I’m A Blues Fan – Get Me Out Of Here! – By MerseyPete
Posted on November 27, 2007
Filed Under Guest Articles
I’ve always thought that being a Blues fan for so long has been ‘character building’. Coping with all that adversity must surely have done me some good. However, I was in the city for a few days at the weekend, and listening to some local radio phone-ins last weekend has given me pause for thought. Some of the Bluenoses who rang in just seemed to be self pitying and unrealistic.
One phone in caller said – after the Portsmouth game – that Blues were playing ‘the worst football I’ve seen in 47 years as a Blues fan’. Come again? Presumably this guy must have been on extended leave when we got relegated (twice) to the Third Division. Maybe Ron Saunders’ goalless teams passed him by. Was he there when we lost 4-1 at Chester? Times are tough, but they certainly ain’t that tough. Another felt that he had been ‘constantly let down for the last eleven years’. Well, I’ve been a fan for over 50 years, and believe me those eleven years have been one of the better times; two promotions, our first major cup final in 40 years, constantly playing in the top division or near the top of the second tier. No, it’s not the European Cup but it could have been worse and often has.
Another fondly recalled the Barry Fry era, comparing the Bruce years unfavourably. Well, I loved Bazza, but did we ever finish in the top six of the First Division under him? Yes we had some exciting times but we also had Ricky Otto and relegation from the first division. Someone else wanted Glenn Hoddle as the next manager. Look, I’m not making this stuff up; he really did say it. I presume this caller wasn’t disabled and therefore in Glenn’s view paying for his sins in a previous life. Disabled Bluenoses would feel really at home under Hoddle’s leadership wouldn’t they?
When a Blues fan came on hoping that Martin O’Neill didn’t get the England job because he wanted at least one successful team in the city (someone else must have heard him, I wasn’t dreaming)… well, I just gave up and switched off. If he says so I guess he must support Birmingham City but he certainly isn’t my sort of fan.
We often say things like ‘it could only happen at Blues’, without, frankly, much consideration of the state of other clubs who are just as starved of success as us. Who’d want to be a Sheffield United or Wednesday fan, for instance? And Wolves and Albion haven’t been runaway successes for the last forty years have they? Bristol’s a big place but look at their teams. We don’t have to feel sorry for them – frankly I couldn’t give a toss about them – but we’re not unique. (After all, even Liverpool seem to be making a fine cock up of their relationship with Benitez – in my view one of the best managers in Europe.)
I’ve never regretted leaving Birmingham all those years ago, but I’m still a Brummie, I love the city and I often feel that I miss the day to day banter and involvement with other fans. This was the first time that I realised how lucky I was to be kept away from people like this.
The day itself had been pretty dispiriting of course. The team did their best but were generally outplayed and looked disheartened and bereft of confidence. To make matters worse I sat next to someone who would have been thrown out of the pub bore league for winning it all the time. He had opinions about everything; all of them wrong. He wanted Tiny Taylor back, with Ridgewell as a sweeper (even though Ridgewell in his view was ‘crap’). He wanted two strikers. I didn’t go on about the two man midfield he’d have left. When Krancjar’s free kick went in he said ‘That’s what happens when you don’t put a man on the post’. For a 30 yard free kick! When he revealed that he was a Rangers’ season ticket holder as well as a ‘Blues fan’ I started edging away.
On top of all this, there were our Dear Leader’s programme notes, where he had the nerve to say that the fans were the most important thing at a club. What, that David Sullivan? Presumably he’d been on the road to Damascus on his way to the ground. Maybe there was a diversion off the M1. We have a lot to be thankful for with regard to Sullivan, but his downright miserableness has finally got me down. Visiting the official website in the past week has been like travelling to a parallel universe. In the outside world the press, radio, blogs and message boards were seething with news and opinions about the new manager. The BCFC website, on the other hand, was fretting about the free chocolate advent calendars they wanted to give away. And Sully says the fans come first.
Oh no, I’ve just realised – I spend two days back in Brum and I’m turning into one of those moaners who I can’t stand! I’m a Blues fan – get me out of here!
On a slightly more serious note, if you haven’t switched off too, my view on the new manager is the same as Ridgewell’s; just get someone in; that’s almost as important now as who it is. I don’t think Black wants the job and he plainly can’t give the players a boost. But McLeish? Fine by me. Jewell? Always liked him. Even Ince – an obnoxious person maybe but perhaps a promising young manager is what we need. Just – please – not Glenn Hoddle, eh Dave?