Craig's delight as Blues lose nearly tag

Gardner completed a dramatic Carling Cup semi-final comeback against West Ham by scoring the winner in a 4-3 aggregate triumph after Blues had trailed 3-1 at one stage. The Blues midfielder described it as "the greatest day of my footballing life" and is also looking forward to becoming a father for the first time in May.

Blues have often been in the shadow of Birmingham neighbours Aston Villa and their last significant Wembley appearance was in the 1956 FA Cup final when they were beaten by Manchester City.

However, Gardner hopes the belief gained from securing a February 27th meeting with Arsenal can rub off on everyone connected with Blues.

He said: "To get your team to Wembley, the one you've been supporting them since you were a boy, and scoring the winning goal, you can't ask for anything more.

"It's unbelievable. It's a dream come true and I have dedicated the goal to every single Blues fan. I am expecting a baby as well in May, my first, so I am buzzing about that as well. It's a great time for me.

"To be fair, growing up as a supporter, and with all your friends being fans, they always say that we are a nearly club. But with getting to the final we proved that we have turned over a new leaf and we can make that extra step.

"We've come into the Premier League and held our own for two seasons. We were aware of the chance of it being our first major final at Wembley for 55 years going into the game and we've achieved it."

Source: PA

Source: PA