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Emotional Torture of Being a Bluenose

By Dan
Sunday 11th September 2011
I'm not sure about the rest of you but there are a number of sports that I love, the main two are rugby and football. I am sitting here writing this now after just having watched an excrutiating game of rugby between England and Argentina in the Rugby World Cup. If you also watched it you will know what i mean, well imagine the frustration, dissapointment, joy, anger and relief but all season long and you can see what being a bluenose is like.

It has never been easy to support a club like Birmingham City. My father introduced me to the blues as simply "This is the team that your Granddad didnt want me to support". The whole of my dad's side were Villains so there was no real motivation for me to support the blues. All of my friends at school supported Aston Villa also. Now I am older I am married to a Villain and her whole family are Villains, I seem to be in a badly written comedy sketch.

So after a long and hard Season followed by a very hard transfer window seeing a total of 20 players leave the club and 12 players join (both including loans in/out), not to mention a change in manager, i am both excited and nervous about the season ahead. Since this is a big change for Birmingham this year it is also a good opportunity to look back at my best memories of the club that I love.

My First Game...a 1-1 draw at home to port vale in April 1998. It doesnt sound like a scoreline that will grab you as a great side to start following. I was 10 years old at the time and about to experiance everything involved with supporting birmingham city in one match. I remember that Port Vale took the lead and the ground fell fairly silent. The crowd were getting restless and frustrated as the game went on and it is quite a scary thing for a young 10-year old boy to experience. With a few minutes left of the match Peter Ndlovu scored an equaliser that send the stadium and my dad crazy. the look of joy on his face and the change in atmostphere within the stands was just amazing. With seconds to go in the match blues won a penalty, all the fans were singing and dancing as if we had just won the match. This was my first match and we were going to win. 5 minutes ago we were on the verge of losing and now we had the match almost won. I think it was Peter Ndlovu who stepped up to settle the match, i cant remember the actual penalty itself, I remember seeing the back of the man jump up in front of me, the next thing i remembered was nothing. absolute nothing, silence. He had missed his penalty and everyone just fell silent. I remember walking out of the ground feeling like we had lost the game. This wasnt to be the last time either.

My Best Moment...There is only one moment in my lifetime that will stand out in this category and that is the Carling Cup win in 2011 against Arsenal.The only black mark on this day was that i couldnt be there. There have been many promotions for birmingham even in my lifetime but these was a sweeter victory for me giving Aston Villa's failure just one year before. For the first time in my 9 years of being with my wife I had complete bragging rights over her family, especially since we knocked out Villa on route to the final. As I couldnt make the final, due to not having any ticket stubs and selling out before my chance, my father-in-law and brother-in-law thought it fitting to invite me to watch the match with them, or as they put it, "Do you fancy watching Arsenal win the cup at ours?" Nobody gave us much of a chance having been beating at home 3-0 by Arsenal only 2 months before. Right from the start all the emotions kicked off. Lee Bowyer was taken out by Szcesny the Arsenal keeper who should have seen a red card and a penalty given, however Bowyer had been incorrectly called offside. Dissapointment and Frustration. Nobody would be stopping me pulling my shirt over my head and running round a Villa packed living room when we took the lead just before the half an hour. Pure Joy. We couldn't even enjoy it for 10 minutes when Van Persie struck and then the thought of losing came crashing back down. My brother-in-law wrote off the game then as Arsenal getting their groove back, they would win from here, no doubt about it. Introduce Obafemi Martins, a player who played for the club a grand total of 4 times, which brings us to the moment one minute from time when Martins slotted the ball into a near-empty net. That is where this section finishes as to put into words all the emotions and thoughts that went racing through my head is impossible. I will always remember kissing my father-in-law though, not something to be repeated.

My Worst Moment...Relegation...Which one, I would probably go with the last one, in blues' long history there has probably been worse moments than this, but for me i can't help feeling that everything that has been worked towards under Alex McLeish was wasted. We were relegated the year that he took over, given backing by the board, he rebuilt the squad, with experienced free players like Lee Carsley, Kevin Phillips and Stephen Carr. With promotion gained at the end of the season there were more great signings, in the way of Lee Bowyer, Barry Ferguson, Craig Gardner. There were also the signing of two centre backs that were un-tested at the top level. Scott Dann and Roger Johnson. Along with the loan signing of Joe Hart it was one of the best teams seen at St Andrews in many years. With a 9th place finish that year (our highest for 51 years) blues ensured that they were going in the right direction. More great signings were made in that summer with Ben Foster, Nicola Zigic, Jean Beausejour and Curtis Davies. Not to mention the loan signings of Alexander Hleb, David Bentley and Obafemi Martins. In that next season we won the Carling Cup and have finally got back into Europe, it was perfect. But then we were relegated. 12 players were released almost as soon as the season had ended and the loan players all returned to their clubs. Follow that up with the sale of Gardner, Johnson, Dann, Jerome and Ferguson and almost the whole squad has changed in a matter of months. With only a few decent signings to replace them. More dissapointment and frustration.

View for the Future...This season must be another rebuilding season. We have Chris Hughton as manager now, a great and well experienced manager. Due to the amount of money lost by relegation he has not been able to make any signings apart from Bosman's. This is not necessarily a bad thing, Bruce did the same when gaining automatic promotion when relegated before. One thing that we must realise that promotion this season is highly unlikely. My wife's villain family have even all put a bet on us going down again this season. We have made it through to the group stages of europe and that will secure some more money from TV rights, hopefully that will put an end to any more of a player exodus in January. If you speak to a lot of bluenoses at the moment and ask what is positive around the club at the moment, they wont give you too many answers, i can give you two. Jordan Mutch and Nathan Redmond. Both academy players, the only academy players that have broken through to the first team squad for years. and righly so. Mutch looks comfortable on the ball and is a decent young midfielder. He has recently broken his ankle which is a massive blow for blues but with time he will return, and i predict stronger than ever. Redmond, hmm... It's hard to think where to start to explain Redmond to someone who hasn't seen him play. He is one of the most gifted 17-year olds i have ever seen. He is so comfortable on the ball, doesnt think twice about trying to take players on and rightly so. He has the speed and the creativity, in the mould of Ashley Young, Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott. In the match against CD Nacional at St Andrews, Redmond was playing in front of a sell out crowd and almost just swept the pressure away, i think the only way to describe his perfomance was that he destroyed the opposition full back scoring his first goal for the club in the process with a well drilled shot from 25-yards after cutting in beautifully from the left, and jinking his way past the opposition.

So as a bluenose, its safe to say that it is never easy, and i am only 22 having been supporting for around 12 years after my dad first took me to a game. For older bluenoses out there, they will have experienced so much more and all i can say is that i feel your pain, frustration, dissapointment and your joy because as a bluenose its something that is experienced every week. But most of all i feel your love, for this club that we have loved for many years.

Lets face it, If we were winning all the time then it wouldnt be half as interesting as it is for most of us. But listen up blues, just for the record, winning all the time would be a nice change too.

Dan - Bluenose

See more of my blogs at www.danssportsblogs.co.uk

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