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i guess that’s why they call it the blues. (i believe i’ll dust my broom)

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A preview by Billy The Dog McGraw

Birmingham is a diminutive village famed for being the lowest settlement in the United Kingdom at 170 feet below sea level.

The location, home to elves, dwarves and other such creatures, was discovered by chance in 1874 when the footballing pioneer Muntz Street was out walking his cat which suddenly disappeared down an aluminium mine, causing a landslip that revealed all.

As a result of Mr Street’s activity the first sports club in the subterranean location was set up with Small Heath Alliance formed in 1875 as a water polo club playing on the village’s one hill, which rises to 1 foot above sea level.  The club turned to billiards in 1885 and in 1888 branched out into sidewinding, basket weaving and rotational crab baiting a year later.

They next played dominance headbutting (an early version of rotational fouling that they now play) in the Football Alliance and then tried to change their name to Birmingham, but everyone laughed.  Next they opened a 75,000 capacity ground in 1906, and soon found themselves applying for re-election to the league having come lower than a turnip on heat.  (If you get my drift).

After the first world war they decided to move from slug heating to train spotting and eventually employed Leslie Knighton as a manager in order to reach a cup final and enjoyed themselves bouncing up and down between one division and another.

Now pause: does that name (Leslie Knighton) mean nothing to you?  Really?

Knighton was our manager under Norris in the post war years, and Norris dismissed Knighton in the summer of 1925 and replaced him with…

Well, come on guys, you know.

Herbert Chapman.

Anyway back in the midlands the world changed when Robert Johnson arrived on the scene.  Uttering those extraordinary lines “I’ve gotta keep movin’ blues falling down like hail” Robert set about removing everything that had gone before and creating THE BLUES.

With the hellhound and his all sweeping broom Robert created a new world.   In 1939 they got 66,000 in their stadium – a record, were relegated, had the ground razed to the, err, ground, by Nazis and had all their records destroyed in a fire as a result of an air raid.  Robert Johnson commemorated the event with a unique song

F I send for my baby, and she don’t come
‘F I send for my baby, man, and she don’t come
All the doctors in Hot Springs sure can’t help her none

And if she gets unruly, thinks she don’t wan’ do
And if she gets unruly and thinks she don’t wan’ do
Take my 32-20, now, and cut her half in two

It doesn’t take much to imagine the impact.  For a start Bob Dylan heard the song and wrote Subterranean Homesick Blues, the one and only song about Birmingham ever recorded.

But, one might ask, how do we know any of the above if all the records were lost in the second world war?  Actually we don’t – it is all made up.  In fact many people don’t believe Birmingham City FC exists at all.  For all we know rotational timewasting could have been invented by a bunch of monks who argued with King Alfred the Great during his battle against the Danes in 897AD, and set up knee-wallap as a game to entertain the pagans and convert them to Christianity.  What we do know is that the club changed its name during the war when no one was looking.  In 1955 they defeated Liverpool 9-1 which is worthy of note and the following year they came sixth in the first division – something never achieved before or since and which gave the players nose bleeds.

What we do know is that Birmingham played in Europe before anyone else – which meant the game was rather one sided, but they still managed to lose.

When the Bank of Credit and Commerce International collapsed the club went into receivership (1992) and were bought by David Sullivan who brought in Karen Brady (then aged 23) as MD.  In the coming years they had Barry Fry as manager, (a close mate of Billy the Dog – “you and me” Barry would say, “we’re one of a kind”).   Birmingham went into the third division.  They tried local hero Trev Francis (who was later done for assault by one of his own players) as a manager and won the Auto Windscreen free replacement if a stone hits your car trophy.   As a result around the ground today you will find many young urchins shouting “Make sure your car doesn’t get its window done Mister – just £10” outside the ground as you park.   Best not to try and go to the ground by car.

With Steve Bruce as manager they turned to Arsenal for support and brought in Nicklas Bendtner, Fabrice Muamba and Sebastian Larsson – before Carson Yeung bought 29.9% of shares in the club, making him the biggest single shareholder, with a view to taking full control in the future – although this has not happened and the rest of the ownership of the club is still a matter for some debate.   Fit and proper Mr Anonymous. Where have we seen that before?

Stevie Bruce resigned in November 2007 to move up to the more exciting challenge of managing Wigan, while the old owners and the new owners all sued each other (as you do).  West Ham, Birmingham, what’s the odds?  Both have been owned by pornographers.

