It’s currently around the 78th minute mark and Blues have just conceded their 4th Derby goal. Let’s be honest, this game’s been over since the 17th minute, but being the glutton for punishment that I am, I’m still sat on the living room floor surrounded by Christmas chocolate and empty beer cans whilst the daughter’s Duplo train goes round the sad, fat heap of despair that is Mark Watson.
2020 has been one long kick in the goolies for all of us but throw being a Blues fan into the mix and it’s the kind of punishment that you’d have to pay good money for in a Japanese shibari club… don’t Google that kids.
Demanding “pashun” from the players has become somewhat of a meme on social media but it’s a simple request that resonates from the heart of the fan base. Just show that you care…
I haven’t written anything for a while – mainly due to my focus being on the Fat Lads Go In Goal Podcast (subscribe now!) and I’d have hoped that I’d return to blogging in happier times but let’s be honest, this season has been pathetic so fair and I feel like ranting my hairy ginger tits off!
Before that though, let’s start with the positives shall we. Erm… the green third kit is jolly nice isn’t it? Oh, and the ongoing lockdowns, tier systems and general government make-it-up-as-they-go-alongarisms have meant that fans are not currently allowed in the stadium so we don’t have to actually make an effort to watch this dross.
Now, onto the bad.
You know the phrase “would you rather be punched in the face or kicked in the balls”? Well with Blues it’s more a case of “would you rather be bored and frustrated or emotional and angry?” Because that’s essentially what’s on offer at the moment. Turgid, bore-draw, 0-0 football or pathetic, spineless losses – and in some cases batterings.
As is typical in these times of torment, one must invoke the name of Gary Rowett. Blues’ form had taken a slight turn for the worse back in December 2016 but we were sitting pretty just outside the playoff places when the powers-that-be decided it was time to bring in the coaching genius of Gianfranco Zola. We weren’t exactly taking the world by storm at that period of time but we knew what we were, we understood our capabilities and more importantly we had a manager that seemed to accentuate our strengths whilst making every effort to hide our weaknesses.
However, much like the Spanish Inquisition, no one expected the Chinese Indicision! Dong Ren the wannabe football manager and his team of suitably oblivious morons jumped at the chance to throw themselves into the limelight and decided that Birmingham City – the long ball merchants – should now become a squad of tiki-taka whizz kids. Brilliant.
The old guard got pushed out and in came a cast of B-Movie blokes with poncey haircuts and YouTube highlight reels.
Out went Ryan Shotton, Michael Morrison, Johnathon Grounds, Tommy K and the like, whilst Dutch Mike was also halfway up the M42 to join his former manager. In their place came Keita, Sinclair, Nsue, and later under Redknapp; N’doye.
I’m not a big proponent of ‘team identities’ but whatever insignia we used to have is long, long gone. Dong and his cohorts wanted entertaining football. We just wanted 3 points on a Saturday.
These invaders entered our fair city and tried to dictate our wants and needs. Whilst I have no doubt about their business acumen (that’s a lie, I have a LOT of doubts about it) their ability to run a football club day-to-day is laughable.
However! For once Dick and Dong are not the sole focus of my vitriol today.
No, this article is dedicated to the gutless, feckless, soulless passion vaccums that get paid an absolute bloody fortune to wear our shirt and kick a bag of wind around for 90 minutes.
We’re Blues fans. We know what we are. Our successes are few and far between but by God we’re a passionate bunch. Demanding “pashun” from the players has become somewhat of a meme on social media but it’s a simple request that resonates from the heart of the fan base. We don’t have delusions of grandeur. We KNOW we’re not going to win all – or even the majority of games, but we are SO EASY to win over. Just show that you care… Should be simple eh?
A very good friend of mine likes to describe the last few years at St Andrews as a “cancer” or a “disease” – essentially stating that there’s an ethos of “not my fault guv!” within the dressing room, and by George that’s an accurate summation. Shaggy would be proud.
When things go well on the pitch, we have the ability to pull off something special. We looked great against Bristol City and Reading. We looked very capable against Watford and we weren’t completely down and out for a large part of the Cardiff game. But the number of individual errors is creeping higher and higher and the distinct refusal to take accountability for any of these actions speaks volumes.
Cards on the table; I’m not a big fan of Harlee Dean as a player or persona. Contrary to popular belief, he does in fact give the ball (and penalties) away quite frequently. He also has an interesting history on social media regarding calling certain people “cowards” and reinforcing Covid-19 conspiracy theories, but that’s by-the-by. What truly concerns me is that we have a captain that talks the talk but fails to walk the walk.
Following the first lockdown he filmed a faux-passionate interview in which he blamed everyone (expect for himself) for the run of horrific results. On the surface it was goddamn inspirational. What followed though? More horrific results, players visibly frustrated with each other and the reprisal of the blame game.
George Friend is a leader.
Adam Clayton is a leader.
Lukey Jukey is a leader.
Harlee Dean wears an armband.
As with every loss, fans took to social media calling for Karanka’s head following the 4 – 0 loss to Wayne Rooney’s Wayne Rooney County FC. But I ask, what difference would it make?
Ok, Karanka isn’t working, maybe it’s his tactics? Too defensive with an emphasis on counter attacking! We should get someone in that will play the ball on the ground! Someone like… ZOLA!
Ok, no, we need a steady hand. A name we can rely on. Someone with a proven Premier League track record like… REDKNAPP!
Ah, that didn’t work either…
See what I’m saying? We’ve TRIED different tactics, different styles and different “identities”. Even with Monk we shrugged off in-game tactics and opted for team spirit instead. That also ended in a relegation battle. Ok, the points deduction didn’t help but we were still slipping down the table prior to that.
Should we sack Karanka? No. Should he leave of his own accord? For his own mental well-being, he probably should because whilst this crop of passengers are still wearing the shirt he’s faced with an ever-elevating uphill battle.
We’ve chopped and changed so bloody much over the last 4 years that I just don’t recognise my club any more. Hell, even the home shirt is a cheap, Nike-third-party knock-off inspired by Ipswich Town!
I want to end on a positive note, I sincerely do. But at this current moment in time, as the Duplo train makes it’s 87th passing through the beer can forest before weaving through the Cadbury wrapper caverns, I’m not sure I see one.
Will we go down? I honestly think we have enough talent in our squad to survive and teams like Sheffield Wednesday are politely doing us a favour by self-destructing at our feet. But do I WANT us to go down…? Damn, that’s a hard question.
Hand on heart, no. No I don’t. But unless anyone else can think of a way of pressing the reset button on our ongoing plight, I can’t help but consider the positive repercussions.
I actually feel a bit sick typing that.
Up the bloody Blues I guess. Whatever doesn’t kill you apparently only makes you stronger…!