Archive for the ‘Birmingham City Articles’ Category

Darren Ambrose Signing – Makes It Four   Leave a comment


There can’t be many managers that have taken over a club with a transfer embargo in place, but when Lee Clark took over at Birmingham City he must have realised things would be tight for him to get new players in before the new season, Birmingham had been subject of a league imposed Transfer Embargo because of the issues with the accounts since March and was most probably told at the interview by Peter Pannu that the club had little or no money to buy with. However to Clarks and Birmingham’s credit they have wasted little time in getting players in ready for the oncoming season. Blues have been unable to compete with the money men and instead gone for the bargain basement.

“I’m a striker and that’s what I’ve been brought in for,”

Peter Lovenkrands was first in, the 32-year-old striker has been subject of Blues trying to buy him before, however back then millions was being talked about, now he’s arrived on a 2 year contract for free. Lovenkrands has a decent scoring record with an average of a goal every three games and Lee Clark will be hoping his new striker can hit that kind of form come August.

Next up for Lee Clark was an experienced Goalkeeper, Blues fans all winced and wondered if David Lucas was being bought as a stop-gap for an outbound Jack Butland, despite reassurances from the club some fans remain unconvinced that Jack Butland will be lining up in a Blues shirt come season start. Lucas arrives on a free from Rochdale and seems to be back up for both Colin Doyle and the aforementioned Butland.

The Ink hadn’t even dried Following the transfer of David Lucas when Tom Ross was twittering that Blues were in for Hayden Mullins, another player that has a history of being on the Blues target list in the past. The Ex Palace,West Ham and Portmouth Utility man can play midfield or right back and looks a shrewd acquisition by Clark. 10 years ago Mullins was captain of Trevor Francis’ Crystal Palace and would almost certainly go straight into the team.

Three in and that looked to be it until later in the day another two names cropped up, James Mcfadden a player who Blues fans know well has been revived in the press and it remains to be seen if Lee Clark takes a chance on one of Alex McLeishs old boys. Next up though was another midfielder, Blues have been rocked by the news that Irish International Keith Fahey will miss the start of the season and with Blues already looking light in that department Lee Clark has wasted little time in signing Crystal Palace midfielder Darren Ambrose.

“I’m absolutely delighted and buzzing at the moment. I can’t wait to get going.”

The signing of Ambrose has completed a remarkable first four signings for Lee Clarks Birmingham. Darren Ambrose is relatively still a young man at 28 and for just short of 1 million looks on paper to be great piece of business, despite having played for four clubs in his career (Ipswich, Newcastle, Charlton, Crystal Palace) Darren Ambrose has always been the type of player to remain fit and give 100%. Ten goals last season for Palace is the reason a lot of Eagles supporters are upset at the sale of a player who still had a year left on his contract.

So four players in already for the Blues and possibly one or two more to come in. Providing Blues don’t lose any before kick off they look more than capable of putting in the kind of show they did last season and with fewer games to overcome this season who would bet against Lee Clark taking Blues back to the premiership?

By Alex_Blues (Member of birminghamcityforum.co.uk).

Advertisements

Match Preview – Birmingham City v Middlesbrough   Leave a comment


St Andrews December 1906

This is a rematch of the oldest fixture ever to be played at St Andrews in its 106 year history. Birmingham City welcomed a Middlesbrough team on 26th December 1906 too St Andrews for the grounds  inaugural game which ended 0-0 in front of 32000 fans.

Over the years since that first game a lot has changed, never before has more been at stake than in Saturday’s game, with both Birmingham and Middlesbrough vying for a play off place come the end of the season. Birmingham are struggling to find some sort of form at the moment having only picked up 2pts in their last 4 league games but remain within touching distance of the play-offs being only 1pt behind 6th placed Hull and 3pts behind visitors Middlesbrough who sit in 4th. Many Bluenoses will consider this a must win game and could be a season defining game if Chris Hughton‘s team really do have aspirations of reaching the play offs but it wont be easy against a Middlesbrough team that is unbeaten in their last 3 away games. The fans could be set for good exciting game in a fixture that Birmingham City have held the upper hand in over the years winning 4 and drawing 1 of the last 6 meetings at St Andrews.

Birmingham vs Middlesbrough

Birmingham City have a few knocks with manager Chris Hughton  missing both Spector, Carr through injury and Mutch still suspended.  Blues look set to welcome back fit again David Murphy to the team, after returning to training during the week, the same for Nathan Redmond who missed the midweek defeat away at Leicester. Chris Hughton will be looking for a response from the players and a win that could give them a vital lift in what is certain to be a tense final quarter of the season.

