RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Saturday, June 29

Friday, June 28

VS3D T0 S1T TH3R3 L1ST3N1NG...

used to sit there listening
to the trees talk as a kid;
they quit since all humans snitch


The peripheries of social media have another young person dead today – suicide or drug overdose are the two consistent ones, though both are symptoms of the same overall disease afflicting us all. And also it’s payday which means I calculate how I continue to have more bills than pay, despite a decent job, mostly due to medical debt despite insurance, and there’s like two parallel universes playing out it seems. On one hand I see the death and despair and constant struggle and people just trying to have a fucking smile on their face despite everything around them squeezing harder and harder and harder. And then on the other side I see social media streams of folks on perpetual vacation, smiling children beaming the confident smiles of comfort. Adults living a playful lifestyle, posting positivity memes, without recognizing how much harder it is take a deep breath and remain calm when you are in a position where everything is squeezing and squeezing and squeezing. Eric Garner’s police murder death where he was choked while struggling to say “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” has always seemed a fitting statement for the state of American culture and civilization in this 21st century.
Access to inherited wealth is such a huge thing that’s overlooked in this country. The ability to be self-righteous, and have the comfort to sleep in often enough that it’s easy to appear woke when you step out your house, which you have no trouble paying for. I have a good job, make good money, but no access to any family wealth whatsoever, none, which means I am fighting a losing battle every paycheck. There will be no retirement for people like me, ever. There will either be some sort of devastating illness which breaks the hand-to-mouth cycle and puts me on the streets to begin the slow spiral downwards, or if I am lucky I will remain healthy and get to live a mostly-confined, sub-dreamlike existence in my old age. I am hopeful I remain healthy, and my mental faculties do not diminish too badly, and I can make the creative most of that latter confined option. I say all this readily acknowledging I have a better job with better pay than a lot of people. And I’m still fucked. I know there are so many being crushed harder than me, struggling even harder to breathe every day. That’s why people are out here fucking with heavier drugs, and taking their own lives. I’ve contemplated both options myself multiple times in the past few years. Why not just be high as fuck in an opioid cloud? If it’s a 50-50 chance I end up by the river homeless, why not be high while I’m there?
It is hard not to be resentful of those who speak to you as if they have it all figured out, while they have done so from the economic comfort of having access to wealth. This doesn’t mean rich, necessarily, but having family you can borrow from, people to make down payments for you, or who you can access times of crisis. Or just wealth built over generations that you can utilize to travel, take those five trips abroad every year, or the beach vacation that happens. It’s hard not to be resentful of the beach vacations, or the small business plans enabled by some unseen wealth.
Anyways, I’ve had dreams of a low rider too, classic car, candyflake, Dayton rims, just riding around on a weekend, where the weeks actually still end, instead of this constant struggle against the inevitable end of this American empire era. I’m not sure I’ll be able to ever realize those classic car dreams, unless something magical happens to my life, but they are still there. It is interesting how even the trickle down, which was never all that real, is less than it used to be. I don’t see a lot of cruising going on. Far less Caprices on rims with fresh paint bopping around town than I saw ten years ago. Welcome to the end of the American empire, which is crushing people left and right, but we keep up these social media performances of hypeness and happiness and hopefulness, and people are tormented by dreams of just having a decent hooptie to tool around in. Nobody can breathe, because the metaphysical air has been completely poisoned. The game is technically already over, but we are in the pretending stage right now, cosplaying American dreams still.

R1PPL3S 1N MY 3X1ST3NC3...

ripples in my existence,
overly attached to right
now, trapped by technology

Thursday, June 27

4 G3N3R4L P0V3RTY...

a general poverty
of spirit afflicting folks
thinking the end's far too close

SONG OF THE DAY: You Talk Too Much

A valuable lesson I learned in adulthood was the act of shutting the fuck up. It’s amazing how much easier it is to hear other people when you shut the fuck up sometimes. And the first step to understanding what someone else is trying to say is to hear them. All of this was very shocking to me, and probably seems counterintuitive to you, my gentle random reader. We’re trained with rugged individualism where our opinions are important and the world must hear them, and in fact, the entire notion of free speech has mutated in many minds to mean everyone else should shut up and listen to me. And I’ll admit, there’s plenty of aspects to my life where I wish I had a more-heard voice… there’s a complicated intersection of metaphysical cultural vuvuzelas that allow different voices to be heard over others. At times, as a person from a poor background, my voice is weak. At other time, being externally identified as a white male, my voice is focused in upon. And because there’s so much competition for voice, or voices drowned out by more powerful voices, a lot of yelling happens.
So I suggest you join me in shutting the fuck up. A lot of other people won’t shut the fuck up, but magically once they realize you’re not yelling back any more, some of them feel stupid for still yelling and shut the fuck up too. Others are just looking for conflicts in yelling at people anyways so move quickly along after you shut the fuck up. And once enough people shut the fuck up, it is amazing how much more you hear the birds.
Our political system which rules this poison culture, unfortunately, is predicated upon yelling at each other, and there are those who will become indignant and say, “Raven, it is irresponsible to say stop yelling and shut the fuck up, because it’s our democratic duty to not shut the fuck up and always be yelling, but only in one of two appropriate type of yells, because other yelling outside of those two specific types of yells just confuses the yelling, and then nobody can hear anything.” And I look at them and wonder what the fuck is wrong with them. But I don’t say anything. I just stay shut the fuck up, and let them yell. And anxiously await hearing the birds instead of the people. It’ll be here sooner than you realize.

