Tag Archives: Jeff Hall

Time’s wingèd chariot

Loftus Road is a small stadium, the third smallest stadium in the Sky Bet Championship this season. It’s not a comfortable place to visit. When I went there, I felt like a sardine crammed in a tin. Respect to the Blues fans who are going today, and I hope they see a good game. I’ll be listening on the radio.

There are things I like about going to away games. Birmingham City’s travelling fans are incredible and it feel’s great to be among a loud, supportive crowd. But standing for 90 minutes is tiring and by the end of a game I feel very old.

More and more things make me feel old these days.  I just read about Albert Finney dying and that brought back memories of watching him at the old Birmingham Repertory Theatre in the 1950’s.  I remember seeing him as Henry V and also saw him in less memorable roles.  Once when I was clearing out a pile of Rep programmes, I noticed his name listed in the actors playing the crowd. That was over 60 years ago.

And it’s nearly 70 years since my dad first took me to St Andrew’s. I don’t remember exactly when that was but do remember Gill Merrick, Jeff Hall and the roar of the crowd. I also remember the first time I heard ‘Keep right on’ sung, at the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough in 1956. My memories may be rose-tinted but I think the crowd back then was very supportive. That’s why I’m thrilled by the atmosphere at games this season, with our crowd supporting effort and commitment even when it doesn’t end with a win. It reminds me of the crowds I stood in when I was a child and it feels good.

By the way, the title of this post is taken from Andrew Marvell’s poem To His Coy Mistress:

But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near  
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New season, new numbers

The season starts tomorrow. The transfer window won’t close for another four weeks but at least there will be some real results to discuss and not just transfer rumours. I try to avoid reading about who Birmingham City might sign or who almost signed, but it’s impossible to avoid seeing some of the headlines. Continue reading

Worth reading

I don’t have time to write much but want to recommend an article and book that I’ve read recently.

The article, The forgotten story of … Jeff Hall, the footballer whose death turned tide against polio, was in the Guardian yesterday. I haven’t forgotten him. He was my favourite player and I was devastated when he died. As well as being a good but sad read, it has a great photo of him making a sliding tackle on a snow covered pitch.  Continue reading

Jeff Hall’s widow

I was sorry to read the report that Jeff Hall’s widow is terminally ill but pleased that she has received an award from the British Polio Fellowship in recognition of the work she did to publicise the facts about the disease that killed him.  Jeff Hall was a great player for Birmingham City. His wife is a great lady who played an important role in the eradication of polio in this country.

Widow of Blues star Jeff Hall honoured for work to highlight disease which killed him

Jeff Hall

On Easter Monday, Birmingham City FC joined with the British Polio Fellowship to commemorate the 55th anniversary of Jeff Hall’s death. I was glad to make a donation to help those still suffering from the effects of polio because I’m old enough to remember what a terrible disease it was. As the collectors held out their tins I heard a young fan ask, “What’s polio?” and was glad that she hadn’t heard of the disease that was so feared when I was a child.  There is no longer a risk of polio infection in this country and Jeff’s death played a part in the elimination of that risk.   Continue reading