2/10/21 Blues v Nottingham Forest, A Recipe For Disaster, By Mrs Chances And Miss Takes.

I came out the flat to rain, and judging from the weather forecast, it was going to get considerably heavier as the day developed. Triffic. Even without the rain, I had a foreboding about the day. Hope is an empty, useless word, but I was hoping my foreboding was just because of the weather. I was still drying out after Tuesday night in London. I sat on the bus into town wondering about our current form and results. It hasn’t been, and isn’t looking good. I just feel they need to show the same patience with Lee Bowyer, as they showed Aitor Karanka. After all, the football was much worse under the Spaniard and he was given more money to spend. I checked the WhatsApp group. Ian had congratulated Taffy on his wedding anniversary. Even with being married twice, I haven’t made it past a 5 year anniversary, never mind the length of time Taffy and his good lady have been married. Personally, it beats the Hell out of me how any couple can stay together for more than 10 years, without wanting to suffocate the other person in their sleep. It’s both commendable and astonishing. The group obviously made the usual kind of wisecracks about the longevity and suffering Taff’s wife has had to put up with, but in all seriousness, well done Roy mate. I was first in the Welly of all us ale trailers, and I duly noted a Wolves fan in a reproduction shirt from the 90s. I’m not a fan of reproductions. I’m a purest in that sense, and there’s always something missing from them. Whether the emblem is not quite right, there’s no sponsor, or no manufacturer’s insignia. The ironic thing, I had a Chorley shirt on underneath my sweatshirt. I wondered if he’d have been old enough to remember Chorley beating Wolves 3:0 in the F.A.Cup. deciding that he wasn’t, and I didn’t bother displaying my Mag’s shirt. Whenever I wear my Chorley shirt, I always seem to see a Wolves fan. Steve landed, and updated me on the latest on the Charlie Austin incident. He’d had a reply. I honestly wasn’t expecting anything. QPR had reviewed footage and had deemed it sufficient to address the team on future conduct. JK came in, just before Jinksy. Now you can either see this as paranormal or paranoia. Jinksy had just taken the head off his pint and placed it far enough away from the edge of the table for it to be safe. Within seconds, it had slid off the table, depositing most of the contents on the stool. Several weeks ago, a similar thing happened at the same table. However, I was the only one to see the glass head towards the edge of the table, and it was in a different direction. Now this is where the paranormal/paranoia creeps in. The table is the one that Dingle Dave always sat or stood at. Is he having a bit of fun? Even with not believing in that sort of thing, I’d still like to think that it is him having a laugh at our suspense. We moved on to the Colemore, where Paul Mason was ready to award Steve for winning the death list. He handed him the winnings and a small black plastic coffin as a souvenir. Getting up, JK almost tipped the table up, but Dave definitely wasn’t involved this time. To defend JK, the table isn’t as strong as it looks. A bit like JK really. He’s a similar age to me, back to the body not responding like it used to again. The rest were going to Halton Turner, I fancied a palate cleanser and something sour, so was going to head for Kilda. As I was on the way out, Gav and his Dad spotted me. Eventually, I’m going to stop needing to say this, but yet another person, I hadn’t seen Gav since before Covid. His Dad, I’d had a drink with after the game at Sheffield. The other miscreant from that night, Birdy, was absent. Apparently, playing golf. Golf? I could understand when he used to go skiing all those years ago. He’d always got the latest attractive girl hanging on to his every word in tow, but golf? What’s happening? What’s next? Crown green bowling? Jeeeeeez, we’re getting old. Just take me to the vets and have me put down now. I was the only one of us ale trailers in Kilda. Nobody was in there, and nobody came in. Sometimes it’s nice to take a moment out, a moment of reflection. Not too long though. Drinking up, I moved on to Bob’s. I keep calling it Bob’s, but I really should give it its proper name every now and then. Not on this occasion I won’t though. I looked to see if there was anyone upstairs, before seeing Spoons come in. As the rest landed, I was able to explain to Spoons why I had taken a dislike to how Ade is, and the lack of respect he has for several members of the WhatsApp group. Spoons was a bit surprised and angered by one of the names I mentioned that Ade had targeted. I’m not going to go into detail with who and why on here. It’s too public a platform. Unlike Ade, I have respect, although I have now got less than nothing for Ade anymore. Wanting a programme, I walked up with Spoons to the ground.

“So that’s what this virus thingy looks like”

Still no Dave. T’ra Made In Brum. Gonna miss you. For the first time this season, I was able to get a programme for a League game at Blues. Reading it since, I can’t see me wasting another £3 on buying another one this season. I used to enjoy the programme, it was a good production. Not anymore it’s not.

