There’s a huge gap between what I wish for and what I expect to see happen. If I found myself in the middle of a fairytale with someone promising to grant three wishes for Birmingham City, I’d ask that Blues could play good football, attract large crowds and be owned by supporters who cared about the club. In other words, I’d like them to be like Barcelona.
In real life, my expectations are much lower. I am satisfied if the standard of football is not completely dreadful and the attendance is not embarrassing. I will consider any change of ownership an improvement over the current set-up if the new owners come to games, listen to supporters and bring financial stability to the club.
I will always want my club to do better but can be content without the success that some fans crave. At the game yesterday I heard one man say that Birmingham should be a top ten club, meaning top ten in the Premier League. If that is taken as the definition of a successful club, then there are eighty-two unsuccessful clubs in the leagues. Ignoring league structure and assuming everything else is equal, each club has a one in nine chance of being in that top ten. It is not worth attempting more complicated calculations (taking league structure, promotion and relegation into account) because everything else is not equal. Everything is weighted in favour of the big clubs. The ones who are at the top now are going to stay at the top because they have the money to buy success.
I probably enjoy the games more than most because I do have low expectations. I don’t expect the players to be consistently good and I am happy with short bursts of skilful play. I can forgive a multitude of misses by a player who scores one good goal. As someone who was totally useless at games, I know that all the players on the field do far better than I could ever have done. I also believe that they play better than almost all of the spectators could. There may be a few who are watching rather than playing due to bad luck but most of the crowd don’t have the talent or fitness to play professionally. Judging from the agonised voices I hear yelling technical advice, my enjoyment may also be boosted by my lack of understanding of the finer points of football. It must be more painful for those who not only see that things are going wrong but can also analyse why.
I enjoyed going to the game yesterday. I enjoyed walking through town and seeing something of the St George’s Day event, including seeing Titus O’Neil, a massive WWE wrestler, having his photo taken with a group of Morris dancers. As I walked through Digbeth, I saw Blues fans, Leeds fans and police but no signs of trouble. I thought that Blues played well and I don’t think it was just the sunshine that made everything seem better. The misses in front of goal were frustrating but we did get some chances. I feel that some of the criticism of Mullins has been unduly harsh so was glad when Redmond’s shot came back for him to score. I expect the bookies were glad too; not too many would have bet on Mullins to score the first and only goal of the match. There were some nervous moments as I wondered if we could hang on to our lead and I was very relieved when Robinson made a magnificent clearance at the death. Warm sunshine and a win; what more could anyone ask for?