers at Hillsborough at the weekend and Blades are concerned that their pre-season fixtures haven’t been a tough enough test.

All that and still July.

Football’s back - as though it ever left - and it’s bigger and barmier than ever. Enjoy.

n Sheffield’s best-known current cricketer - Michael Vaughan probably still shades it over all - Joe Root is on the verge of a win in his first test series as England captain.

The best thing about his summer so far is that apart from the poor second test defeat against South Africa Root’s new captaincy has been pretty much flawless - and he’s still scoring runs.

There was the odd moan that he should have declared earlier on Sunday but that’s just the finest of tuning. Nine fifties in a row in test matches speaks for itself. Get the job done now and get ready for the West Indies and Australia in the winter. Happy days ahead?