Friday, August 15, 2008

Ain't No Sunshine

Driving to work the other day, listening to my daily ten minutes of 5 live, we were treated to an interview from the swimming pool with the aunt and uncle of a man who had just finished 4th in a race. The chap hadn't even won a medal, we didn't even get his mom and dad, we got his aunt and uncle and they were all from New bloody Zealand. What the chuff is going on?

When we are not being treated to hyperbole regarding a load of second rate athletes from obscure sports, the media is getting excited about the start of the new football season; they don't seem to have noticed that for the vast majority of football fans in this country, the season started last week. In fact Blues have played, and won, two games already.

We took a trip up last week to the big city, 7 of us in all, including 2 seven years olds making their first trips to a football match, one of whom was the son a Villa fan. Ho ho, ha ha, tee hee.

It was a wet and bedraggled bunch of Bluenoses who made their early way to the ground and I sensed very little excitement about the place, which was disappointing, if understandable. I remember my first game, getting on the choo choo at Tyesley with what seemed like hundreds of other Blues fans and then getting off at Bordesley and being carried along by a huge crowd, down the dark steps, into a tide of men and boys, all wearing Blues scarves, all happy, excited, laughing and larking about and full of optimism.

There didn't seem to be much of that about last week. It was almost as if people were turning up out of a sense of duty.

Much has been made lately (among Blues fans anyway) about the board and the match day experience, with most fans finally lacking gruntle. I say finally, because for far too long our fans have tolerated substandard fare, on and off the pitch. There have been articles in the local press, opinion has been sought, surveys have been compiled, so improvement was inevitable. I jest.

I don't buy programmes anymore, not for years and years and years, but when I did, you couldn't move for programme sellers inside or outside the ground. Two nippers were attending their first game, so a programme was required. I didn't think about it really, it was just sort of in my mind that I would get a couple as I passed one of the legion of vendors. Except there was no legion of vendors.

Not to worry, there is a little club shop near the main stand entrance, so I would go in, get a couple of hats and scarves and programmes. Asked for a programme, they don't sell them. In a club shop. Got the hats and there was no implement there to take the price tag off. A small thing, I know, but it might occur to someone that items bought on match days might actually be worn on match days. We didn't see a programme vendor at all after that.

I tried to smuggle two bottles of water in but Blues are on top of some things and I had no chance, and had to bid a fond farewell to the bottle tops. I had considered taking a camera, but I expect that the ever vigilant gateman would insist upon me removing the lens before I could gain entry. My brother went to the bog and while he was there decided to give his specs a little clean and went in search of bog roll. No bog roll. Twenty minutes before kick off at the first game of the season and no one had thought to put bog roll in the bogs. Mind you, you would have to be very desperate to take a shit in those bogs. First game or not, I did not go anywhere near the catering!

The game was a bit of a non event. Eck talks the passing game, but we see very little evidence of it and in the second half most of them resorted to their favoured tactic of just getting rid of the ball as quick as they could. Passing wasn't in it. But there can be no better way to win a dull game than with an injury time winner, when most rational people have long given up hope and headed home.

I felt a bit sorry for the nippers, because they are now surely condemned to a lifetime of misery, even the Vilers son went home clad head to foot in blue and white.

I was going to go on about the nauseating hypocrisy of America and our media in relation to to Georgia, but I can't, it's all too obvious and I am too tired and too forlorn, so you will have to make do with this article.
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