Tag Archives: Leeds United

Thoughts on the weekend

One article described the Birmingham City players lap of appreciation after the game on Saturday as looking ‘like a scene from Casualty’ as the walking wounded paraded with the other players. “Michael Morrison spent the afternoon in a protective boot, Harlee Dean hobbled past taking slow, tiny steps after his groin surgery and then Maikel Kieftenbeld came through on crutches.”  Those injuries had led to a rearrangement of the team and that, together with windy weather, resulted in a scrappy game.  But it didn’t matter because my team was already safe and, over the course of the season, had done better than I’d expected.

An account of the game at Leeds brought back memories of Blues’ League cup game at Yeovil in 2013. On Sunday, Leeds scored instead of returning the ball to Aston Villa and then allowed Villa to score.  At Yeovil, our goalie Doyle kicked the ball out when a player was injured and expected it to be returned to him when play started again. Instead, a Yeovil player received the ball that was thrown in and kicked it into the net to score an equaliser for Yeovil. This outraged our players and sent the game into extra time. Yeovil scored again in the first half of that but then their manager allowed Blues to score.  As I wrote in an earlier post,  “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.” The game ended with some dramatic penalties, a Blues win and me feeling glad I’d made the long trip down to Yeovil. (Click here if you’d like to see the highlights.)

And I’m glad that I’ve gone to games this season.  There has been the usual mix of joys and sorrows, but it’s been one of the better seasons. Our players have shown commitment and effort; our fans have responded by backing the team and creating a good atmosphere. That has felt good.

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Leeds game

On Saturday morning I saw a man painting a fence blue and it gave me hope.  I’m not superstitious but on Birmingham City matchdays my brain flips into an illogical mode in which I look for omens and feel as though the result is the most important thing in the world.  Thankfully, I do calm down after matches and remember that it is just a game.

I went to the game with the usual mixture of hope and fear.  The team’s performance at the Hawthorns had boosted my hope but the result increased my fear. During the game, I felt mainly tense. According to the match stats, Leeds had 73% of the possession and I worried every time they got the ball. I thought the ball had gone into the net when Bamford kicked it but it bounced off the goalpost into Camp’s arms. Shortly after that Che Adams scored. Kieftenbeld got injured and carried off so our midfield had to be rearranged but somehow their attack failed, our defence held and we won.

I went home happy but exhausted just from watching. It’s hard to imagine how the players feel after a game like that but I think they might have similar feelings judging from a Tweet by Connor Mahoney. He said, “Result You brought the noise we brought the 3 points now someone bring me a new set of legs thankyou”

On the way back from the game I noticed that the police did not seem to be trying to keep Blues and Leeds fans apart and later read an article in the Birmingham mail saying that WM police have been able to have fewer police when we play Leeds “because of the decreasing trouble the fixture has enjoyed.” That was good news. I was also pleased that Blues fans applauded when the Leeds fans turned their backs to the game in remembrance of the two fan who lost their lives before the UEFA Cup tie against Galatasaray in Turkey 19 years ago.

As I’ve written before, I don’t think that loving one club means hating another one. I don’t want any club to beat Birmingham City but I don’t hate the fans of any other club. 

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Here we go

The 9 points have been deducted and we are 18th in the table. It feels like the start of a mini season with 8 games left to play. The next 3 games will probably be very hard, playing against West Brom, Leeds and Sheffield United who are currently 4th, 3rd and 2nd in the table. The next 5 games against Ipswich, Derby, Rotherham, Wigan and Reading could also be hard. Derby are trying to get into the playoffs and some of the other 4 may be making a valiant attempt to escape relegation.

I don’t know how many points we’ll need to stay out of the relegation zone; Blackburn were relegated with 51 points a couple of seasons ago.  But I think we should be all right if players and fans make an effort and perform well. I trust that Garry Monk and the other staff are doing all they can to prepare the players. Fans can’t help with that, but we can make a difference with our support during games.  And we can get ourselves into the right frame of mind by reminding ourselves of how we’ve won in the past.

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Thoughts on last week

My support for my team doesn’t depend on the skill they display or the success they achieve. I’m just one of those Birmingham City fans who hasn’t found a way of breaking my connection with my team. I am not claiming any superiority over fans who will only go to games if the football is attractive or if the team is likely to win. Being a discerning customer may be the sensible choice. Continue reading

Not bad

I didn’t have any great expectations when I went to watch Birmingham City play Leeds on Saturday. That’s probably why I enjoyed it. If you compare our players with Premier League stars they probably seem terrible. I don’t know; I don’t watch Sky or BT.  My comparison is with last season and this season is an improvement. Continue reading

Crises

The title is not a spelling mistake; I’m going to write about more than one crisis, the first being the situation at Leeds United1.  The present owners agreed a deal to sell 75% of the club to Massimo Cellino but the Football League blocked it, because of his conviction by an Italian court.  Cellino had been supplying some of the running costs for the club but stopped after the sale was prevented.  So now the club can’t afford to pay the bills and players have agreed to defer part of their wages for March. I don’t know all the facts but believe that the Football League was right to stop Cellino’s purchase of Leeds even though that has resulted in turmoil for the club. In the long run, it could turn out for the best if Leeds is taken over by some more suitable owners.  Continue reading

Something in common

Leeds fans 20 Apr 2013While I was checking Wikipedia for some background information for this post I came across a heading that read: ‘Financial implosion and relegation’.1 It wasn’t referring to Birmingham City F C but to Leeds United from 2001-2007. In recent years both clubs have had their problems, which include owners disliked by the fans. Continue reading

Wishes and expectations for Birmingham City FC

There’s a huge gap between what I wish for and what I expect to see happen. If I found myself in the middle of a fairytale with someone promising to grant three wishes for Birmingham City, I’d ask that Blues could play good football, attract large crowds and be owned by supporters who cared about the club.  In other words, I’d like them to be like Barcelona.

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Who is the enemy?

When Birmingham City play Leeds tomorrow there will be the usual exchange of insults and taunts between the two sets of fans.  It’s part of the tribal culture of football; having a common enemy helps to unite a group. There have been times this season when different opinions on who the enemy was created a toxic atmosphere at St Andrews. The feel-good factor returned when we played Nottingham Forrest and our most vocal fans joined together to jeer at Alex McLeish instead of arguing among themselves.

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