Birmingham City v Norwich City
27th November 2004 at 15:00
And you thought people in high places didn’t read this rubbish? Your highly esteemed (? – ed) reporter took advantage of his position on Sky television’s Monday Night Show to expose the failings of our beloved Birmingham City. Basically our midfield is about as attack minded as a conscientious objecting Italian conscript. We shove our poor old stool pigeon Heskey alone up front and punt unfeasibly high balls to him from a great distance and expect him to control it, beat four defenders and stick it in the net. And when he doesn’t do it, which to be honest Pele on a good day would also struggle to, he gets grief from our fans and amusement from our rivals who remind us of how bad a signing he was!
We desperately needed our overpaid and underachieving midfielders to support the striker (note the singular!)! It is an easy cop out to blame the forward for the lack of goals but without the prolific Albino it is more important than ever that the others contribute in the positive sense rather than purely the spoiling negative aspect. Lo and behold the most venerable Sir Bruce must have listened because against Blackburn our midfielders were possessed, rampant, fuelled with a desire to get into the opposing penalty area and create havoc. The wholly unexpected half time score line of 3-1 was fantastic. We were Gods. We were proud again. We could expect our rejuvenated heroes to march onto the tail of Lozells United nay even storm past them to challenge for campaigns on foreign shores. All this hope from forty five minutes of football. We were good. Life was sexy again. What could go wrong? And then the second half began!
I drove home from Sky feeling like I had left something behind. The change in fortunes was astounding. I have heard it said that the match changed when David Thompson replaced Toogay, indeed in many publications Thompson was given the man of the match award for his thirty minute display. Yes David Thompson, diddy David Thompson. You know the one, small, impish, bad knees, failed at Liverpool and Coventry. Famous in footballing circles for scoring the occasional long range goal but now infamous for being able to destroy our hedonism with just half an hour of passing to his colleagues.
My disbelief at the unravelling of the plot was compounded when at 3-3 Blues brought on Jamie Clapham to shore up the defence. Ok, who forgot to shut the stable door? I wanted us to come out for the second half and play five at the back with four in midfield and any old cart horse up front. It wouldn’t have mattered who had the striking role as their responsibility would have been to get the ball and kick it as high and as far as possible up the pitch. I wanted us to take the ball to the corner flag from the 46th minute and kill the game, take the heart out of the opposition and draw all their early energy. The game was won; there was no need to turn it into an exciting spectacle for the armchair viewers. I would have taken forty five minutes of tedium if it had resulted in three points.
All this makes the Norwich game even more critical. Slowly the games are sliding by and the potential points total is reducing. We need to send Delia’s boys back to the Appalachian Downs with nothing to show for the trip. Sorry canaries but we are getting desperate, the eagles were here a few weeks ago and they swooped and stole the valuables. We are Birmingham City and cannot let some tweetie pie come to our manor and burgle our future. As the magnificently eloquent Ozzy said ‘(we come) from not a very nice part of Birmingham and everything we have, we have worked our arses off for’.
Keep Right On, Blues to win. There cannot be any other result.