6/11/21 Blues v Reading. Inexperience Is No Defence.

I still wasn’t right. Ok, most of my mates and family will tell you that I’ve never been right. Ok ok, ALL of my friends and family will tell you that I’ve never been right. I was determined to battle through it though. I was limping through work and I still felt I deserved some kind of reward because of it. Staying at home and licking my wounds, wasn’t on the agenda. I could’ve done without seeing the return of the German market mind. I have absolutely nothing against the Germans, but I don’t suspect for one millisecond, that Frankfurt has a ‘Birmingham market’. The monstrosity we have to put up with every year is about as authentic as vegetarian sausages. I honestly can’t stand it. Except for last year and Covid, I get asked the same depressing question every year. The answer is always no, I am going absolutely nowhere near the German market. It’s bad enough just trying to cut through the snail paced throngs of Neanderthals that are inexplicably drawn to the awful thing. As advertising goes on here, I fully recommend avoiding Birmingham’s German market at all costs. Daryl was in the Welly when I got there and we chatted about his recent trip up to Scotland. He ground hopped at Dunfermline, a place I still have fresh memories about. I really want to get back up to Scotland either at least ground hopping or to get to Hearts. Until Mrs McHittler loosens her vice like grip on the restrictions and measures she’s imposed, I won’t be going up. Having suffered the same restrictions and measures in England, I’ll be giving both Scotland and Wales a miss until they finally realise that the Covid rules don’t actually work. Taffy and Worcester Pete came in, as did JK and with a rare appearance, Badge. Although the rest of us were to head to the Colemore, Badge was to head to the Head of Steam to watch the Manc derby. Hereford Gary was in the Colemore. It came up in conversation that both Gary and Taffy are on the lookout for a ticket for Coventry away. If my lad can’t make it, I won’t have any problems with getting rid of his ticket. Although my long suffering son was never going to have any choice in who he supports, he’s not as addicted as me. Nowhere near in fact. In that sense, he’s a lot more sensible than me. Not that that’s too hard to achieve mind. It came to light that Spoons was not only attending his brother’s wedding, but was having to wear a suit. However, as I write this rubbish, I still haven’t seen any photographic evidence. I have visions of him in a top hat, something that might just make it into his match day attire. We joined Badge in the Head of Steam. Most eyes, if not all, were trained on the many TV screens. Much as I enjoy derby games, I wasn’t all that bothered. I was though, asked to move out of someone’s eye line. Surprisingly, it wasn’t because I’m ugly, (Which I am.) but because they couldn’t see one particular screen. They weren’t wearing colours, so I had to watch their reactions. As soon as it became apparent that they were United followers, I could be vocally dismissive. Manchester United were at home. There was no excuse for them not attending the game. Had they been City fans, then I would have given them dispensation, as getting tickets for an away derby game isn’t easy. Had the game been at Eastlands, and they’d been City fans, I would have been just as vocally dismissive. Both the Dad and his lad looked sheepish when I announced in a loud voice to the rest and anyone else within earshot, that if they were proper United fans, they would’ve been at Old Trafford instead of watching it in the pub. It made it all the more sweeter, that City were winning. Ian was in Kilda when we got there. I can read Ian like a book. Admittedly, some times it’s like a Mills and Boon, but on this occasion, you could see that it was a work thing that was playing on his mind. It was actually two things that were haunting him. The big thing was the imminent potential strike meeting he was calling, the other thing was the chance of promotion within the union. Personally, I think he should go for it because he’s having valued colleagues recommending he should apply. What’s stopping him is that Caron doesn’t fancy making the permanent three year move down to London. Three years is a long time granted, but for me, it’s a fantastic opportunity. An opportunity that should be taken. I’m not Ian though, and I do understand the upheaval that taking the position would entail. I’m single. It would be simple for me. It’s a lot more complicated for Ian. Personally, I just want the strike to be avoided. No trains would seriously curtail my football watching. Whilst in Kilda, the news broke that they were having electrical problems at St Andrews. They were advising fans not to turn up until or if the problems could be resolved. It meant we could take our time as we walked down to Bob’s. Jinksy was upstairs with Mikey in Bob’s. Jinksy had been at work in the morning, so was having to play catch up. Kickoff had been delayed half an hour. It’s a strange situation. Your mind is on a normal matchday timeline. When it gets disrupted, it’s usually to do with the weather, or the traffic. Adverse weather tends to cause a late postponement, you just carry on drinking in the pub. Traffic issues means that you’ll have to queue up to get in. Everyone turns up at the same time and it’s a bit of a squash. You may or may not make kickoff. That’s never really a personal problem for me, as I hardly ever make kickoff anyway. This was different, this really was a ‘toss of a coin’ thing. The game was on, kickoff was delayed by half an hour. I walked up to the ground with Jinksy. He was introduced to Blues by his Dad, who also introduced him to real ale. I missed out on meeting him. Just as I got into the glorious stuff and became a regular at the Anchor, so Jinksy’s Dad hit health problems. Jinksy was telling me that the problems had worsened. Listening to it was kind of sobering. His Dad’s only 4 years older than me. Just goes to show how fragile we really are. How easily we can hit the buffers. Life happens, it chews us up and spits us out. Might as well make the most of it whilst we’re physically able to. Smash life before it smashes us.

The Blues line up was much changed. The defence was the main concern. Not only was there two youth players in it, but Harlee Dean was back. It wasn’t the appearance of the kids that worried me, it was the appearance of Dean. One of the youngsters, I’d watched against Colchester earlier this season and I’d been really impressed with. This was different though, this was a league game, this mattered more than an early round League Cup game. It was Reading that made the first defensive mistake though. Three minutes in and Scott Hogan latched on to a woeful backpass, ruthlessly putting Blues into the lead. Hogan is very much a confidence striker. I lambasted him in this blog for a ridiculously easy chance he missed against Swansea, this was the 3rd goal he’d scored in consecutive games. I turned round to one of the long suffering people behind me, and just said that we’d got our goalscorer back. The trick would be just trying to set him up with chances whilst the confidence is flowing. As the game progressed, it was obvious that it wasn’t going to carry on being that easy. We had a couple of break away chances, but certainly weren’t looking solid by any means. We made it to halftime with our slender lead intact. It was going to be a long second half if we were to secure a fourth win in a row. It was to prove to be too long. Reading equalised. We responded. Something that was proving more difficult due to the ineptitude of the referee. He was being fair though. He was awful for both teams. Deeney hit the post with a header. Had it gone in, we may well have gone on to win the game. It didn’t, and we didn’t. Reading had a break away chance that they buried. The points were going back to Berkshire. I’m not going to point to the novice defence, or a ramshackle performance, because on other days, it could’ve gone differently. I’ve seen enough of Blues to know it’s a fine balance at the moment. The squad is looking a bit bare, but not one that looks like it’s going to come unstuck. It’s getting to that time of year that presents are given. As football fans, we look at our clubs owners to dig deep to hand over some transfer cash. Sometimes, even a pair of socks can be enough. With any luck, Lee Bowyer will get more than just a novelty pair.

After the game, I decided to head home. the remnants of the flu was still taking its toll on me. All I wanted to do was curl up in front of the telly and go to sleep.

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