Tag Archives: Derby County F C

No-fear final game

I don’t enjoy final-game escapes from relegation, so It feels good to be safe with a couple of games still to play.  As I thought about this, following our win against Derby on Saturday, it seemed as though we had had mainly final-game escapes.  But when I checked our games since we were relegated in 2011, I found that we had escaped on the final day of the season four times and had been safe before that six times.  Here is a summary of where we finished in those seasons.

SeasonPosition
In table
Goals
for
Goals
against
Goal
difference
Points
2011-12478512776
2012-13126369-661
2013-14215874-1644
2014-15105464-1063
2015-16105349463
2016-17194564-1953
2017-18193868-3046
2018-19176458652 (61-9)
2019-20205475-2150

I went to all the end-of-season games, except for last year when no crowd was allowed. The results of the final games of the season determined whether Birmingham City would be relegated in the 2013-14, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2019-20 seasons.

For me, the most memorable of these games was the one against Bolton on 3rd May 2014. The game was goalless in the first half but then Bolton scored two goals and their second was scored by Lukas Jutkiewicz.  When Zigic scored in the 78th minute and we learned that Doncaster was losing to Leicester, hope was revived.  Blues fans started singing “One goal, we only need one goal”.  And Caddis got that goal in the 93rd minute and it was followed by the most incredible outpouring of joy among our fans.

In contrast to that, all I remember feeling after our win at Bristol City in 2017 was exhaustion.  That was probably because Che Adams scored in the 16th minute and we held onto that lead for the rest of the game. I found it hard to believe that we would not concede a goal in the remaining 74 minutes but somehow we managed to hold on and win.

The 3-1 home win against Fulham in 2018 was played in front of a large St Andrews crowd, which made it more exciting. In my report of that I said I was elated and exhausted by that game. 

The situation when we lost 1-3 to Derby on 22 July 2020 was more complicated.  I’ll quote what I wrote in my report before the game, “An EFL statement has said Wigan will have points deducted after their game but that they can appeal. So there is a possibility that we might not know tonight if we are safe or not. If Wigan get 12 points deducted and end up in 22nd place and Birmingham City end up just above them in 21st place, we won’t know if we are really safe until we know if Wigan’s appeal is successful.  If it is successful then I think Wigan would stay up and we would go down.”  But, despite our loss on the last day, we finished 20th and stayed up. The main thing I remember about that game was that it was Jude Bellingham’s last game for us and how sad he looked at the end of it.

I’d like us to win the last two games of the season but will not mind if Lee Bowyer experiments with the team and we lose. It feels great to look forward to the end of the season without the fear of relegation.

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Safety

I will believe that Birmingham City is safe from relegation when it is mathematically safe. Probably safe is not good enough for me. I thought that my team had won when they were leading 4-1 with about 20 minutes to go on April 12, 1993.  Then Swindon scored 5 and we lost 4-6. We did escape relegation that season by getting a 1-0 win against Charlton in the last game but that Swindon game transformed my understanding of being safe.

So today, we need to get a draw at least to put us on 48 points and Rotherham on 41, with only 2 games and 6 more points possible for them. A win would be better, to get us back to the 50 we had before the points deduction.  Whatever happens, our small squad has done well this season to have a good chance of avoiding relegation despite the points deduction.

I was disappointed that we didn’t get a win against Derby, but it was a good game. Both teams wanted to win and made an effort to do that. We stayed unbeaten and got another point.  As I’ve written in a previous post, I would prefer not to have a game on Good Friday but I’ve gone to games on that day. We played Rotherham on Good Friday in 2015 and won 2-1.  I’d be happy with that result today.

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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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Preston

Our away fans have been magnificent this season and I’d like to express my respect and good wishes to all Birmingham City fans travelling up to watch the game at Preston today. I hope you see our team put in a similar performance to the one against Derby but get a better result. We lost to a better team, but I don’t think we deserved that scoreline. Continue reading

A little bit of hope

Last time we played at Pride Park

It hurts when hopes are dashed so I try not to hope for too much from Birmingham City. But I haven’t managed to suppress a little bit of hope after watching Lee Carsley’s press conference and reading reports of what he has said. He seems to be a man who cares more about the club than he cares about his own ego and that’s refreshing.  Continue reading

One goal

First home game resultWhat a difference a goal can make! In the dying minutes of last season, a goal from Paul Caddis kept Birmingham City in the Championship. On Saturday, he started the move that led to the only goal of the game, passing to David Cotterill, who put the cross in for Wes Thomas to head into the net. Continue reading

Hope

As I was browsing the The Two Unfortunates site I read an article in their Hopeless Football League Teams series  and had a feeling that Birmingham City had probably been featured in that  sometime.  Sure enough, when I checked earlier articles, I found an account of Birmingham City’s 1993-94 season.  It brought back a lot of memories.  Continue reading

Still looking for a silver lining

I’m not going to comment on what has gone on in Hong Kong and what it means for the future of Birmingham City. There’s no point in me writing about the Hong Kong happenings because anything I could produce would be mainly a rehash of what Daniel has put on Often Partisan1 and you’d be better off reading it there.  And I’m not writing anything about the future of Birmingham City because I have no idea what will happen next but continue to fear the worst.   Continue reading