I fall far short of the stoicism lauded in the well known lines from Rudyard Kipling’s poem If:
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same”
I tell myself that football is only a game and not that important in the grand scheme of things but I don’t take any notice of my own advice. A win makes me happy; a loss makes me sad. Birmingham City’s win at Doncaster brightened my weekend and made me feel sure they would escape relegation. Their loss at Middlesbrough left me feeling they are doomed. I know I’m not the only one; I hear fans who are just as bad or worse on the football phone in shows. The next three weeks are going to be tense.
I’m afraid that relegation could be a disaster. Blues’ experience of League 1 might be very different to that of Wolves this season. We could, like Portsmouth, plunge right on down to League 2 and that might not be a walk in the park either. Portsmouth is just 5 points above the relegation zone and contemplating the possibility of Conference football next season. It’s a year since the club was bought by Portsmouth Supporters Trust and other supporters who individually invested amounts between £50,000 and £250,000. This has brought some stability but not instant success; it is not going to be easy to move back up.
Both Wolves and Portsmouth have continued to attract crowds that are much larger than usual in the lower tiers. At their home games on April 5th, the crowd at Wolves was 23,204 and at Portsmouth was 15,273. Birmingham had a crowd of 13,875 for their last home game on March 29th. Some Blues fans may return to St Andrew’s when we get new owners but there will be others who won’t. I’m afraid that we are losing a generation of fans because their parents and grandparents have stopped coming to games and aren’t bringing them.
Of course, Birmingham City fans are not the only ones feeling a bit tense. Spare a thought for Arsenal supporters who will be watching their team play Wigan at Wembley on Saturday, attempting to get through to the F A Cup Final. Arsenal are favourites but I would imagine that they might be feeling a bit more nervous than they did 3 years ago when they turned up at Wembley expecting to collect the Carling Cup.