On one occasion, while I was living in the USA, an American friend asked me if we celebrated July 4th in England. I told her, no, we didn’t celebrate our defeats.
We do, however, celebrate retreats and living to fight another day. The phrase ‘Dunkirk spirit’, defined in my dictionary as ‘stoicism and determination in a difficult or dangerous situation, especially as displayed by a group of people’, is regarded as a British virtue. I also think of it as a characteristic of my generation of Birmingham City supporters. We have learned to cope with defeat and some of us have even learned to be content with it as long as we survive to fight another day.
At the end of last season, we celebrated our survival in the Championship. Eight of the players that were in the squad for the final game at Bolton have now departed. Some will be forgotten; when I looked at the list I found I had already forgotten Aaron Martin. Other players, such as Burke and Zigic whose departures were confirmed this week, will be remembered for much longer. Now that pre-season training has started, it’s time to look forward to next season. My hope is that the spirit that was displayed at Bolton will be a characteristic of the new team that is being formed now. It’s clear that we won’t have the most talented players but I can survive as a supporter if they display determination, effort and some skill. And, although I can exist on heroic defeats, I hope for more home victories.
Have a happy July 4th.