To be authentic in the new approach to the blog, I had wanted to start blogging about Blues and life as an exiled Bluenose from the moment I touched down in Australia. This hasn’t strictly been possible although that said, Blues didn’t play until today – my second morning in the country. From memory, I think we played Sheffield Wednesday but I’m not entirely convinced my memory isn’t playing tricks on me. Jet lag can be a funny thing – apparently – and whilst I’m not entirely sure I have it (yes, it is a contagious disease, did you not know?) I’m off my food, things taste weird and my head is messed up trying to work out what time it is in various parts of the world. I’m convinced that Blues kicked off at 3 separate times last night.
As I sit here in my Sydney hotel room – a Sydney hotel room with a spectacular view that I’m not allowed to look at because I can’t open the curtains because Mrs Aff is still in bed – I don’t know much of what is going on in the football world back home. I have zero credit on my UK mobile phone and haven’t picked up an Aussie sim card yet and the internet price in the hotel is astronomical so I’m blogging this in notepad. Which is frustrating. But not as frustrating as having to blog quickly because I can’t find a plug converter in any of the suitcases despite knowing that some were packed in our 65kg’s of luggage in the UK on Wednesday.
I wonder who scored for Blues… I know we won 3-1. I used my last pennies on my international roaming allowance to text someone to find out the score about an hour ago. I should’ve text a bloke, really. I made a fatal mistake. I text a woman. I text my mum. I wish my dad wasn’t such a technophobe and actually had a mobile phone. Mum let me know that we won 3-1 but failed to mention the scorers, attendance or how we played. She took up the rest of the message with soppiness about how I she already misses me. Yeah, yeah. I think us retaining our position as league leaders is more important.
I hopped out of bed after finding out the score and after a quick dance and celebratory “We are top o’ the league!” around the hotel room in my underpants, I jump in the shower. I spent my bathing time thinking about 15 men and how their performance would be measured back home. In fact, I’ve done a lot of thinking about Blues since I arrived, really. I’ve sought out a bit of a ‘Blues patch’ (they don’t sell them in Chemists from what I can tell so I think I’m on my own) and ended up catching a tiny bit of Melbourne Versus Sydney on free-to-air TV. Well, I tried but we were out to dinner with relatives-in-law and they don’t have the same laws that we do in the UK – it’s not acceptable to ignore someone you haven’t seen in four years if there’s a decent game on the telly, even moreso if it’s a decent sized telly.
I had planned to at least get a hit of English football with Manchester United travelling to Everton set to be screened on Fox Sports at 10 PM – Live. I had been looking forward to it but I ended up doing a favour for a relative and ended up getting back to the hotel to catch the last 3 minutes. I have no clue who scored and when and having just recently taken the lead in my Fantasy Football League at fantasy.premierleague.com with a storming run of good form thanks to key changes (Rooney for Torres, practically the whole of the Arsenal midfield for Bentley and one or two others) at clever times, I’m a bit apprehensive that it may come to a shuddering halt and that I may be overtaken by someone gobby from Yorkshire (hello, sis.)
Still, I did manage to see most of the second half of Sunderland-Newcastle – what a goal from Richardson to seal the win – and the first half of the Baggies versus Hull before falling into a much needed coma-like sleep. How typical that the Tigers banged in three second half goals to seal a convincing win (saw it on Sky News Aus this morning although typically, they didn’t do a round up of matches nor did they talk about The Championship) and that I simply couldn’t stay awake to witness it. Still, it was nice to see a little piece of home on the old idiot box. I didn’t live too far from The Hawthorns in Brum and it made me feel a little bit closer anyway. I’m already a touch homesick. Or I’m just weepy that Blues might’ve played well and I missed it. Or more to the point, missed the potential positive reaction to it.
And that leads me nicely onto what I did in the shower. I thought about blokes. More specifically, the ones that play in blue and white at St Andrew’s. There’s been a lot of negativity at Blues this year and I dislike that. I dislike that immensely. At the beginning of the season, I decided that I would start to enjoy football again. A hobby should be something to be enjoyed rather than whinged about and over the last few years, I can’t remember too many times when I’ve thought “You know what? I’m really enjoying this. Being a Blues fan is FUN, following Blues is something I’m glad I do.” And so I made a decision to enjoy this season, to realise and appreciate the positives and generally try and look at life as a Blues fan in a more positive way.
