Spyin' Kop - Birmingham City v/s Liverpool (April 4th 2010)

Posted by qesmithy on April 2, 2010, 12:52:40 PM

Spyin’ Kop – Barclays Premier League – Birmingham City (A)


Date: 4th April 2010 K.O: 15.00
Venue: St. Andrews, Birmingham

Capacity: 30, 009


Birmingham City (in a nutshell!)


Form Guide (last six matches – League)

Birmingham (home only):  DDWWDD
Liverpool (away only): DDLDLL

Thursday evening brought more disappointment for Liverpool fans after a difficult to swallow defeat against Benfica.  Difficult in the way that after a good start and an early goal, a moment of madness (by the ref as much as Babel) meant 60 minutes against a very good side with 10 men.

a 2-1 defeat is not great and certainly not ideal before a trip to St. Andrews.  After 2 early home defeats in the season, Birmingham are unbeaten at home since September 2009.  This includes visits by Spurs, Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City.  They are by no means push over’s and will offer a very stern test to a Liverpool side who have lost 4 away games in a row (all comps) and who haven't won away in the league in 2010.

This game comes before 3 home games in a row that will really shape the end of a bitterly disappointing season.  Without being dramatic; if Liverpool dream of a top 4 finish, then this is a 'must win'.

So what of Birmingham City?  They seem cemented in 9th place of the Premier League, 4 points either side of Everton (8th) and Blackburn (9th).  They have (as already mentioned) an extremely good home record and gave Liverpool a tough game at Anfield in the beginning of November.

I decided to post the Spyin’ Kop questions on one of their independent forums (Small Heath Alliance - http://www.smallheathalliance.com), and I was very pleased with the take up (50+ replies, and 22 answers to the questions asked).  They were friendly and bar a few little niggles offered no malice towards either me or LFC.

I have read some Spyin’ Kop articles where the poster has suggested that RAWK members don’t read some of the vile that has been posted.  On this occasion, I positively promote that everyone pop’s in to their forum and reads their well thought out and respectful replies.

On the whole, it was a pleasant experience, and I’ll try and shorten this article, but as mentioned, I encourage people to look at all of their answers in full.  Please, when replying or commenting on this article, offer the same courtesy as they offered me.


Question 1: With 6 games to go, I suspect that you will be pleased with how the season has shaped up? How has it been compared to your expectations last August?

number8: Exceeded them by miles and miles and miles.
Kwacky: Beyond my expectations. We didn't score many last season so I thought we would struggle, especially when we appeared to be relying on an untried player with a suspect knee to be the source of our goals. I have spent most of the season in the top 8 is down to our manager and the way he's got the team playing.
Fronk The Redeemer: It's akin to the feeling of starting a new school, and thinking you're going to be bullied all year, but actually ending up shagging a teacher
Eck's Cool Mac McFreely: About 83,000 times better. We ran a poll on this site in August and the consensus was that Blues would finish 17th, just scraping through. Mind you, we had Liverpool to come 3rd, so that probably shows what we know.
The Fly: Last August we would have settled for 17th position. Our promotion season saw us score far fewer goals than our rivals - a sure sign of a season of struggle to come especially as we were going to rely on an untried striker - Benitez. As it is we are all pleasantly flabbergasted..

Question 2: A top 10 finish is likely, and completely deserved but do you have a final push for a Europa League spot in you?

Ron: No. Have you got one in you? I fancy Everton, to be honest. Best team on Merseyside.
Sid James: In all seriousness no, a European tour next season I don't believe would help us a great deal, in recent weeks IMO the squad has looked tired, we've let some silly goals in, which I put down to tiredness and concentration issues. Put simply even with the investment in the summer, we don't have the squad depth.
Fat Buddha: I doubt it. Those above us are too far ahead and if anyone will benefit from momentum, it is Everton
Jam: 10th will do very nicely thank you, & could help us attract the type of player who wouldn't normally consider Blues without them looking for that last Premier League signing on fee.

