Playing Away – Birmingham City

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We’ve had the pleasure of welcoming Kev from Birmingham City blog ‘Joys and Sorrows‘ round to notapatchon towers for a brew this week to talk (inevitably) Steve Bruce, porn, tea drinking habits, oh and a relegation six-pointer.


So Kev, how do? Take the weight off, brew? Biscuit?  And whilst we’re on the subject, what are your views on dunking? Is it ever acceptable and, if so, where do you draw the line?  Rich Tea?  Custard Cream?  A slice of toast?


A cuppa is always welcome, after all I am a Brummie! Dunking? No problem with me mate, if I’m dunking it has to be a digestive, but my favourite non-aquatic biccy is a bourbon!


Now that we’ve got that burning issue out of the way we’ll move on to the trivial stuff, aka football.  First up, Steve Bruce: man, monster or walking image rights package?  How is the ‘Black and White to the core’ Mackem viewed at St Andrews these days?   A contingent at Latics would have him back tomorrow, is it the same for you, or are you all living in a Big Eck country?


Hang a minute, I’ve just dropped my biscuit in my tea! Brucie? To be honest he was on the way to losing the fans before he left to join Wigan. His defensive approach was wearing thin, people wouldn’t have minded if we were getting results but we weren’t.


Having said that, he WAS the first manager to take us into the Premier League. For that reason should be considered with a fond memory among Bluenoses IMO. I think he knew though, he was maybe 2 or 3 games from the sack anyway – so the move was for the best. (I have no idea what all that image rights stuff was all about – so pass me another digestive!)


Whilst Bruce is fresh in the memory, what was the deal with Oliver Kapo and Daniel de Ridder?  I assume the deals were one last favour from Bruce to Birmingham because neither showed any real class since moving to the Northwest.


Both players showed promise without really making a huge impact. I was hopeful that they may become providers that we desperately needed and Kapo did start well. By the time he left, I was pleased to see him go.


On the other hand, Wilson Palacios, you missed out there, eh?


Wilson was awesome. We were unfortunate that he got injured before McLeish came, and he clearly didn’t know anything about him otherwise I don’t think he would have let him go.


And Charles N’Zogbia?  To be honest it never looked like the deal would go ahead, not least when the quote salary offer was less than he’s rumoured to be on here.  How did you view things? Was it a serious deal, or a precursor to the mud that Robbie Keane slung in the club’s general direction this January?


I doubt anyone outside of the clubs will ever know what really happened. While there is no doubt he is a real talent, I wasn’t sure that his temperament would have fitted in. As a result, I would have been happy if he’d joined as I was happy that he didn’t. (If that makes sense).


As far as Robbie Keane. Well he would say that wouldn’t he?


So, a cup win and relegation in the same season, could it happen?  How exactly does football sweet and sour taste?


Look, I’m a Blues fan – NOTHING surprises us anymore! I would hope that we will have enough to stay up. Our run in is favourable, so hopefully anyway. The Wembley win was awesome. I went with my son and we have a fantastic time. You ought to try it sometime, brilliant!


And if not you then, which three teams do you feel are at most risk?


I do think we’ll stay up. I have to say I think that Wigan look likely to go down. It’ll then be 2 from Blackburn, Blackpool, Wolves and West Brom. I think West Ham are hitting form at the right time despite being in the bottom three at the moment.


There are different views on Latics’ place in the Premier Lesgue.  Some would paint us as a model for smaller clubs trying to make in roads into the top flight, others would say we serve no purpose whatsoever.  Assuming that 2011 is our swansong at this level, how will you remember Wigan Athletic’s period in the greed league?


That is a great question actually. Look, I have absolutely no axe to grind with Wigan. I actually have a great deal of respect for the club with them climbing up from non league, (I remember us beating you 4-0 in the FA Cup when you were), to being a Premier League side. I would definitely go with the former statement that you are a model for the smaller club. (No disrespect intended).


Back to the issue at hand, how do you see tomorrow’s game panning out?  Is it do or die for both sides and how will that be reflected in your approach to the game?


I think it is do or die for you guys, a draw would be sufficient for us I believe. I actually think that a draw is the most likely result.


I’m assuming that we’ll have the pleasure of seeing Nikola Zigic tomorrow, can you convince me that he has any other redeeming features beyond his height?


You may not as he has had a knock. He has had a lot of criticism, but he causes absolute mayhem in the box. He has definitely improved and is actually pretty decent on the ball for a big man. He has won a lot of Blues fans over recently with key goals against Villa, (that always helps a player being liked!) and scoring at Wembley.


A to finish with, can you offer a cautionary tale for any Latics fans hankering after a change in ownership?  I guess the programme could have been ‘interesting’ under Sullivan and Gold, but has it been a case of out of the frying pan and into the murky world of oriental finances?


Personally I am not worried. Some of the stories about our finances are simply not true. We have been a different club since the new board came. There is a feel that it belongs to the fans again. I have been to 5 or  6 fans forum events that the club has put on and the blog has a good relationship with the club. It’s been good for us so far IMO.


I’d usually wish you luck (after tomorrow) at this point but sod that, it’s every man for himself at the moment so I’d be lying.   Instead, thanks for coming round, help yourself to a pie on the way out and enjoy the rest of the season, no matter what it brings.


Hey, no problem – in fact I admire that, you support Wigan and of course you want to beat us. No probs! 🙂 Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions, and thank you for your hospitality!


Hopefully we’ll both still be in the top flight next season.


Me too Kev, thanks again and si thi soon.



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