Tuesday, June 25

Monday, June 24

SONG OF THE DAY: Wanna Be Black

Breaking my creative protocol today with how I'm writing these song of the day thangs which, years past, was zippyshare links. But now ppl don’t dl music, they just stream. So I adjusted to using youtube links, because that give constant for these semi-daily triggers to write nonsense gibberish built off musical foundation of something I’d been listening to a lot. But then today’s song didn’t have a youtube link that I could find. And normally I would’ve just thrown a couple gifs together, slapped it into a youtube video I make and upload, and ran with it. That’s my method for this particular project, which is one of like a dozen or two ongoing projects that all have methods and rules that keep me creating at a high rate. I don’t even know how many projects it is because if I get caught in the details, I’m not creating. I have to do my variety of creative endeavors, or I hate life. It’s that simple. This is a small part of it.
Today’s song though is a person I think of very highly – BlackLiq out of Richmond, VA, who hopefully you know about, but if you don’t familiarize yourself. He’s an absolute beast of freestyle skills, and has been releasing mixtapes all year long from his extensive freestyle sessions on his radio show over the years. He is a highly prolific and genuinely authentic creative. I’ve seen a lot of ppl apply that title “creative” to themselves, even with a capital C, but I’mma be honest, not everybody claiming it is really possessed by it. I say that as somebody possessed by it, and recognizing that same possession in BlackLiq, as well as others out here – many others, but many of them in obscurity or outside the accepted realms of what’s considered cool art or not. In fact I got kinda pissed about that same shit this past weekend because I saw signs of someone I’ve experienced in real life as inauthentic but who is highly respected connecting with others who I have suspected as possibly inauthentic but also respected. And I also know I’m no judge of authenticity, so fuck it I won’t speak on that more than to say when you are possessed to create, you have to create. All the rest of the shit that comes with being economically successful – the marketing and acceptance by gatekeepers and being funded/supported by financially powerful people – that’s got nothing to do with authenticity, or merit.
With all that being said, because I respect BlackLiq’s artistic immensity so much, I ain’t make no youtube link to keep up with my protocols for this one tiny thing in the realm of Raven Mack nonsense. I embedded his bandcamp page for this track. When I seen this dude perform this song year or more back, it’s one of those fun ass songs, because he’s a live beast, gets down in the middle of everybody, and he’s pointing out big ass white people on the chorus to say “You wanna be black?” and it’s that wonderful discomfort but feeling okay about it that good art does. And I love for BlackLiq to blow up to where it meant economic comfort for him. But I also feel good in knowing this dude is out here teaching others to express themselves through their art, and sharing the power of the creative path, out of his need to do so, and his knowledge that it’s made him a better human being. And people like this gonna be doing what they doing until death, always something new, never no old age reunion looking back on what we did a long time back, because if you’re creatively driven, you’re always moving forward with constant drive.
All this is a long-ass way for me to say if you don’t know BlackLiq, get to know him. A friend of mine told me a year or two back about an old crazy artist in Detroit who described himself as “a natural born artist” and living that in all ways of every day. I strongly identify with that, and I strongly identify that with Black Liquid as well. If you don’t know of him or his work, explore that bandcamp, and get baptized in the benefits of getting to know another full-blown natural born artist. There’s more of them out here in this world than you realize, and the most natural born of them are often still mostly unknown by the creative meritocracy that trains us to decide what’s really real and what’s not.
This also makes me wanna have a “who are some natural born artists?” discussion on social media, but it’d get hijacked by the poorly opinionated, as usual. So drop them natural born artists in the comments below if you read this far. Let’s talk it out.

R1S1NG C0ST 0F 3X1ST1NG...

rising cost of existing
in an otherwise normal
space occupied by skewed wealth

Saturday, June 22

Friday, June 21


folks pretending they're ready
for revolution, without
realizing traumas attached

