14/8/21 Blues v Stoke City. What A Complete And Utter Total Load Of Ballots.

What should’ve been the usual buzz that goes with the first home game of the season, especially having already chalked up an opening day win away at a newly relegated team, had been overshadowed by the goings on with the stands. I had a golden ticket. Well, that’s what it felt like. It came with a twinge of guilt. I had not only sympathy for people I knew had missed out, but also for the fans who weren’t season ticket holders, but had bought tickets in good faith, only to have them cancelled. I couldn’t quite enjoy the game, or for that matter, the day. I rolled up at The Welly, Jinksy and Steve were already in there at our old usual table again. Everything has been so surreal for the last 18 months, the problems with the stands is just extending the exasperation. My ticket had arrived the day before, i’d already decided on ground hopping at Banbury United if I’d missed out with Blues. Steve had decided to do Hereford. He’d missed out. Who else did I know who would miss out? Ian Allen had got one, and he dropped in just after Steve had left to get the train. It should’ve been talk of the new season, it was talk of the utter chaos surrounding tickets. Stories of people getting emails telling them they’d been unsuccessful in the ballot and then still receiving a ticket. I know that season ticket holders in the main stand, had received a ticket for the John Merrick. Surely if you already have a seat, then you wouldn’t need to be moved? Wasn’t that the point of the ballot? Allocating seats that weren’t already allocated to season ticket holders? Before I go on, I’m sure you’ve noticed I mention the John Merrick. It’s actually the Gill Merrick, but word has it, Gill Merrick supported the Vile as a kid. John Merrick of course, was the ‘Elephant man’. A man severely disfigured. As Blues fans, we continually poke fun out of the salmon pink and baby Blues. It’s what we do. All football rivals do exactly the same. We moved on to the Colmore. Ian got chatting about his two greyhounds. They’re both ex-racing dogs and it’s obvious he absolutely adores them. He’s been quite influenced by his Dad. Something I can honestly understand, as his Dad was a real good bloke. His Dad passed on his love of Blues but also betting and in particular, greyhound racing. Ian talked extensively about the shares he had in 5 racing dogs. Although, as I’ve stated, I’m not an animal lover, I genuinely found it enthralling, and told him so. We had a quick stop over at the Head of Steam, before checking in at the Halton and Turner brewery. I’d been looking forward to going in here, ever since I’d heard it was relocating over to Digbeth. Even seeing that Ade was in there, wasn’t going to temper my enjoyment. Let me tell you about Ade. I once recognised him as a mate. I’m a trusting person and missed the hidden agenda he has. A hidden agenda born out of intense jealousy. A jealousy that has its origins in a childhood where he felt ignored. Ade has always, and still does, crave attention. However, to attain attraction and also to boost his fragile ego, he relies on schadenfreude. For those who don’t know what that means, it’s finding humour in someone else’s misfortune. Anyone he has no respect for, he will target. Jumping on anything he feels he can capitalise on. Jinksy at the time, thought it a good idea to invite him on to our WhatsApp group. At the time, I agreed to it. I don’t believe for one second that my dissension would have led to him being rejected, but had I learned what he was really like, I would’ve made my feelings known, and known strongly. It’s not that he’s only targeted me, but he’s targeted others on the group. As I see it, you can target me if you want, but targeting friends I have a deep respect for, is a disgrace. We all have different backgrounds, different tastes and regardless, we are equals. Nobody should see themselves as better than anyone else. That’s not the case with Ade. It is obvious that he’s emotionally stunted and isn’t capable of making a worthy contribution to either the WhatsApp group or the extended ale trailers. As people go, he’s a person nobody needs to meet. After this character assassination, I should really state his full name on here. To give him any publicity, is to hand him the attention he craves so much. Me? I’m just going to keep chipping at him, destroying his psychological wellbeing bit by bit until he’s nothing more than a husk. Why? Because he badly deserves it. We moved round for the old usual one at Bob’s, before going to the game.

GAME

I’ve noticed that I can’t seem to do what I used to do on this blog. That’s partly because they’ve changed it, partly because I write it on my phone, and partly because I need to update my phone. Why haven’t I updated my phone? I’m with EE and they’ve still got some kind of reception thing going on at the doorway to the shop, and perspex screens making it look like you’re meeting someone in prison. Not that I know what that’s like, I just watch a lot of telly. I’ve decided to try a different style for the game bit in a blog post. Whether it works and I’m happy with it, I’ll find out once I’ve posted it. It just didn’t feel right taking up position in the John Merrick. It was kind of acceptable for the Colchester game, but this was different. The F.A.Cup game against Coventry away, but at home, was a novelty. This didn’t feel right at all. The only bonus, was seeing Mickey. At least some things were the same.

“Replace the lot with terracing”
“Wow, look at all the work they’re doing”

Playing in front of half an empty ground, must’ve had a psychological effect on the players from both sides. Both teams seemed disjointed. There wasn’t any fluidity. It wasn’t quite as bad as Colchester had been, but then, Blues had put out, what was effectively, a reserve team. Dean had a header that dropped just wide, and Hogan had two half chances. One he could possibly have done better with, that he dragged wide, and a more difficult chance where he tried lobbing the keeper. Halftime, 0:0. I went underneath the stand, to go to the toilet. Even that didn’t feel right. Not the actual act itself obviously. Least I don’t think I noticed anything different. Even if everything else felt alien, I’m only glad it hadn’t dropped off in protest. Second half and with facing an empty Tilton, the tempo seemed to drop, it was obvious we were missing Chong. His performance at Sheffield United had been a huge bearing on the game. We needed his impetus. With Stoke now playing towards their own fans, they were slightly better. Not much, but slightly. The match was heading towards being a damp squib. It needed something special. Sounds like I’m building it up for a grandstand finish. As two of our grandstands were out of commission, I wouldn’t bother holding your breath. We did get the ball in the net in the last minute before added time. We even celebrated. That was before the girl who had jumped on me, noticed the referee’s assistant flagging for offside. So 0:0, “Get your damp squib’s here!”

Walking away from the ground, I spotted Clacker. I grabbed him as I went past. The next few games is going to be an exercise in catch up. It was still back to the Dog after. A pub that wasn’t half as busy as it would’ve normally have been after a game. There was several people missing. A mate of Jeff’s was there, Mikey, Rich, Jinksy, Daryl and Damian. The legend that is Dingle Dave’s passing was acknowledged, but the game didn’t really get a mention. It hadn’t really merited it. Damien is semi retired now. Something I would love to be but will never become. My job is just not important enough, and I have no qualifications to be able to be a part-time consultant. Don’t even get me started on whether I have a pension that would enable me to take early retirement. It was though, extremely interesting to listen to someone in that position. It’s a window to a different world. Maybe if I was Ade, I’d be jealous, but I’m not. Different lives have different paths. You choose your own, only you have yourself to blame or congratulate. A couple of times, I could quite easily have plugged my blog, as it would’ve linked into the conversation, but I’m not like that. After Ian Lake deciding to follow it, it’s crystal clear that others do my advertising for me. No need for self promotion. That’s for snide, shallow people like Ade. I got the bus home. It had been a flat, empty day.

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