Monday, May 23, 2011

Dead And Gone

I finally finished the John Irvin. God, what a slog. I wouldn’t recommend it. It all got a bit tedious and for large chunks of it, Irvin was just showing off. I find Martin Amis and Will Self do this a lot. They dazzle us with their skill and expertise as wordsmiths, and you spend half the book admiring their craft, as opposed to being engrossed by it.

The football season was a bit of a tedious slog as well, for Blues fans anyway. Not all Blues fans; some Blues fans will recall only the victory in the Carling Cup and will forget the sheer misery and drudgery of the long journey from August. That’s fine, I wouldn’t blame ‘em for that. It’s not as if our history is laden with trophies, and for most fans, a victory at Wembley in a major (OK, a little bit major, a little bit minor) final could well be the absolute highlight of their Blues supporting career.

I’m a bit less forgiving. There are fans out there who are more tolerant than me, who point out that the injuries we have had endured, the signings that didn’t quite come off, and the untimely bans, have all hit us hard. I say that apart from one purple patch last season, we have been awful to watch, and we weren't exactly pretty in the purple patch. Even yesterday, fighting for our lives, we were ultra cautious. It is our lack of goals that got us into this mess, so what did we do in the deciding game of the season? We tried to avoid defeat. We put all our efforts into not conceding. Even when we equalised, Eck was about to bring Murphy on, even though it was extremely likely we would need another goal. In the end he realised we did need another goal, and sent men forward, but the last 5 minutes of an away game, in the last game of the season isn’t really the time to start swashing yer’s a bit late in the day.

Being a Blues fan, I’m used to disappointment. I’m well acquainted with the Immutable Law that the bastards will always let you down, and, having been gutted for about half an hour after the final whistle, I adjusted. We Blues fans aren’t in it for the glory. I don’t really care who we play, so long as we are playing. I enjoy supporting the Blues, I enjoy going to the Blues, I enjoy the matchday experience, I really don’t care who we are playing. So it’s OK.

Except it might not be OK. It might be, but it might not, no one really knows. Our owners seem to be a bit secretive when it comes to finance. There have been reports that they don’t have a pot in which to piss, and they really haven’t done or said much to persuade me that these reports are inaccurate. Blues fans with bigger brains than me have analysed whatever financial information is out there, and have declared that these reports are nonsense, and that big London media is simply engaging in a witch hunt against little old us. I’m not convinced, and I would like the board to now tell us what their plans are for the coming season. It would be nice to know what’s coming. Good or bad.

The position of Eck also concerns me. The press has been muttering over the last week that he will be on his bike whatever the outcome of yesterdays game. I won’t shed any tears, either way. Bad luck hasn’t got us relegated, our ultra cautious style of play has and Eck is responsible for that. Someone pointed out that we scored less goals last season in finishing 9th than we did this season. That is not a stat I feel particularly proud of. So, if he goes, he goes, but I wouldn’t urge it. If he stays, I hope he realises that we need to be a bit more potent, but I can’t see it happening; he seems a bit stubborn.

I mentioned the other day that when Eck arrived I like his honesty and his dignity, but he said a couple of things this season that have baffled me. Sometime around January, he had a little moan about the strikers, and said that we create enough chances, we just don’t take them often enough. This is just plain wrong, and, if he really believes what he said, it is worrying, because our problem has been creating chances. I’m not a huge admirer of Cameron Jerome, but sympathy has to be extended to him, as every chance he misses is magnified, because it means more than it would for other clubs, because it might be 3 fucking weeks before another chance comes his way. Then, yesterday, he said relegation “is not a fail” Well, that’s just barking. I’m getting a bit worried about his mind set.

Whether he stays or goes, I hope a decision is made very quickly. This is no time to fuck about. We need to get on, and plan for the coming season. Those that are going should go, quickly, those that are arriving should arrive, quickly. We need a cohesive squad and we need them all together from day one of pre season training. We don’t want a bunch of strangers lining up with each other on the first day of the new season.

Some fans are worried that we might lose our stars, which begs the question, what stars? I genuinely believe that our biggest problem will be getting shot of them, not keeping them. Foster and Johnson apart, which of these players, who have barely created a chance, never mind a goal, for two seasons, will be in demand? Which of them have enhanced their reputation? Gardner, possibly, but I couldn’t see him being more than a squad player in any other team.

You could almost have an intermediate league, between the prem and the championship, made up of about 10 to 15 teams like us, made up of players who aren’t quite good enough for the top half of the prem. Most of our current players fit that bill, so, if we keep most of ‘em, as I suspect we will, we should be really strong next year, but who know what will happen? Yesterday is over, today is a new day, and a new beginning, I have no idea what is around the corner, but fuck me, I’m looking forward to it.

Onwards, boys, if not necessarily upwards!
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