Alex McLeish stepped into the mire and Birmingham finished 19th in the end of the season, ultimately being relegated. David Sullivan blamed it on Bruce’s silly buys in the transfer market and attacked his club’s own players as a waste of money – an interesting motivational tactic and one that raises the issue of just how much responsibility Sullivan will ever take for anything he ever does.   Answer: something less that the height of Birmingham above sea level.

The Birmingham side for today’s game with the refurbished Birmingham ground in the background.  Robert Johnson is in the fourth row and is expected to play today.


And the Arsenal…

Fabianski

Sagna Koscielny Djourou Clichy

Song Wilshere

Fabregas

Walcott Bendtner Nasri

Sitting around in large duvets: Szczesny, Van Persie, Vela, Eboué, Squillaci, Rosicky, Chamakh, Arshavin, Emmanuel-Thomas, Denílson

I think at the moment the team for each game is selected not just from who is playing best but also in terms of the opposition, and the next match (which for us is Man City on Wednesday).

My guess is Van P and Chamakh are being kept all nice and fresh for that game as is Arshavin.  But then what do I know?  (Answer that and I’ll do yer face in).

Les Blues…

28 goals in their last 28 home league games has a certain symmetry, but probably explains why tickets are still available.  Also one win in the last six.  Leading scorer is Gardner with, oh, how many, I keep losing count, what was it?  Four.

Billy the dog is helping the authorities with their enquiries.

Phil Gregory has a headache.

What’s really getting us worked up

The men who played 100 times for Woolwich Arsenal, the first Hotspur FC and other important historical questions.

The real meaning of everything: “Making the Arsenal”

There is something seriously wrong with refereeing in the EPL: Part 1 of our investigation

Referees: conspiracy theory or practice – Part 2 of the special investigation.

20 comments to i guess that’s why they call it the blues. (i believe i’ll dust my broom)

  • prush

    Hi there, Billy some good gacts with a pinch of humour – I am hoping we can take the 3 points to shut all the doom mongers up but then one more draw and they’ll crawl back out of their caves,

    We seem to forget that we are still in the mix and if we were to depose King Arsene, who would we replace him with? Ferguson has drawn 8, Mancini has lost 4, Ancelloti has lost 5, or heaven forbid Redknapp, who has also lost 4.

    Wenger is suffering now, because of his initial success and the idea that resulted that he was perfect, AKB. Winning the league is about percentages, the aim to get most of it right over 38 games. Arsene played his percentages against Wigan, the aim was to get 3 points but with as little impact as possible on his first choice eleven, he only got 1 point, but we did come close.

    I put a bet on at the start of the season that we would win this league, and often I really do doubt that I will win that bet. But I do believe that game by game the squad, not just the best 11, is getting stronger and that it is still possible.

    Last season, many people were complaining that we didn’t put strong enough sides out in the Carling Cup, a competition that we were just throwing away. This season Wenger has put out stronger sides, although why he has done this is a matter of contention. However now we have a great chance of going to Wembley and winning a trophy. However, tickets for the semi final – even at the reduced prices – are going out on general sale. So where are all those people who want us to try harder in the Carling Cup? Is it that when they get what they want they don’t really care about it?

    I really do think, we should start looking at positives from this side and get behind them, they really do have what it takes. Cheer up and have a Happy New Year.

  • jummer

    I think its very good of Wenger to

    I think I am going to have to find a short way of saying that a post has been removed because it has nothing to do with the original article. Any suggestions? RIP? (Removed irrelevant post).

  • ak47

    happy new year every one

  • slim

    Yeah hope we finally end our drought this year. It’s been some time.

  • A Casual Observer

    Tony, when I were an admin I used to use the phrase: SoaP for “Snakes on a Plane”… it was used way back when in chat rooms to indicate that someone was talking bollocks or just a bot-spammer due to the viral advertising campaign of the film by the same name (which used mindless drones as a propoganda machine to trawl the net and post stuff on chat boards about how great the film was).

    I see Manchester United got the rub of the green today! Let’s hope we can also get three points from this match to atone for our mugging.

    Happy new day gooners!

  • Renan

    Hmmm St. Andrews is not a good place to start Walcott as the pitch is tight and short. Judging by our inability to create opportunities at St. Andrews I think Arshavin should start who works much better than Walcott in tight spaces. Cesc, Nasri, Arshavin, and van Persie as our front four, hmmm we should have no trouble scoring goals.

