Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Tragedy of Jack Lane

The cold was biting. It was one of those St Andrews nights where a freezing mist seemed to linger. It was half time and Blues had edged to a dull 1-0 lead at home to Blackpool.

'Yo! Youse. Yo! Make some noise for Jack Lane. Played for Blues in the 50s ennit' barked the arrogant young purveyor of 'chip and win'.

'WHO!' shouted a Parka-clad Oasis fan in the stands before being congratulated by his Carling-swilling gurning pals.

An elderly figure slowly emerged from the tunnel.

The frail former Blue trundled onto the St Andrews tundra.


The disinterested crowd barely lifted their eyes from their trays of chips and ipads.

The old man let out a tentative smile.

'How d'yu fink they played gramps?' blurted out the arrogant young DJ reading out the generic questions quickly scribbled on the back of his WH Smith reporters' notebook.

The old man coughed and replied 'Not the best performance but Brummagem are winning, and that brings joy to my heart!' turning to the crowd triumphantly.

Two young moms decked out in pink and white Kangool tracksuits had their backs turned. They were stamping their feet impatiently, their garishly golden gypsy hooped ear-rings were jingling and they were indignantly chewing bubblegum open-mouthed as they yapped to one another about 'Moesha's new album'.

The old man continued with tears in his eyes 'I grew up around the corner. A true Brummie lad. I remember over there, at the Railway Stand the smoke from the passing trains would billow over onto the pitch. We had a great team in those days. Fantastic days. They'll stay with me forever.'

Lane was beaming with nostalgia. 

He remembered the Arthur Turner and Merrick era when Europe feared the Blue Machine, Inter Milan and Roma were put to the sword.

In the stands a youngster was playing 'Angry Birds' on his iPhone.

'Shit man, i can never smash the wood with the red birds'.

The silence persisted.

The arrogant young DJ snatched the microphone back from the elderly former player.

'Yeah yeah. Jack Lane everyone.

...SO! Now it's TIME! Who wants to play Chip and Win and take home a wheelbarrow full of Lidl vouchers!?'

The ground burst into life and roared with approval.

The foundations of the stands were shaking as supporters danced and stomped their feet with excitement, punching the air triumphantly. The blue shirts in the Tilton twirled and swirled in a whirlpool of emotion.

The old man hobbled off the pitch towards the tunnel, and faded away.

Faded back into the darkness.


  1. You've depressed me for the day! Lane was never really a first team player but modern youth and it's disdain for anything that isn't "now" is well summed up here. However, you have to remember that anyone who saw Lane play is now 70 + probably. They don't teach history much in schools today judging by the answers we get on "The Chase" so should we be surprised that the young treat even their club's history with disinterest?

  2. I know that John 'Jackie' Lane played for Boldmere St Michael's, a Sutton Coldfield based amateur club, in 1949. I have met him at a former Blues players dinner and have warmly shaken his hand. As a Birmingham City fan I was disappointed with the attitude towards a former player. The half-time "Chip and Win' is embarrassing because some home fans are delusional. Just take the signed ball. If you are really skilful take the two match tickets too. Gamble them both for a season ticket? I think not. Why not have have a Blues band playing Mr Blue Sky instead.

  3. On Saturday a woman in front on me asked who Noel Blake was when he came onto the pitch at half time...
    I suppose it proves were the local club that doesn't live in the past..

  4. Mike Bellamy. 5 March at 17.30
    Great shame about the lack of respect shown to a "old" Blues star. He also spoke a lot of sense and showed himself to be a true Brummie. Problem is how many of todays squad and supporters are true locals.
    Thanks Jack , Best wishes for continued good health.