Anyone with an interest in football, however remote, and have had the displeasure of meeting me, will have seen the astonishing scoreline between Blues and Leeds that came out of St Andrews, a couple of days ago, and anyone who reads this car crash of a blog, on a regular basis, would have been expecting a post about my day. I attempted it, but bailed. The pain from my knee/leg, had stopped me being able to sleep and was still there when I gave up on trying. I must have either an inbuilt tolerance to pain, or subliminally, it’s because, as a 4 year old, I watched my Dad in the last throes of terminal cancer, dealing with ‘proper pain’, because I never have paracetamol in the flat, I never need it. I’m susceptible to a repetitive strain injury, colloquially known as ‘tennis elbow’, and coped with that without pain killers, since the beginning of last summer. Even after coming out of hospital with the newly acquired bleed on the brain, I never needed pain killers, so when I do get pain, it’s ‘proper pain’ limping off the bus, I purchased a pack of em, and with the day in mind, hobbled to the Welly, in the forlorn hope that the natural anaesthetic in alcohol would ease it, it didn’t, cutting my losses, I went home to dose myself up, it worked, the mischievous nerve that had had fun moving somewhere else in the limb, got bored, as it wasn’t getting the desired reaction from me anymore, and returned to where it should’ve been. So to Wigan Athletic, and after missing out on Leeds, I should’ve been ‘chomping at the bit’, I wasn’t. The first day of the year, and it should’ve brought that new year positivity, that envelopes you, it hadn’t, even being pain free for probably another 6 or 7 years or so, hadn’t lifted my spirits, I wasn’t ‘feeling it’. I was first in the Wellington, bar the bar staff, was Halfway down my pint before being joined by JK, and then Steve, a bloke who used to sit near JK, joined us, and talk was of old games and grounds, before we moved on to The Woodman, a place that used to be on the pre match trail, once we’d given up on The Anchor, a place, now rarely visited, but with so many of the usual places shut because of the holiday, seemed to be the only choice. Badge and Sean were in there, along with Russell, Nick, and the rest of the postmen, Christo, Jakob and Taffy. Also Bryn, who was very kind, and bought me a pint, something, at some point, will see me returning the favour. He told me what had happened to Craig at the Leeds game. One of the goals we’d scored, was met by the usual exuberant celebrations, but Craig had fallen over the row of seats in front of him, so much for seats being safer, I myself have grazes and bruises that are forever moving, on my shins, because of celebrating goals, but Craig’s injuries were to be diagnosed as worse, much, much worse. Adrenaline and that natural anaesthetic, I mentioned earlier, got him home, turned out, not only had his knee shattered, but to compound things, his ankle had collapsed on him, upshot, he was undergoing surgery, to insert external pins to hold the leg in place while it healed, and all I’d had was a trapped nerve, hardly likely, I’d be bothering the doctors to find out why and how, but people do. Craig has only just started a new job, I would like to think his new employers will show understanding and compassion, but I doubt it. I’m just a minion, minions get replaced, he’s no minion like me, but unfortunately, still expendable. While we’re at it, Sean has only one arm, I don’t know what happened to the other, but I should imagine he didn’t lose it without pain, proper pain, I had a trapped nerve for a day, hardly anything to moan about, pop a few paracetamol, get on with it. The rest had gone to Digbrew, except Taff, Christo and Jakob, I finished up, said farewell to the three, and carried on to Digbrew. Mikey, Darryl and Ade were in there, as was Bryn, Gav, Edwar….(Can’t write it) Craig’s son and Birdy, I still find it strange seeing Birdy in a coat and jeans, he’ll be forever remembered for just wearing shorts and a polo shirt, while we’re doing impressions of Michelin men with all our layers of clothing. I’m not a fan of Digbrew’s beer, if I’m being critical, then I believe that they’re concentrating on the keg side of the business to the detriment of the cask side. Much as I can understand that, they don’t produce good cask ale, in fact, I’d probably say that they don’t even produce satisfactory cask ale. In the time it’s been open, I’ve had one decent pint. In defence of them, it’s not like they’ve been doing it for years, but I do hope they’ll get better. I actually only had a half, and I left it, it was undrinkable. I walked up with Steve and Ade to the ground, stopping to get a programme and then a Made in Brum off Dave Thomas
Under Rowett, the team never changed, in fact, only the date and the opposition changed, unlike under Clotet. As society is immersed in its own media, the team lineup is released pre match, we can pick the bones out of team selection in the pub, it didn’t need to be released under Rowett, under Clotet, it’s a main topic of pre match conversation, Gary Gardner was playing at centre half. I’m now convinced that if Pep only had eleven players at his disposal, like you’ll see on any given Sunday morning, on a park somewhere, but unlike hoping an extra player had over slept, and would turn up by halftime, eleven players would be the only ones, and every single game, Clotet would still tinker with positions and formations, switching fullbacks into midfield, a centre half on the wing, and probably even the goalkeeper playing centre forward. He can’t help himself, I can picture him saying on a Sunday evening that he wouldn’t be changing the team for the next Saturday, by Wednesday morning, he would start to get agitated, writing names and formations on the back of a beer mat as he had a lunch time pint, having a restless night’s sleep on Thursday, by Friday, the previous weeks team would be completely revamped again. I don’t read anything into statistics with football, each game needs to be played on its merits, it’s far too easy to become wrapped up in them, to the point of being suffocated, that’s not to say I’m full of positivity and optimism every game, but even trying to ignore how terrible Wigan’s away form was going into this game, you couldn’t help thinking, all the Latics needed to do to take the points back to Lancashire, was change into their kit. I was still explaining my absence for the Leeds game, when Wigan opened the scoring. Blues were clueless, they were playing as individuals and not as a team, being reactionary instead of preemptive, there was a lack of leadership, it wasn’t good to watch. Recently Eric Cantona had likened watching Manchester United to watching an old man have sex…….the participants at Blues are octogenarian, late octogenarian. Amazingly, Blues managed to equalise, a good finish, maybe we could start the new year now. Halftime brought Rob to come and say hello to Justin. Rob is teetotal, or he was, albeit disgusting sweet syrup, he’s discovered Strongbow Dark Fruits, and thus, the delights of drunkenness, strangely, he’s enjoying the feeling, like a freshman at Uni, I still remember the very first time I got drunk, and have forgotten many times since. Almost immediately after halftime, Wigan retook the lead, with what looked like awful defending, from where I was sat at the other end of the pitch. We were just as bad as we were in the first half, none of the intricate passing that I’d come to love and look forward to, it had returned back to being laboured and attritional, Wigan scored again, it was their day, if the original lineup was bizarre, the substitutions Clotet made, were baffling, at one point, we had 3 genuine attacking wide players, 3 wingers, yet only 2 wings, yet astonishingly, Blues pulled a goal back, a goal so un Maghoma like, that I looked straight over at the referee’s assistant, because I expected it to be ruled out, either for offside, a foul, or just total disbelief that Maghoma had showed commitment, in a position that he’s never in, and thus, couldn’t possibly be a goal. Had we managed to garner an equaliser, it would’ve been unjust. Wigan had come to St Andrews, not having won an away game since King Arthur was deliberating where his guests were to sit at his newly commissioned dinner table. The clog dancing celebrations in Wigan would go on for weeks.
I just didn’t fancy the idea of going to Spotted Dog after the game, not because it’s not a brilliant pub, full of loads of friends, not because I couldn’t stomach another defeat, I just wasn’t ‘feeling it’, I just wanted to crawl back into my shell. Life gets to us that suffer depression, from time to time, we just need to withdraw, I got the bus home and shut the world out.
“Don’t do anything, I wouldn’t do”