Stand in captain Steven Caldwell said

“The experienced players – me being one of them- need to step up to the plate and perform and help people as much as we can.”

“You have just got to keep bringing that same focus and determination to the game.”If you do that I think that when all’s said and done, the better teams end up at top and we consider ourselves one of the better teams, and it’s now time to stop the talking and improve on the park.

“Everybody just has to be mentally strong and remember how fit and good we are when we do things right”.

Middlesbrough come into the game with a few injuries with Williams, Haroun, Coyne and Mcdonald all ruled out of the fixture and Robson suspended, but a welcome boost for Tony Mowbray will be that Kevin Thomson is all set to be fit after being stretchered off in the last game a home defeat against Leeds. Manager Tony Mowbray will be looking to get back to winning ways but at the same time will need to be careful as Boro have one of the worse disciplinary records in the division and that could be a big worry if they start picking up any more suspensions at this stage of the season.

Tony Mowbray says

“We’ve got to make sure we impose our game on Birmingham this weekend, and their players will be disappointed and frustrated that they didn’t play the way they know they can.

“The reason for that is probably that we go there and make life difficult for them, score a goal on the break or from a set-piece, they gamble to get into the game and we score another one, as we have done all

season.

Stats Head to Head : @ Birmingham

Birmingham City won 30 … Middlesbrough won 8 … Drawn 13

Possible teams :

Birmingham City : Myhill, Ramage, Caldwell(Capt), Davies, Murphy, Burke, N’Daw, Fahey, Townsend, Zigic, King.

Middlesbrough : Steele; Hoyte, Bates (Capt), Hines, Bennett, Robson, Main, Bailey, Hammill, Thomson, Emnes.

Referee : Graham Scott

Prediction : Birmingham City 2 Middlesbrough 1

By Blues Brother (Member of birminghamcityforum.co.uk)

Birmingham City – What’s Gone Wrong?   4 comments


Chris Hughton and Co showing off manager of the month award

What’s Gone Wrong?

So with that thought in mind is it really asking too much to expect at least a play-off place this season? The team has already proved they can match most if not all in this league when they went on a 15 game unbeaten run and remained unbeaten at home until recently or is it just wishful thinking?

We all know that teams go through a bad period during a season and this maybe ours, but to be honest I am really disappointed with the last few results. We have now only picked up 2pts from a possible 12pts in our last 4 league games since that unbeaten run. The biggest disappointment for me is the teams we have dropped points to and also the performance of the team in these games and the fact it is against teams that were struggling at the time we played them. In fact it was teams that even their own fans could not see where their next points were coming from.

Nottingham Forest came 1st they only picked up 5pts from a possible 24pts before playing us. They came to St Andrews and were by far the better team on the day going away with a 2-1 win.

Next came Derby County who had only picked up 2pts from previous 21pts.  They had not scored in 7hrs of football until they came to St Andrews and they came back from 2-0 down to get a draw and a deserved point.

Then comes Coventry City, they had only picked up 7pts from a possible 27pts. Once again you would expect Birmingham City to be favourites but NO! The best we could do was manage a poor point.

Then last night we played another game against Leicester City which on paper you would expect us to at least get a point. We all know the result of this match so i won’t even mention it.

Now whilst I agree with the line “you have no divine right to win a game” the least I would have expected from the 4 games would have been 6pts. Now I wouldn’t have thought that was an unrealistic expectation so what has gone wrong?

I can always accept a defeat against any team but what has been the biggest disappointment in those games is the way the team has performed and I just don’t know what the problem is. Confidence should be High after reaching a play-off position. Have the New additions disrupted the team?  Injuries? We actually haven’t had many injuries apart from the odd one or two. Then what about the unnecessary changes when players do perform well like Gomis and Rooney did against Barnsley. They must be very disappointed when they get dropped. Or is it just as simple as Players getting complacent and over-confident, which could mean they have stopped working for the results?

All I know is whatever the problem is the players need to start performing as a team again and this needs to start happening on Saturday vs Middlesbrough. It’s a must win game for me otherwise I think they can say goodbye to any hope of the play-offs which would be a very disappointing end to a good season. A season that I never expected to be this good after what we went through and I can say has made me a very proud Bluenose.

We are still well in touch with the top 6, in fact we have a game in hand on some and with 5 of the top 6 still to play things might not be as bad as the last few results have made things feel. But now is the time for the players to look at each other and say am I giving it my all, can I do better. Finally Chris Hughton must decide on his best starting 11 and give them a run of games so we can finish the season on a high.