  • DogFace

    Liverpool = win
    Man City = win
    Tottenham = win
    Man Utd = win

    Anyone guess which match is going to be the coupon buster for today… we couldn’t have had a worse start to this game and it’s not even kicked off yet.

  • DogFace

    This game has been a disgrace so far.. but 0-2 up – the lads have been super-human tonight against 12 men, very proud, but we need to get 3 clear to put this match to bed.

    How good is Nasri? And with Cesc on the pitch we can well and truely kick against the pricks.

  • DogFace

    Whoop – there it is!

    0-3, expect Walton to suddenly have a good remainder of the match now it’s game over.

  • RedGooner

    Nice to be 3-0 up looking back at the ammount of times this lot have scored in the last minute against us.
    Hope we keep a clean sheet would be encouraging before ManCity wednesday.

  • Andrei

    3-0 now… pretty impressive score despite thuggish opposition and wasteful RVP. The big difference from the Wigan game is relatively solid defense.

  • Wrenny

    Great win! Chelsea, Man Utd and the Spuds have all gone there and failed to get 3 points. This is a big result.

    Walton was disgraceful in the first half. Cesc should have had a free kick on the edge of the box in the first minute, then Johnson should have been sent off, Djourou was booked for absolutely nothing, but at least from the resulting free-kick he didn’t blow for a penalty from RVP’s handball. (Two wrongs don’t make a right, but I sure am glad about it)

    And what odds Johnson’s ankle-breaker on Cesc not making the Match of the Day highlights?

  • Actually I thought the picture of the Blues team in the article was fairly accurate. Interesting to see how many empty seats there were too.

    As for the tactics of the blues – an utter disgrace. If the EPL was unbent it would do something about a team like this. But as Billy said, this is subterranean football.

  • And I would add that this particular team (with the option of replacing Van Persie with Chamakh which I guess will happen on Wednesday, is pretty much the first team at the moment. The Nasri – Cesc show is just extraordinary to watch.

    So same again for Wednesday, and then the backup squad for Saturday. Strange to think there was a time when a match against Leeds would be the highlight of the season (if mindless violence is your thing, that is).

  • Wrenny

    Nasri and Cesc were excellent, they really got the best out of one another I thought. Song controlled things beautifully in midfield, he was under constant pressure but he always found a pass or way out of trouble.

  • insideright

    The Guardian published an article the other day saying that Birmingham were heading for relegation and that thry would not be missed. After that disgraceful perfomance their demise could not come a day too soon.
    And who is to say that without rotation we would not be looking at 7 points from the last 9? Three games from which we got just one point last season.

  • GoonerTerry

    Can anyone tell me what use is Chris Waddle as a pundit? After the tackle on Cesc he said the Brum player “hardy” touched him – got the ball first..” What a shambles the Blues are: I lost count of the times they fouled us as we played one-two’s around them…But what a great win. Such a mature display from the boys (I mean MEN)…ooooh I am getting that feeling in the pit of my stomach again…

  • Byo

    I was most struck by the composure displayed by the team despite the unrelenting provocation. B’ham’s game plan was obvious from the first minute-rough up Arsenal, but we were not intimidated. I was also very impressed as to how the rest of the team stood up for Fabregas when he was mauled(reminds me of a similar incident last season when Fab was left alone to fight).
    I will hold my breath to see if the EPL will go for retroactive punishment for that stamp on Sagna!

  • krok

    Great performance yesterday, and it’s amusing to see all the pro wengerites back on the forum, while all the wenger haters scurry off into dark corners. Anyway, despite some obvious deficiencies in our squad, I am cautiously optimistic about the new year, even though I have no idea who will win the prem. It’s a crazy season but let’s try and enjoy it and stop posting about eboue all the time.

  • Gooner Terry – the problem with Waddle is symptomatic of football in the English media. Someone once thought – hey – let’s get an ex footballer in, and see what he has to say. OK, of passing interest for the odd comment, but it just got out of hand. Sky make it work on saturday afternoon’s because none of the stuff is taken seriously – they are mostly laughing at themselves.

    On radio and live football however they do the opposite and take themselves utterly seriously. and we the stupid public are told to do the same.

    Chris Waddle was the most wonderful of players (and yes I know who he played for, but he was magnificent and I would have loved to have seen him play for us), and he has his feet on the ground. He’s a nice guy.

    But that doesn’t make him a good commentator. But try telling that to ESPN and the like. They haven’t got a clue.