Back when I was a season ticket holder listening to the Tom Ross phone-in on the way home was a must. The entertainment value alone made it well worthwhile. Where else could you listen to a ten minute tirade about the match from some enraged fan only to discover right at the end of the call that he hadn’t actually watched the bloody thing! Another highlight was the obligatory call from a guy who couldn’t work out that his radio needed to be turned down in order to chat with Mr Ross.
“You’ve got to turn your radio down Wayne. Wayne!? Wayne you’ve got to turn your radio down mate. Wayne! Your radio Wayne! Turn it down mate!” – Liquid broadcasting or what?
The contributions my Dad, brother and I looked forward to the most came from depressed Baggies fans. Every week a West Brom supporter, inevitably called Keith, rang in to have a really good moan.
“Three nil flattered us Tom, it flattered us! I don’t think we’ve ever fielded such a poor team. I haven’t smiled since Super Bob left Tom. Could I get a Bronx hat?”
‘Keith’ was definitely our favourite. To my recollection the Baggies weren’t even doing that badly but the supporters who called in just got more and more maudlin. The disparity between the reality of West Brom’s circumstances and the misery of the fans struck us as hilarious at the time. Well, these days I’m living in London and instead of whinging West Brom fans its whinging Arsenal fans and in this context I’ve stopped finding the juxtaposition funny.
Take a look at the most recent transfer window. Thanks to Harry’s mad dash at the end of the summer, Steve Cotterill has had his hands tied this January and thus failed to bring anyone in at all. I’m not actually that dispirited about it but let’s take a quick gander at the Emirates shall we? No doubt Arsenal lost a great player in Alexis Sanchez and a couple of very good players in Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud, however, they gained a potentially great one in Henrikh Mkhitaryan and I think Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a cracker too. You should hear the moaning, though. Someone I spoke to in the pub the other day suggested Arsenal were in crisis! Crisis? If Blues go down this season there are genuine worries about our finances and our ability to continue as a going concern but, yeah, Arsenal are in crisis because they might not finish fourth in the Premier League.
I know it’s all relative and expectation levels are different depending on blah blah PRIVILEGE blah blah ARROGANCE blah blah. I’m rather fed up with that argument if I’m being honest. I listen to The Guardian’s Football Weekly podcast (I recommend) and they’ve been having this same discussion. I think it’s in bad taste to throw your toys out of the pram because your totally secure and hugely rich team isn’t doing quite as well as you’d hoped. It’s like self-satisfied parents moaning about their kid’s exam results to friends who can’t have children of their own. It’s classless and I’m fed up with it. If you support a team with an embarrassment of riches in the top tier and deep down you’re not content you’re an embarrassment too.
Following a team like Birmingham City doesn’t make me a superior calibre of supporter, just a more grateful, less entitled one.
Do you have friends who support a big team? Do they drive you mad with their endless grumbling? Does one big team in particular have an especially morose fan base in your opinion? Get in touch with me or BCFC Followers via Facebook or Twitter or comment below. In the meantime, maybe spare a thought for those poor fans of clubs in actual crisis.