SONG OF THE DAY: Quiet Village

I have for a while maintained relations with the elves that inhabit Seven Islands in the river known as James post-colonialism, but earlier this spring in chatting with their sentry and my friend Chubbrock, he informed me of other bands of these elven river people along other outposts of the James, as well as the Rivanna and Appomattox rivers. He sent communication to a friend of his at one of their outposts not far from Texas Beach in Richmond earlier this year, to establish a meeting which happened a month or so back – a friend vouching for friend, because it is hard even in my rural area for these endangered elven people to trust human contact in their quiet villages, but even more so in a heavily populated area with a publicly accessible beach frequented by so many, who – despite their self-identification as progressive and caring – endanger non-human existences simply with their presence.
Anyways, I met this other elven person last month, and I’m not sure it went well as I don’t think they trusted me at all. Sometimes in situations where one person vouches for another, it what we hope would work to increase the trust between Person A and Person C connected by Person B, it only works to weaken the faith in that Person B. This may have happened for Chubbrock, but I applied my learned practices of sitting there, shutting the fuck up, and listening. Strangely, I had been listening to something on the Richmond NPR station while driving into the river area to meet this elven dude about divisiveness in current American culture. I say “strangely” because basically all this elven dude did was tell me a story.
He said that at one point, on what we call Belle Isle now, there was a giant tree, back before men had settled there, which reached a thousand clouds high. This tree’s roots touched all areas within the wandering foot’s imagination beneath the ground. But men came along, and were unable to see trees as culmination of existence. Men felt the compulsion to reshape existence of all things, so the tree was cut down and sliced into segments. “The same thinking is why you have machines, which are supposed to make work easier according to your human ways, but actually disconnect you from the work, and somehow leave you feeling lost.” He had a wispy elven beard but there was a tiny bald patch with a scar on his left cheek. I noticed he rubbed at the spot a couple times while he was talking. Not sure if that’s important or not, but I noticed it.
The thing was, he continued, our thinking eventually decided even having segments of trees separated as they were was not enough, so the men begin splitting the segments further down, using wedges. “These wedges were not physical, not steel, but made of strange mechanical codes,” he explained. And all the segments from the giant tree were fractured down into smaller splinters, in what humans thought were more useful. “And you swollen people” (lol that’s what he called humans sometimes, derogatorily almost, “swollen people”)… “you realized the giant tree was destroyed but you couldn’t put it together again. So you just stood around yelling at each other that you had to put the giant tree back together, mad at each other for not putting the pieces back in place right, taking turns but it all just falling apart, because you never could seem to understand that you just had to let a new tree grow, and that there were already many trees, as there are here now around us, that are half a cloud high already, and nothing can speed up or perfect existence other than accepting it as it already exists.”

I was thinking in my head about the NPR talk radio thing, and how the weird code mauls he was speaking of were maybe algorithms? But that was also me projecting, as humans do, and I caught him rubbing his bare spot on this beard and looking at me with concern. “How long have you known Chubbrock?” he asked, and it wasn’t very long after that he found reason to leave me without plans of entertaining another visit. Can’t blame him to be honest; I’m too human to be trusted.

TH3R3'S N0 3C0N0M1CS...

there's no economics
in the wild, so expecting
support is unnatural

Thursday, June 20

Wednesday, June 19

Tuesday, June 18

Monday, June 17

T13D T00 T1GHTLY T0 TH3 P4ST...

tied too tightly to the past
stifles future endeavors;
remain lost in blind todays

SONG OF THE DAY: 224 May Block

the stress and tension of fourth dimension which you get trapped in but don’t exist
time travel demanded of working ass struggling to pass the hourly clocks test
but ain’t got no time machine, never enough time, never enough money
wish I had clones to send out and work for me, repeat the failures of colonial thought
a hundred, then a thousand, then a million enslaved versions of me
enslaved by the most powerful me
but of course
if I had that technology, for time travel or cloning, I’d be struggling to make payments
like everything else, and it becomes easy to see why so many
turn to illegitimate practices in this system
which is not broken
but relentless
demanding more more more more more more
and offering less less less less
lessening the quality of being alive
until you’re not even sure any more
and the nihilistic fantasies of blasting everything in sight
start to feel dreamy and lucid
within the relentless fog
of free dumb

Saturday, June 15

4N 3C0N0M1C M0D3L...

an economic model
where the old gets abandoned,
torn down, replaced with the new

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: SHEFFIELD UNITED FC

[For some strange reason, Mick Foley is a Sheffield United supporter. This led to Billy Sharp celebrating a penalty goal by doing the socko gimmick on George Baldock, who you will note sold the move.]

Metaphysical Roster is a football metaphysics methodology utilizing dork
methodology of minutes played over the past 100 club competitive club matches
to determine which 25 players constitute the strongest psychic force on a
club’s current trajectory. Then intuitive analysis is conducted utilizing
football metaphysics, performed from an un-American soccer fan’s perspective.
We do this every 1st and 15th of the month, cycling through the 20 clubs
currently in the English Premier League, because it is the top domestic league
based in an English-speaking country, which as un-American miscreants, we were
all born to be saddled with this limited, segmented tongue of the global
colonizer, oppressor, and capitalizer. Also, it is what comes on TV here in the
USA most prominently, where we live. And yet, it is really important we clarify
we hate English, and also America. Maybe we hate ourselves. Our panel consists
of chairman Raven Mack, director tecnico Paul Robertson, and director rudo Neil Bulson. Our individual contributions to this 5000 words of gibberish will be
noted by our name at the end of the blurb. If you enjoy this absolutely free
internet content from an un-American soccer perspective, venmo me tips
@ravenmack23. You may also enjoy the Sportsball 69 podcast.]

