This season has started badly for me. I have watched Birmingham City play for 300 minutes and haven’t seen them score a goal. Goalless draws in the pre-season against Roda JC and the first League game against Cardiff were followed by a loss to Oxford in the League Cup. And that wasn’t the worst that happened; I have lost a friend and that hurts more than losing any game.
I got to know Mark Sutton because he was a member of Blues Trust and became a board member at our last AGM. He was thoughtful, kind and supportive – a lovely man. His illness prevented him from going to games during the the second half of last season but he hoped to be back at St Andrew’s this season. Sadly, his life ended as the season began.
Bad results depress me but, for me, winning games is not the most important thing in football. I value being part of a community of supporters and mixing with people that I would never know if I just stayed within a small circle of those who agree with me on politics and religion. It helps me to recognise other people as fellow human beings not stereotypes. That includes a wide range of people: some like Mark and some who are the exact, opposite – loud, contfrontational and foul-mouthed. It includes the two drunks who walked alongside me on my way back to town after the game on Tuesday night. I didn’t see them as football hooligans or a threat; they were just Blues fans who, like me, were feeling rather sad after watching Blues lose.