New year, new me, I went for an early morning run, I didn’t have to in the end, as the traffic lights held up the bus for longer than I expected and I could’ve walked to the bus stop. The Wellington was to be the start of the day, and Pete was already in there, sporting an injury to his left forearm. The vast majority of us, fall victim to the evil vanity, even some of us ale trailers. Pete had also succumbed to thinking he needed to get back to something like fitness, and had used the clichè of a New Year’s resolution, for the attempt, his body winning the argument, that it really is futile, meaning that he was now wearing a support bandage. Paul and Jackie came in, and we claimed a table, moving on to the hot topic of the Leeds spy, we were all in agreement over the issue, and that they should be sanctioned, as it brings the spirit of the game, into disrepute, we also were in agreement, that it would be ignored, not because it was Leeds, or that the originator of the offence was foreign, but that the body that runs the Football League, are too inept to do anything. Steve, Darrell and J.k. joined us, both Jinksy and Taffy, conspicuous by their ‘dry’ absence. A couple of years ago, an inebriated conversation, spawned a macabre bit of fun, a death list, (No, not a list of people, we want to bump off) ten people, that we don’t think, will see the year out. It was spawned after a year of surprising ‘celebrity’ deaths, most of which, we had a certain amount of fondness for. As names for this year, were banded about, it emerged that Jackie, had been in the same class at school, as Danny Baker, (He wasn’t making anybody’s list, by the way.) We popped in The Head of Steam, being joined by Alan and Badger. When the recently disposed Rowett was boring me even more senseless, than I usually am, I was getting closer by the game, to giving up watching Blues, and finding someone else to watch, or just other games, the Pulis brand of football, had been enough, to finish Alan off, Badge, who used to go to every single game, home or away, had stopped enjoying going to Blues, it had been a wrench at the time, but neither had missed it, they both go to the odd game, but it does beg the question, when does your loyalty, stop being blind? I left them to meet up with others at Kilda, I was drawn to a toffee apple sour, which was like drinking a Granny Smith coated toffee apple, it evoked childhood memories, though bad ones for J.K., who never liked them. Drinking it, it was hard to think, that it was actually a beer, and not a cider. (Not your fizzy puree rubbish either) Dig Brew had had a bit of a make over, and the place was showcasing different photographers work, covering every wall, with things dangling from the ceiling.
“Brutalist architecture, or just a brutal place to work? You’ll have to ask Ian”
I was disappointed to see, that they only had one cask ale on, I wondered if they were veering to key keg stuff, I’m not averse to key keg stuff, but with being a dinosaur, I’ve got to get my tiny little brain around it. After saying hello to Brynn, cousin of Edward, and having my hand vigorously shaken by Birdy, I walked up to the ground with Aida, talking about what’s going on, and what’s happened at Blues, since the takeover, and the expectations, of both, Blues fans in general, and our own. Both me and he, want to see stability and a steady growth, before any kind of promotion push, a let’s think about tomorrow view, not a, we need to spend now, forget tomorrow, view. As it stands at the moment, we’re over achieving this season, if, IF, we were to miraculously sneak into the playoffs, and then, even more miraculously, get promoted, we would break all the wrong records, least amount of points, least amount of goals, earliest relegation, that sort of thing.
I wasn’t expecting much from the game, in terms of entertainment, and that wasn’t down to the disdain that Baggies fans had for Pulis football, or Ian’s dislike of the system that he employs, it was down to my own footballing taste, all managers, have their own philosophy, when it comes to the ‘beautiful game’, some seem to revel in making it as ugly as they can, hiding behind clichès like, ‘It’s a results business’, ‘I’m here to win games’, I’m not going to dive headlong into a full on rant, but managers who play attacking, attractive football, do not create disillusioned supporters. *spoiler alert*, You will read in the record books, that the match spat out three goals, but the highlight of the game, happened in the first half, and concerned the maddest goal mouth sramble, involving Blues, I’ve witnessed in a very long time, or even at all, that didn’t result in a goal. Trouble was, before I’d had chance to process it, in that tiny brain of mine, Middlesbrough scored from their next attack, with four across the back, and five. Midfield colleagues, stepping on their toes, Boro saw the half out. I went to the Cookhouse at half-time, but Spoons got there first, and managed to get the last portion of what was on offer, (As I didn’t get any, I’ve actually forgotten what it was, but it looked and smelt nice) I made do with a gravy pie, masquerading as steak and kidney. We went for it in the second half, our frailties being exposed, as we tried to exploit the inches of space, that Pulis and Boro couldn’t quite cover, we hit the post, and Adams fashioned a chance for himself, that he put away, the inches that Boro were guarding, were a contrast to the acres that were growing by an extraordinary pace in our midfield, and Brit Assombalonga, raced over a couple of counties worth to put Middlesbrough back in the lead, and you really won’t be surprised to hear, that’s how it ended.
It was back to the Spotted Dog after, and I think Pulis might have been responsible for the Dog having half the lounge cordoned off, after all, he’d squeezed all the other available space for Blues to work with. The Dog lays on extra staff on a match day, and like the Anchor used to, they tend to be the quirky sort, that have personality, you can talk to, so me and J.K. did, before musing with what constitutes a big club, a ground in north Birmingham, populated by a disillusion of grandeur, the day being no different, the claret and blue lot, had lost heavily again, social and local media, awash with bleating ‘But we’re a big club Tom’. We couldn’t help ribbing a coked up Jinksy, (He was working his way through the pubs stock of the soft drink) saying Henry McLarsen, was Scotland’s greatest ever sportsman, the gravy in my pie, had not been substantial enough, and after bidding farewell, got a takeaway from my local curry house.