I was feeling flat, but still kind of excited at the same time. If nothing else, would my new season ticket card work? Technology is only ever useful, when it works properly, and it has a history of not working the first time. I was feeling flat, because it was Blues. It might have been the first game of the season, but it’s a case of lurching from catastrophe to chaos, with a line of ineptitude joining the two. Jinksy had text me to say he was going to Cherry Red’s for something to eat first. I’d got designs on The Indian Brewery Tap and a smokey bacon naan sandwich. With a pint of Bombay Honey, it just works.
“Never mind McDonald’s, this is the place.”
J.k. came in, sporting the new Blues home shirt. I can’t stand it myself. At least with football commercialism these days, I’ll only have to put up with looking at it for the season, before it’s replaced by another incarnation. I left J.K. in peace, and headed for The Wellington. Jinksy was already in there with Worcester Pete. As I was getting my pint, a flash of yellow to my right caught my eye. Taffy had the away shirt on. Except for the sponsorship, it looked a nice shirt. The Baggies have gone for a retro look for their away shirt, all that Paul Mason needed, was a blood soaked bandage round his head, and he could’ve passed for John Wile in the 78 semi. No doubt, Dingle Dave will hate it. What I liked, was the sponsorship, even that seemed retro. The next place, The Head Of Steam, I hadn’t been in before. Along with the Swedes, I was the only one that hadn’t been in there already. Spoons was already in there. He was holed up, watching the cricket. As we hadn’t got a week to explain, it bypassed the Swedes.
“Impressive decor. More so, if you’re a Brummy”
One of the Baggies crew, had got her little un with her, he’s at that age, where everything is a toy, and interesting. It meant his Mom had got her hands full with damage limitation. Along with Indian wickets tumbling, we were enthralled with the lads plate spinning skills, as he practiced with a line of stool seats. With the test won, we descended on The Kilda.
“An impromptu “Meet The Brewer”!”
A great range. I went for 2/3s of a stronger beer. Stronger or not, It was quality. Paul came in, without Steve Whaley. Steve was given stick in his absence, for being at his place in Spain, for the first game of the season. We moved en masse to Dig Brew. I like this place, but up until now, I hadn’t been overwhelmed by the beer, that was to change, the pint I had was gorgeous. The last drop off before the game, was the Clink, I got a “Made In Brum” off Dave Thomas, but the programmes had all sold out. Wonders never cease, my card worked. I was in.
I don’t trust the owners that are in charge at Blues, they are making a right mess of it. We signed a Danish left back from the German second division. Spent a fair bit of money on him. Held up the new shirt, it was all over the Blues website, but it had been elongated. It seemed strange at the time, it turned out, that because we had broken the E.F.L. F.F.P. rules, his registration, had been refused. Between them, the C.E.O. and chairman, had tried to ignore it all, that’s what appears to have happened, anyway. The situation had been exposed by one of us fans, and not revealed by the board. As far as I’m concerned, the lad was right to do some digging. He’s been vilified by some, seen as a traitor for discovering and exposing what the club had done. There’s an awful lot of money in the game. Birmingham City is a business, I’m a client. It’s also a football club and I’m a supporter. Because of that, you have an overlap. If you want your clientele/supporters to be repeat offenders, buying season tickets and merchandise, then you need clarity. Not all of us repeat offenders are sheep, happy with a bit of grass. I’m fast approaching a thousand Blues games, I could quite easily walk away. An affinity that is straining. A board of directors that have no real “feel” for the city, let alone the club, and players that are bloated with wages. Anyway, on with the game. Norwich had most of the possession, but weren’t doing much with it. At least when we got it, we did try to play something called football. The lack of possession was reminiscent of Rowett football, but with Rowett, it was hoof ball, when we did get it. 0:0 at half time. Second half, and we were better, Maghoma put us 1:0 up with a lashed in rebound. You somehow knew that Norwich would equalise. It had first day draw, all over it. The returning Viv Solomon-Otabor had other ideas. He latched on to a well judged pass from Jutkiewicz, and poked it home. Viv was actually looking a lot more assured than he did before his holiday in Blackpool. It was the first Blues game of the season, and I was already counting the minutes down. Sometimes in life, you can tell something bad is going to happen. You’re powerless to stop it, it’s like watching your kid running, but premonition tells you they’re going to fall over. A bit dramatic, I know, but when the electronic board went up to indicate the injury time, I knew Norwich would score. They did. 2:2. Spoils shared. Hadn’t won, hadn’t lost. The Danish left back? I thought Pederson was poor. It was his first game in the Championship though. He could get worse, but should get better.
On the way to The Spotted Dog, I said hello to Carol and Jeff. I got to the Dog and everyone started filing in. I said hello to Darrell. Ian Allen, Russell, Rich and Mal, Steve, Jude, the Swedes and Tron. We’d took over our usual table, it’s the one table that gets most of us round. Tron came round the back to talk to me and Darrell. We got talking about ground hopping. Tron has done over 80 grounds. Not bad for a bloke who lives in his home country of Norway. None of your supermarket Carling, replica shirt and armchair in front of Sky, for him. Me and Jinksy fancied doing the White Swan for one. We got on to politics, and one became two.
“Another example of a well preserved pub interior, as modeled by. . . ”
Ian the Blues/Rangers lad came in, a bit worse for wear than we were. Jinksy coaxed him in to going up to The Bullring Tavern. I fancied joining Spoons and Jude in Costamongers, but tiredness was starting to take its toll, and I called it a night.