Let us discuss the football metaphysics of this
Sheffield United Football Club, which was a Premier League original back in the
day, but relegated after two seasons, and returned for a single season in
2006-07 before a period that saw them drop all the way down to a long spell in
League One. Their reprieve though has come at an interesting price, as one of
the many princes of the House of Saud (aka that Arab money) purchased 50% stake
in the club for a single pound (allegedly) with the promise of injecting
capital into the club to get them back to the Premier League as quickly as
possible. They gained promotion back to the Championship two seasons ago, and
after finishing a respectable 10th their first season back, they finished 2nd
this past one, earning automatic promotion. Their squad has been retooled as
normal the past two years, but is still – despite the international money –
almost entirely composed of players from the British Isles. And much like a
rousing career in Football Manager, where you might experiment with nationalist
themes in your club, one can get back to the Premier League with all British
dudes (I am lumping all of them together for the sake of simplifying, but also
lol I’M AN AMERICAN, VERY UGLY AND BASIC IN NATURE), it’s gonna take some
upgrading and internationalifying to help this club keep from repeating that
one-and-done campaign from over a decade ago. And perhaps they will, because
they’ve already been linked with a pretty out-of-their-class transfer of Franck
Ribery, a German legend at Bayern Munich, but also an aging superstar, which
also gives Sheffield United the money mark smell of late-in-career MLS moves by
Premier League superstars. But hopefully we can see a wonderful fleecing of
Saudi money in a hodgepodge Premier League club, which uncomfortably also
forces long-time Sheffield United supporters to begrudgingly embrace this new
version of their traditional club. The crest is already pre-equipped with two
giant machetes (called blades by supporters, hence their club nickname of The
Blades, but I am going to think of them as the Machetes instead, again because
I’m an Ugly American and I just force my nonsense on the world willy-nilly,
kind of like a Saudi prince, just without all the money and power). However, it
should also be noted that my personal (and this website’s) philosophy is one of
un-American football metaphysics anti-analysis (more like deductive reasoning),
and I began sporting a bright green away Blades kit from their John Holland
sponsorship years in League One, because I realized it was the only soccer
jersey I owned with machetes on it. That was earlier this year, which coincided
with the actual club solidifying their spot towards the top of the Championship
table, and even supplanting Leeds United for 2nd the last week of the season.
It should also be noted that Leeds United then did not win the playoffs
promotion spot, so I am not above suggesting that though maybe minimal, there
was some psychic weight involved with me wearing the Sheffield United jersey
regularly and proudly as they beat out Marcelo Bielsa’s genius, because I
consciously did so to punish him for not coming to save Swansea City from
relegation two years ago. Sure, that was likely Huw Jenkins fault, not
Bielsa’s, but despite being an ugly American, I also have a long lost laundered
through Appalachia Scottish heritage, and that Scottish through Appalachia into
American mongrel heritage is one of both deep metaphysical understanding of the
larger universe as well as pointless grudges held for generations which don’t
quite make sense to an outside brain looking in. Fuck it; I ain’t ashamed.

#1: ENDA
– Ireland (particularly the Republic thereof) has a fraught history
with association football/soccer. To this day, there’s a national-psyche
undercurrent that privileges Gaelic sports—hurling/shinty and Gaelic football
over the supposedly preferred team sports of the English/Anglo/Saxon
colonizers: football, rugby, and cricket. Sort of like how the Bolsheviks after
the Russian Revolution essentially outlawed tennis and (I think) croquet as
decadent, corrupting bourgeoisie past-times. And how (allegedly, because we all
know how western propaganda works), radical Islamicists are not down with the
competitive aspects of football and play like a bunch of evangelical Christian
rec-league 7 year-olds, with no one keeping score and it all being about
fellowship and glory to God/Allah. So I get where the impetus comes from,
because as will become apparent in these missives, I am Anglo-phobic as fuck
and that approximately 2/3 or so of all the bullshit destroying our species and
planet has its initial origins in merry old England (as filtered, refined, and
expanded by its American progeny, of course—but also more on that later). But I
would much prefer the Indian subcontinent and Antipodean approaches to their
former overlords, wherein national teams and players consistently own their
former imperial overlords in their own
Anglo-sports—Pakistan/India/Bangladesh/Sri Lanka in cricket, Australia/New
Zealand in rugby. So I genuinely wish that Ireland would put more
national-psychic effort into wild-ass wrecking English-ball from within. It’s
hard, almost impossible to be honest, for Celtic FC to carry the up-raised
middle-finger colours alone here. So that leaves us with our mhan Enda here,
who you know is not fucking around because he has a Gaelic name (meaning
“bird”) and is actually born and raised in Ireland and not some American suburb
(“Declan” in Dublin in probably gonna be chill, “Declan” in Fairfax, Virginia
is gonna be some privileged little white shit pure American asshole). Bird
Stevens comes up in the Irish League system, with perennial powerhouse Shamrock
Rovers (which ain’t saying much, honestly), but gets his English move, falling
a bit flat initially with Aston Villa, but then grafting hard with perpetually
doomed-ass Portsmouth. As with most of his moves, he goes for end-of-contract
free to Sheffield and continues rolling up and down that left flank. As with
most fullbacks, he ain’t really banging in the goals, but he is weighing in
with assists (about 10 a year, on average). I can’t speculate where the Bird’s
career is heading, 28 years old and getting a clear shot at the EPL. But left
back is probably the most precious position in football, and an honest pro
grafter will always find work. I expect he’ll be a Republic national team
mainstay, so maybe a World Cup appearance will be his career high point. [Paul]

