Blues Muse:  Birmingham City Football Club

    PREVIEW: Blues v WBA: Saturday, January 24th at 3 pm
With Blues on the up, and the Albion now Premiership strugglers, the scene is set for a giant-killing  . . . or is it? The Albion have a new manager, and you know what that means, usually anyway. As in the previous round at Blyth Spartans, Gary Rowett may go with our fringe first team players, and that may be just enough to see Albion through to the 5th round. On the other hand, it appears that we have someone special at the helm in the form of Gary Rowett, and perhaps he can pull another rabbit out of the hat?
Prediction: Draw

    REVIEW: Leeds United 1  Blues 1
 Sure, we would have loved another three points, but on the balance of play we did well to come away with a point. We're now 9 points from a play-off place with 20 games to go, and if this keeps up it's time to look for hotel rooms in the vicinity of Wembley!

    OPINION: Gary Rowett
 Success at Burton Albion is not exactly a measuring stick of a football mastermind, but on the evidence of his first handful of games in charge at Blues, we may have just landed our own Mourino/Ferguson/Shankly . . . the turnaround has been THAT good! We hit bumps in the road versus Blackpool and Derby, but responded to those defeats in a classy manner. Something gives, and it's all to the good of Birmingham City Football Club. Stay tuned to the 'Keep Right On Optimism Channel'. Well done Gary . . . so far so good!

    REVIEW: The 2014 World Cup
 I'm a by-product of Alfred Ramsey's 1996 World Cup winning era, so everything England has done since then - actually not done - has been a major disappointment . . . and 2014 was no exception in that regard. Moving on to other talking points from the 2014 tournament, who'd have thought that the 'talented' Brazil would suffer a 7-1 home defeat on their home soil? . . . and during a World cup to boot!  Moving onto the final who did the neutrals want to win the final? Germany or Argentina? Personally I make my choices based upon my perception of a given culture, and in this case I favoured trustworthy, clean Germany over Argentina . . . a country where many of their historical monuments are covered in graffiti, and one is always looking over over one's shoulder and expecting to be ripped off at any moment. So, Germany obviously got my vote, which makes me a winner!

    OPINION: Former villain now a hero?
It was not that long ago when our own Paul Robinson broke Blues' midfielder Damien Johnson's jaw in a fixture versus the Albion, and instantly became a target of hate among us Blues fans.  Fast forward a few years and Robinson is now a rock at the heart of the Blues defence and all has been forgotten, apparently, as he turns in solid performances week after week . . .including a rare goal which flew in against Bristol Rovers the other night.  Have we forgiven and forgot?  Most of us wouldn't want a thug on our team - unless it was Messi or Ronaldo, right? - and as Paul is no Joey Barton, I say we let the past go, and get behind him. Mmmm, l'll level with you though, I wouldn't want to be in front of Paul with the ball at my feet!

    OPINION: Injury fair play in game against Yeovil
It's an un-written law/gentleman's agreement, or whatever you want to call it, that if you kick the ball out of play so that a player can get treatment, that you get the ball back. It's always been that way, and speaks well of players, teams and cultures that practice the gesture. That said, Yeovil didn't break any laws when they scored their equaliser, but you just don't do that do you?!  Perhaps it's time for FIFA to establish solid guidelines on this?

    TWISTED OPINION: The purchase of Birmingham City Football Club
It seems that nobody wants to buy the club . . . or is that really so? Normally I wouldn't have minded if the Blues had dropped into the third tier last May, but given Blues' current predicament it could have been quite disastrous. But we survived, and it was reported during the summer break that a few buyers were interested. One can see why when Birmingham, as England's second city, has a potential fan base that could provide a potential buyer with homes in several countries . . . if the team is successful that is. Fast forward to August of 2014, and the signs are that there may be a surprise team on the Championship horizon.  I'll give you a clue as to who that is . . . it's Birmingham City.  So, expect the 'honey bees' to gather around the 'honey' in the not so distant future. You read it on first. ;-)
      John, as one can easily deduce, is Beyond The Far Post
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Saturday the 17th of January, 2015

