Crazy idea, crazy game

A couple of years ago I almost decided against going to see Birmingham City playing in Bruges. Other commitments meant I couldn’t stay overnight so I left St Andrews at 3 am on the Thursday morning and arrived back at 5 am the next day, which seemed a bit mad at my age. I had such a brilliant time on that trip that I decided never to reject an idea just because it was crazy.

So, just 17 days after my last visit to Huish Park Stadium, I went there again. This time I went by train and a friend came with me. I must say that we received a very friendly welcome in Yeovil. A policeman gave us lift to our hotel after we got lost trying to walk from the station. And the people running the hotel* were friendly too, even though there was a teddy bear with a Yeovil Town scarf at the entrance. The stewards at the ground were pleasant and had a sit-anywhere-you-like policy since there were so many empty seats. I’d decided to try out the seats this time and found that away fans used the same refreshments area and ladies loo as the home fans. And there was a vase of artificial flowers in the loo, something I’ve never seen in a football ground before.

My friend, who is more than 50 years younger than me, stood on the terraces. It’s sad that a lot of young football fans may never have that experience.

I don’t think there’s anything I can add about what happened in the game. So much has been written already and I didn’t understand all the details myself until I read the reports and watched the highlights. Yeovil Town’s controversial 2nd goal really got the crowd going. I wonder if all the loud “Cheat, cheat” chants helped Gary Johnson decide to give Blues a goal. I had absolutely no idea what was happening when Novak wandered down and put the ball in their net after the kick off for the second period of extra time. It wasn’t until the Blues fans behind the goal started cheering that I realised it would count as a real goal. I had been hoping that Novak would score a goal soon and that it would boost his confidence and help him score a few more. But that wasn’t the sort of goal to boost anyone’s confidence and he missed a chance to win the game right at the end of extra time.

The penalties were agonising as they always are. Doyle has a good record of saving penalties but I wasn’t sure if we had anyone in the team who was good at taking them. The goal at the other end seemed a long way away and I didn’t see where the ball from Adeyemi’s shot had gone at first; I just saw the Yeovil crowd celebrating and my heart sank. Then I saw the ball in the net, though I had no idea how it had got there, and the Blues players celebrating. It was great way to end an incredible cup game and I’m so glad we went.


*Preston Hotel

2 thoughts on “Crazy idea, crazy game

  1. BeyondTheFarPost

    Great account and pictures Margaret! A great read.

    Perhaps the ‘free goal’ controversy will bring about a FIFA ruling on these situations as not everyone is a gentleman!

  2. Mark

    My personal experience:

    I life time fantasy was to see my club win the FA Cup and subsequently allow me to live the dream and follow my team and at least travel away to one European match in my life. I had talked about this since taking a serious interest in blues during the mid 80’s and onwards supporting home and away and clocking up 700+ games and at least 65 different grounds.

    During my son’s introduction to the club since around 1999 he has then shared the same life time ambition as me.

    So what it was the League Cup but what an amazing achievement.

    During the build up to Europa League involvement I was working on a contract. Then along comes a draw against a team in Madeira of all places the flights rocketed to nearly £1000.00 for the two of us that kind of money was not available so I simply had to hope and pray we could sneak through. The main reason I believe everyone was overjoyed with the Madeira home game was it made it more possible to take in an away game.

    When the draw came out to say we were over the moon was the biggest understatement in history… BRUGGE….. Can you believe it.

    Then followed weeks and weeks of sweating on our Blue membership to get tickets and not knowing if we were getting a couple of thousand or a lot more.

    My confession now is that on the day of our membership I sent all the relevant documents by fax so this could be done over the phone. To my annoyance I get to work and the phone lines go into meltdown and it hangs up on me three times rather than put into the queue system. The next bit was a visit to the toilet pinch my eyes for a few minutes then return to my desk to report that I had a migraine. At this point I also had no leave left for the trip either. I left work then spent 7 hours at St Andrews in a queue to get our golden tickets. Seriously this purchase beat any Cup Final ticket purchase hands down.

    I then had to convince a friend to drive to save us money booked an apartment to sleep 7 of us and the drivers treat was two nights free accommodation, petrol covered and a hell of a lot of booze on top.

    I then threw a sickie for the trip and travelled out to Brugge. I can’t quite put into words how amazing the atmosphere was the night before the game but needless to say it was one of the best experiences of our lives. It was nice taking my son clubbing too.

    The following day in the main square was spent drinking and dancing and dodging any west midlands TV companies and cameramen for fear of being caught wagging from work.

    To be honest the contract was nearly over and was leaving job soon but I don’t care where I was working I would have done absolutely everything in my power to make the trip. You don’t wait a lifetime for something and let it pass due to work commitments!!!!!

    To cap it all off just like Wembley we went there with no designs on winning and would have been happy with a tight game and a goal to celebrate.

    We got everything and more.

    I feel sorry for those out there that passed this chance up because my bucket list is much lighter!

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