Like I’ve already written, I was full of foreboding with this game. Forest have changed managers recently, and I was expecting that new manager bounce to be a factor. They’re also a club I don’t like. As the terrace song goes, “Just like the Villa, you live in the past” they’ve got an air of entitlement about them I don’t like. However, we not only started brightly, but had 3 great chances to take the lead. One of which, hit the post. First real attack for Forest and it was despatched expertly from outside the area into the Blues net. It seemed harsh, but that’s how it’s been going for Blues these last few games. We needed to retaliate. Retaliate, we didn’t. Instead, the team was replaced by a bunch of kids in uniform with school bags full of errors. First up was the defender, formerly known as Harlee Dean, who had a gilt edged chance to volley us back to parity. What annoyed me, was how he puffed his chest out, after he’d missed. No mate, hang your head. It was a fantastic opportunity, and you made more of a mess with it, than a toddler does its Sunday dinner. Next up to the podium, was Jeremie Bela who proceeded to drop the mic, before accidentally kicking it off the stage, as he went to pick it up. What on earth was going through his mind, when he attempted a backpass from the halfway line, I don’t know, but it was woeful. So woeful, it didn’t belong on any football pitch, anywhere in the world. The corner kick that Forest managed to gain from it, resulted in a header to make it two. Not that any of the mannequins in the Blues defence looked capable of doing anything about it anyway. As the away side celebrated, the mannequins sprang to life and started blaming each other. Almost immediately, Forest had a glorious chance to score the third. I didn’t know what was worse, losing 2:0, or losing 2:0 at home to a very average Forest side. I’m not saying it was right, but the chorus of ‘boo’s’ that accompanied the halftime whistle, was fully vindicated. Surely the second half couldn’t get any worse right? Wrong, it could, and did. Three players within 5 yards of each other, conspired to fail to find each other with a pass that you’d be upset with a couple of 4 year olds for not completing. I say players, I use the term loosely. Very loosely. Forest were able to step in, and use the ball properly. Three passes later, and the third was scored. The girl who I couldn’t remember the name of, Alex joined us. It was light relief to listen to her relate the latest drama in her life at ten to the dozen, than it was watching the debacle unfold on the pitch. I’m not sure which is quicker as it’s immeasurable, but Alex talks as fast as Daryl can walk. Both commendable in their own way. With fully 10 minutes left, even Justin had had enough, and they left. I managed to hold out another couple of minutes until the next failed attack. It was clear that there wasn’t enough from us to even get a consolation goal, and in all honesty, we didn’t deserve one. So what went wrong? Was it system? Was it lineup? You could point to those early missed chances. I suppose we could go back to the way we were at the back end of last season, but that wouldn’t stop the ridiculous, basic mistakes. The mistakes we made against Forest were akin to what you see from a Sunday League team that had been out on the tiles all night on the previous evening. They were so bad, that I wouldn’t have been surprised to see one of them vomiting on the touchline, 10 minutes into the game. I’d like to think that with the international break, Lee Bowyer can introduce them to the ball again, and show them how to run, kick and head.

I was dispirited coming out of the ground, so much so, that I seriously contemplated knocking it on the head, and just going home. I didn’t of course, that’s for supporters of a fickle nature. It is, after all, a long, long road, and there’ll be joys (Not many, but some.) and sorrows (Far too many, but the sporadic and rare joys, make it worth it somehow.) too. Getting back to the Dog, as per usual, the hurt and disappointment starts to ease the further the game disappears into memory. Life goes on. We weren’t the only ones in the country who had come away from a ground wondering why we’d bothered. That pre season anticipation and hope lying in tatters. As football fans, when your club has lost, you look for other results that will make you feel better. Hearts had beaten Motherwell. Ian has attached a certain amount of allegiance to the Steelmen. I couldn’t help but point it out. Innocently asking him how Motherwell had got on, knowing full well that Hearts had won. He knew I knew of course. He could tell by the mischievous glint in my eye. For whatever reason, and I’m really not going to analyse why, simply because I enjoy it, me and Ian connect. Ian, like myself, has a chequered past when it comes to extramarital sexual conquests. He’s been a good boy for the past few years, but knowing how much he’s like me, I know it’s not going to last. Like me, he can’t help it. I suppose we could if we really tried, but it’s part of who we are. We crave that excitement. The conversation between us all included a reference to his many misdemeanors. I caught the same kind of glint in his eye when he protested that it was all in the past, and he didn’t do that sort of thing anymore. In fairness to Ian, it was the first time I’d seen that glint for a while, but I still recognised it. I’m good at reading people’s reactions. If only I had an interest in cards and could play poker, I’d be able to take the game up professionally. That glint of his, had intrigued me. I knew it would keep though. With the White Swan back open, I fancied at least one in there. JK was already in there before Ian joined us. JK works behind the scenes on HS2. Before securing the position, he’d been toying with retirement. I’m a similar age to JK, but with only the state pension to look forward to, I’m going to have to wait to retire. I certainly don’t begrudge anyone who’s in the position to retire. Maybe had I seen the writing on the wall back in the early 90s, I’d have squirrelled some of my meagre wages away in a private pension. I will say though, I was young and stupid back in the early 90s. 30 years later, and I’m now old and stupid. I listened as Ian and JK talked about pensions, and that working on the HS2 project, had rejuvenated him. JK is an extremely private person. You get only tiny glimpses of his life outside Blues. When he does reveal anything, it always surprises me. It’s one thing I like about us ale trailers. We all have different backgrounds, different tastes, and different personalities. The conversations are never ever boring and there’s never any awkward silences. It’s constantly lucid. I never knew JK worked on HS2, I do now. He left and I now had chance to grill Ian. I’m not going to reveal any details, but my suspicions were right. It could, of course, lead to nothing. All I’m going to say, is that I know what I’m like, and I know what Ian is like. Watch this space. I felt a slap on the back of my head. I turned round to be confronted by someone I didn’t know, Steve and a grinning Jinksy. It was obvious that Jinksy had been the giver of the slap, but I couldn’t resist the urge to play along. I looked at the person I didn’t know, and with arms outstretched, I inquired as to what that was for. He protested that it was Jinksy. “Oh that’s right, blame Jinksy” I said. “Jinksy wouldn’t do that.” I said. Jinksy would, and he had, but the lad didn’t know where to put himself, as I kept a straight face. The 5 of us spent the time laughing and joking. I was having fun. So much so, that I even had another pint. It did help that the beer I had was gorgeous mind. Drinking up, I bid farewell to get the bus home. It had been a good decision of mine to pick my spirit up from the gutter and go back to the Dog with it, instead of just heading home and licking my wounds. It’s what being Blues is all about.

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