Thursday, 31 October 2013

St. Andrews

I first went to St. Andrews in 1981. Charlton can't have been playing that day as I saw the Blues take on Nottingham Forest. It was a time when I was keen to cross more grounds off my 92 list. I've been back since to watch us play, most notably in the Play-Off Final against dirty Leeds and I will be going on Saturday so am trying to get myself in the mood for a city I don't love and a club I don't like.

Back in the late 90's I worked with Alan Khan, a fiercely loyal Blues fan who was a good guy and who did his best to sell me his city and his club but I had already made my mind up. My experience of City was a club living in a not-so glorious past with a set of intimidating home supporters who would bully away fans, even families and children. The same set of fans did not travel in anything like the numbers their home support might suggest and the bullies invariably stayed at home for fear of reprisal.

I remember the televised clash from the the Premiership days (I think) when we thrashed them. The even-smaller-than-normal visiting support had been encouraged by Millwall fans to dial 999 before the end of the match and report a disturbance as the only way of ensuring a police presence at the final whistle. As it was, the bullies had seen enough of their losers way before the end and were at the gates waiting to pick on the unfortunate Addicks as they left the stadium.

I will travel with an open mind on Saturday and optimistically assume that this problem has been sorted out by now. The plan is to visit the Balti Triangle pre-match as part of the cultural visit and to exit the city in one piece with three points at tea-time. Come on you Reddddss!

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