I’m really having a crisis of conscience with Christmas this year. To me, Christmas has become so commercial that not only has the reason why it’s celebrated been forgotten, it’s as though it’s being buried out of sight. I’m completely atheist these days and here’s the crux of the matter. The hypocrisy doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t want to celebrate something I don’t believe in. Trouble is, I don’t want to upset people who are close to me, who not only celebrate Christmas but still believe in its true meaning. I met up with Steve and Jinksy at The Indian Brewery Tap. We were soon joined by Dingle Dave. Me and Jinksy ordered food. I had smoked bacon in a naan. It was sprinkled with chopped fresh coriander and chilli powder. It shouldn’t work but it does. While we were in there, we found out that the place being expanded. None of us were surprised as the place has good food, good beer and is unashamedly Indian, with its decor and music. It’s got that quirkiness that will make you keep coming back.
Although Wolves are top and Blues are a few thousand places below them in the Championship, Dave isn’t one for taking the mickey. He’s been where we are and worse with the Wolves so it’s more empathy than anything. Us Blues fans are renowned for our gallows humour and we kept him amused by trying to find records that we could break this season with our ineptitude. Jinksy convinced us to get the train to the Jewellery Quarter. We could’ve walked in the end. We were heading to The Jewellers Arms but spotted J.K. heading away from it. It was supposed to be open at 11 o’clock but actually wasn’t opening till 12. We moved on to the Lord Clifton instead. We discussed the recent demise of Mark “Squid” Carter. He was an utter Barmpot but he was “our” Barmpot. I wasn’t lucky enough to have a chat with a sober, undamaged Squid but Steve had and he remembered a good conversation. We raised a glass to Mark. A small man but a huge character. Coventry winning the City of Culture got mentioned and that, in a round about way, led to me and Jinksy talking about The Soccer Factory. Apparently, we’ve both read it. We headed back to the Jewellers Arms. It’s not long reopened after refurbishment by the now owners, Black Country Ales. You could still smell the paint. There was a familiar face behind the bar. I didn’t catch her name but I know I’d seen her behind the bar in The Wellington a couple of times. It had been at least ten years since I’d been in the Jewellers last. The layout had been changed to create more space.
A worrying sight to the right of the photo. No, not the shirt.
We caught the train back into town. Dave left us at Snow Hill and we carried on to Moor Street. We passed the Q.P.R. team coach on the way to The Woodman. We probably should have let the tyres down in hindsight or nicked their boots. Mind you, most teams don’t need the correct footwear to beat us this season, so it wouldn’t have mattered whatever we’d have done. We were joined in The Woodman by Paul, who exclaimed that he’d got “Man flu”. A team of scientists, (Probably blokes) have discovered recently, that Man flu is real. Isn’t it Spike Milligan who has, “I told you, I was ill” on his gravestone? See ladies? You need to take Man flu seriously. (Tongue well and truly wedged in cheek) We migrated to The Clink. It was strangely empty. We got talking about the Ashes and the size of Australian cricket grounds compared to ours. The reason is simple. The weather is better down under. If we had their weather, our grounds would be as big. We joined Nick and his mate, Darrell, Spoons and Aida in the Spotted Dog. For the second time in the day, Squid got talked about. He’d certainly left an impression on people. Everyone seems to have a “Squid” story. The world is definitely an emptier place without him.
The reason this post has the subheading “Blah blah blah”, is that’s what I put as a bullet point in my notes in reference to the game. It’s a tired old formula now. Blues are rubbish, except for about ten minutes and the opposition win. We scored against Q.P.R. It was an equaliser. We don’t get many of them. I’m not going to bore with statistics, so just understand that it’s rare. What’s even rarer is us scoring twice in a game. Could we hold on to what we had managed to claw back? Of course not. Where, because of whatever weasely excuse, we’re a split second hesitant in possession, the tackle is made on us and the opening vanishes. The opposition aren’t. Is it laziness or lack of confidence that leads us to be just as hesitant in defending? I’m absolutely sick of the excuses. The trundled out cliches. Truth is, there’s not one single Supporter who believes we’re going to get out of this. We’re resigned to our fate. We might not end up breaking any of the records that nobody wants but we will be relegated with games to spare. So we didn’t get a winner. ( Were we ever going to?) Q.P.R. did. (They were never not going to) Another game gone. Another loss.
It was back to the Dog. The dividing curtain was in operation. There was a band in there. A good band, by the sound of them. Nick from off the railway was with us, Dave Webb and his missus, Darrell, Mikey, Mal and Rich, Ian, Spoons, Jude, Jinksy, Russell and the Postmen.
One of the silly hat brigade from up the back when the kop was terracing. It’s a new hat though. Knitted like the original. We dissected the game and celebrated that with other results, we were now bottom of the league. I actually have no idea how we would manage if it wasn’t for the gallows humour and beer. The idea was to head for the newly reopened Costermonger via Digbrew. I only made Digbrew before bailing and going home. How? I don’t know, because by this time, I was a bit worse for wear.