  Leeds United 1  Birmingham City 1

Scorer/s: Caddis, pen
Birmingham Mail: Match reports  |  YouTube: Match highlights/Channel


Saturday the 24th of January, 2015


  Birmingham City v West Bromwich Albion

Kick-off: 3 p.m.
Confirm the kick-off time  |  Tickets



Tuesday the 27th of January, 2015


  Sheffield Wednesday v Birmingham City

Kick-off: 7:45 p.m.
Confirm the kick-off time  |  Tickets


  July 2014

Pre-season friendlies
Tues, 8th A   Cork W 3-0 Robinson, Caddis, Novak
Tues, 15th A Forest Green W 1-0 Donaldson
Sat, 26th A   Kidderminster W 3-0 Thomas 2, Donaldson
Tues, 29th A Notts County W 4-0 Donaldson 2, Grounds, Shinnie

  August 2014

Sat, 2nd H   Inverness W 3-1 Novak, Gray, Caddis pen

Championship Fixtures

Sat, 9th A   Middlesbrough L 0-2  
Tues, 12th H   Cambridge
League cup
W 3-1 Donaldson, Caddis, Duffy
Sat, 16th H   Brighton W 1-0 Thomas
Tues, 19th H   Ipswich D 2-2 Edgar, Donaldson
Sat, 23rd A   Brentford D 1-1 Caddis pen
Wed, 27th H   Sunderland
League cup
L 0-3
Sat, 30th A   Wigan L 0-4  

  September 2014

Sat, 13th H   Leeds D 1-1 Thomas
Tues, 16th H Sheffield Wed. L 0-2
Sat, 20th A   Norwich D 2-2 Reilly, Gray
Sat, 27th H Fulham L 1-2 Cotterill
Tues, 30th A   Milwall W 3-1 Donaldson, Cotterill, Thomas

  October 2014

Sat, 4th H   Charlton D 1-1 Davis
Sat, 18th H Bolton L 0-1
Tues, 21st A   Blackburn L 0-1  
Sat, 25th H Bournemouth L 0-8

  November 2014

Sat, 1st A   Wolverhampton D 0-0  
Tues, 4th H Watford W 2-1 Donaldson, 2
Sat, 8th H   Cardiff D 0-0  
Sat, 22nd A Rotherham W 1-0 Donaldson
Sat, 29th H   Notts Forest W 2-1 Cotterill, Caddis pen

  December 2014

Sat, 6th A   Blackpool L 0-1  
Sat, 13th H Reading W 6-1 Gray 3, Caddis, Shinnie, Cotterill
Sat, 20th A   Huddersfield W 1-0 Cotterill
Fri, 26th H Derby L 0-4
Sun, 28th A   Notts Forest W 3-1 Cotterill, Donaldson 2

  January 2015

Sat, 3rd A   Blyth Spartans
F.A. Cup 3rd round
W 3-2 Novak, Thomas 2
Sat, 10th H   Wigan W 3-1 Donaldson 3
Sat, 17th A Leeds D 1-1 Caddis pen
Sat, 24th H   West Bromwich Albion
F.A. Cup 4th round
    @ 3 pm
Tues, 27th A Sheffield Wednesday @ 7:45 pm
Sat, 31st H Norwich @ 3 pm

  February 2015

Sat, 7th A   Fulham     @ 3 pm
Tues, 10th H Milwall @ 7:45 pm
Sat, 14th H   Middlesbrough     @ 3 pm
Sat, 21st A Brighton @ 3 pm
Tues, 24th A   Ipswich     @ 7:45 pm
Sat, 28th H Brentford @ 3 pm

