What To Do During The International Break: A Few Suggestions


“Garry has been given a solid fortnight to continue moulding and sculpting the team like Demi Moore in that scene from Ghost. Except instead of Patrick Swayze helping to guide him, he’s got to deal with the ghost of Steve Cotterill’s career whispering “play Cheikh N’Doye at centre mid” in his ear.”

So guys, how was your Saturday? Boring? Yeah, mine too.

Like an unwanted mother in law that has turned up randomly on your doorstep and decided it’s time for a week long visit, the International break has forced its way back into our lives and has put a stop to all of our usual weekend routines and rituals.

We just want to have a lie in on Saturday morning then head up to St Andrews around lunch time for a couple of beverages and maybe a pie or a burger before settling down to watch twenty two blokes kick a ball around for 90 minutes, safe in the knowledge that we could all do a better job than them if we just got in shape a bit.

But no! The international break won’t allow that, will it?! The International break insists on interrupting all coverage of domestic football with its incessant ramblings. The International break only wants to talk about people you don’t really care too much about and issues such as who the starting goalkeeper should be that it’s convinced itself are huge problems when we know that in reality it’s just a friendly and makes absolutely no difference in the grand scheme of things. The international break won’t allow you to have your lie in because there’s shopping to be done and since there’s no football on this weekend then you “may as well make a day of it”.

You can kiss goodbye to your pre match pie too; since the International break has been taking pot shots at your weight all weekend and don’t even think about lifting an alcoholic beverage to your lips because the International break, that never really accepted you into its heart in the first place, will be staring. Judging.

The International break will be in the ear of your significant other all week, probing and asking why you waste your time watching Championship football when there’s all these other players that would be a better fit for them. These better looking players. These younger, fitter, richer, top tier players. Then before you know it you find yourself ready to burst and scream “will you just sod off!” at your mother in law. I mean, the International break…

Oh I HAVE had an enjoyable weekend so far. What a time for this break to hit us too. After losing our first two games under Monk, the Blues tore Hull apart and the stellar performance has potentially provided us with the momentum of a runaway mine train. We can only hope that there’s enough track under those wheels to keep that force going right through to the Ipswich game. The one positive thing about the break though is that Garry has been given a solid fortnight to continue moulding and sculpting the team like Demi Moore in that scene from Ghost. Except instead of Patrick Swayze helping to guide him, he’s got to deal with the ghost of Steve Cotterill’s career whispering “play Cheikh N’Doye at centre mid” in his ear.

The atmosphere around the club has changed so much in such a short space of time that we cannot help but get excited about what our next trip to Small Heath may bring. Reports from players indicate that they’re happier than ever and the negative cloud that descended on the squad over the last 5 months seems to finally be lifting. We’ve witnessed Jukey and Che’s best performances for the Blues recently and potential season changer Jota has found his smile again.

The Ipswich game is looking to be another big home crowd and with nearly 5000 Blues fans travelling to Bolton on the following Tuesday night, it’s fair to say that supporters are sharing in the joviality. But with positivity, anticipation and excitement at its peak all year, along comes the bloody mother-in…ahem, International break.

So with all eyes focussed on March 31st and a weekend of boredom to get through, what can we do to pass the time? Here’s a few suggestions for you:

1. Actually watch some international football and pretend to care about pointless friendlies where Southgate will pick fringe players before inevitably choosing the same average starting 11 in Russia.

For the authentic experience: Learn the first verse of God Save The Queen and two lines of Three Lions On A Shirt. Repeat whilst throwing your garden furniture through the patio door pausing only to point out that Birmingham City taught Jesse Lingard all he knows.

2. Settle down at 3pm and watch a DVD rerun of the Auto Windscreens Shield final. Hell, treat yourself to a beer too since, although it was still illegal to drink in the stands back then, no one seemed to care as much.

For the authentic experience: Stand for the full 103 minutes and ask 4 of your mates to stand in front of you, ensuring you only see a total of one third of the screen.

3. Take a tour of lower league grounds and use the opportunity to plan potential travel routes for next years fixtures whilst secretly scouting out the opposition and buffing up your general knowledge to impress the lads back home.

For the authentic experience: Make your way into the away stands and let everyone know that Villa would have taken more fans.

4. Watch Rugby instead. It’s kind of like watching Blues play under Zola; the players can only pass the ball backwards and no one in the ground really understands what’s going on. The main difference is that when rugby players kick the ball over the bar it’s intentional whereas when Gardner sends it into orbit, it was probably a shot. (I joke, Craig’s been great for us over the last few weeks)

For the authentic experience: Invite your friends round to “watch the rugger” and tell them where you were when Johnny Wilkinson scored the winning drop goal in the World Cup Final before switching over to the Boat Race and swearing your allegiance to Oxford or Cambridge over a Greene King IPA and belching out Swing Low, Sweet Chariots

5. Go see your in-laws. They love their daughter/son and so do you so suck it up, put on a nice shirt, mind your Ps and Qs and do your duty as a husband/wife. It’s the last International break of the season and the Blues are back next week so go drink some tea, earn some brownie points, sit back and think of Ipswich.

For the authentic experience: Go home afterwards and write an article for a Blues blog where you may or may not be sending coded messages to your mother-in-law thus ensuring an uncomfortable nights sleep on the sofa.

By Mark Watson


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