There’s no doubt that there’s a huge cloud over Birmingham City; The Two Unfortunates described it as “at ticking time bomb”.1 But I caught a glimpse of the silver lining at the game yesterday.
I was encouraged by our team’s performance against a better team and even more encouraged by the crowd’s reaction. There were more fans there than I expected as it is summer holiday time; home attendance was only 444 less than last season’s opener against Charlton.2 The minute’s silence before the game, in remembrance of Chucho, was respectfully observed. During the game, the crowd was supportive; there were some decent renditions of Keep Right On and many stood to applaud at the end of the game. It felt as though our crowd, our team and our manager were all on the same side and that felt very good.
It’s much harder to find a silver lining for Coventry City fans. They are down in League 1, have a 10-point deduction, will be playing their home games in Northampton, and had a pitch invasion during their 3-2 loss at Crawley.3 One bright spot for them is the support they are getting from supporters of other clubs and from Supporters Direct.4 SD has helped so many supporters and its growing influence is the upside of the disgraceful state of football governance in this country. As more clubs go through crises, there is a growing movement among supporters to reclaim the people’s game.
While I’m on the topic of supporters, I’d like to mention the Football Supporters Federation and commend all the advice and help they offer. I recently noticed their piece on smoke bombs, flares and firecrackers5; if you know anyone foolish enough to consider taking any of those to a match please send them the link. FSF also have handy advice for fans in trouble6 and a Section 27 factsheet.7