  March 2015

Tues, 3rd H   Blackpool     @ 7:45 pm
Sat, 7th A Derby @ 3 pm
Sat, 14th H   Huddersfield     @ 3 pm
Tues, 17th A Reading @ 8 pm
Sat, 21st A   Cardiff     @ 3 pm
  April 2015
Fri, 3rd H   Rotherham     @ 3 pm
Mon, 6th A Bournemouth @ 3 pm
Sat, 11th H   Wolverhampton     @ 3 pm
Tues, 14th H Blackburn @ 7:45 pm
Sat, 18th A   Watford     @ 3 pm
Sat, 25th H Charlton @ 3 pm
  May 2015
Sat, 2nd A   Bolton     @ 12:15 pm

Confirm the kick-off times  |  Tickets

Updated January 22nd, 2015

 1 Bournemouth 27 15 6 6 57 28 29 51
 2 Middlesbrough 27 14 8 5 42 18 24 50
 3 Ipswich 27 14 8 5 46 27 19 50
 4 Derby 26 14 6 6 48 25 23 48
 5 Brentford 26 14 4 8 42 35 7 46
 6 Watford 26 13 5 8 49 29 20 44
 7 Norwich 26 12 7 7 49 32 17 43
 8 Wolves 26 12 7 7 31 33 -2 43
 9 Sheff Wed 26 9 10 7 21 23 -2 37
10 Blackburn 26 9 9 8 36 35 1 36
11 Birmingham City 26 9 8 9 31 39 -8 35
12 Notts Forest 27 8 10 9 37 39 -2 34
13 Cardiff 27 9 7 11 36 40 -4 34
14 Fulham 27 10 4 13 40 47 -7 34
15 Bolton 26 9 6 11 29 33 -4 33
16 Charlton 26 6 13 7 24 34 -10 31
17 Huddersfield 26 8 7 11 34 45 -11 31
18 Reading 26 8 6 12 31 42 -11 30
19 Brighton 27 6 11 10 30 35 -5 29
20 Leeds 27 7 8 12 28 38 -10 29
21 Rotherham 26 5 11 10 21 33 -12 26
22 Millwall 26 5 8 13 25 44 -19 23
23 Wigan 26 4 9 13 26 35 -9 21
24 Blackpool 26 3 8 15 19 43 -24 17

  Table by BBC Sport
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  As a Birmingham City fan getting web savvy by designing and managing my business sites it was a logical step to produce a Blues site of some description. The only rule was that it had to be a little different.

You'll find my personal perspectives in the form of 'Beyond the Far Post' plus some additional interesting features, but don't expect daily bulletins from Wast Hills or St. Andrews. It is however ALL BIRMINGHAM CITY FC, and as I'm a photographer, with my own images of course.

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Keep right on.

John Baker.

John Baker, a personal story

  Born in '51 [1900's] and raised in Warwickshire orphanages, I didn't pay too much attention to football which was mainly because I couldn't play as well as I'd have liked. At an orphanage in Solihull we played a lot of football, and England was my team . . . even got the kit via endless box tops from Kellogg's 'Special K'.  Boy, I must have looked good!

Around the age of 12 I started to get more interested and a friend of my Dad's - a ViIla fan I 'spose - took me to my first professional game. It was a Division One encounter between the Aston Villa and Fulham. Villa won I think, and I seem to recall that Fulham had Johnny Haynes in their side.  The date must have been around April, 1964.

I was living in a Nuneaton orphanage at the time, and was fond of the city of Birmingham, which combined with my love of the colour blue led to you know what. Later that year in November, I was able to persuade said gentleman to take me to St. Andrews.  We stood on the Tilton Road end with most folk around smoking, coughing and spluttering, then the Blues team trotted out and right away I was a supporter for life. The tobacco smoke, the grey macs, the flat caps, and six goals that went in against us weren't exactly what dreams were made of but I was still hooked.