Chris Hughton said     “But there can be no denying we have not been great in the last few games, and we need to get back to winning ways as soon as possible – whether that’s with a scrappy 1-0 win or something more emphatic.”

So Come on Blues Lets get things back on track and not finish this season with a whimper.

KRO

By Blues Brother (Member of birminghamcityforum.co.uk).

Hughtons Tinkering Folly   2 comments


Chris Hughton

Let no one Argue, Chris Hughton has performed a miracle this season, by rights Birmingham City should be where everyone tipped them to be, down the bottom of the championship fighting relegation. However in recent weeks that’s exactly where they have been heading, the wheels have come off in spectacular style as Blues have been unable to beat relegation favourites Nottingham Forest at St Andrews, a place previously unbeaten this season.

Next up was Derby, the forest debacle seemed to have been brushed aside coasting at 2-0 Blues threw it away. Then Blues travelled to the Ricoh stadium. It’s a pity this great stadium will see League one football next season. Blues once again floundered without the grit that had seen them climb to third in the table and a stones throw from Southampton and West Ham.

Blues today stand 7th, outside the play offs with 12 games left, a run which will include away trips to West Ham and Brighton, home games against Reading, Brighton, Middlesbrough and Cardiff all above us in the League. Blues also face three teams that are battling for survival in Doncaster, Portsmouth, Bristol City. None of these game are going to be easy but just a few short weeks ago Blues looked like they could beat anyone.

Unbeaten in 15 games and coasting towards an Automatic place. Then came the Loans. Blues have been struggling with a few injuries of late. Zigic injured whilst scoring at Leeds, Stephen Carr, David Murphy, Marlon King has also had issues with fitness. Blues needed pepping up, apparently Blues haven’t got a pot to pee in, but some money was conjured up for wages out of thin air.

Peter Ramage was brought in to fill the void of Stephen Carr with Spector filling in for David Murphy. Chris Hughton then brought in Erik Huseklepp, a striker/Midfielder. Seemingly no training was needed for this player with his new teams mates, ‘IS HE THAT GOOD?’ and Erik was thrown in before the ink was dry.

Andros Townsend was next, he decided he didn’t want to play under new manager Neil Warnock and virtually walked out on Leeds United to come south to ‘TOP SIX’ side Birmingham City. He too was installed straight into the team. Lets be honest here Blues looked comfortable against Chelsea in the FA Cup, the new players were cup tied for the replay and yes in the replay the old guard looked ring rusty as they struggled with a new energized AVB’less Chelsea and went down 2-0, which is no disgrace.

Blues unbeaten before Forest for 15 glorious games and looking to all but certain to go up, since then Chris Hughton has done the kind of tinkering job that would have the original Tinkerman Claudio Ranieri patting him on the back and calling him chummy. The Regular players that have seen Blues climb to third, get to the 5th Round of the FA Cup and almost get to the knockout stages of the Europa Cup have been shuffled about to accommodate apparently, World Beaters? Players that don’t need to train with their new team mates were then thrown straight in and then the likes of Adam Rooney, Nathan Redmond, Wade Elliot, Morgaro Gomis are consigned to the bench or worse out of the team completely. Make no mistake team spirit is a big thing when you are trying to achieve something in sport and so who knows how the old guard feel about these new boys not needing any training or tactical sessions, but then still take their places in the team.

Blues may have been going for an automatic place but that seems to have been thrown away, Blues may still yet get to the play offs providing they can get back to winning ways and more importantly Chris Hughton puts on hold his ambition to get all chummy and be the new Claudio Ranieri.

  By Blooboy (Member of birminghamcityforum.co.uk).

Match Preview-Leicester City v Birmingham City   1 comment


Leicester City and Birmingham City play each other on Tuesday in what looks to be a vital must win game for both teams after they dropped points in each of their last two games .Leicester City will be looking to kick-start the last quarter of their season and close in on a play-off place with a win that would narrow the gap with their Midlands rivals .Birmingham City who dropped out of the play-offs at the weekend after managing only a draw with Coventry City at the Ricoh will be looking for much better after a disappointing run of results that has seen them only pick up 2 points from a possible 9 in their last 3 games .It could be an open game with both defences finding it hard to keep clean sheets of late so their could be a few goals for the fans to feast on under the floodlights of the King Power Stadium

Leicester City Boss Nigel Pearson will want to keep up the teams good home form at present and make it 5 unbeaten from last 5 at home and help the club close in on the play-offs .It looks very likely that Pearson will wield  the axe on a few players after a disappointing display against Reading at the weekend in which he watched his team suffer a second away defeat in their last 2 games.

