Them and Us: Birmingham City

Posted by Armin on November 4, 2004, 10:19:59 PM

With the European adventure back on track our thoughts turn to the domestic campaign and the visit of Birmingham City.  Now seemingly firmly ensconced in the Premier league the Blue side of Birmingham have not enjoyed the best start to their season.  Injury has robbed them of the services of their best forward, something we can unfortunatlely empathise with.  Leading the line will be Emile Heskey, but will it be the limping confidence free zone that we saw too often last season or the inspired striker that terrorised the Blues at St Andrews when last we met?

For an insight into the thoughts of our Brummie counterparts we turned to John Baker of www.bluesmuse.com and the intriguingly monikered IPFreely of www.singingtheblues.co.uk.  Whatever you think of his opinions I think you'll agree that his writing has a nice flow to it.

Enough already.  Time to break out the thumbscrews, crack open another vial of pentothal and find out what the midlanders reckon to their chances at Anfield this Saturday.  RAWK would like to thank John  and IP for taking the time to share their opinions. :wave

RAWK:  How has the season began for Birmingham?
 
IPFreely:  Bloody awful - too many new players introduced at the same time, injuries to key players, dodgy refereeing decisions early in the season, all combining to produce a complete loss of confidence whenever in sight of goal nowadays.

Blue Muse:  The league table don't never-no-not lie I'm afraid. Us fans had good reason to think we had turned the corner in regard to our trophy-less history, but we haven't yet.
 

RAWK:  What are your expectations for this season? Have they changed from day one?

IPFreely:We're in for a relegation battle.   This is traditional fayre for Birmingham fans over the last 130 years.  We had hoped for better this season but the injuries knackered that one up for us.
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Blue Muse: Yeh, gone from certs for Europe to victiorious in the relegation battle. That's something we've always been good at.


RAWK:  Who do you think is your most important player(s)?

Blue Muse:  David Dunn when fit, but THE most important player isn't in the team yet obviously is a goalscorer!

IPFreely: Mikael Forssell.  Currently out injured.

RAWK:  Your worst player(s)?

Blue Muse: Anyone we get at a car boot sale at Liverpool FC wack. Oh, OK, I wouldn't want to put that label on anyone as it wouldn't help their confidence if they saw it, but there are some that should see less of the first team, and the reverse applies too. I do rate Heskey highly though and he has contributed a lot.

IPFreely: Clinton Morrison.  Currently out injured.

RAWK:  What do you expect in the way of atmosphere, singing, pies etc from your trip to Anfield?  How does it compare to rival grounds?

IPFreely: I used to love going to Anfield, for the razor-sharp humour and for the footballing knowledge of the Scouse crowd.  Nowadays, however, it seems to have become a poor man's Old Trafford, largely populated by sad wannabees from the West Country, Midlands, Ireland etc. who know feck all bout football but want to associate themselves with a 'big club'.  Where did it all go wrong?

Blue Muse: Look!, I'm in the USA, but I'll do me best loike, our kid. I did however see the last game between us [see http://www.bluesmuse.com/bcfcMay92004.htm] Anfield at what it used to be in the 60's through to the 90's, and we generally play well up there. I was at St. Andrews in May when you beat us 3-0, but I actually don't think you'll have it quite so easy this time.

 RAWK:  Any young up and coming players in the squad that we might not know about?

IPFreely: Quite a few decent up and coming players, but not in the squad!  Bruce seems frightened to use youngsters.  Go and watch the reserves instead.  They don't charge us £45 to watch the reserves, either.

Blue Muse: Sure, but they're unlikely to get first team action. Darren Carter is a regular for the England young 'uns squad, but he's way to risky to put into the first team apparently. <insert angry smiley here He's on loan at Sunderland right now, and only Carlisle and Plymouth would have been worse trips for his Mum.
 
RAWK:  What impression have you made of Steve Bruce as a manager and given his past history how confident are you that he'll stay at the club?

IPFreely:  Overall, few complaints.  He's assembled a squad that looks (on paper) "too good to go down".  Along the way he's dropped a few clangers (notably selling Andy Johnson and letting Luciano Figueroa go), but given that he's bought and sold about fifty players, it would be a miracle if he hadn't dropped the occasional bollock along the way.  Regarding his 'history', that's pretty much what it is - history.  He's one of the longest-serving managers in the Premiership now, behind only Ferguson, Curbishley, Wenger, Allardyce, Keegan and McLaren.   He had his chance to go to Newcastle recently but turned it down (like every other decent manager they approached, leaving them with 'fifth choice Souness'), that would indicate that he's here for a long time yet.  He won't get the Man Utd job - their investors will demand a more fashionable foreign coach (does that sound familiar, chaps?)

Blue Muse: You'd think he'd follow the Alex ferguson model, but he's too stubborn to try new things. It's not impossible that he might be asked to leave rather than another 'bigger' club taking him, as our results since March have been appallling.


RAWK:  What sort of line-up will Bruce put out against us?

IPFreely One that will play some decent football, pass the ball around nicely, do lots of stepovers and dragbacks, then promptly brick 'emselves when the goal comes into view!

Blue Muse:  He'll clog the midfield with ball-winners, but given our recent results he ought to be trying something more creative. If you tell the Pool keeper to hoof it over our midfield we'll be in big trouble.


RAWK:  Do you have a favourite/best chant(s) and perhaps any that require an explanation?

IPFreely: We gave up chanting for Lent in 2002 and forgot to restart.

Blue Muse:  No!  'Keep Right on to the End of the Road' is our Club song because we'll always be on that road, and never pull off to parade a trophy. You don't want me to explain 'We all piss in a red and white pot' do ya'?! Honest, I like you guys . . . you ain't Arsenal. <tip-toeing out the back door smiley


RAWK:  Where do you expect Birmigham and Liverpool to finish in the Premier League?

IPFreely: At opposite ends of the table.  We'll be the ones with the stiff necks.

Blue Muse: Liverpool 6th. Birmingham 14th. Where I hope they'll finish is another matter!

RAWK:  Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?

IPFreely: Gerrard, obviously.  The best English midfielder around. 

Blue Muse:  Tommy smith, erm, 'ang on, I put me clocks back a bit too far over the weekend. Fear? Well, I wish Baros would lose form, and we'd get him from ya'.
 

RAWK:  And your feelings on the new 'Spanish flavour' Liverpool. Rafa Benitez himself and our new recruits?

Blue Muse:  I don't care for it because whenever I have salsa it spoils the flavour of red wine, and it's at those times I have to resort to beer. Latins are notorious cheats and put in some great dives even though they're miles from a swimming pool. Look at Campo the clown over at Bolton. See, told ya'.

IPFreely:Not too impressed by either Benitez or the Spanish Legion.  Frankly, they seem to be a bunch of nonentities - I'd be hard pushed to name more than two or three of the current Liverpool team.  Hope it works out, though - it's boring seeing Man Utd, Arse and Chelsea at the top all the time, it'd be good to see Liverpool up there.

 
RAWK:  Care to predict the score?  Go on!

IPFreely I'll predict half the score - Birmingham 0   It's a contractual obligation

Blue Muse: Liverpool 2 Birmingham City 1. <shrugs shoulders smiley <departs and puts head in electric oven

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