I just came across a cutting of an article in which Birmingham City were described as a “a graceless, over-physical and, in certain positions, staggeringly incompetent team”. It was describing a Blues team from the 1980’s. The article was about Coventry City’s frequent escapes in relegation battles and how their survival in 1984 sent Birmingham down. Mick Ferguson scored a goal that helped Coventry win on the last day of the season and end up above Birmingham, who could only get a draw. This was especially upsetting because he was a striker on loan from Birmingham City.
Reading about that reminded me of all the other lows that my club has experienced and wondering why the current problems feel so much worse. The obvious answer is that it feels worse because it is happening now and I have forgotten how awful the previous crises felt. I also was abroad for most of the 70’s and 80’s and didn’t experience the crises during those years.
However, I do feel that I can remember a time when the fans did a better job of supporting the team through the bad times. In my childhood, it seemed that the crowd always started to sing at the low points to encourage the players to keep trying. I may be looking back through rose-tinted glasses, but the fans didn’t seem to give up back then. I feel that we fans have given up at times this season, when we felt so miserable that we haven’t been able to keep trying to encourage the team. I’m not sure why this happens but fans seem to think that paying good money to get into a game entitles them to see a good game. When I was young, it didn’t cost much to get in and it seemed worth the money for the excitement and noise even if we lost.
I do believe that the crowd can make a difference in a game. And that is why I feel so low after some games. It’s a sense of guilt because I feel that I have not supported my team well enough.