Pearson speaking after the defeat said
“The first half wasn’t good enough, our application wasn’t right and subsequently I will make changes,”

The Foxes boss could welcome back Paul Gallagher after injury but will still be missing Paul Konchesky who will be serving his last game suspension.

Birmingham City meanwhile will have David Murphy and Stephen Carr still out sidelined through injury and Jordan Mutch suspended after his sending off against Coventry City at the weekend otherwise the Blues boss Chris Hughton has a fully fit squad to pick from and will be looking for an improved performance and 3 points from his Play-off chasing team.

“I’m not going to lie, the last three league games have been disappointing,” said King.

“But there’s no-one in that dressing room who is down or upset about it.

“We know we have got to get back to the drawing board, work hard and get back to where we were.

Stats Head to Head : @ Leicester

Leicester City won 33… Birmingham City won 18… Drawn …12

Possible teams :

Leicester City : Schmeichel; Peltier, Morgan, St. Ledger, Kennedy, Gallagher , Danns, Wellens (c), Dyer; Beckford, Nugent.

Birmingham City : Myhill, Ramage, Caldwell, Davies, Spector, Burke, N’Daw, Fahey, Townsend, Zigic, King.

Referee : Mick Russell

Prediction : Leicester City 2 Birmingham City 2

By Blues Brother (Member of birminghamcityforum.co.uk).

Hughton Speaking! P-13 and Counting   2 comments


(P = Promotion, Play-offs or Perpetual championship

depending on the depths of your Partisan beliefs)

On Saturday, Chris Hughton‘s Blue & White Army will be heading to the Ricoh Arena to tests their wits against Coventry City.

Hopefully this will be the start of another undefeated run in the league,we certainly need it to be if we are to keep our promotion hopes alive.

Be a lot happier if Elliott, Murphy, N’Daw start – injuries permitting

The worrying thing is that this is another East Midlands club who are having a struggling year and seem to fit the criteria of the teams we have been gifting points to lately.

This will be Blues’ 48th game of the season.

Coventry
In their last 6 matches they have taken 7 points ( won 2,lost 3,drew 1 ). In their last 6 home matches they have taken a very admirable 13 points ( won 4, drew 1, lost 1). They start the match on the back of a creditable 1-1 home draw against Crystal Palace.

BLUES:
Blues in the league have taken 9 points from our last 6 (won 2, drew 3, lost 1).In our last 6 Away games we have taken 10 points ( won 3, drew 1, lost 2). Blues are on a run of just one defeat in the last 13 league games, let’s hope we can keep it to one in 14.

The run in to promotion is still very much alive and we have had some nice results go our way whilst playing in the FA Cup.

The FORUM feels Coventry will be the start of our revival and this will be 3 points to Blues.

BLUES 3 – Coventry 1 (maybe)

KRO

… by JK Cornwall (Member of birminghamcityforum.co.uk)

Memories from the “D”Club At St Andrews   6 comments


My Dad on the left and Me on the right.......St Andrews

I was one of the early members of the ‘D’ Club, within St Andrews. I can’t for the life of me remember when I first joined, but it must have been in the late 60s or very early 70s, as I worked in Corporation Street in those days, and as the club opened at lunch times, midweek, I used to go in for lunch. Des Blee, was the manager and a very good job he made of it. I still mouth water at the thought of those crackling good, Hot Roast Pork Sandwiches. Yummy, Yummy.

It was dark in ‘D’ Club, with no windows and half way down the bar there was a low step. We used to call it the strangers step, because the regulars knew it was there. Strangers nearly always stumbled. We sold quite a few extra pints that way and it always kept us amused. After games, you could also guarantee quite a few players of both teams would come in for a pint or two. I met and chatted to many of the players of the late 60s and 70s. It was really good banter. Managers came in too. I had many chats with Sir Alf Ramsey, Jim Smith and Freddie Goodwin the list goes on and on. There was, and I suppose still is a tunnel under the stand that runs from the old players changing rooms, and up to the centre tunnel. A door off this leads into the back of the club. Another nice thing about the “D” Club was that in addition to the current players using the club was we also had players of yesteryear in there too. I met and also chatted to players such as Gil Merrick, Joe Bradford, Ambrose Mulraney and Bertie Auld to name just a few, also most of us remember the visit of Cassius Clay to St Andrews. Well he came into the  “D” Club aswell. He shook hands with us all. Me included, what an honour.

