Saturday, 24 March 2012
In the age of Iron, the Lydians were the power of the region. Their lands stretched from the azure blue coast of the Med to the sandy deserts of the east. Their king, Croesus, was the wealthiest man in the ancient world - you've heard the term 'as rich as Croesus' before.
Yet one thing troubled him...
For out there, past the sandy deserts of the east were backwards types, the Persians, and they were building something. Nowhere near as rich as the Lydians, nor as advanced, but they were slowly rising in importance.
Croesus consulted the oracle, asking whether he should smash the Persians now before they grew to become a threat. The oracle emerged from the misty cave, turned its cloaked head and whispered:
'If you go to war, a great Empire will be defeated.'
Croesus nodded and prepared for war.
He defeated the Persians with ease. They fled into the hills. Content, Croesus paid off his mercenary army with his vast wealth, told them to go home, and he made for Lydia triumphant.
The Persians watched...they saw that he disbanded his army and marched home. They followed him and his small remaining force. They overwhelmed the Lydians, they routed them and captured Croesus. A great empire had been defeated. Not the Persian empire as Croesus thought....but his own.
The events were held up by Ancient Greek scholars as being an example of hubris and complacency. For a poorer, weaker force had destroyed an empire all because the King had counted his chickens before they'd hatched and sent his army away. The Persians sacked Lydia, plundered it of its wealth and profited from its technological advances.
And essentially, the Persians are the f**king Baggies aren't they?
Coming out of nowhere, from obscurity, but nicking stuff that doesn't belong to them.
I find them trying. How long have they been an irrelevance? 20 years? 25 years? 30 years?
And yet here they are, taking advantage of Blues' self-destruction, exploiting our misfortune to strengthen themselves above their fixed station.
The Baggies have never had good goalkeepers. Now they have our Foster keeping clean sheets.
The Baggies have never had competent defenders, yet here they are, with Ridgewell, radiating the semblance of defensive stability.
Their manager, a scrotal sack in a suit that's found a toupé stares at us constantly.
He is at our training ground, in a car, lecherously peering out the window and licking his crinkly lips, a frog-faced undesirable.
It's not really fair that a mediocre club like West Brom find a club on their doorstep with a treasure chest of tested premiership talent at knock down prices. We never had such luck. We rose to prominence through hard work, good scouting, sound investment and generally, being a better club.
Some Blues fans used to like the Albion, but only in the way that everybody likes Walsall.
The Baggies were in perpetual threat of relegation into Division Two [hence the song 'youre going down with the Baggies'], and were pitied for being lead by mouth-breathers like Brian Little, Alan Buckey and Gary Megson.
They were poor Albion. Our plucky, strange, slightly inbred cousins.
Me? I've never really liked or hated them. They're just there, like the pigeons in the city centre, sometimes they'll get in the way and shit on your shoe but they're basically harmless.
I just saw them as being bland.
They never challenged for anything, their ground is neither here nor there, the crowds were low, even their dark blue dreary stripes lacked the vibrancy of the royal blue.
But now they've found themselves in this fortunate situation and they do not conduct themselves with dignity. They treat their betters like we're a flea market.
They unsettle our players, treat our club with disdain, they make derisory bids. Wouldn't surprise me if they offer £1.5m for Curtis Davies should we not get promoted. They pick at our diamond corpse like aluminium vultures.
But, take heed yam yams, you should note that the cream always rises to the top.
For Bolton will never stay above Man City too long; Bradford are always destined to lurk below Leeds; Boro shan't outshine Newcastle and the law follows that Black Country teams must also fall below their big city rivals.
It's football hierachy.
So enjoy god's graces while it lasts Albion, because fortune is a fickle wench. Last week you were a retirement home for Purse and Horsfield, today you take our stars, but tomorrow is a new day.