#2: JOHN
– Again with the Scottish dudes jobbing in that DMZ between the
Championship and the EPL. Fleck is another Hun (the pejorative for a Rangers FC
dude, by birth, breeding, and disposition). I used to see his name on the team
sheet when they were struggling before dying in their deserved 2012 financial
implosion and think what a perfect surname it was for one of them: that ugly
monosyllable phlegm-hock easily enough transformed into “John Feck”, as in the
“feck” that either substitutes as Irish/Scottish brogue for “fuck” or is an
entirely distinct obscenity, depending on who you ask. But to his credit, Wee
F[l]ecker had enough self-respect and nous to get legalistic and jump the
sinking Rangers ship for England, where he jobbed away in League One with
Coventry, before a free move to the Blades. This might be a trend with the
Sheffield Utd squad—a coterie of half-decent players put together on the
cheap-free. Our not-a-bhoy here is admittedly a solid player, based on his
real-life stats and the fact that his algorithmic rendering did really damn
good for me in Football Manager. I was saddled with his hun-ass when digital
Coventry hired me, and I used his regularly in my line-up where he scored a shitload
of goals from midfield (something biological Fleck is not so much capable of,
apparently). It made me feel like I was somehow saving algorithm-Fleck’s soul
somehow (which if you’ve watched Black Mirror, you realize they have, and you
extinguish a variant of them every time your 4-2-4 wide as fuck “attack” more
direct settings has you 2-0 down after 30 minutes in a fixture where all you
had to do was that “professional job” for the “easy win” and you quit and exit
mid-match without saving). Anyway, Fleck seems like a solid midfield engine
room dude and I wish him well in the EPL and if he turns out for the Scottish
national squad. [Paul]

– Not to be confused with Jack O’Connell, the actor, who starred in that show
Skins in England playing a ridiculous fuckup with a heart o’ gold degenerate,
which is a pretty decent psychic energy aura level, and then went on to be a
hot shot in Hollywood movies, which probably means he has sucked a producer’s
dick or two or been molested in some ways, which is not the psychic energy you
want to have, but again, that is the actor not the footballer although in a lot
of ways they are probably similar, both Jack the Lad types from the dirty parts
of England, which Jack O’ Connell the football player is, born and bred in
Liverpool, and I see that he has a girlfriend named Alex Greenwood, who is the
same age and from Liverpool and also a soccer player, the left back and captain
for the Manchester United lady’s club, which mirrors Jack the Lad here who is a
defender for Sheffield United, and has been a captain for other clubs and even
the England Under-19 national team at one time, all of which is one long run-on
sentence that paints a picture of a young, home grown dude who still hasn’t
really gotten his dick wet in a broader life-sense, living in a cocoon of his
own youthful energy and success. But now he finds himself in the Premier
League, where he will probably face demons and temptations that a boy like him
has never seen before, and probably also he will fuck around on his girlfriend
and get high on molly during club trips to London, which is a step up from the
humble roots of league 2 football, which is where he fucked around for various
clubs before finding himself with Sheffield United. All of that has happened
very fast for him, and I imagine that he is walking a tightrope now above a
chasm filled with poor choices, all of which will take him away from the boy he
has been and will turn him into the man he will become. But all that is in the
future, and seeing as how he is a prominent part of Sheffield United’s psychic
spirit energy, that is probably going to be a rollercoaster that sees some hard
times, and maybe he keeps his childhood sweetheart and everything is fine, but
probably not, and that is what he brings to Sheffield United, and shit, all you
can hope is that the boy has had the right vaccinations and that he doesn’t get
dick rot and end up eating the ass of his dealer and promising to help fix
matches in exchange for better drugs as your Premier League dreams turn into a
seedy nightmare. But shit, that’s just life. [Neil]

– English defender done been with them Blades for fives seasons now,
through the League One years into Championship, and is expected to still
feature regularly. I wonder how Brexit style nationalism (crossing over into
racism) works with supporters when you have this English/Scottish/Welsh/Irish
lineup that gets to the Premier League, a truly global league more than just an
English Premier League, and either guys like Basham get situated behind
international imports or they continue to get played and don't do super well. Sheffield
United talking about playing these long-time players, but that's normal kayfabe
in the summertime to keep the marks happy. Sheffield United is likely not gonna
hold pat with this squad. [Raven]

#5: DEAN
– Henderson is the 22-year-old Manchester United prospect who is
seen as the possible replacement for David de Gea at GK. He's gone that classic
one season per level, three years back a minimal season at League Two level
while also playing for Man U U23, then a full season at League One with
Shrewsbury Town, then last year a full season at Championship, more than
successful one with the Blades. Them getting promoted likely got them a second
season with Henderson, because if he's being groomed for PL by Man United,
they'll want him to get that PL seasoning. It's also weird how dudes will spend
two full seasons with another club all entirely on loan. What a weird fucking
system. [Raven]

