Strutting or mopping up the mess?

While browsing online I came across a couple of articles about two very different men.

One article1 was about Tim Lovejoy, the TV presenter who announced that BT Sport had secured the rights to show Champions League games and described it as “really good news for football fans”.  It doesn’t seem like good news for any fan who wants to watch top-class football on terrestrial television.  

The other article2 was a profile of Brian Lomax, a man who is less well known than many TV presenters but who has made a great deal of difference in the world of football.  In 1956, when he was 7 years old, he was Altrincham’s only away fan, cycling round to watch them play.  When he was 11 he wrote a letter to the local paper that prompted 2 businessmen to buy the club and save it from liquidation.  In 1992, he set up the first supporters’ trust to help save Northampton Town, the club his daughter supported.

Brian Lomax was the pioneer of supporter involvement and supporter ownership of football clubs. Before he worked for Supporters Direct, he worked for Mayday, a charity that helped homeless people take increasing responsibility for their own lives.  He felt that the principles underlying the housing charity also applied to football: “empowering ordinary people, changing the system to transfer responsibilities to the powerless.”

There’s a poem3 by Ursula Fanthorpe that describes different groups of people involved in a performance of Shakespeare’s Richard III.  The actors strut around the stage portraying powerful people, the audience discusses the performance and, afterwards, the cleaners come in to clean up the mess.

Tim Lovejoy, like the actors in a play, poses in the spotlight.  But Brian Lomax was like the cleaners who were down on their hands and knees, “laughing and mopping up.”

And that’s where we may need to be one day — we who support Birmingham City or any other endangered club — we may need get down on our hands and knees and help clear up the mess.

  1. BT Sport’s Tim Lovejoy is poster boy for game’s lost soul
  2. Brian Lomax – a supporter pioneer ahead of his time
  3. Afterwards by U A Fanthorpe

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