I feel sorry for Wigan after their loss tonight. In 2011 Birmingham City fans had a couple of months to enjoy our cup win before we were plunged into the misery of relegation; Wigan fans had just three days.
I don’t feel sorry that Aston Villa is now safe from relegation. I don’t hate the club or the fans, and didn’t want to see another West Midlands club drop out of the Premier League. I don’t think that most Birmingham City fans hate them either. Blues fans that live in or around Birmingham will have friends, colleagues or neighbours who support Aston Villa, and they will get along with them just fine. When they sing, “We hate the Villa”, what they mean is that they enjoy some banter. So I don’t condemn fans who sing the anti-Villa songs but I can’t join in the singing.
I can’t say I hate another group of human beings even if others regard it as harmless banter. It’s probably my age and my background that make me unable to partake. I was born during World War II and grew up hearing my parents talk about it. The horrors that were perpetuated on the Jews left a deep impression on our psyches and an awareness of the dangers of a them-us dichotomy. If we are playing Villa, then of course I want them to lose but when the game finishes the Villa fans are my friends and neighbours.
Yes, I do know I’m a bit odd.