Why bother?

Big flag 8/3/2014

For various non-football related reasons, I wasn’t in the best of moods at the start of Saturday’s game and felt even gloomier by the end of it.  There are some days when I can appreciate the positives about a game that Birmingham City loses, but Saturday wasn’t one of those days. The weather was lovely, the home crowd tried to be supportive, we had a big flag, our rag bag team weren’t humiliated by a team with much better players, and the player who scored QPR’s two goals was one that had been improved by his loan spell at Blues; I told myself all those things but it was just one of those days when it didn’t help. 

So why do I bother? I am not entirely sure myself. But I do know that I care about the team and the players.  I see them as human beings who, like me, sometimes have bad days and need encouragement.  I feel I’d be letting them down if I didn’t go to games. I still feel a sense of connection to the club.

So I’ll be there on Wednesday evening to watch them play Burnley and I hope that the cheaper ticket prices will encourage others to go too and we’ll have a decent sized crowd. I know that ticket prices are just one of several reasons why crowds have been so small but for some the cost is a real barrier.  These are tough times for many families and if they can’t afford to come to games and bring their children, we are losing a whole generation of supporters.

I think there is great value in any activity that helps a person to identify with a group outside his or her narrow social circle.  And supporting a football club certainly helps to do that.  Some people who know me at church or in a reading group have expressed surprise when they find out I go to football matches; I don’t fit their stereotype of a football supporter. Because I go to matches I know that all sorts of people can be football fans. I don’t like the obscenities I hear shouted by some fans or agree with all their opinions but I see them as fellow human beings not stereotypes.  I value that and fear for any society where people retreat into narrow circles of people like themselves.

I agree with Adrian Tempany* that the way the game is run nowadays is taking football away from ordinary people and that is sad. Me keeping on going to games isn’t going to do much but me and thousands of other fans going to games and lobbying for change might just reverse that trend.  That’s why I bother.

*Adrian Tempany: ‘I feel that football has been taken away from me’ : The author of And the Sun Shines Now explains how football has lost touch with its supporters since Hillsborough

11 thoughts on “Why bother?

  1. Rob Field

    I was a regular before the Yeovil game, taking both my lads, of the ages 8 and 6. After that game, feeling dejected and so so disapointed (not the first time I’ve left St Andrews like that, can I say?)
    My 8 year old turned round to me and asked.. “Do we have to come anymore Dad? They’re rubbish!”

    I replied. “no son. If you really feel that way, then no..”

    It pains and hurts me to say, that there’s another missing one from your generations of lost fans. This time it’s nothing to do with the costs. It’s basically down to the fact that the amosphere is non-existant and the football (especially that day) was, or is dire!!

    I’ll continue to go with my mates on the odd occasion now, but I’m hurting because I truly couldn’t wait for the day that I take my lads to the football. But now they’re both keen to follow the glory boys.. (Arsenal)

    Soz to be so miserable 🙁

    1. Puddleglum Post author

      Rob, so sorry to hear about your boys not wanting to go to games. I’ve included a suggestion for you in my post “Will positive thinking help?”

  2. Blooflame

    Nietzche said “Out of chaos comes order”. Well chaos best describes this club. Ineptness runs from the dreadful pies and services we have to endure, right through the team and clueless coaching staff and right up to the board who – in my PERSONAL VIEW – are little more than Con men. We actually don’t even protest properly, a banner ain’t gonna do it. This club is very close to administration and anything done now just papers over the cracks. If we wait for relegation and Then do it, we’ll be down there for absolute years. Blues fans drove out the best board a club could have anywhere whilst this lot can’t even be located (well we know where Yeung is). I just hope Nietzche is correct!

  3. nicko

    no we did not drive the last owners out if you recall david sullivan said 2 years prior he wanted to go to his boyhood club west ham and he would not put his childrens inheritance in to our football club thats when the supporters turned. also my mate is a big hammers fan and he told me the fans are not happy with them

  4. Eamon C

    It has been well over 12 months since myself and my son went down the Blues as we believe that a boycott until these owners go is the only way forward. In a moment of madness last Friday we decided to go to the match, partly to support the protests. I have to say it’s worse than I anticipated. The club is being destroyed by these owners and to be honest I cannot see a way out as the Blues fans are now split down the middle between those that go and those that don’t. The owners don’t care and will not go and for many Blues fans or should I say followers (those that watch from afar now and do not go) we will not return while the club and its future are being destroyed.
    I have told my son if I ever come up with the idea of going again with these owners in charge give me a quick clip around the ear and remind of the QPR match.
    I felt sorry for the people who organised the flag. By what I hear the club stitched them up with the size they would allow in, but at least they tried.
    God Help The Blues, because I think it is all that is left now.

