I can’t wait for the regeneration of Perry Barr to be completed. The cynic in me knows that it’s only taking place because of the Commonwealth games being held in Brum. If it wasn’t, the area would just carry on being neglected by the council. Because of the construction work to the roads, pavements, bus stops and railway station all happening at the same time, living in the area is a nightmare at the moment. I’m sure it’ll all be ready just in time for when the visitors to the city decend for the games, and they’ll go away after having a nice pleasant day out, rather than experiencing the degradation we’ve had to put up with before all this. To this end, biggest part of the day, the Birchfield road is clogged up with traffic. I came out of the flat with plenty of time to catch the bus but due to the one lane flow roadworks, a minute stated on the brand spanking new bus stop VDU, equates to five in reality. I suppose I shouldn’t moan really, the service is still better than what I used to endure in Telford. The game was being shown on Sky Sports and had been moved to a Friday evening. It was also the first home game since the demise of the Covid passports I was going to attend and also the first since protests against the ownership had been ramped up that I could join in with. Friday evening kickoffs are strange ones. Not withstanding commuters heading home from work, there’s office staff indulging in post working week, winding down drinking. On a Saturday, the Welly is the starting place of choice for a home game. It wasn’t a Saturday, so I met up with Jinksy in the Old joint Stock. The pub not only has a magnificent interior, but is the furthest north of Fuller’s portfolio of pubs. I’ve stated before on here, that post lockdown with pubs being allowed to reopen without imposed restrictions, Fuller’s is one of the few chains that have endeavoured to offer a choice of guest ales. I’m sure both Green King and Nicholson’s will eventually join the party, but they haven’t yet. Post pubs being allowed to open up again but pre vaccine, the restrictions imposed in the OJS had been enough to put me off bothering with the place up until now. When arranging where to start, Jinksy mentioned OJS. I felt it was time to try again. The pub was as busy as it had been pre Covid, and the guest ale range was interesting. I found a table.
Jinksy spotted me when he came in and we were shortly joined by Russell. Russell hasn’t had the best of health in the past three years, and it’s been exasperated by him having a freak accident on his mail round. Don’t laugh, but he walked into a post. He hit it at the wrong angle, wrong speed and it did some serious damage to him. He’s looking a lot more healthier now, but is still having to have tests as they monitor his recovery. The subject of health filled the conversation. Personally, I’m much more concerned with my mental health than I will ever be with my physical health. To the point that I really don’t care about my body. It’s been disintegrating for some years now anyway, and will just get worse, but I’d like to think that I take really good care of my mental health. My mind is the fittest it’s ever been. We moved on to the Welly, where we met up with Steve, JK and shortly after by Worcester Pete. We talk about many different things when we meet up, some really strange things at that. Amongst talk of pitch invasions by wheelchair users, and longest tube station escalators, (Nope, still don’t remember surfing down the ones at Vauxhall station on my head.) we compared worst places we’d stayed. Russell described a place that was up an alley. I made Pete spit his drink out by asking if it was a ‘back alley’. Back alley is a euphemism for a…well I think you can guess if you’re not familiar with it. We moved on to a packed Friday evening Colemore before heading for Kilda. We were straggling, Jinksy and JK were off like one of Ian’s greyhounds, the rest were sniffing every lamppost. it was stick or twist and I twisted. Speeding up, I was just reaching Jinksy and JK when they veered into Primark. It may be a short cut, but I just won’t use it. I have sartorial standards and even if it does take a little more time by going a longer way round, I just won’t go in Chav Palace. Paul was in Kilda when we got there. He’s another that’s had health problems. His are heart problems, so with only having a swinging half brick instead of one myself, I should be fine. He spoke about being linked up to a machine and having his blood filtered. Not dialysis as such, but similar. We chatted about needles and doctors not being as proficient as nurses at taking blood. A pre-match session doesn’t seem complete unless it ends with a visit to Bob’s, so there we headed. Spoons was in there and ‘Sheldon’ too. There’s no difference between Adrian Butcher and the character Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory other than at least you can change the channel on TV when Sheldon gets too irritating. Mikey also dropped in for a final drink before people started to drift off for the game.
I didn’t see who was giving out the expressionless masks or whistles, but if I had, I would’ve had either or both. I hadn’t been at the previous two home game protests, but had heard about them and was kind of looking forward to joining in with them. I may be a lot longer in the tooth these days, but I still care passionately about the club I’ve chosen to follow for what is now over forty years. Although there was no sign of Steph, Justin and Seeley when I got to my seat, everyone else seemed to be pleased to see me again, even if I couldn’t quite tell from behind their masks. Questions were asked about where I’d been. Ground hopping was the reply, and I reeled off what games I’d done, or at least the ones I could remember, as there’d been so many. The match kicked off to a crescendo of whistles. I think the mask thing will be better during daylight, but the use of whistles was very effective. For those wondering what the significance was, the expressionless masks are because of the continued anonymity of the owners and their reluctance to be honest and above board with us, and the whistles as we’re calling time on them. In my humble, individual opinion, I don’t believe they deserve to be owners of a football club, any football club, particularly not the football club I support. With the removal of Ren Dong in the summer, whether he went by his own volition or he was forced to go, I expected the situation to get better. It simply hasn’t, hence the protests. We’ve been constantly lied to and it’s taken various actions by fans to even get some acknowledgement of the mess that the club’s in. For the past five years, the owners have made mistake after mistake after mistake. Their pleas for us to have patience is now falling on deaf ears. Their recent attempts at appeasing the support has been met by apathy and cynicism. They tell the media that they have no intentions of selling the club. Why would they? Whilst the club is listed on the HKSE, they can make money by conning others out of theirs. It’s time for this to stop. My message to the owners, whoever you are is this. Take your bad intentions somewhere else, preferably where you came from, that’s if you’re not too scared of facing the consequences of your past actions. When I said the whistles were working, you could not only see that the players on both sides were being effected, but the referees control of the game. After 10 minutes, the whistling died down. With the game being shown on Sky, the point had been made. After a goalless but not boring first hour Blues actually took the lead. After his debut goal at Derby, the on loan Forrest striker, Lyle Taylor scored again. It was a good finish too. However, the hard fought lead lasted no longer than 3 minutes before the visitors equalised. We needed to metaphorically roll our sleeves up and go again. It wasn’t to happen, terrible defending from players who should really in all honesty, be a lot better and committed to the challenge, given the wages they’re on, let us down…again. Bad recruitment over the last five years is one of the mistakes that has been continually repeated. I don’t blame Lee Bowyer. Had he not been appointed when he was, Blues would be plying their trade in League One. I also have no fears that we’ll get relegated this season either. He inherited players who simply aren’t or haven’t been up to the job, and isn’t getting the right support he needs to push on. He was able to bring in several players in last month, but only one was a permanent transfer. Like the outside of the ground being ‘tarted up’, it’s putting lipstick on a pig. My fears and fears of fellow Blues supporters, is that the ground will never be properly repaired and will continue to fall to bits, and player recruitment will only ever be piecemeal under this lot.
With only having an hour’s sleep after my last night shift of the week, coupled with being up early to catch the train the next day, I headed home, but not before ducking in to KFC.
What’s the point of all the cookery programmes on TV? All you see these days are garish adorned people whizzing round on bikes either to or from various takeaways after packing or emptying microwave sized coolboxes. Yes, I’m a dinosaur, no I’m not going to ‘get with the program’. Final message for this particular post, KRO, SOTV and #BSHLOUT