– Aging hometown boy who came up through their youth system, and
played his first senior level match for the club all the way back in 2004. His current
run with them is four seasons deep, and he did actually play for a club that
got promoted to Premier League before, moving up with Southampton back in 2012,
and making two PL appearances the following season, before a period of loaning
back down got him transferred away. Once he landed back with the Blades though,
he's been a snug fit, and wears the captain's armband. Hard to predict if he'll
still have the same minutes at the end of this upcoming season, because an
older hometown striker is a feelgood story for the supporter zines, but won't
keep them in the PL. I expect they'll have a larger name signing, who will
start to take some of the time up front, but they'll have their team captain
right there to keep everybody happy as well. Sharp's the kinda dude they can't
dump off or put on the bench entirely, so he'll get the full run and either
still be with them when they move back down, or carve out a team elder role
that might could even transition into that coach/player hybrid style lesser PL
clubs ain't afraid to do sometimes, grooming somebody to eventually be the
caretaker interim manager that appeases the fanbase when times get too tough.

(previously ranked #12 for
Fulham on 01-Jul-2018)
– Norwood's a midfielder who is perennial bubble
player who either sits low level Premier League who won't play or high-level
Championship player who does play. He was part of Brighton & Hove Albion club
that got promoted, and actually made this list one other time having been part
of Huddersfield Town's successes in second-tier. But once Brighton & Hove
Albion got promoted, he never saw a minute of time, got loaned out to Fulham
back down one level, and had the same last season before making it permanent
and transferred to Sheffield United in January. Still though, gotta imagine his
life in Championship is more permanent than his transfer to Sheffield United. I
know clubs have relegation clauses in player contracts, but do they have
promotion clauses that say, "Yo, we're happy you're with us right now but
tbh if we luck out and move up, we probably gonna loan you back down to
Cardiff." Although, to be fair, Norwood's made this list twice with Fulham
and Huddersfield Town and both of them are back at his level after having been
relegated. [Raven]

#8: JOHN
– Irish defender who grew into professional as part of Sunderland's
youth academy, but they never saw him as PL-worthy (this was before
Sunderland's plummet). Egan was finally released and has chosen club contracts
rather carefully, in order to enable a slow claw and climb up to finally making
Premier League, six or seven seasons after it could've happened with
Sunderland. He was one of their workhorses on the back line this past season,
starting in 44 of 46 Championship matches, and only being subbed out once.

– Sheffield United’s right back comes from Buckingham, which is
known for its Dukes and not much else, and where he started with Milton Keynes
Dons along with his older brother Sam who has knocked around various clubs
hovering around Premier League level. He also did a year with Oxford, where he
was named to the League 2 team of the year before heading off to the brighter
lights of Sheffield United where he finds himself today. That is a pretty
quiet, almost boring, background which again might find itself overwhelmed by
the various tests and traps of Premier League life. It might help that his
older brother has gone through it before him, but then again, you don’t want
someone else’s successes and failures to become your own, so who knows, man?
Who fucking knows? All I can say is that he’s the quintessential dude who
knocks around the levels just below the Premier League all his life and calls
it a day, but you never know, he could find himself under the bright lights and
realize he is meant for bigger things, but probably not. Probably not. That is
not necessarily a bad thing, the world is too heavy for a lot of people and you
can get burned if you’re exposed too long, but it’s probably not the best
psychic energy to be bringing to a club that will need to fight hard for its
own survival at that level. [Neil]

#10: MARK
– Aging winger who's been hustling for Sheffield United for three
full seasons, but another one of these guys who has been a perennial bouncer
between Championship/League One, and likely isn't quality enough to demand
Premier League minutes in abundance, if the Blades are seriously trying to not
get relegated after one year. The fucked up thing about relegation is not so
much how good you are, but how many shitty clubs are left that you'll be
competing for slots with. You've already got the Big Six clubs anchored in the
league, and then Wolves joined previous middling but solid clubs like
Bournemouth, Watford, Leicester City, so that's half the league. You end up either
hoping for a blip with somebody like West Ham United, or that Southampton
flirts with relegation too many times and finally falls. I don't know, it
becomes difficult to figure out which returning clubs Sheffield United might be
able to be better than, because they have to beat three of them. [Raven]

#11: DAVID
– Oh man, so few things make me happier than Afro-Irish dudes.
Like keeper Darren Randolph, it’s edifying to see that in the Republic National
team. This touches on a phenomenon that just today I was seeing discoursed on
the twitter—the wide variance between conceptions of “Celtic-ness” in the U.S.
versus actual “Celtic-fringe” places in Europe, like Ireland, Scotland, Wales,
Brittany, etc. In the U.S., it’s become this fucked up racialized/racist
bullshit built on essentialized concepts of “blood” and genetics. Nazi-as-hell
in its most extreme white-supremacist prison gang manifestations, but still on
that same track even when some Sullivan motherfucker in Tennessee is spitting
for his DNA and rolling up in a kilt at some Highland Games. Right-wing as
fuck, maybe 75% percent of the time. And I’m not saying some disparate strands
of that don’t exist in Celto-Europe, but I’d flip the percentages. There, it’s
more about subaltern unity—hence Celtic FC supporters flying that Palestinian
flag big, high, and defiant. And if you live in Ireland, and I guess are by and
large down in your own day-to-day way with that anticolonial, fuck
English-Whitey perspective, well, you’re Irish/Scottish/Celtic—even if you were
born in Nigeria or Mexico or whatever (which doesn’t efface your Igbo-ness, or
Mexican-ness, or Palestinian-ness, either). So back to analysis of Big Dave’s
actual playing prowess—I dig the fuck out of my dude: Afro Irish, old-ish been
around big central striker, isn’t a full-on goal beast, but definitely knows
how to take care of business in the box (and collect some yellow cards for it).
Don’t imagine he has much of a chance of setting the EPL afire, but I’ll be
paying attention. [Paul]

