VIEW FROM THE SOUTH – BIRMINGHAM CITY vs FULHAM

I’m not not sure you will want to read about it, but unlike the side yesterday – Bazza has some commitment by sending his final home game report. I’d normally say enjoy, but I genuinely don’t know what to say.

I’ve just got back and it’s 23.30 and time I was thinking about bed as like many I’ve got to get up in the morning. I have experienced low moments watching Blues over the years but I cannot recall the last time I felt this down. We have gone from a position where I thought we would survive, albeit just about, to looking highly likely to get relegated next Sunday.

From the moment the team was announced I knew we were in trouble. Yet another injury, this time to Cameron Jerome meant that our only two fit strikers, Derbyshire and Phillips, who are hardly an ideal pairing, had to start up front. Parnaby at left back again, Jiranek and Johnson in the centre with Carr at right back with a midfield of Larsson, Fergusson, Bowyer and Bentley lacked the guile and pace to prise open a large and muscular Fulham back line who probably could not believe how simple their task of beating Birmingham was.

The first goal was a simple, unchallenged header by Hangeland from a corner that itself resulted from a last ditch desperate save from Ben Foster who just about diverted a massive kick from his opposite number that so nearly passed over his head into the net. Only four minutes gone and it was game over. Blues were simply shocking. There is not one single positive thing to say about the performance this afternoon which was by a country mile the worst produced all season and there have been some pretty dire efforts to compare this one to believe me.

We never looked like we were going to score all afternoon and we didn’t create a single worthwhile chance to trouble Schwartzer in the Fulham goal all day. The Fulham fans started singing as early as the fourth minute when they were 1-0 up “We’re winning away, we’re winning away; how s**t must you be, we’re winning away!” This just about summed us up; Tom Ross on BRMB after the game was angry, upset and for someone who accentuates the positive was a negative about this hapless Blues performance as I have ever heard him and he was absolutely right to be so.

Fulham could and should have won this game by far more than they did. They systematically outplayed Blues and were the better side in every single department of the game bar none. Their second goal also by Hangeland came four minutes into the second half also from a corner which once again wasn’t defended properly. Prior to that Andy Johnson glanced a header just wide and after 30 minutes Zamora crashed another header against the post. The same player should have scored early in the second period when he headed straight at Foster when not flagged offside. He then tried to chip the keeper when clean through and Sidwell slammed a shot against the post and all this in the four minutes leading up to Fulham’s second goal!

We had a flick by Jiranek against the post in the first half from Parnaby’s left wing cross as our solitary effort on goal. Add to this, forced substitutions of Beausejour, Davies and Hleb for Bowyer, Jiranek and Parnaby all for injuries before Hleb was cynically tripped by Gudjohnnson and had to go off for the final 13 minutes leaving Blues with only ten men for the third week running.

There you have it; no drive, no passion, no commitment, no ideas and no pride. We were absolutely hopeless and there is nothing that I can say to give even the remotest glimmer of cheer to this sorry spectacle. Yes, we had a weakened team out there blighted by injuries and suspensions but there is no excuse for the performance which lacked any semblance of professionalism or plain old fashioned guts. Whilst we have matters still in our own hands our fate is going to depend upon the shortcomings of others rather than our efforts. Our best hope is that we don’t lose to Spurs next week by a greater margin that Blackpool and Wigan do against Manchester United and Stoke respectively. On this performance if we do go down we will deserve to. I think Daniel Powter’s song sums up my feelings right now: 

A Song!

 There’s nothing left further to say and I’ve had enough. Goodnight fellow noses; I’m going to bed!

The Good: The gang (Will, Chris, Gayle, Little Jack, yours truly, Jonny, Ben and three Canadian Aircraft Enginners working on a salvage job at Coventry Airport) went to the Punjab Paradise Restaurant in Balsall Heath for a curry. We apologised to our North American guests for the standard of the game but I think they enjoyed the company and the banter.

The Bad: The manner of this defeat.

The Ugly: Little Jack’s haircut! Like most six year olds do at some stage he cut his own hair in the week and his Mohican is missing the front bit! 😀

Birmingham City: Ben Foster 5, Stephen Carr 6, Lee Bowyer 4 (Alexander Hleb, 50, 6), Roger Johnson 4, Seb Larsson 4, Kevin Phillips 4, David Bentley 4, Barry Ferguson 4, Matt Derbyshire 5, Stuart Parnaby 4 (Jean Beausejour, 56, 6), Martin Jiranek 4 (Curtis Davies, 67, 5).

Subs not used: Colin Doyle, Keith Fahey, Jordon Mutch, Akwasi Asante.

Bookings: None
Goals: None

Fulham: Mark Schwarzer 6, Carlos Salcido 6, Brede Hangeland 8, Steve Sidwell 7, Andy Johnson 7, Danny Murphy 6 (Dickson Etuhu, 71, 6), Philippe Senderos 6, Aaron Hughes 6, Clint Dempsey 8 (Zoltan Ger, 89, N/A), Bobby Zamora 8 (Eidur Gudjohnsen, 50, 6), Jonathan Greening 7.

Subs not used: David Stockdale, Stephen Kelly, Zoltan Gera, Gael Kakuta, Matthew Briggs.
Bookings: Johnson (60), Murphy (66), Gudjohnsen (78), Dempsey (88).

Goals: Hangeland (5, 49)

Referee: Peter Walton: Northants 5: Whilst Mr Walton was overall competent he was far too lenient. I cannot understand how Sidwell wasn’t cautioned and arguably dismissed. Gudjohnnson was lucky to get just a yellow for a blatant kick on Hleb that resulted in the Blues player having to go off. The only reason Blues received no cautions is that they hardly put a decent tackle in!

