When you’re far away from Birmingham like me you rely heavily on the media to keep up to date with all things Blues. I’ve always felt the local press and so on do a great job of covering Birmingham’s progress and thanks to the internet all of those resources are readily available to me. There is something special, however, about national press coverage. Nothing makes me feel prouder as a Blue Nose than a positive match report in a broadsheet newspaper, for example. Supporters of clubs that spend their lives in the top half of the Premier League presumably take it as a given that their team will appear in sports sections across the country. Basking in the unwavering glare of such attention must be wonderful. Sadly, we Blues fans get dappled light at best. Ploughing through avalanches of boring speculation about someone’s multi-million pound move between football giants to find only a scant sentence about Birmingham’s plight can be quite frustrating.
I’m not deluded, I hasten to add. I understand that the size and reach of these super clubs extends far beyond that of Birmingham City. It does a Blues fan a lot of good to be realistic about our relative proportion and influence. In the past my own hopes and aspirations for Brum have been modest at best. When Darren Carter slotted home THAT penalty unbelievably propelling us into the Premier League one of the main things I was cock-a-hoop about was our imminent regular appearances on Match of the Day. To borrow from Stewart Lee, Gary Lineker’s velvet owl face beckoned!
In the early days we were always last on, of course. Eventually, at around midnight, the beer now really taking its toll, you’d get to see highlights of our hard fought draw with Everton. Here it comes, you’d think: the analysis. How keenly I’ve anticipated the day that these pundits, these football sages turn their attention to my beloved team and say a few words. Then you’d watch thirty seconds of apathetic men in suits discuss how unlucky Everton were and where the Toffees might finish at the end of the season. “Oh, and Birmingham will probably go down.” – Really?
Being the most unfashionable team in the Premier League was almost worse than not being in it at all from a coverage perspective because the little attention we got was so derisory.
These feelings of bitterness came flooding back this weekend after our laudable draw with Huddersfield. I found myself in Brum, as it happens, and went to watch Kidderminster beat Southport 3:0. It was quite nice watching a free scoring team for a change I can tell you! I’d managed to keep up to date with our FA cup clash via Twitter. By the time my Dad and I were watching the highlights on the BBC we’d listened to radio WM say how well Birmingham had played and how Blues were good value for the draw. We’d heard several local commentators suggest Jutkiewicz had scored a goal that had been disallowed unfairly and had read Brian Dick’s match report that enthused about our performance and implied Brum could have snatched it. What a different story the BBC told. During the briefest of highlight packages Huddersfield were dominant, we were told, despite having made seven changes to their squad. At no point did he mention that Birmingham had undertaken a similarly large re-shuffle. How annoying is that? Does rearranging your squad only warrant comment if you’re a Premier League team? It seems so. The disallowed goal was completely ignored and the segment appeared to end in a tone of sympathy for poor old David Wagner who’d have to go to grotty old Birmingham next Tuesday.
This kind of treatment really gets me cross but unfortunately it’s part and parcel of following my beloved team. I suppose the big hope is that soon Blues can achieve a position which warrants a little more respect and a higher calibre of scrutiny. That seems a long way off at the moment, though, doesn’t it? Until then we’re stuck with Channel Five, advert breaks and Colin bloody Murray.
Please tell me I’m not the only Blue Nose who feels a little neglected! Comment below or contact me or BCFC Followers via Facebook or Twitter if you also feel we were rather poorly represented this weekend. Or share with me what your early memories of Birmingham City on Match of the Day are. I’m off to urge Steve Cotterill to poach as many Kidderminster players as possible…
Keep Right On!