#12: LEON
– Leon was the man for the Blades three seasons back in their last
one in League One, helping them get promoted. He remained on fire their first
season back at Championship, lighting up the second-tier for 19 goals in 39
appearances. He still split forward space with Billy Sharp, and once Sheffield
United brought in David McGoldrick, Leon didn't get the same look on the
line-up, and eventually got loaned further down the table to Wigan Athletic,
where he remained competent enough. Once the season ended though, he was
transfer listed, and he ain't gonna see a Premier League kit I don't think.

– Freeman's a Welsh right back defender who split time behind
George Baldock last season. One of the big rumored names linked with Blades
thus far is Man United's Antonio Valencia, who would push Freeman further down
the mental line-up list. Baldock has been bandied about as possibly moving to
Celtic as well, but this time of year nobody knows what the fuck will happen.
Freeman joined Sheffield all the way back in January of 2015 on a free loan, so
the fact they've even gotten this much out of him is impressive. [Raven]

– Stupid looking defender who - despite a three season run with
Wolves in PL back from 2009-12, and then one season back down at League One
with Wolves, has spent the majority of his professional career at the
Championship level, having made over 300 appearances at that level over his
time as a human being who kicks the ball around, or more appropriately tries to
keep other dudes from kicking the ball into his club's net. This past season,
13 of his 16 appearances at League level were as substitute, so he is likely to
be riding one of those leather seats in the third row pretty hard this coming season.

#15: JOHN
– Not exactly impressing the world as a not-first-choice
midfielder on Blades squad, but he's an Aquarius, therefore I have nothing but
the highest faith in him. Aquarians are the most reliable creative people you
can find, and an absolute staple to any solid metaphysical line-up. [Raven]

(previously ranked #18 for
Huddersfield Town on 15-Dec-2017)
– Cranie is the flip-side of the theme in
my scribblings this week: dude with obvious Scottish roots (and probably
Catholic at that—you don’t get more so than “Martin James Cranie”) who elects
to turn out for the hated Sassenach/Saxon. I don’t care that he was actually
born in England (and damn, he’s from Yeovil, which might as well be shit-on
subaltern Cornwall). I was born in the American backwoods, and if I had
developed into the world-class goalkeeper I could’ve been instead of being
funneled into stupid-ass toxic U.S. masculinity concussion ball/baseball/”you’re
six-foot-five, so you’re damn well playing basketball, boy” (I fucking SUCK at
basketball), you damn straight I would’ve been working through the stupid spit
test DNA list to turn out for Norway/Scotland/Ireland/Greece and maybe forging
some grandparent immigration papers if I could get some traction. So our man
Cranie opts for England, gets nowhere because to be honest he’s a mediocre
at-best footballer who has bounced around the League One/Championship/bottom
dregs of the EPL set-up. Doesn’t score, doesn’t have a best position outside of
back-line fodder. And now he’s unemployed after the Blades unsurprisingly
dumped him, though supposedly headed back to Huddersfield Town after their
drop. This would seem to indicate said club is not harboring ambitions of
getting back to the EPL any time soon. 
So fuck it, best for all concerned that he thought he could play for the
English national team. [Paul]

#17: LEE
– More of a Wigan boy than Sheffield United, having spent the 2017-18
season on loan to Wigan in League One, and helped them gain promotion. Moved to
Sheffield United though, as he was owned (lol owned) by Wolverhampton, and they
moved him to the Blades in January of 2018, where he featured for the second
half of the season. Beginning this past one, he was loaned back to Wigan again,
and that move was made permanent this past January. I doubt we'll be needing to
write a Premier League write-up on Wigan any time soon though. [Raven]

#18: JAMAL
– Chelsea wonderkid at GK who is now 25, and thus far has made 0
appearances for his club, having spent long loans at Middlesbrough, Wycombe
Wanderers, and Sheffield United two seasons back. Last season, he was loaned to
Leeds, and expected to help them achieve big things, which they failed to do
ultimately, partially because Blackman was injured and missed the year. There's
big talk of Leeds again having him on loan this season, and it's fucking weird
that dudes like this technically belong to a Big Six Premier League club but
only get loaned out forever, until finally making a transfer at age 28 to like
Burnley. [Raven]

