Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Business as usual

Five games in the new Premier League season already, and it’s safe to say we look like we are beginning to get a good insight into how the season will go - Chelsea dominant, West Ham hopeless, Liverpool struggling and Arsene Wenger still moaning about referees. A few surprises maybe in the form of Blackpool and Villa’s stuttering start, but in general, it looks like business as usual.

Birmingham have started from where they left off last season. Until last weekend’s derby defeat to West Brom, Birmingham were unbeaten having taken points from Sunderland and Bolton away from home and beating Blackburn at St Andrews. There was also the televised draw to Liverpool and a game where not only me but 27,000 fans walked away from feeling hard done by that we didn’t take all three points – in all the years of watching Premier League football, Pepe Reina’s performance between the sticks was quite sensational.

With a new season comes a new sense of expectation – if you see a previous blog post from last season, I talked about this a lot last season. On the M40 on the way to Birmingham, I wasn’t sat there hoping for a draw. I wasn’t sat there hoping we at least give them a run for their money and make their multi-millionaires earn their money. I was sat there realistically expecting a win.

The expectation at St Andrews has increased tenfold. At the full-time whistle, an air of disappointment filled the ground, and for me it showed the progress we’ve made as a football club. This phrase “proud supporter” gets banded around, but at the moment I really am.

However, it is where this expectation can rise to that can cause concern. Alex McLeish, prior to Blues Carling Cup tie against the MK Dons, responded to suggestions that his team were aiming for the top 6, claiming they were “ludicrous”.

What is ludicrous is the fickle mind of each and every football supporter across the land, and from experience, particularly supporters of the Midlands clubs – just ask Villa supporters where in the league they think they should be aiming. The trick is to capture this expectation and channel it – booing a team because they haven’t blown a Bolton or a Blackpool away at home is simply not the right thing to do.

17th position come May will suit me just fine.

Just ask Pompey was expectation has done to their football club.