Final Day Highs and Lows1
May 1, 2014 by bluenosebible
With defeat against Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night, Birmingham City now find themselves in a final day decider against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium. To stay up, they need to either better Doncaster Rover’s result or win and hope either Millwall or Blackpool slip up. This isn’t a new thing for the Bluenoses as down the years there has been plenty of final day tears of joys and sorrows to. As typical of Blues they always tend to make things difficult for themselves so here is a look back at some previous high and lows of the final day of the season deciders.
2010/11- May 22nd: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Birmingham City
Unfortunately our first trip down memory lane starts with a negative and a heart breaking (the picture of me crying on Sky Sports proves that!) end to a season with plenty of highs and a few lows. Despite winning the Carling Cup at Wembley just three months earlier, Blues went down after losing to an injury time goal at White Hart Lane. At the start of the day, Alex McLeish’s side had to better Blackpool and Wigan’s results away to champions Manchester United and Stoke City, respectively. Blackburn Rovers and Wolves were not out of it yet either as they played each other at the Molineux. In a game where the away side were looking to defend their way out of trouble, Blues were safe at the interval as both Blackpool and Wolves were behind as well as a goalless first half for Wigan. An early second half goal from Roman Palyuchenko put Birmingham into the relegation zone and a goal from Wigan plus Blackpool taking the lead put them right in the mire. With just ten minutes to go, Craig Gardener scored a great goal from the edge of the box to pull Blues back level , but a goal from Wolves to pull them back from 0-3 down to 2-3 meant they stayed in the bottom three on goal difference. A late winner from Palyuchenko sealed their fate and ended Birmingham’s two season stay in to Premiership.
2008/09- May 3rd: Reading 2-1 Birmingham City
In typical yo-yo club fashion, Birmingham City made it four relegations/promotion in a row with a win on the final day of the 2008/09 season at the Madejski Stadium. Despite not pulling up any trees throughout the season, Blues found themselves in with a chance of promotion if they matched or bettered Sheffield United’s result at a struggling Crystal Palace to claim second place behind Wolves. The home side were the third side who could claim automatic promotion if they won and the Blades failed to win their match. Blues’ took the lead inside 20 minutes through Keith Fahey thanks to a bit of help from Royals’ goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann who let the ball roll under him. Club top scorer for the season and fans’ favourite, Kevin Phillips, then doubled their side on the hour mark to all but confirm Blues’ promotion to the Premiership. With Sheffield United drawing 0-0 and Reading only managing to pull one back, Birmingham celebrated the win and promotion back to the top tier.
2007/08- May 11th: Birmingham City 4-1 Blackburn Rovers
Despite hammering Blackburn Rovers in 2008, Alex McLeish’s men were relegated to the Championship after one year in the Premier League. After losing to Fulham at Craven Cottage the previous week, Blues had to better the results of Reading and the Cottagers. It took half an hour for Blues to take the lead through recently retired David Murphy for his first goal for the club, but by this time, Reading were taking apart an already relegated Derby County side at Pride Park. With little to lose, the side came out with more freedom in the second half and added three more goals to their total. Cameron Jerome scored a brace and even Fabrice Muamba got on the score sheet late on, but it wasn’t enough with Reading and Fulham both winning their games as well. After the game fans ran onto the pitch to protest against the ownership of David Gold and David Sullivan, oh how times have changed…
1994/95- May 6th: Huddersfield Town 1-2 Birmingham City
Barry Fry’s men recorded the Auto Windscreens and league double after beating Huddersfield in the last game that the Blues have played in the third tier of English football. After only drawing their game in hand with Bradford City 0-0 in the midweek, Birmingham had to pick up at least a point in Yorkshire to seal the Division Two title ahead of Brentford. Following a nervy first half, Blues took the lead in the 72nd minute through Steve Claridge for the striker’s 20th league goal of the season in front of a big Blues’ support. Brummie boy Paul Tait doubled their lead with five minutes to go, which proved to be the winning goal just like the midfielder did in the final against Carlisle a month earlier. Even though a result wasn’t needed in the end with Brentford only drawing at Bristol Rovers, Blues guaranteed promotion and capped off a fantastic season with two pieces of silverware.
What are your memories of final day deciders including Blues before this time?
Blues v Nowich
A game Blues had to win to avoid the usual !,,,standing on the old Coventry Rd stand [couldnt get on the Tilton due to the crowd !! ], me [a serving hard as nails squaddie ] in tears with my brothers mates crying on each others shoulders with 5 min to go, the score was 1-1, a draw was no good, win or into Div III, then the miracle,think it was Bob Hatton or Gordon Taylor who got it,,,,,,tears of pain and misery turned instantly into tears of joy as 6 Zulu,s [and 1 squaddie]! ] start crying all over again and dancing with total strangers in tears as well