January 28, 2013 by Made In Brum
Be you a young whipper snapper of a Bluenose or an old campaigner like me, you’ll have either seen it all before or heard of Blues’ ‘Trouble and Strife’ of years gone by. It seems that if you dare to drink the eternal waters that makes you a Birmingham City Supporter for life, your life will be dogged by endless strife, the strife of knowing that sooner rather than later, it’s all going to go tits up, one way or another.
I know I’ve seen it all before, Blues down on their uppers, if you know what I mean. It’s times like these that hardens you to what life throws at you, and it also makes the ‘GOOD’ times when they return that much better. Lets all be honest, Blues HAVE been in a worse state than they find themselves now, but not much worse. In fact, I reckon its hit me this time harder than any other time since I have been supporting Blues. Why? Well it’s hard to pin it to one thing really. I think I can explain it as a ‘gradual’ battering of my belief that one day the team I love, and can I just say ‘always will love’ will become a giant of English football. Yes, I know, I should really tow the ‘Blues’ line, the one that says ‘Birmingham City’ will always be shit because they always have been shit.
I know that there are Bluenoses out there that really believe it, that we have always been doomed to watching our team battered and bruised through the ages. And some have even given up supporting Blues because ‘oh my God’ we won something. Their reasoning? We’ve done it now so there’s no point in supporting this club any longer.
I know for a fact that some Noses stopped going when we first made it to the Premier League. Why? Many were unable to go because they’d been frozen out by Brady and Co’s price hike in match/season tickets, but that’s another story.
Let’s get back to what I started to talk about in the first place. Why us? Why does it always happen to the club we love? Now I know there are other supporters out there who go and watch their team and perhaps say the same sort of things, but usually they support teams that will never ever get anywhere near the ‘promised land’ wherever that is! Yes, not one club has the given right to be successful, but if that were true, why does Manchester United win league after league and cup after cup? Why have at least three or four clubs in the London area been successful throughout the decades?
Okay, not all London club win things, but lets look at Fulham. Not a really big club are they? Yes, they’ve had their moments in history where they won this and almost won that but Fulham are probably a bit like Walsall, and they are the same sort of size in relation to where they are in the area. But what have Walsall ever won or done? Sweet fanny Adams. They’ve won zilch and they probably never will. Whereas Fulham beat us in an FA Cup semi-final when they were shit. Fulham have also had their really bad times and they went from top to bottom, but they came back again and now are established in the Premier league. Yes, they make up the numbers and one day could go down, because that’s what happens in football. My point is, they are small fry in terms of other London clubs, yet they hold their own, and apart from a short time in their history, always have.
Yet here in Brum, there is a team that holds the name of the second city in this land. This area is bigger than Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Liverpool and yet Birmingham City have almost always been a team that has never reached anywhere near its potential.
We won the Carling Cup though? And I should bloody well think so. Come on, the law of averages says that one day a club of our size just has to win something. And what about getting to two FA Cup finals? Two, in how many years? Bloody Huddersfield have won it once and that town is almost as small as Blackburn, which in turn is the size of Nuneaton! That just about puts the two FA Cup finals into perspective doesn’t it? Really, we should have at least won it twice and been to the final four or five times. Going back to teams that have won the FA Cup, I mentioned Blackburn Rovers from that small Lancastrian mill town, back in the late 1800’s won the damn thing five times. Yes, FIVE!!
Then there’s the League. I’m not even going to say we should be winning the Premier league as that would show me to be verging on being insane, but there was a League before the Premier came along, when teams competed on a bit more of a level playing field as there was no Sky money and no influx of foreign mercenaries. Yet the closet Blues ever got was a sixth position finish in 1956. Sixth! What a joke, bloody Burnley have finished higher than that, oh, hang on a minute, Burnley have actually won it twice.
Back to the FA Cup and what gives Pompey the right to go and win it in 2007-08 and then get to the final again two years later? Oh yes I forgot, they bought their way to winning it and again getting to another final. Yes, they did spend an awful lot of money that they couldn’t actually afford to spend but whose fault is that? I blame the banks and financial institutions for thinking that Pompey were in a right and proper financial state to pay it back. And to be fair, to spend shed loads of money on trying to win something is the ‘modern’ way, isn’t it?
Let’s get right back to the ‘league’ let downs. We’ve never really got anywhere near winning the top League, not even a sniff of a win, and that’s in 137 years of trying. But we can always look back in admiration at our Second Division titles can’t we? Four times. That’s all, just four bloody times we’ve won it and, to put that into perspective, I’ve seen Blues promoted six times since 1972, and I’ve not seen us ‘WIN’ the title in the second tier of football. Who cares? We can all just act as smug as possible because in the 1994-95 season we won the then, Second Division title, but really it was the old Third Division. So, by winning that fantastic league title we should all think to ourselves ‘we’re a lucky old bunch of Bluenoses aren’t we?’ NO WE SHOULDN’T. What we should be doing is getting down on our hands and knees and looking up to ask God ‘why us, why haven’t we won more?’
We shouldn’t be so bitter about our hard luck though because just look at Manchester United. Not the team of today but the one back in the early seventies. They just come off the back of a League title in 1967 and then went on to become the first English club to win the European Cup. They were one of the biggest teams in Europe and had a mass following from all over the country. Just fours years after that great European Cup win they were relegated, and we relegated them! So they’ve had heartache aplenty? Well one season in the Second Division. It took them years to re-build and they had to look and watch as Liverpool kept winning the League and Cups in the eighties. Alex Ferguson was on the verge of being sacked way back in the 90’s, but now look at them, every season they are pushing for one trophy or another, and sometime two or three. We have one or two good seasons and then at all goes the way it always goes, bloody downhill!
Some would say Blues are a bit like ‘Karma’ where if something goes right at one time, another thing has to go wrong later to level it all out. Like that’s happened at Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal? Or Man Utd/City, Liverpool or Everton? Each one of those teams have won endless cups and leagues, and yes, they have had their bad times, but not like we have seen. It seems all we have to do is:
1) Get to the Premier then it all goes tits up in a number of ways, not just on the pitch, but off it to. Now that doesn’t happen at many other clubs, does it?
2) Win a Cup. Then get relegated in the same season and see our owner arrested, lose our manager to the Vile (good thing), lose our new manager to Norwich (bad thing), have to employ our new manager and his bumbling side kicks, see a lot of our in form players go off form, and the hope of promotion or at least reaching the Play-off’s deteriorate into the threat of relegation and perhaps administration.
All that strife in the last couple of seasons where we win something, be it promotion or a Cup, and all us Bluenoses have to pay for it with the torture of our club going through the mire. When the shit hits the fan at St Andrews, we all get covered.
This is just part one of ‘Trouble and Strife’ and next time I’ll be looking back at certain times in Blues’ history and as usual, where it all goes tit’s up!
That’s it from me ‘Dave Thomas’ trying to bring a warm glow to Bluenoses near and far. Just remember this ‘there is always a football supporter worse off somewhere in the world. He’ll just be hard to find’ at the moment.
By Dave Thomas