27 February ~ So Birmingham City are taking part in their first major Wembley final for 55 years and I’m about as excited as Blues fan Craig Gardner on scoring the goal that took us there. We came close in the League Cup final in Cardiff 2001 and even won twice at Wembley in the 1990s, but the Leyland Daf Trophy in 1991 and the Auto Windscreens Shield four years later can’t really compare. The play-off final win in 2002 will live long in the memory but the “trophy” hardly merits the name.

We know we’re playing the graceful, honest, youthful Arsenal team whose six-year silverware drought is simply not acceptable in today’s society, and we know we can’t touch anyone for fear of a sustained burst of Wegner touchline semaphore. But I’m more hopeful than you might expect. Firstly, there have been plenty of Wembley finals where the plucky provincial underdog has overcome the classy metropolitan favourites. Secondly, we will have the louder support. There’ll be some racket when the Blues come out – Sir Harry Lauder would never have imagined 30,000 people belting out his most famous song (Keep right on to the end of the road, for those that don’t know).

It may be the last chance of silverware for some. Among our likely starters, there are three experienced players who are big influences in the dressing room, Stephen Carr, Barry Ferguson and Lee Bowyer, and who know they won’t have many more opportunities. Ferguson may still feel he has a point to prove in England, incorrectly in my view after his immense performances last season, while manager Alex McLeish is desperate to add to his collection of Scottish silverware. The team will also be representing both a club and a city that feels poorly regarded across the country, especially in the media.

As a Blues fan you learn to expect the worst, so we’re all waiting for the gypsy curse to strike again (ie relegation, then the discovery that owner Carson Yeung’s money really doesn’t exist). You never know what you’re going to get with Blues, though you can usually assume it won’t be too pretty but, with the exception of Alexander Hleb, we have at least shown resilience and great team spirit this season. And if we don’t pull it off this time, then, hey, we’re only one match away from another visit to Wembley in the FA Cup. Ken Jones Blues Exile Paris

Comments (5)
Comment by rckd 2011-02-27 12:53:26

Have a great day mate. Written a preview here:

Outside Wembley now, a sea of Blue. Absolutely buzzing. Less than 3 hours til kickoff.

Comment by donedmundo 2011-02-27 18:51:57

Well, well, well. Thought you played Arsenal in exactly the right way. Get in amongst them and give them no time. Bit lucky for the second goal but fortune favours the brave.

Comment by jameswba 2011-02-27 19:37:15

Delighted for you. Just wish Albion could do similar. And that was a good line about Arsenal's trophy drought. It didn't seem to occur to the writers of any of the mainstream previews I read that Birmingham might actually win.

Comment by shadsworth cloud 2011-02-27 20:57:17

Yes, well done to the Blues.
Forget about all this "1st major trophy since 1963" nonsense, that was no major trophy, it was the 1963 equivalent of the Auto Windscreen shield.
Pleased for players like Stephen Carr who was written off 3 years ago and was immense today.
Highly disrespectful of the meejer to suppose that this was the biggest shock since Luton Town/Swindon Town of yesteryear. Birmingham are a premier league team..

Comment by TheRedMax 2011-02-28 11:12:28

Thankfully the horrendous error by the refs assistant in the opening minutes ultimately didn't have a bearing on the final result.
Justice was done in the end. Well done BCFC.

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