As did most kids during that period in history, I had the rattle, the scarf, the rosette, the autograph book - some player signatures from the late sixties are reproduced here - and a wide-eyed fascination with Birmingham City. I got out of school in 1966, lived in Sutton Coldfield and spots around Brum for the next 9 years and rarely missed a game. Memorable times during that period were Trevor Francis' 4 goals v Bolton, FA Cup 6th round wins v Chelsea and Arsenal, and the FA Cup semi finals v Albion and Leeds United. The 1-0 win at Orient that won promotion was also a major highlight, and I can still clearly see Bob Latchford nodding in that corner at the near post.

There were also many, many memorable league games - especially a few Tuesday night 6-goal extravaganzas - and a ton of fun on the Tilton week after week, year after year. It was also the spot where Trevor Philips and I added the "ever more" harmony to the end of "We'll support you ever more" . . . well, it seemed like we invented it at the time.

During the season of 1966/67 we managed to claw our way to the League Cup semi-final, and were hot favorites to go through to Wembley - the first League Cup final held at that hallowed venue - as we were facing a third division team, Queens Park Rangers. We were doing well in the second division at the time.
The first leg was at St. Andrews, and we led at half time. However, the emerging talent at QPR - including Rodney Marsh and Les Allen - blossomed to win the the tie 4-1 and I was cut in half as the miserable spectacle unfolded.

OK, OK, by loss I mean I left Brummagem to live in Wales and I barely saw the Blues 'live' again. One day though, through my work as a school photographer in North Wales, I met a primary school Headmaster who was also a football league referee. Soooooo, I struck up a deal that he would call me when he was chosen for a game at St. Andrews, and I would write a feature for the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald. It was December of 1981 when I got the call for the game v Ipswich, and the words and pictures of 'Day in the Life of a Referee' are reproduced here. I took along my neighbours Iwan and Elfyn Hughes whom I photographed with various players. My own 'highlight' was in the Ref's dressing room prior to the game when Bobby Robson and Jim Smith came in with their team sheets. I took pictures and just had to tell Jim that I was actually a Blues fan.  At this point Robson went beserk because fans aren't allowed anywhere near the Ref before a game.  Oops!  Well, I failed because we lost anyway.

During this period, 1975 to be exact, we reached my third FA Cup semi-final as a fan and were drawn against Second Division Fulham.  We were in the First Division at the time. We were expected to win with a team containing the likes of Trevor Francis, Joe Gallagher, Alan Campbell, Howard Kendall, John Roberts, Dave Latchford, Bob Hatton, Gordon Taylor, Malcolm Page, Kenny Burns and co, but Fulham survived and the tie went to a replay. So there I was with my ear glued to the transistor radio in far-flung Talsarnau, North Wales, when Fulham scored in the last minute of extra time of the replay to go through to the FA Cup final. What an appalling night, and stab through the heart, that was for Birmingham City fans everywhere.

I was then off to America and condemned to twiddling the knobs on my short-wave radio for a few years. Back in the UK I'd often heard, at about 4:20 p.m. every Saturday, the words, "We now welcome World Service listeners", and I was now one of those distant faithful.  Trouble was, the Blues rarely got a mention, and one would often lose the transmission because of static.

In the early 90's Blues had a pair of 'minor cup' successes plus relegation to the dreaded Third Division, and I all but missed those days. Then in 1997 something called the 'internet' came into my life, so I thought I'd type in 'Birmingham City FC'. Terrific loike, now I had my team back.
I'd rather be at the games, but it's better than nothing plus I've made many Blues friends on the various Blues fan forums over the years.

Well, that's me story so far loike, our kid, innit?  Except for the League Cup win v Arsenal its been a pretty barren 50 years of support for the Blues, but one always has hope that better things are just around the corner.  I'm pretty sure that supporters from Tottenham to Tranmere, and from Carlisle to Chelsea feel this way each time they step into a football stadium. It's the magic of football.

Keeping right on.

John Baker

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