Question 3: Looking at what is happening at West Ham, you must now be even more pleased with your ownership change? How is Carson Yeung shaping up?

number8: So far so good but still a bit early to tell - come back after the summer and we'll know more. As for Wet Spam, we not really bothered but it is amusing.
Kym: The West Ham situation is amusing to watch from a distance; interesting that it went on here for years without the media picking up on it, hence I will have a good laugh if they go down.
Barking Poslethwaite: The Porn Barons had taken us as far as they could and broken lots of promises along the way, so it's a case of so long and thanks for all the minnows. If West Ham went down it would be almost as funny as the Villa losing 7-1. The new lot have revitalised the spirit but have been a bit naive - telling everybody we were awash with money in the January transfer window was not very clever, and then not spending it was very disappointing. The love affair will continue providing the money reappears in the summer.
TrevorFrancisTrackSuits: can't really comment as we haven't seen any significant changes to the squad or club, looks interested in winning back the fans and improving the supporter morale that the previous regime had destroyed. the few small changes are positive
A_n_E: god knows as we don't hear much off him which in my eyes is how an owner should be

Question 4: Now you can start looking forward to next year in the Premier League, what positions (if any) do you need to strengthen to avoid the "second season syndrome"?

DB-91: We need an attacking option in the midfield, Jenas would be a great buy. By far the most pressing need, personally, is to secure at least a second season for Hart, and to sign a quality striker.
BluenoseJay: Hopefully we can get Super Joe Hart on loan again (if a permanent transfer isn't possible), cover at the back, a couple of wide midfielders and a couple of strikers.
Ron: Most of the defence, midfield and some decent strikers. Like you.
Squealy: The jury is out. Let's see what happens in the summer.
Weeps: Left back, 2 Strikers, Actual right and left midfielders with width.
Jam: We need to secure Joe Hart on loan with the view to a permanent signing, a new forward is a must, but we can still have super Kev as a super sub.
The Fly: Resign Hart. Left Back, a speedy wide midfielder/winger (N'Zogbia or Pedersen from Blackburn, or maybe Chris Eagles if you can get him to be more consistent). And a centre forward - I'm afraid Eck is trying to line up Boyd.

Question 5: Birmingham City have clearly got stability at the moment. Is this more down to Alex McLeish or the removal of Gold, Sullivan and Brady?

Kwacky: Both. McLeish appears to be a lot more relaxed. I'm sure that's a combination of our results and the backing he's got from the new owners.
Johnny Borrell: I think we've got the illusion of stability. Everyone keeps saying we're stable in the hope that mere words might beget stability. Our fans, like most fans are fickle fools. So as soon as McLeish loses a few we'll all be calling for his head. And I'll be leading the chants. McLeish out! Get Paulo Sousa in! He's foreign and he's got nice hair.
Fat Buddha: If anything Brady et al, with these constant whoring of themselves to the media, were a destabilising influence. Eck has to take all the credit
Jam: 99% McLeish, who was superb anyway, but has really shone now we don't have the snidely comments from Sullivan & Brady. I don't think West Ham fans will put up with half the bollox we did & for so long.

Question 6: On the subject of Alex McLeish, how would you describe him as a manager?

number8: You can't have him so piss off
Kwacky: Better than expected. He appears to be honest, got a good understanding of the game, intelligent and improving. I'm hoping we can keep him for the long term. He makes mistakes but seems to learn from them. His post match interviews are very refreshing.
Ron: Ginger. Better than being fat and having a rubbish beard.
Sid James: Passionate, loyal, forward thinking, open to ideas, I really would not swap him. He seems like a decent fellow also, someone who doesn't mind chatting to fans. Manager of the year for me! (biased)
Johnny Borrell: Really nice guys. Handles the media fantastically. Talks a good game. But makes some bizarre decisions.

Question 7: Which player(s) in your squad have been the star performers this season?

Kym: Hard to pick just one, so I would add Johnson, Hart, Bowyer and a special mention for Jerome as "most improved player" over the last few weeks.
BluenoseJay: Joe Hart, Stephen Carr, Roger Johnson, Scott Dann, Liam Ridgewell, Seb Larsson, Lee Bowyer, Barry Ferguson, James McFadden, Cameron Jerome, Christian Benitez aka 'The Invincibles'
TrevorFrancisTrackSuits: Barry Ferguson, Joe hart, roger Johnson and bowyer has done well
Johnny Borrell: Stephen Carr at the tender age of 76, is the most athletic player we've got. I don' know what's he's taking, but he's brilliant.  Roger Johnson is an England captain in waiting.  Joe Hart is the new Lev Yashin.  Barry Ferguson is the Scottish Marcus Senna
Jam: Barry Ferguson, Joe Hart, Liam Ridgewell, Stephen Carr & Lee Bowyer.

