I was a bit more nervous than usual before the game on Saturday. I’d invited my nephew and his two daughters to the Bristol City game. I really wanted the children to enjoy it as it was the first game they had ever watched. You can’t guarantee enjoyment at a Birmingham City match so there was some fear mixed in with the expectation as we found our seats in the Family Zone.
My fear increased when Bristol City swept down the pitch and scored right in front of us but it turned out to be a good game to watch. The Twohundredpercent Football League Review described it as “eventful” in its one sentence on our game. (It had taken two paragraphs to describe Villa’s “very slow start to the season.”) The events included two home goals that triggered two great roars of celebration from the crowd, lots of tackles, shots that went wide, shots that were saved, some questionable refereeing decisions and a sending off. After Kieftenbeld was sent off, the crowd started to chant, “Off, off!” whenever a Bristol player tackled one of ours. The youngest child, the one we hadn’t expected to stay interested for the whole game, joined in with the chants.
It was a successful introduction to football; the children will have good memories of their first game. As a much older fan, with more experience of what can go wrong, I came away with concerns about the injury to Che Adams and the need for more options off the bench. But I’ve also learned to appreciate the joys when they come along so I’m trying to put off worrying until I go to the Bolton game tomorrow.