Often Partisan

Hope Springs Eternal

It’s been a hard week to write articles about Birmingham City. Sunday will be one of the most important weekends in the year as our Premier League fate will be decided for this season, and it’s because of that I’m struggling to write. I’m hoping like hell we’ll stop up – and the fear of us going down is getting to me.

An often quoted aphorism goes “it’s the hope that kills you”, and to a degree it’s true. I know that the more I hope we don’t go down, the more it’s going to upset me if it actually happens. Thus, like most people I’ve tried to employ the defence mechanism of being pessimistic and assuming we’re doomed. The problem is that I can’t do it; I want to believe that Blues can stay up, and the longer the week goes on the more hopeful I become. Any straw I can clutch at is gratefully grabbed; the more I think about it the more my heart overrules my head and I think fate can intervene on our side.

From reading the various messageboards around, I don’t think many people share that hope. I think the whole gutlessness of the defeat to Fulham has knocked the wind out of many people’s sails, and you can see the resignation in the hearts of a lot of Blues fans to a season at least in Championship. I don’t blame them; the way we’ve played recently isn’t deserving of a place in the Premiership, and you have to wonder if the players are going to be able to up their game in the crunch. The lack of bottle, of passion and fight shown against Fulham was truly alarming; it wasn’t just a poor performance but it was one that has to have sown seeds of doubt in the player’s own minds. Belief is an important tool in sports psychology – the players need to believe that they can win as much as the fans do.

Despite this, there are moments in the not too recent history where Blues have snatched victory (or at least a good draw) from the jaws of defeat – off the top of my head right now I can think of Stern John in the last minute against Millwall in the 2001/2 playoff semi; Stern John in the last minute in the game at Villa Park in February 2004; or, from this season Obafemi Martins against Arsenal in the League Cup final. I suppose this is what makes it worse – we Blues fans know that the team is capable of great achievements, but all too often this season they’ve failed to live up to the bar they have set themselves.

I won’t be going to White Hart Lane, and I’ve given a lot of thought as to where I will be watching the game. Part of me wants to bury my head in the sand, take in the Middle Earth weekend at Sarehole Mill and resign myself to the fact we’re going down. Part of me wants to watch the game at home, with the comfort of messageboards and twitter to see how other people are feeling. And yet part of me, the hopeful bit, thinks I should  head to the pub to watch Blues triumphantly stay up in the company of friends and beer. I’m jealous and slightly in awe of those going to Spurs to see the game; I don’t think my nerves could stand it and I hope Blues acquit themselves well for those fans. Obviously, a last day escape would be amazing to celebrate in the ground but the fear of being relegated, and having your face shown on Sky, tears in your eyes… well, it’s not something I think I could do.

In all this though, I have to remember that hope is a good thing. Hope is sometimes the only thing that keeps us believing that one day Blues will be a team up there with the best; that they’ll make us proud. I’m reminded of a quote from one of my favourite films, and I’m going to leave you with it. For all the pessimism, for all the cynicism, all we fans can do is hope for the best.

“Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

from “The Shawshank Redemption”

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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3 Responses to “Hope Springs Eternal”

  • Martin Dalzell says:

    Excellent article – sums up totally how it feels to be a Blues Nose this week.
    You are right about hope increasing as the week goes on – I’m now thinking of a 1-0 Jerome scorecast!

    I think Pope recommends you watch the match from home…
    “Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
    Man never Is, but always To be blest:
    The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
    Rests and expatiates in a life to come. ”


  • Daniel says:

    Well, I am still thinking whether to watch a dodgy stream on Sunday or ignore it altogether and just look up results on Sunday evening and submit myself to either being up or going down.

    Just like in the words of Vfl Bochum supporters here used to sing (rough translation) “We’re going down, we’re going up and inbetween UEFA Cup !”

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t really want to go down, but I am already trying to cope with the thought.

  • […] the day we’ll find out if we’re going to be plucky survivors, or relegated victims. As I alluded to a couple of days ago, it’s been difficult knowing what to write – I want to be positive […]

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