That’s not to say that everything the club and the manager do is right and that players should be excused for not performing or acting inappropriately. It’s about looking at Blues and what goes on comparatively. Comparing us to other fans and what goes on with them and what goes on here and asking whether we’re expecting too much or whether other clubs would be happy being treated the same way that Blues fans are or examining whether other clubs would love to be just where Blues are. I happen to think that as I type this, twenty-three other Championship clubs would love to be where Blues currently are.
Thus far, I’ve stuck to this ‘Polyanna’ approach. I think that name will stick. It was coined on the forum section of Joys & Sorrows and whilst I’m not entirely sure what it means (over-the-top enthusiastic and positive to the point of annoyance?), I think I quite like the name. And not just because it gives me the opportunity to wear dresses and high heels whenever I fancy. But because I’d like to believe that somewhere buried in the bowels of the Birmingham City apathy are fellow souls who believe that “You know what, it’s not all as bad as we all think it is.”
And I hope those souls don’t embarrass our kind by saying things like “Yeah but at least the Kumars don’t own the club.” or “It could be worse, we could be Rochdale.” If you’re thinking that’s what I am, you’ve misunderstood or I haven’t explained it properly. You’ll have to forgive my lack of clarity. I’m jet lagged…
But onto this morning’s performance. It’s hard to write a report of any sort of opinion without knowing any details about the match other than the scoreline. However, hacks in national newspapers seem to do it all the time. My favourite was one that I read in the Daily Star on the way up to Sheffield on a National Express coach. I can’t remember which game it was but the reporter said that we’d played well thus far that season purely based on the fact that we were top of the division. I wish I could remember his name or which game it was. I would’ve packed it but space is at a premium when you travel internationally you know.
At this point, Mrs Aff rose from her pit so packing and checking out had to occur and thus this article was left untouched for over a week. I was going to go on and wonder about the reaction to the game, how a good win at home was received and how far it had gone to lift the doom and gloom that currently envelopes St Andrew’s. After all, as far as I’m concerned, we’ve played some decent football at times this season but because the goals tally hasn’t quite reflected that, a lot of fans still believe that we’re not an attractive side to watch. I disagree and although we’re not where I believe we could be – or when McLeish wants us to be – there’s definitely positive steps and the football is steadily improving.
As I lay in my hotel room, I wondered whether we’d a) Played exceptionally well b) Played no better than at other times this season but produced the goals to match what some of our play has merited. A week later and I’m still no closer to knowing the truth. I’ve read the odd report (none that I really trust) and opinions but it’s hard to know whether goals scored has influenced the general tone of the observer. After all, had we nicked another 1 or 2 against Barnsley earlier in the season – and we could’ve considering how we started the second half with Quincy in particularly looking dangerous.
And I suppose that’s the problem with forming opinions from anything but your own attendance at a game. Despite only being an occasional visitor to St Andrew’s at home, the problem with being an exile is already apparent. At least at home, occasional visits can act as a yardstick of where the side is an how it’s all progressing. Especially when matched up with opinions of those you respect and certain match reports, you just have to be selective about who to listen to. Plus, highlights were easy to come by back home – over here, not so much. Especially for a team plying its trade in the Championship. So far, I haven’t found a single highlights package from The Championship although I’m sure I’ve read on the Yahoo Aussie Bluenose Group that such a show exists.
And TV leads me nicely into the Coventry City game. I’m going to conveniently skip over Queens Park Rangers away because:
a) I was on dial up watching it on the text updates on the Blues site
b) It was 6 AM and I’m still not completely with this ‘times upside down’ thing
c) We lost and this goes against my new Polyanna approach
Hopefully you’ve got a taste of the direction that the blog is going to follow from this point on. Mainly me getting up at stupid hours, trying to follow a game via text updates or half a commentary via Blues World and then making excuses as to why I can’t commit to an opinion, especially when this opinion is negative.