– On loan from Everton, Kieran Dowell is a kid tapped for bigger
things maybe than some of his older, more league-tier grizzled teammates. I
mean, he’s only 21 and apparently within the past year he finally moved out of
his parent’s place and got his own apartment. That means he is basically a baby
with no real psychic energies to contribute just yet. It will be interesting to
see if Everton has plans for him at all or if they’re just content to see what
he can bring, if anything, to Sheffield United as they hit the Premier League
stage. This is a kid who could end up breaking out or he could end up just
being another failed prospect, living out the rest of his life in lower levels
of football. Who knows? But that is sort of a metaphor for Sheffield United
itself, I guess. At the very least, he doesn’t bring any negative energies to
the table, failure has not ruined him yet, and that is the best you can hope
for with most young people. But even then, if he does pass his tests, it just
means that he’ll be yanked away by Everton or sold off as a young white virgin
to some Turkish club, but I mean that’s more than most of us can expect from
life. I just hope he gets the security deposit back on his first apartment
because they will fuck you on that shit, even if you do fix the drywall after
one of your bros gets fucked up and punches his hand through it during an
argument with his girlfriend and you were trying to keep him calm and hope she
doesn’t blurt out that she sucked your dick that one time and he won’t break
more of your shit. I mean, that stuff happens. [Neil]

#20: SIMON
– Two seasons back, Moore was that boy minding the posts, but young
Manchester United prospect Henderson took over that role last season. With the
Blades working on second season-long loan of Henderson, Moore will likely be
filling in during FA and League Cup line-ups. [Raven]

#21: GARY
(previously ranked #25 for
Cardiff City on 15-Apr-2019)
– Perhaps instead of specifically discussing
Madine, we should mention Stacey Flounders. But before mentioning her, whom
Madine was involved with at one point, it should be noted Madine's off-pitch
behavior has been questionable, with multiple assault convictions over the
years, and also notably being filmed at one point in the past talking shit on
Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp (Madine played for blood rival Sheffield
Wednesday at the time) where he's visibly drunk as fuck. Even now, as Madine
has rehabbed himself to an extent, and won over the Sheffield United supporters
despite being a violent drunk with a history from their arch nemesis, Madine
says he hasn't necessarily quit drinking, just he picks his spots better so
that he can play better. Classic alcoholic talk. He was only at Sheffield
United on loan though, from Cardiff City, so as a Swansea City supporter, I'm
glad this lout will representing those bastards. As for Stacey Flounders, she
had chose to dally with Madine after her previous choice in a man, Adam
Johnson, got convicted for sex with an underage girl. Flounders was pregnant at
the time and chose to abort the child rather than have a baby with a man who
just got sentenced to six years in English prison for his crimes. So there's a
whole mix of people with poor choices going on here, that Madine is wrapped up
in, and not the fun type of poor choices where you're having a hotel jacuzzi
room threesome with a roller derby chick and her boyfriend on a Thursday night,
but ugly decadent poor choices that are signs of being broken and unhealed in
dark and twisted ways that may suddenly reappear at any moment - the crooked
rebar of the soul of a lost human. That appears to be Madine. [Raven]

#22: PAUL
– That dude Coutts done spent the past four years with the Blades,
one of the few that's seen them rise up from League One to Premier League. An
amazing trajectory he's shared in helping build, though his appearances dropped
the past two seasons once they got to Championship. And thus, with their
promotion one level above where the club barely justified still giving Coutts
minutes, they released him at the end of this season. At 30 years, it might be
time for a move back to his native Scotland, to settle into the twilight of his
playing career. [Raven]

#23: SCOTT
– From Salfold England, Scott Hogan nevertheless plays for Ireland on
the international level, which means his parents are probably Irish or maybe
just a grandpa or something, I’m not sure exactly what the qualifications are
there. But divided loyalties aside, Scott Hogan seems to be a dude destined to
spend his life knocking around the League and Championship levels, which is not
bad for a dude who has spent most of his time to this point in levels even
lower than that. It’s a humble kind of psychic energy to bring, which isn’t
necessarily a bad thing since we could all stand to be a little more humble,
but it also means he’s probably not a dude to rely upon heavily if Sheffield
United hopes to stick in the Premier League. I mean, not all of us are born to
be stars and that’s okay. You just have to know who you are and be okay with
that. It’s probably a hard thing to accept, though, for a dude who can at least
get a taste of the high life, and I imagine he will struggle some later in life
with feelings of failure, but those feelings are what all regular dudes have to
deal with at some point or another. He’s 27, which is young in real people
years but already middle aged in pro athlete years, especially at big time
football levels, and that means he’s not someone any club is going to make a
real strong investment in, but he’s here for now, and at least he’ll get his
shot, which is more than most of us ever get. [Neil]

– Clayton Donaldson is a black English striker with cornrows and
the name Clayton Donaldson. Played for Sheffield United up front two seasons
back on a 50 grand transfer fee, before moving to Bolton Wanderers last season,
and continues his straight hired gun role having joined Bradford City already
this summer, who were relegated to League Two. Despite being 35, having played
the past half dozen years in Championship, Clayton might run roughshod over the
fourth-tier of English football this coming season. [Raven]

– Minimal appearances on loan from Middlesbrough but that's all it
takes to make the last spot on a metaphysical roster of a club with a pretty
steady starting XI along defensive and midfield lines. And that sort of
half-assed write-up is the perfect way to end this thing. I doubt a single set
of eyeballs made it here. Fake ass sports scientific world overlooking
metaphysics. [Raven]