Sometimes after I have watched Birmingham City lose a game, I regret going to watch it. But I don’t regret going to watch them play Queens Park Rovers yesterday, even though they lost.
I hope the Birmingham City players’ preparation for tomorrow’s game has gone well. I don’t want to see another loss. I can’t do anything about their preparation, but I have been doing some preparation of my own. I’ve updated my cheat sheet, the list of players. I’m not sure of all the players names yet and have no idea about many of their numbers so I needed to update.
Click here to download a copy of my cheat sheet.
Losing is not fun. I can understand why fans leave early when we are losing but it made me sad to see so many people walking out at the Fulham game. It’s been over 70 years since my dad first took me to a Blues game so I have had plenty of time to get accustomed to the fact that Birmingham City can and do lose some games. When I did a quick count of relegations on the Wikipedia list of seasons I counted 14 relegations. That may not be accurate but we do get relegated quite often.
Over 70 years of supporting the Blues have left me with a tendency to worry before games. I know that, regardless of who we are playing, we could lose. So Saturday mornings during football season usually find me worrying. But today, I can relax. I did all my worrying yesterday evening and saw Blues get a win. Blues went up to 4th in the Championship table. We’ll probably go down a few places after today’s results but I’m enjoying our elevation while it lasts.
Yesterday, I read Maybe I Don’t Belong Here by David Harewood. There were other things I meant to do but I didn’t do them; I became absorbed in the book and read it.
It’s about his life and his experience of psychosis, when his two halves, the black half and the English half, seemed to split. He wrote that at times he was able to fuse the two halves together but occasionally the gap between them was just too big. He discusses how this was related to the racist abuse he’d received. Black men in Britain are ten times more likely than white men to be diagnosed with a psychotic illness and four times more likely to be sectioned.
I watched the FA Cup Final on TV on Saturday hoping that Leicester would win. It was much easier to empathise with a club that had never won it than with a club like Chelsea. So, I was very happy when Leicester scored and won the Cup.
In my last post, before the game with Cardiff, I wrote that I would “not mind if Lee Bowyer experiments with the team and we lose”. He did experiment, we did lose, and I did mind. But I still think it was the right thing to do. Before the game with Blackburn, I thought that it was ok for him to experiment again but realised that I would mind if we lost. Before the game Bowyer talked about resting players and his team selection made it clear that the team was experimental. That helped me feel prepared though it felt strange that Bowyer was not there. I hope that whatever family business kept him away was not too bad and that it ends well.
I don’t enjoy final-game escapes from relegation, so It feels good to be safe with a couple of games still to play. As I thought about this, following our win against Derby on Saturday, it seemed as though we had had mainly final-game escapes. But when I checked our games since we were relegated in 2011, I found that we had escaped on the final day of the season four times and had been safe before that six times. Here is a summary of where we finished in those seasons.
This isn’t a post, it’s just a suggestion of what you should read. The first article I’d recommend is one by David Conn in yesterday’s Guardian, entitled After the Super League fiasco: five reforms that could save the game.
The five reforms are:
- Fairer distribution of money
- ‘Golden share’ in clubs for supporters
- Supporter representatives on club boards
- Strengthened and continual ‘fit and proper persons’ test
- An independent regulator
Also in the Guardian, there’s an article by Andy Burnham: After the Super League fiasco, we have one last chance to reclaim English football. He suggests legislation based on the German 50 +1 principle. It’s also worth reading.
The first time I went to watch football on a Good Friday was in 2015 and I was in two minds about going. I wrote about that in a post on this blog; I said,
Birmingham City lost 0-3 to Bristol City a week ago and that made me feel distraught. We lost 3-0 to Watford on Saturday and I felt bad but not distraught.
In theory I know that there are more important things in my life than Birmingham City FC. But in practice, I do not behave like that. I spent a lot of Monday and Tuesday, checking to see if there was any new news about the change of manager. Only when the club finally announced that Karanka had left and Lee Bowyer had arrived, did I manage to stop checking.
It has been reported that Aitor Karanka’s departure from Birmingham City will be formally announced this morning. Football is a results business and we have lost the last two games and are hovering just above the relegation zone. I was hopeful when Karanka was first appointed because he seemed to have a good relationship with Xuandong Ren, which I hoped might mean that the rapid turnover of managers would end. But it seems that he was sacked by Wenqing Zhao.
The photo at the top of this post is the one that I used on my very first post on this blog. I had been listening to the 2013 League Cup Final as I set up my website and I wrote that I hoped Bradford fans had stayed to applaud their team, who had lost to Swansea. When Arsenal lost to us, most of their fans left quickly and Birmingham City fans found ourselves in a stadium of two halves. One half filled with Blues fans and the other half almost empty. I hoped that, if we had lost, we would have stayed to thank our team for the effort they had made.
When Saturday Comes describes itself as “the half decent football magazine”. It is one that I subscribe to and its arrival injects a little bit of happiness into the day. The March edition also brought a surprise. It included a report of a Birmingham City game that Birmingham won. The game was our 0-1 win at Middlesbrough.