Best cancel those hotel rooms in Cardiff! I tried to tell you all last week that the FA Cup just wasn’t our thing, from Fulham to Kidderminster, from Altrincham to Sunderland the road to immortality is a boulevard of our broken dreams. I know we won but the draw for the next round was unkind.
But this is Birmingham City remember, if there is an awkward way of completely screwing it up we will find it. Even if we did win against the Midas boys from the Kings Road we would still find a painful mode of elimination further down the line that involves the longest and most silent departure from a football ground since the last time we lost in such a fashion (Barnsley? Watford? Torquay? Fulham?). Perhaps it is a form of karma each season for the schadenfraude following the annual failure by our neighbours?
The Leeds match was a potential hazard. They posed the same threat that Oldham did for Man City and West Ham did for Norwich. They are an average Division One team and the cup provided them with a chance to earn some much needed revenue and a little air time. The defeat of Leeds on Saturday was possibly one of the most emphatic of the round although it was overshadowed by some excellent results by other teams outside of the Premiership. It was a fixture that a few years ago we would have lost especially in light of the turmoil endured by the club over the last couple of weeks.
Big Emile is playing superb at the moment and although his performances deserve at least a visit from ‘Old Mr Burns’ Erickson he probably won’t get one due to the prejudices of the mindless who labelled him a long time ago. It’s not just the goals, important as they are to any centre forward, it is the all round play. The leading of the line, the winning of the long balls, the hold up play, the pressure on the defence, the sheer torture he inflicts on defenders. Great to watch but I bet he is a nightmare to play against.
All season Emile has needed a partner. The unfortunate injury to the Albino coincided with the knee trouble suffered by Morrison and so, for a long time, it was a one man band and no one man could be expected to take a club to salvation. Enter stage left Young Morrison.
Morrison – When we signed him he was a goal machine at Crystal Palace, left foot, right foot, headers, everything. Two early goals away at Liverpool gave hope that he was the striker we were looking for but it went awry. Clinton gave the impression he was only interested when the ball came near him and he was in the penalty area. A bit like the kid in the playground who does nowt all dinner time but stand next to the jumpers and tap the ball in and claims at the bell to have won the game cos he scored thirty eight goals. Over the years we have had many players like Morrison, clearly talented, but with minimal application. Then something happened on the road to Damascus or was it Damson Lane? Suddenly he was chasing down goalkeepers, harassing defenders and working hard down the channels. Ok he still walked like he was auditioning for So Solid Crew and his bad attitude was simmering but, for once, he had reason to be cocky, we were singing his name!
Although we would love to have Ronaldo, Morientes, Ronaldhino, etc playing for us, if they don’t at least try then it doesn’t take the St Andrews faithful long to get restless. Many an average player has been applauded for simply trying his damned hardest. And after a slow start Morrison has realised what the fans want, they want him to showboat his talents when he is on the ball and work bloody hard to get it back when we don’t have it. Simple really! The new Morrison is playing excellent and although it is not always his name on the score sheet he should know that the fans do see the work he does, the link up play and the effort he puts into his performance. Well done Clinton, keep it up you crazy mofo bad boy rapper dude man! Or whatever it is they say these days!
The partnership of Heskey and Morrison is working well and my only fear is the tough long slog that awaits and the inevitable injuries that result from such an arduous campaign. Blake’s Seven has landed as back up and I’m a tad happier with the new Robbie in the squad rather than the Grand Old Duke Dwight Yorke.
It is also heart-warming to see Darren Carter emerge like a young gladiator from the adolescent promise of his precocious youth. His all action style is similar to Savage’s but with the added bonus of talent, controlled running and the ability to make dynamic late runs into the box. His time away will have done him the world of good, as it did for AJ. Fortunately for the Blues this time we get to reap the rewards. His goals were both beautifully created and clinically finished.
The Savage saga is still running and the odium created has been exacerbated by his impenitence. It is good news that the club officials have chosen to no longer comment on the debacle. Everton are looking elsewhere and Blackburn are keen to remove the doubts raised about their ‘tapping’ allegations by also turning their attentions to other players. This will leave the ill informed pariah with nowhere to turn and either a grovelling apology or a spell in the reserves is imminent. By the time you read this he will be on a coach with the kids or on his way to South London. I am not sure there is any road back for Robbie as far as the fans are concerned.
Charlton are one of those damned awkward teams. Their inconsistency is their only constant and this weekend could go either way. Or be a draw! That Danny Murphy has a name that always has to be said in a scouse accent and a wife that would never be booted out of bed for farting. His own performances epitomise the Charlton unpredictability. Ally him to the mercurial (for mercurial read ‘crap’) Bartlett and Euell and the emerging Thomas backed up by the Hermanator, Hreidarsson and quite frankly anything could happen in the next ninety minutes! Let’s hope Kylie (sic) has lots of work to do.
Keep Right On and may the luck of the vampires be with you!