Often Partisan

Ideals of Success

I guess there will be a plethora of postings on Blues boards this weekend about “this time last year”, but having sat here watching videos of the final and what-not I thought I’d add my two-pennorth.

I read this article by The Secret Footballer, in which he talks about how cup finals are just a bonus to the daily grind and that in the normal scheme of things footballers are just as motivated by money as anyone else. Whilst some may well say it’s a sad indictment of the game and the erosion of the Corinthian spirit, it really is a fact of life that money makes the world go around. The majority of people measure their success in this life with the money and objects they accrue, so why should footballers be any different?

As a football fan though, it is sad. I’d quite honestly rank the feeling when Obafemi Martins scored as one of the best in my life; equal to seeing my child born or when I got married. It really did mean that much; and in the minutes that followed I can quite honestly say I’ve never seen so many grown men cry. I was one of them, after all. Seeing your team win trophies is the pinnacle of things for a football fan; especially when you support a team that hasn’t really done much of that sort of thing in its existence.

It’s like I cannot understand for the life of me why people would have taken staying up over winning that trophy. Relegation hurts, but it’s never more than a temporary pain for a fan. Yes, it’s financially more problematic than ever for clubs but I’m a football fan, not an accountant. I’ve already forgotten the pain of going down last season, whereas watching the videos of last seasons Carling Cup final STILL give me goosebumps; they still make me tear up as I remember how time seemed to slow down between watching the ball bounce off Szczesny’s knee and Oba sticking it in the back of the net.

Of course, we got Europe out of it too. Again, I have to look at people who say Europe was an unnecessary distraction and internally question how they can call themselves football fans. I always dreamed of seeing Blues in European competition at home; I was incredibly lucky in that I got to see us away too. Thinking of the morning spent on the Markt in Bruges, or in the main square of Maribor and the feeling of camaraderie and belonging – why on Earth would anyone want to give that up for another season in the Prem fighting for survival? I remember how much I was looking forwards to the Nacional game at St. Andrews, thinking it might be the only chance I got to see Blues in European competition.

Many people (including myself) talk about how money has affected the game of football. Whilst it’s sad that for players it is nothing much more than a job – a very well paid job, but a job all the same – I don’t think as fans we can let it affect us in the same manner. I think it’s important that we retain as fans our desire and belief that the club can win every game; and that they should aim to win every game that they play. When we give those ideals up as fans then I think the game truly is ruined.

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12 Responses to “Ideals of Success”

  • Garrybluenose says:

    Spot on, as usual!!
    After going down the Blues for fifty years, last years cup win and this seasons European adventure delivered the once in a lifetime (for Blues) experience I’ve waited for.

  • JohnR says:

    I must be a similar age to Barry and agree 100% with his comments.
    I have to say I felt despair at our relegation but nine months on I can see the positives. McLeish has gone, we have IMO a better manager and a team playing exciting football.

  • Danny Kelly says:

    Top post again!

    But you missed out the most unforgettable moment of our European trip – a certain 60 hour coach trip…

  • Konrad says:

    Barry spot on. I’ve been following Blues for 45 years and the Carling Cup Final last year was my greatest moment following Blues. The resulting trip to Bruges will live with me for ever and like you I counted down the hours Nacional determined to enjoy the experience incase that was my one and only chance to see Blues in Europe. I too have got over the hurt of Blues being relegated on my 50th birthday so I’ll never be able to forget that particular relegation but I’ll never forget the pride and overwhelming joy at full time at Wembley. All of the above made sweeter because I shared it all with my son. In terms of relegation, I work in London and live in Reading so most of my work mates are not Blues fans. One of them asked me how I felt after relegation? I said I’d followed Blues for ever and that’s what we do! Every promotion is followed shortly by relegation and every relegation is usually followed shortly by promotion. I am confident that CH will get us up again soon KRO.

  • Geoff says:

    A great post. From where I live, in North London, I can actually see Wembley Stadium from the kitchen window. So scarcely a day has gone by since then that I haven’t gazed out and reminisced about when my brother came down from Rubery and we walked on Hampstead Heath looking at all the Arsenal fans expecting to win, then got fairly pissed in The Spaniards Inn & the pub outside Willesden Green Tube, then jumped on the Jubilee Line to emerge into a sea of Blue & White. In 48 years of supporting the Blues, that was by a country mile the best day. To some extent I can still hardly believe it happened. Then I look at the Tom Ross clip (which conveniently leaves out Agent Orange) and it all comes back again. You are absolutely right, who’d swap that for merely staying up?

  • chris says:

    i have seen about 15 promotions and relegations so it means something but not as much as winning a trophy.
    the last time we won a trophy i was in nappies so that day last year will constantly give me a big grin for years to come.
    taking the lead twice, Jerome taking the mick by the corner flag for about two minutes, everyone going mental for those last few minutes, fantastic 24 hr trip to brugge even without a ticket.
    still the best year by miles for Blues and swindon, sunderland, southampton, coventry, portsmouth etc fans will know how much it means whereas the greedy clubs fans never will, and will never really experience what we did because they take things for granted.

  • kentucky blue says:

    When i look at this season and then think of what might have been had we stayed up,for me i would not change a thing. Proud to be a bluenose.

  • Iggy says:

    I am a Blues fan AND an accountant and agree with everything you have said. I am disappointed with the fielding of weakened sides in cup games by any team – it’s a sort of McLeish thing to do.

  • Sophie Bane says:

    Spot on, as ever. What winds me up more than anything is the mid-table managers talking about ‘pushing on’ into Europe, getting a Europa place then playing a weakened team in the competition next season so they can ‘concentrate on the league’. Where’s the joy? Where’s the pride?

    I can’t watch that video they play at Stan’s of our best bits – those goals in the final still make me cry! What a day!

  • Rich says:

    Hindsight is such a wonderful thing. Last season was so really soured for me by relegation and AM doing what he did, but what it has archived is a sense of togetherness of fans and team probably never before seen in a generation or so. If we hadn’t been relegated, we would have expected to progress in Europe. It would not have had the same impact as it had because no one expected us to get very far, or indeed even win a game. But there was absolutely no pressure on us. And what a joy itvwas to behold. A season or two ago, it was all about raised expectations and son on. It certain didn’t make entertainment from my perspective, just frustration from listening to fans moan about the lack of progression. Even with us flying high in the Championship, there’s still no expectation on us. If we mxke the playoffs and lose, it will have purely been another adventure. We will be disappointed, but not down hearted. Long may this road continue.

  • clogger says:

    Reality check. As a regular since the 60s I have seen Blues relegated and promoted more times than I can remember. I have seen us lift one (proper) trophy. I know which experience, which memory, which emotions will stay with me. Forever.
    It is all about routine. For us, relegation/promotion is routine. Winning a trophy and the jamborees that follow, be it Bruges, Maribor or an open top bus (oh hang on) are far removed from Blues routine and the life experience of Bluenoses.

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