19 August 2013


"Hurrah. A win. A win at last."
"Then why are you still unhappy?"
"Oscar was wearing a tracksuit."

This conversation amongst us on Saturday's journey back home kind of summed up everything. Yes, we may have our first win of the season. And, yes, we played pretty well. But, Oscar Garcia, where have your slim fit chinos gone? Surely, the promise of the next installment of 'Oscar's Fashion Tips' at St Andrews was what I thought I was travelling to St Andrews for.

Travelling to Birmingham in recent seasons has always reminded us of one thing: winning the Division 3 title at Walsall. As we supped some glorious pints of ale (OK, OK, I admit it - I was on the Strongbow) in the Wellington's back alley, we recalled our pre-match drinks ahead of that Walsall game standing in that very spot: next to the bins. It could only really remind us of one thing: Walsall was the scene, perhaps, of Gus Poyet's greatest Albionite triumph.

Other memories of the Midlands include that freezing fixture at Birmingham last season when Tomasz Kuszczak's gloves were clearly covered in ice as Albion conspired to throw away two points in injury time (or did they slip through our grasp?).

So it was perhaps fitting that we secured only our second ever league victory at St Andrews on Saturday. Sure, we haven't played them all that much but it seriously exorcised those demons I've mentioned that enter my mind ahead of any visit to the Midlands.

We played quite well - we certainly looked a threat going forward but, to be honest, we didn't play much better than we have done all season. Getting the first three points on the board was a little too exciting for me to handle. As I stumbled out of the ground on Saturday, my beaming smile was irrevocable. It reminded all of us just how good a win feels - I know it's only been three games this season since we'd won a game, but the inconvenient summer without football had given us time - and that had seemingly made us all forget what winning is like.

Of course, had we lost, this entire report would have been about the head injury sustained by one of the younger members of Albion's support in an horrific first half injury. Someone stacked it, and landed on a lad four rows down who fell and cracked his head open more viciously than Kazenga LuaLua throwing a Blackberry phone down a drain. Much of the first half was dominated by the incident - the blood refused to stop and this CSI: Birmingham lookalike was mopping up the spillage through to the end of half time. With the defecation incident still fresh in the mind, we offered the mopper a job at the Falmer. The only hope is that the lad was still at the ground when we won, but - with an amount of a blood donated to the away stand floor like a Perry Digweed incident before the tracky bottoms - he surely missed the first win since the Garry Nelson era at Birmingham City.

Just a side point but had there been no seating in a safe-standing area, the injury would have been less severe. And credit to the stewards for not making us sit down afterwards.

Now we may joke about Oscar's lack of trend-setting attire up north but the way he fist-pumped the away end en route to the changing room was a telling reminder of how our previous manager suffered a passion deficiency at Albion, and certainly in that last season. In an ideal world, we would win and our manager would dress as slickly as he has done previously. But this isn't an ideal world: this is the Albion. Finally we can move on from that silly Uruguayan. Oh what's this, that bloke on MOTD2 looks familiar...


@markp_25 said...

I am the fan who hit the deck, and have made a good recovery. Great photo (as somehow there isn't the embarrassing sight of me pissing with blood).

Was it one of your guys who chucked down the scarf for the blood?

sten said...

Ah, it was the NSK scarf that hopefully helped mop up the blood. Good to hear you made it home alive - we did wonder