With the shadow of Coronavirus still hovering over us, the country inched its way back into reality. After creating a near paranoid population, and thus enabling an enthusiastically successful role out of an almost total vaccination of the country, only a few million of us rebellious, sceptical, and probably/possibly foolhardy, refused to have it. My reason was purely a combination of obstinacy and rebellion. I just don’t like being told what to do. I won’t be bullied into anything. Firstly, I had enough of being bullied at school. Secondly, I like to weigh up all my options first, before deciding whether it’s worth doing or not.
Once I’d been called back to work at a non-essential company, producing plastic components for high value vehicles, I knew it was profit that was King and not humanity. The rebellious side to me felt that if I was just a biobot, then if I was to catch a bad dose of the virus and die, then they’d have to find another mug to use. I wasn’t going to keep myself alive just so some over fed capitalist could carry on lining their pockets. Until my body wears out completely, or my spirit has totally had enough and given up, then to cope with my mundane existence, I need the structure of football, real ale, public transport and the social side to it all. One day out of seven isn’t really too much to ask, now is it? You may read this article and believe that to sound pathetic, I honestly and truthfully don’t care. It’s my life I’m dragging myself through, not yours. You can do what ever you do, because I won’t be judging. So to the season then. I didn’t really know what to expect at that first game against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Sky television, scheduled coverage, and it was changed to a Saturday evening kickoff. To say I was enveloped by a mixture of elation and relief in that ground, is an understatement. That was just entering the ground, nothing to do with the game and the result. The world’s population has suffered imprisonment at the hands of each country’s government. Yes, the virus was nasty, yes it’s a killer, but none of the restrictions and measures that were put in place, worked like they were supposed to have done. Nevermind our physical health, every single person’s mental health has been squeezed and battered so much that people are going to be suffering from post traumatic stress disorders from this. Don’t believe me? Give it another two years, and you’ll discover what I’m saying is right. And yet the government of this country has seen fit to bestow honours on the so called health advisors that have been peddling these restrictions and measures with total disregard to mental health. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry in Sheffield that night. The familiar faces I’d not been able to see. That sense of belonging, kinship. I, we had had that ripped from us, and for what? Yes an awful lot of people died from it, and still are, but get your calculator out and work out the exact percentage of deaths to populations. Those ‘face mask exemption’ lanyards became more and more common as the virus carried on. Almost everyone serving on the Birmingham markets acquired them. At first, I felt morally wrong for wearing one, after all, there was nothing wrong with me. it went from one of embarrassment to one of rebellion, as I saw more and more people a lot younger and fitter than me wearing them. Like me, they’d worked it out. Catching it and catching a bad dose, was purely down to luck. The longer it went on, the more different variants mutated, the more I realised that I was right not to bother getting the vaccine. It was to be different up in Scotland though. Unlike down in England, where needing proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test wasn’t required, Nicola Sturgeon was doing her best to be all self righteous about her governance. Mrs McHittler, as I dubbed her, was Hell bent on being right with enforcing the measures and restrictions that weren’t working. It meant that I wasn’t going to get up to watch Hearts play. It was only when the 6 Nations Rugby Union tournament was played, that Mrs McHittler relaxed the vaccination ruling. By that time, it was too late, and the post split Scottish fixtures made any chances of getting up to Tynecastle for a game, unviable. So I made do with football south of the border.
“Not all of it, just some”
If I’m being honest, I’ve really missed going up to Edinburgh and Hearts. The thing that has tempered it, is that all the draconian methods that Mrs McHittler employed, have had absolutely no effect on the figures for the pandemic in Scotland. In other words, she’s destroyed her own reputation and is seen to be nothing more than power crazed. So what of it down in England then? Well it was great being back doing what I love doing most, but initially, it was very tentative. Not me obviously, but pubs and people around me. Over time, the perspex boards came down, and less and less places were insisting on table service. People were becoming more confident and relaxing. That was until Omicron made its debut. The country went into reverse. The government decreed that you needed vaccination proof or negative PCR tests to go to outdoor events where the attendance was to be over 10,000. Being unvaccinated, I just used the opportunity to drop down into the Non-League circuit.
It was certainly no heartache for me, I don’t need much of an excuse to go ground hopping. Covid blip over, it was back to Blues. I’ve already written stuff about what’s going on at Blues. I’m not going to write anymore. Well not yet anyway. I’d missed seeing the rest of the ale trailers, but I’d actually quite enjoyed myself doing different games on my own. I had company for a couple of games, but otherwise, I can just do my own thing, and when I want to. Like I’ve stated before, I see myself as a sociable loner. I’m equally happy being centre of attraction in a crowd of friends, as I am, chatting to a complete stranger, or never talking to anyone at all.
So in retrospect, did I enjoy the season? Yes. It was definitely different though. Covid ate into things. The situation at Blues gets more and more depressing and frustrating as it goes on, but at least the ale trailers make it bearable. I will be renewing my season ticket again. What I’ve really enjoyed though, is hoovering up 20 new grounds. As next season approaches, I’ve every intention to go to as many new grounds as I can, as well as as many Blues games as I can, and a sprinkling of Hearts games. So in other words, what I love doing most, and exactly what I was doing before the killer virus exploded over the world. For those who really want to know how many games I did, I did 54. 33 Blues games, 17 of them away games. 1 new EFL ground 20 Non-League games, including a game played at a Premier League ground. So all told, games at 39 different grounds. I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to travel up to both Hearts for at least one game and also for a couple of Scottish ground hops. 54 isn’t even the most games I’ve done in a season either. That’s probably something else that’s disappointed me, but to be back to doing what I used to do before the pandemic, is all that matters. 21/22 is dead, long live 22/23
FOOTNOTE:- I’ve been writing this rubbish for 5 years now. Unfortunately, I’m not stopping and I’m not expecting some kind of event, covered by the mass media marking it either. I just thought you’d want to know.