“This isn’t Green Street, you’re not Danny Dyer, you don’t have a tattoo of Shadwell on your arse and owning a Stone Island jacket doesn’t redefine criminal damage as “a bit of banter”
Now, the end is near and once again we face the final curtain. It just wouldn’t be Blues if it didn’t go down to the last game of the season would it? As many have said, there’s three ways of doing things; the easy way, the hard way and the Birmingham City way. One thing that can be said about the Blues though is that when you buy a season ticket, at least you get the full use out of it.
Unlike Forest, Leeds and Wednesday that rip their fans off with 21 match campaigns, at least every game counts for something down at St Andrews. Imagine paying for a 23 game season ticket but only 90% of those matches really matter!
God, that would be great wouldn’t it…
Imagine how nice it must be to go to a game, involve yourself in it for 90 minutes and then go home and just carry on living your life; ignorant of all results around you and blissfully unaware of whether we’re 15th, 16th or 17th in the league. A win against QPR would have gifted us that luxury but alas, we’re Birmingham City and we love to fumble our way through to the final day.
Stevie C famously said that the boys were afraid to play in front of us. Monk treated us to a similar post-match rhetoric on Saturday after the 3-1 loss to QPR. I’m fairly confident that Gazza was referring to the gravity of the situation causing nerves though, rather than the club’s own fans. Either way, the boys in blue have just a few more days to shake off these jitters and rise to the occasion. If the lads felt pressure before the Rangers game, they’ve done themselves no favours heading into Sunday.
If we’re honest with ourselves, the trip to Loftus Road was a minor disaster; and not just because of the game. The stewards and policing ‘daaan saaaf’ have always been pretty dire and the massively outdated stadium is crying out for an upgrade, especially in the away end. Fans were left stranded outside the entrance gates as the clock ticked on and many bluenoses only managed to find their seats around the 3:20 mark.
Although I cannot confirm this myself, there has also been numerous reports that staff in the ground were rather confrontational and Blues fans felt somewhat antagonized. Does this excuse the trashing of a bar though? No, not even slightly. The behaviour of a minority who choose to take the “we’re Birmingham City, we do what we want” mantra a little too seriously was disgusting and it is a black mark on an already disappointing away day. This isn’t Green Street, you’re not Danny Dyer, you don’t have a tattoo of Shadwell on your arse and owning a Stone Island jacket doesn’t redefine criminal damage as “a bit of banter”
As far as the game is concerned, the boys on the pitch just didn’t seem to gel and the flowing, attacking football that we’ve been treated to recently just wasn’t there. It’s sad to say but the scoreline flattered us a little too. Yes, we threw men forward towards the end (allowing the third goal) but if it wasn’t for the Stocko between the sticks making some absolute world class saves then it could have been so much worse.
I don’t think any one individual played particularly poorly, rather the whole team seemed to lose its drive. It goes back to the old adage of when you’re down, nothing goes your way.
But alas, on to the Fulham and a packed out St Andrews! Fans are buzzing and the ground has completely sold out.
Or has it?
Yes it has.
No, it hasn’t.
Who knows at this point.
There’ve been so many conflicting reports of sell-outs and section openings that I just don’t know for sure. One thing I DO know though is that there’s going to be a hell of a lot of bums in blue and white seats and the noise is going to be ear shattering!
We’ve lifted the team to our fair share of results over the last few months and it’s well within our ability to do that once more. We do not have a relegation worthy squad and we are miles better than our current predicament suggests. I’m sure last week’s game was just a blip in an otherwise triumphant fight back and all it takes is one last 90 minute effort. A point will see us safe and even a loss wouldn’t instantly condemn us to League One. We may be facing promotion contenders in our final showdown, but so are Reading. Barnsley and Burton have both been sentenced to games against teams battling for playoff places and Bolton also have an uphill battle to claim a crucial 3 points that still may not grant them Championship football next season.
Some doom and gloomers have already thrown in the towel but the odds are actually in our favour. Besides; once Jukey rattles the back of the net in the first half, we won’t even need to concern ourselves with what them up North are getting up to!
I’ve made many an impassioned appeal over the course of our generally dismal season, but allow me to invoke the spirit of Paul Caddis and make one more. We’re Birmingham City and we belong in the upper echelons of English football. We’re no strangers to defeat but we always come back stronger and by God do we fight to the end. The second city deserves to have a team they can be proud and we’re going to give it to them.
On Sunday we will be loud, we will be proud and we will be the best damn home crowd that we’ve had all season. Fulham may be coming here to fight for a place in the Premier League but I ask you, who fights harder; the team with something to win or the guys with everything to lose?
By Mark Watson
Images by Andy Shaw, Ceire Francis and BCFC respectively.