    I have told my son if I ever come up with the idea of going again with these owners in charge give me a quick clip around the ear and remind of the QPR match.
    I felt sorry for the people who orgainised the flag. By what I hear the club stitched them up with the size they would allow in, but at least they tried.
    God Help The Blues

  5. Alan Watton

    I too am a church going individual who often feels uncomfortable in a football environment. I travel from the south coast to matches and it disturbs me that the foul mouths seem to appear as the train pulls out of Coventry and multiplies as I wander through the Bull Ring to the bus. Football chanting can be mild by comparison. For home matches I am out of the house 12 hours and since doing that trip Blues have won no games at St Andrews.
    I remember when my lad was 8 he had a period where he didn’t want to go but a couple of trips to Wembley restored his faith. He actually has a much more sensible approach to football now than I do.
    The Ken Wheldon Kumar era was without doubt ten times worse than anything we are currently suffering.
    So why bother? I remember walking up to the ticket office on the first day of sales for Wembley ,conducting my business in 30 seconds while the following days saw fans queuing for hours and so called regulars missing out.
    Small compensation you may think but a long way from standing on urine soaked terraces amongst 5,000, watching third division ‘rubbish’.
    I bother because I know that actually putting out a team each week and 36 points is a miracle. 13000 people are keeping the faith . Many of those who will turn up to Burnley will be hard up and there will be a fair number who are the ‘something for nothing merchants’ who, as you say drove out the best owners w have ever had and a couple of top managers.
    Protests look pretty hollow when the stadium is half full. That banner would be easier to get round the ground if the seats were all full.
    The old saying how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! The first bite (Carson in gaol) has happened. All logic says that he must sell .

  6. chris

    The old owners did little for the club.
    Their main positive was their cash flow, when we needed it for a new stand or to subsidise a season back in the Championship, they stumped up the cash up front, which is a major help for any club.
    The negative was it took them 9 years to get us into the Prem and even took us to League One.
    The only spent money that they would get back, when we got promoted twice they always got those Championship debts back.
    They always got the money spent on new stands back from the two share issue that the FANS bought to pay for these stands.
    Sulky Sully kept saying he wouldn’t go to away games as it was too far but i’ve seen him on tv up north supporting West Ham and as Niko says he kept moaning that he wanted out of the club and look at the money they have spent at West Ham. Under them we never had a player loaned for £2 million then bought for £17 million like Carroll, they gave us poxy Heskey at £6 million even Forsell didn’t cost that.
    I don’t expect a sugar daddy to run our club and it is unsustainable, i just make the comparison.
    Their heart was never in the club, it was a business.
    They started taking a wage of £250k or more.
    Then they finally sold the club down the river and didn’t seem to care who they sold to, unlike Ellis and Madjeski who wouldn’t sell their club’s to crook Yeung and his cohorts.
    How much did they investigate where the money was coming from or didn’t they care?
    Ellis employed Rothchilds to check prospective owners out what did Gold and Sullivan do?

  7. chris

    Sorry Margaret but we need a boycott, the club is slowly dying.
    Do you continue or put it out od it’s misery?
    The Blues Trust idea of Community Shares is one way, but we need to get this moving asap.
    Get the fund going and as the sums increase then more (hopefully) will join including myself.
    It’s about confidence in the scheme and trust and it seems to have worked at Portsmouth.
    That is my comparison, Portsmouth have been dying since 2009-10 relegation season, so we’re one season behind them and on the verge of League One unless we get 3 or 4 more wins, but where will they come from.
    So do we to continue to die for the next two or three years and sink further and lose more fans, players and admin staff (before anyone mentions them).
    15% of the staff have already gone and more will go or become part time jobs while the club slolwy deminishes.
    Or do we force the issue by stopping the boards income, have a fairly quick adimistration of 3 to 6 months during which time fans like my self would start going, so meaning the administrator could keep the admin staff on.
    There could be collections to keep them on and via community shares and a consortium in partnership with the Trust could buy the club.
    Last time it took us 4 months to find new owners, this time could be far quicker as the club is far more saleable that those dark days of the old ground and no prospective owners on the horizon.
    Sorry, but this slow death is dragging us all down and any young fans as mentioned above will decide not to go again and either follow another club or stop going to any football.

  8. chris

    Alan. the fans didn’t force out TF nor SB the G&S board forced out Trev and the G&S plus Yeung forced out Steve as neither of them would offer him a new contract so he walked and went to Wigan where he was wanted by it’s owner.

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