Attendance: 27,759 (1,064 Fulham fans)

Discuss this post, and other items, in the Joys and Sorrows Forum.

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13 Comments on VIEW FROM THE SOUTH – BIRMINGHAM CITY vs FULHAM

  1. Bazza, I couldn’t believe what I was watching yesterday, as you have said there was not commitment, no bottle and no fighting spirit. Given the importance of the match it was probably the worst I have ever seen Blues play. But let’s be honest this has been coming for the past few weeks we have now brought our away form to St Andrews.
    There is no question that we will be relegated next week, we will get thumped at Spurs and even if the teams below us lose we will finish up with the worst goal difference.
    I’ve been a big supporter of McLeish but I’ve now lost faith in him. It will be best all round if he goes. One last thing goodness only knows what the team will be next season.

  2. Hapless, hopeless, woeful…the adjectives don’t begin to describe the capitulation. Blues are simply not good enough – McLeish can only do so much, but was badly let down by an utter lack of interest and effort this time. The team does have the capacity for hard, unselfish effort – we have seen that, but do turn out woefully too often (especially in the first half). Perhaps having always having to over-perform to stay still has finally taken its toll. And now the bell tolls for us.
    About the money: the money is there (is it?) but never spent. Waiting until we are guaranteed to stay up? Too late now.
    My mate – a Spurs fan says they will let us win. Nice gesture, but all has to be earned, and it has not been.
    And as for getting out of the Championship – again? For what? Relegation again?
    Sadly, (reasonably) big money is the answer. That Manchester club, also called “City” can testify to the veracity of that.

    Born in Tilton Road…

  3. Sums it up very well, Bazza. The only consolation I can offer is that you are not on your own, mate. Completely spineless performance, with very few exceptions…..Beausejour and Hleb when given the eventual nod, and then only because his hand was forced. It’s going to be a long, dark week.

  4. I didn’t go yesterday ( gave my ticket away ) because this is exactly what I expected.Whilst I’m not a fan of Mcleish you can’t blame him for the spineless effort of our so called players yesterday, however it seems now we are paying the price for a season of negative football, poor signings, lack of imagination and poor team selection the blame for this lies directley at Mcleish’s feet.

  5. kev-sorry about that.

    did u watch it ? its brilliant ey ?

    in a way i want the scum to stay up so villa can hammer you next season and go on another 6 game winning run against you

  6. If we go down, or is that when, it won’t be because of yesterday’s abysmal effort, but because we have insisted on playing negative football all year. McLeish has the most boring football philosophy of any manager in the Premiership. He does not seem to realise that one win equates to three draws, and that continually trying to grind out results one point at a time is self defeating.
    In addition playing one forward when that one forward can’t hit a barn door from 2 feet away was suicidal, and that’s no criticism of CJ, it’s not his fault he’s not good enough it’s down to the man picking him.
    If we go down I am afraid the rest of the Premiership will give a sigh of relief and look forward to footballing sides like Norwich and QPR playing them next season.

  7. Roy is right of course. There have been plenty of opportunities to get the points we needed to not be in this position which have been passed up. It is clear that everybody who went and all those listening in agree that yesterday’s efforts were just not good enough. If we do go down we will have deserved it I’m afraid but remember Wigan and Blackpool have still got tough tasks ahead of them too. I saw a quote by Wendell Phillips (1811-1884) an American abolitionist and advocate today that may serve to put things like the travails of football into perspective; “What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first step to something better.”

    On a more superficial intellectual note; Jake I haven’t bothered to click on your link since if it is anything like your spelling it won’t be up to much of any substance anyway and no one here, least of all me, would give you the satisfaction. What you have demonstrated by your subsequent comment however, is that arrogance and stupidity run hand in hand. Thank you for reminding us 😛

  8. Unfortunately, despite the manager doing wonders for the club in the last 18 months (keeping us up with ease last season, winning the carling cup this season) stay up or go down Mcleish has to go in my opinion. The expectation of everyone involved with the club this season would be to retain our premiership status and although the cup final was a fantastic day, in all honesty the cup competitions were an added bonus with the league being our priority. The football that we’ve seen this season has been too negative. Unlike other managers in the league, Mcleish seems to send the players out with the mentality of make sure we don’t lose, instead of going out to win the game. The last time we were relegated under Mcleish, it was due to negative tactics and our failure to pick up points against teams around us. The same problems have occured this season. We’ve failed to beat Wolves, Albion, Villa, Wigan, Fulham, Newcastle home or away dropped points to the likes of Blackburn and West Ham. Despite his marvelous work over the last 18 months, if we do go down, the blame lies at the managers feet.

  9. bazza-u should really watch it.
    your right though about better teams coming up. norwich, qpr play good footy.

    up the villa

  10. The relegation scenario has been a ‘given’ for quite a while now , certainly with regular fans who have had to put up with the constant ‘ siege ‘ mentality football that AM has not just condoned but actually boasted about!
    Virtually every game has been a hand ringing uncomfortable ordeal , backs to the wall , hoping to grab a goal , and “Don’t worry if we can’t , a draw is no shame “, and that’s at HOME ! !

    Roy Smith : – I agree with most of you comments Roy , but not the one about a collective sigh of relief in our demise ! Teams can’t wait to play us , or their fans , we’re a joke .They’ve got to find another team of whipping boys now .
    We all had our long awaited day out at Wembley , with the best possible outcome , but I can’t help thinking the fickle fate of football really has made us pay for our short lived glory .

    It’s years since I’ve felt this let down and depressed ( over the course of a season ) AND we won the cup !!!!

  11. Too many 4-5-1 games at home all season, and away come to think of it.How negative can you be? Jerome home alone up front.[Championship striker] he might get some goals next season then if we go down.

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