Question 8: By the same token, which player(s) do you feel are just "not good enough?"

number8: Let's not be harsh, players will be of in the summer and we'll wave goodbye and say thanks
DB-91: Benitez, unfortunately. Had such high expectations yet he just doesn't seem to fit in well with the more physical premier league play
Ron: David Ngog, that El Zhar lad, Phillipe Degen, Dirk Kuyt, Martin Skrtel, Jamie Carragher, Jay Spearing, Lucas Leiva and Javier Mascherano.
Dublinbrummie: I think eck shipped them out in bent mc sheff etc on loan
The Fly: There seems to be a bit of a crusade against Larsson lately - the lad should stay definitely. Fringe players and loanees can be got off the wage bill. Marcus Bent, Tainio, Murphy , Carsley etc.

Question 9: You gave Liverpool a real game at Anfield in November, and with Hart in incredible form, you probably would have won if it hadn't been for Carsley's rash challenge on Ngog.

number8: Maybe. I look forward to welcoming David to Birmingham on Sunday
Bruno Bluenose Berserker: No, you play Arsenal, Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool and the big decisions usually go to those sides
Fronk The Redeemer: "It is my belief that history is like a wheel... Mutability is our tragedy but it's also our hope"
TrevorFrancisTrackSuits: its part of the game, sometimes you get a lucky decision in your favour and sometimes it goes against you
Sid James: I think they do yes, for both sides. We had a soft pen given to us @ home to Wigan recently.
The Fly: We were all foaming at the mouth with the injustice of it all, but we've had a few breaks go our way too - like the dodgy pen against Wigan and Saha's' "offside" goal at Goodison.

Question 10: You're Alex McLeish for the day on Sunday, what is your formation and line up likely to be?

number8: See Saturday against Arsenal
Ron: It doesn't matter. You're shit. We could play Robin Shroot and get a result.
Sid James: Same as normal 4-4-2, id keep the same team that faced the Arse. Jerome up top with faddy in behind
Andy: Either unchanged from the 1-1 tonking of Arsenal, or bring back our Benítez for McFadden to go 4-4-2.
Jam: 442, with the same line up as Saturday.

Question 11: Apart from Gerrard and Torres, where do you believe (if at all) Liverpool's threat will come from?

Kwacky: Das Boot style play and the ref falling for it.
BluenoseJay: N'gogs diving?
Bruno Bluenose Berserker: Glen Johnson, gave Ridgewell a torrid at Anfield
Eck's Cool Mac McFreely: Is Benayoun fit? I really rate him. Kuyt and Babel are both dangerous when they feel like it, but they suffer from being Dutch, so more often than not couldn't give a shit. Ngog needs to be careful on Sunday - if he dives too hard, he could easily disappear down one of the holes in our pitch and never be found again...
Weeps: The referee. Maybe the linesman too.  I like Kuyt, Benayoun, and Johnson to be honest. They just need Torres and Gerrard to function properly in the team.

Question 12: You're unbeaten in the League at home since September, and that is no mean feat considering you have played Spurs, Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City since Bolton beat you. With Liverpool's poor away record (only 4 wins, and 8 defeats), do you care to predict the score for this weekend?

number8: No - all good runs come to an end and Torres looks awesome. But we'll keep going, right to the end of Mr Alex Ferguson time if necessary. I'd take a draw.
Kwacky: Has your manager beaten Blues in the Premier League? I'll take another 1-1.
Eck's Cool Mac McFreely: Draw. 1-1. That would be in keeping with having drawn with all the other top sides.
Johnny Borrell: rafa's never won at St Andrews in the league' or some stat. and we've beaten you a few times over the last few seasons. I think it'll be a draw or a 1-0 win to blues. you could easily win, and should win, but because we keep on winning or drawing against all these top teams I can't say we're going to lose. I honestly think it's 1-1 or 1-0 to us.
Dublinbrummie: a draw to keep the Rafa record going

Once again, thanks to the Birmingham City supporters who took the time and effort to reply with some honest and well thought out opinions.  I genuinely wish them luck after we have tonked them on Sunday!!


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