Birmingham City’s loss to Brighton was very disappointing and seemed like the end of our chance of going up. But worrying about not getting into the playoffs is less stressful than worrying about relegation. I can remember how miserable I felt walking away from White Hart Lane after we were relegated in 2011. But it felt better to be there, with other Blues fans, than listening on the radio. So 3 years later I went up to Bolton dreading another drop. But relegation was narrowly averted by Paul Caddis’ last minute equaliser so I remember it as a great game. In reality most of it was miserable and it was that misery that made the final few minutes seem so magnificent.
Now Bolton are going down, 4 years after relegation from the Premier League. It isn’t the first club to drop down another league after coming down from the Premier League and both Swindon and Wolves suffered a second consecutive relegation. Bouncing straight back up is not guaranteed though Birmingham managed it twice.
I know that some Blues fans are looking forward to the relegation of Aston Villa but I’m with Gary Rowett on this. He has said he will take no pleasure in it and neither will I. Next season I will want to get 6 points off them and end up higher in the table but now I just feel sorry for their fans. I can hear the pain in their voices as they describe watching players who don’t seem to care. I empathise because watching my team surrender to Bournemouth last season was worse than watching them go down fighting at Spurs in 2011.
At least one Midland’s team is having a great season and I’m enjoying seeing Leicester at the top. It’s easy for older football fans, such as me, to forget that younger fans have no experience of football before the Premier League. And I agree with Paul Wilson’s analysis of why Leicester City’s success has been greeted with enthusiasm by so many supporters, it’s because it stirs memories of a time when champions might come from anywhere and not just from the top four clubs.
This evening, as always, I’ll be hoping for a win and expecting to see the players put in an effort. Although reaching the playoffs seems improbable, the win at Reading has raised my hopes and I know that hope won’t completely die until it’s mathematically impossible to get into the top six.