We had a sort of reciprocal agreement with the opposition clubs, where they had a private club within their clubs, whereby their fans were allowed into our club, and we in theirs. Not once did I ever see any trouble. There was only one team that we never allowed into our “D” Club and yes you can guess who that is, SOTV.

Away Travel. In those days alcohol was allowed on the coaches and we always ran our own coach to away games. One game at Crystal Palace was very funny. We arrived well totted up, and straight into their Glaziers Club we went. It was very full when we got in there and we spotted a table in the middle of the room which was empty. Three of us (I will mention no names) made a bee line for it and sat down. The fourth guy had gone to the bar. The table was one of those circular metal topped ones with a central column underneath which was held by a nut and bolt arrangement. We soon found out why this table was empty. It was their equivalent of our ‘D’ Clubs strangers step. The fixing was faulty, and the table top kept going round in circles and it wasn’t level either. As I said, we had, had a few on our way down there, and after a few more, we hadn’t a clue whose drink was whose as the table. The table was going round and round and up and down. It was hilarious. The Palace fans were in stitches. We are Brummies though and finished our drinks. Haven’t got a clue what the result was.

Back to the “D” Club. We went to most of the England Internationals at the Old Wembley. This is where on one game I made my claim to fame. The match was England v Brazil. I’ll explain.

Part of the old Wembley Complex was a hotel, that the FA always took over on International games. On the first floor was a long room, which with sliding doors could be divided into three.. England in one. The away team in another and Blues nearly always in the third one. We always assumed this was because of Jack Wiseman‘s influence in the FA. Dinner was always served at these games sometimes after the games and sometimes before, together with wine etc;  This particular game was on a Wednesday night, I seem to remember. After the dinner I went to relieve myself in the gents. When I got in there , there were two of our members occupying two of the three stalls, leaving the centre one empty. So of course I went to that one. The two guys left, and then someone came and stood on my left. I couldn’t believe it. It was Mick Mills the England left back. Seconds later another figure appeared on my right. I nearly had an accident as I wasn’t finished. There stood no my right was no less a figure than Rivelino, the Brazilian. That’s my claim to fame. Having a pee standing between Mick Mills and Rivelino. Two of the most famous footballers at the time. That’s something to tell my grandchildren.

Another international that we went to, I nearly got left behind. The game was another Wednesday game against Denmark. It was called off through fog. We always went into the bar before the game and with drinks on the coach, a few of us had sunk a few already. As usual the dinner was booked for after the game, so we had a long time to wait with the postponement. Plus the coach wasn’t booked to take us home until later either. So you can guess the rest. Nothing else to do but wait in the bar. Enough Said! Now, after a few drinks, like a lot of people I am more than capable of dozing off. Alcohol seems to do that to me. This night was no exception. After dinner I wandered off to the gents, and put the engaged up in one of the cubicles. I don’t remember anything else. Apparently about an hour later I heard a lot of shouting and banging on doors and my name being called. The coach was waiting, and luckily there had been a head count. I wasn’t the only one. Two other guys had dozed off somewhere as well. Not with me I hasten to add.

Another funny incident i recall, was on a Saturday game, where we had stayed overnight in London, and on the Sunday morning we had been to Petticoat Lane Market. On the coach coming home, one of the guys was pleased with himself. He was showing us what he thought was a bargain he had bought, or rather two bargains. He had seen a stall selling grey flannel trousers at £2 a pair. He went behind a screen and tried both pairs on. Satisfied he bought them. The stall holder wrapped them up there and then in front of him. This guy proceeded to unwrap his parcel, and to his horror, amid loud laughter he held up two pairs of trousers with one grey leg and one brown leg on each pair. He was shocked. “I saw him wrap them up in front of me. How did he do that”? he said. What’s always puzzled me about that is how can a so-called seamstress sew one brown leg and one grey leg together without noticing that they are odd? Also, I wonder how many more pairs the dealer had got and also sold.

Happy days.

The ‘D’ Club stopped later though, because they moved it over to a room under the Kop. It wasn’t the same and it gradually fizzled out. That was a shame, but the memories were priceless, i hope you enjoyed them.

If you have any memories about the ‘D’ Club or might know someone who does then please let me know by leaving your stories and thoughts in the comments below.

KRO

By trev984 (Member of birminghamcityforum.co.uk)

%d bloggers like this: