As Jasper Carrott once said, “You lose some, you draw some.” And Birmingham City have drawn their last four league games. And a draw doesn’t seem quite so good as it did when we drew with Wolves in November, a magnificent result in comparison with our 0-8 loss in the previous game. Our expectations have changed. A few months ago the priority was avoiding relegation but now some fans are thinking we might make the playoffs.
When I’m watching a game I always want us to win it but am not sure I want us to get promoted. If you want to watch the most skilful players then, sure, the Premier League is the place to be. But, unless your team has mega rich owners, the chances are that you will be watching skilful players demolish your team. And life is not all sweetness and light for the supporters of the top teams either. Many have been priced out of attending games by rip-off ticket prices and feel that the prawn sandwich brigade has destroyed the atmosphere in their stadiums.
Last summer, when I went on the fans march in London, I met Matthew Bazell. He is an Arsenal fan who doesn’t go to Arsenal games anymore because the tickets are too expensive and the Emirates is soulless and silent. He has written a book-length rant called Theatre of Silence: The Lost Soul of Football. If you enjoy listening to fans venting on phone-in shows or want some ammunition for arguing in the pub, then you’ll enjoy this book. The second edition has a forward by Rod Liddle, a Millwall fan, and a chapter by John Lydon, Sex Pistols singer/songwriter. Bazell says that it “is not a book about falling out of love with football; it’s about the game losing its heart to money”. He believes that without passionate crowds and terrace humour the drama of football is incomplete.
I agree. Football is not just about the results. I prefer it when we win but even when we lose I can enjoy being part of the crowd if the atmosphere is good. On January 24th, I came away from our cup loss to WBA feeling glad that I’d been there.