When I think about Birmingham City playing Hull City, two games come to mind. The first was in September 2017, when I went to watch the game in Hull. It was Lee Carsley’s third and final game as caretaker manager. His first game in charge had finished as a draw against Derby and the second was a win against Sheffield Wednesday. In the third game at Hull, we were beaten comprehensively, and the final score was 6-1. I spent a couple of nights in Hull and liked the place but not that game.
Hogan’s late equaliser was a great way to end the game and it sent me home happy. I thought Blues were better in the first half but not so good in the second so a draw seemed like a fair result. I always want Blues to win, whoever and whenever they play, but I can’t say that I wanted Garry Monk to lose. I remember how he kept us up in 2018 and feel grateful for that.
Every year I read through a poetry book that contains a poem a day for each day from December 1st to January 6th. And this will be the third time I’ve mentioned the poem for Christmas eve: In the Days of Caesar by Waldo Williams. There’s a phrase in it, “naïve with power”, that describes Caesar’s inability to understand something that people with no power had no difficulty in understanding. Like Caesar, the owners of our club have the power to make decisions but there’s a lot they don’t understand about fans.
When my season ticket arrived in my letter box today, I realised how little enthusiasm I feel about next season. I always look forward to games and seasons with a mixture of hope and fear, but this season there is a lot more fear than hope.
SAD stands for Stunned And Depressed, which were my feelings following reports of Garry Monk’s departure. Stunned because sacking him seemed like a repeat of the mistake made when Gary Rowett was sacked. Depressed because he’d created a team and a way of playing that attracted the largest and most supportive crowds for years.
I think my dad first took me to St Andrew’s about 70 years ago. I can remember the noise, excitement, Gil Merrick, Jeff Hall and a couple of games in 1956 but hardly any other details. I’m not one of those people who have the history of Birmingham City stored in their brains. But this 2018-19 season was more memorable than most and I think I’m going to remember a few things about it.
In a recent interview, Harlee Dean said that a club needs a philosophy, a way of playing and that’s what Garry Monk brought to Birmingham City. Monk has also talked about this; the Birmingham Mail published a quote in which he said:
“we felt the group needed to know what it meant playing for this club, wearing that shirt and what it means not just for them but for the fans and the community.”
I’ve never liked transfer windows. I’m usually irritated by the silly rumours about who Birmingham City might bring in. This window I’m worried about who might leave. I feel bad that Omar Bogle’s loan has been cut short; he scored a great goal against Stoke and I would have liked to see a few more like that. I will feel a lot worse if we lose one of our first team regulars. If someone like Che Adams is sold, it will feel as though the team is being ripped apart.
It feels as though the world is getting more partisan, with people divided on various issues. I have nothing against people who strongly support something or some team but the word ‘partisan’ has further connotations. It is often used when people strongly support something without thinking carefully about it.
Birmingham City’s goalless draw on Saturday was scrappy and I came away feeling disappointed. Just over 4 years ago, I can remember watching on TV as Blues played at Wolves. They earned a magnificent 0-0 draw, which seemed wonderful because they had lost 0-8 at home in their previous game. Gary Rowett had been manager for less than a week and had managed to turn a group of demoralised men into a team that could defend.
I’m not writing about the 1-point gap between us and a nearby team but about the financial gap between teams. According to the transfermarkt website, Stoke fielded the Championship team that cost the most on the opening day of this season and Birmingham City were 16th in that table. But, as Johan Cruyff said, “Why couldn’t you beat a richer club. I’ve never seen a bag of money score a goal.”
Birmingham City reminds me of the opening line from A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens. It is the best of times on the pitch, the team is unbeaten in the last 11 games and has won the last 4. Off the pitch, it doesn’t seem so good. Continue reading
It’s Saturday, Birmingham City are playing at home and I’ll be going to St Andrew’s once more. It will be the sixth home game and Blues still haven’t won there this season. As always, I’ll be hoping for a win this time. Continue reading
On Heritage Open Day, Bournville Junior School was one of the places that was open and I was able to visit the school I attended as a child. I saw my name written in a book recording when I had started and left the school and I walked around looking at displays and posters. The poster on values listed the values that I could remember being taught by that school and by my parents. Continue reading