My ground hopping Nephew Dave collects replica football shirts. He now has a collection that numbers upwards of 130 different shirts. He’s collects any shirt from any club. I used to collect programmes a few decades ago. Like me way back then, he’s always on the lookout for more. I’ve stumbled across a second hand clothes stall in Brum market that has started stocking old football shirts. When I told him about it, I don’t think he believed me, so first thing, I went on a reconnaissance mission. I told the stall holder about Dave’s hobby before taking a couple of photos to send Dave. I’m not putting any photos of the shirts on my blog post as basically, it would just look like a pile of washing. It had the desired effect on Dave though. I now have a “Wants” list from Dave to look out for. When you’re a fan who goes to as many games as we do, home games can become a bit monotonous. Same pubs, same routine. Away games are different. You might go to a place every season but it’s only ever once a season, twice if you’re lucky or unlucky, depending on how good or bad the place and it’s pubs are. Us ale trailers had decided to alter it slightly. The first place we were hitting was The Physician. I was joined by Ian and Jinksy on the way. Spoons was already in there when we got there. The range of ales was excellent, and so was how well they were kept. What wasn’t so great was the prices. Definitely London prices but in total honesty, well worth it. The place had a gentlemen’s club feel about the place. The kind of place, you could easily waste an afternoon. We half expected to see the Paul Whitehouse character off The Fast Show. We sat and marveled how well we’d done ot Bolton and the amazing amount of managers we’ve been through in 24 months. We’ve had 10 years worth of managers in those 24 months. I was happy the first of those had been sacked but since then, it’s been crazy. Way too much to analyse in this post. That’ll be one to bore you with once the dust has settled on this season. Paul and J.K. landed. And we filled the very nice leather armchairs that had been arranged round the fireplace. Steve arrived and as there wasn’t a spare chair, perched himself on the arm of Paul’s chair. Jinksy and Ian had a fit of the giggles. Steve had reminded them of a Jeff Durham ventriloquist doll. The day had started. We were all subjected to a bit of mirth making by the rest, including me. My accident and the chance of it happening again, was brought up. It had been the first time the subject had been made fun of. I was back. The danger of what had happened to me had passed. Mikey landed and we moved to get the bus to Harbourne. One of the more affluent areas in Brum. We went to The Paper Duck first. A Clink like place. Definitely one for those who like their craft ale. Beer to be savored and not guzzled. Not a Carling drinker in sight. Aida had joined us now. Some of us then went to The White Swan and the rest to The Hop Garden. The football was being shown in here. Both the Scouse derby and Norwich v Villa. Of the two games, as Villa were losing, it was the more entertaining game. What got to us, is that there were Villa fans in there watching the game. Why? They would’ve made the game easily. There is now far too much live football on satellite television. As I’m old enough to remember when I.T.V. and B.B.C. alternated a game each, each weekend, I used to watch them religiously. These days, I’m hardly interested. There are some weekends, where the Premier league games that have been moved, easily outnumber the 3 o’clock Saturday kick offs. We joined the rest in The Hop Garden. I wish that I’d gone there instead. Not saying that the White Swan wasn’t any good, but the Hop Garden was brilliant. We ordered two taxis to get to the ground but made good enough time to make the Dog for a last one before the game. It had been a good morning and had almost felt like an away game.
I’m not going to jump on the Monk bandwagon yet. After the debacle of Lee Clark’s football and subsequent instant success of Rowett, I’m not falling for it. Falling is something, I’d like to think that I’ve left at Vauxhall station. I was surprisingly, very excited about this game though. Something that has been that long ago, that I can’t remember when it was. I’d felt like a little kid, when I’d got up that morning. It wasn’t just because of Burton’s league position and form that I expected to win this one, it was because of our form and the way we’d been playing football since Monk had come in. The players looked like they were enjoying playing, and playing for each other. Then Burton go and score. We had been all over them. Made chances that it looked harder to miss. Who else would have to score but Dyer. There’s few things in this life that don’t ever change. Day follows night, death follows life and Lloyd Dyer scores every time, he plays against Blues. A loan signing of Rowetts that was just not good enough. One of the many gambles that hadn’t paid off. He takes delight in that rejection, every time he plays against us. We’d been sucker punched. We kept plugging away. Kept experimenting. We stretched Burton. A good cross was met by a good header from Jutkiewicz. The relief was palpable. Our Nemesis was not going to be our downfall. No “Dyer Blues” headlines. I’m trying to not have belief. There is something different though. A good feeling. Both throughout the team and also in the stands. Can we stay up? Yes, will we? Don’t know. Do I want Blues to stay up? I don’t know that one now, either. Like I’ve said, I’m trying not to jump on the bandwagon. I was jaded, this time last season. Worn out by it all. I may not be on the bandwagon, but I am quite enjoying the ride, at the moment. Having said that, I am looking forward to a rest, at the end of the season. Especially as I’m still getting over that head first bounce down the escalators.
I met up with L.J. and Paige outside. He’d still got his baseball cap on. He’d been on top of me at half time before I’d recognised him. He always did wear one better than me. We ventured back to the Dog. Taffy was in there and so was Mick and Nick. All asked after my health now. Word had definitely got round. L.J. and Paige went out to the beer garden and I decided to find the trailers. I got talking to Des when he came in. I don’t suppose it’ll ever happen, but I’d love to organise, help organise, or just get involved, in some kind of cross club support pressure group against the way football is going and the way true supporters are being treated. Our dissenting voice needs to be heard. The people who are Hell bent on bleeding the game dry, need to be stopped and made accountable. I said goodbye to L.J. and Paige, when they left and then did the same myself with Des and the rest, once I’d finished off my pint. The day had been the same but different.