Sheffield United coach Chris Wilder had a solemn message for the club's fans this evening, when he told them that, although his team weren't giving up, and would fight until the final whistle in every game, he now believes the Blades cannot possibly win the Premier League title this year.
Wilder steered United to a very creditable 7th place in the table last season, but they've fared rather less well this time around.
The Blades have won only four of their 28 matches this term, and are currently rooted to the foot of the PL table with just 14 points. Until this week, however, Wilder had always believed that they could stage a miraculous run-in to clinch the title on the last day if necessary, but last week's 0-2 home defeat by fellow strugglers Southampton finally brought the gritty, gravel-throated Yorkshireman to his senses.
With just ten games remaining, the most they could amass is another 30 points, which would leave them in sixth - but that's only if nobody currently below sixth scores another point.
Wilder told fans on the club's website:
Am sorry t'say, we mite afta set'al f'summat less than champions this year. It looks like we can't catch Man City, but we art givin up, an w'ill give it another go next season. You can count on that!"
One fan blamed United's poor performances on their often-worn change strip of pink shirts.
Frank Steelehead, 49, said:
"I blame United's poor performances on their often-worn change strip of pink shirts."