June, 2005. A web petition is circulating around most of the Birmingham City fan sites and in boxes of fans. It’s mission? To ensure that a payer, touted by many as a ‘racist thug’, is prevented from signing his name on a contract for the club. The move collapses and the manager at the time, Steve Bruce, personally calls the press from his holiday in Portugal to express his anguish and disappointment.
May, 2009. Blues fans in their thousands cross their fingers as one of the most influential players in the second half of their promotion season discusses, with his agent and club representatives, a deal to turn his loan into a permanent move. Fans have praised his work rate, his ability and his desire. He has been instrumental in their promotion.
It’s a world apart.
Or is it?
The player I’m talking about is, Lee Bowyer and four years ago I was one of the minority that looked on helpless and bemused as thousands of Bluenoses complained and 271 of the congregation signed the petition that ultimately blew his move out of the water.
For me, Lee Bowyer has demonstrated an amazing commitment to the cause whilst he’s been with us, he has genuinely made me forget why people went as far as they did all that time ago.
But, looking back on the events, what has changed in four years? Lee Bowyer hasn’t yet managed to fit a flux capacitor to the back of a DeLorean, hit 88 miles per hour and change his past with the help of a fuzzy white haired professor. If he had I’d have been in touch and be writing this from a mansion in Sorrento whilst in a bath of the EuroMillions winnings.
He still has the same history as three years ago, he is still the same person and the same player.
Yet this time around, his loan move happened without hassle and he got the same chance he would have been given four years ago. No petition, no protest, no worries. We’re now even hoping he signs for us permanently.
It’s a fickle game, isn’t it?