Wednesday 14 May ~
Saturday's edition of the Daily Express carried an exclusive interview with Birmingham City chairman David Gold in which he admitted that mistakes had been made over the season but that: “The ones who haven't made the mistakes are the fans, They just keep coming and and there will be almost 30,000 of them on Sunday looking for that one word: Pride.” By 6pm on Sunday pride was completely absent at St Andrew's, replaced by a pitch invasion, and an awful lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in the stands and in the boardroom.
Despite an impressive 4-1 victory relegation was confirmed. Gold was now talking of a “venomous verbal attack. I couldn't quote a single word. You don't have to because you could see the hatred in their eyes as they came towards the board and two young children.” Birmingham co-owner David Sullivan topped his colleague with: “These people don't know anything about business and nothing about football.” Both men threatened to resign, mainly on account of their “near-death experience”.
But then the excuses started, from Gold, and from chief executive Karren Brady who used her Sun column to blame the failed December takeover for Birmingham's relegation. Carson Yeung was branded a “wealthy poser” who, you imagine much to the detriment of Brady's bank balance, didn't actually have the “key to expansion into Asian markets”. England's “first lady of football” saw the broken crossbar as representative of “the fracture that has grown between board and fans” but remained defiant – she would not give up 15 years of her career on account of “a batch of beery blokes [who] can’t control their tongues”. The reader was left with the grisly image of Eamonn Holmes sending Brady motivational personal emails quoting Muhammad Ali.
On the other hand David Sullivan went for an even less subtle approach, attacking Steve Bruce's transfer policy: “What I would like to have done when the manager was buying players, I'd like to have said ‘no you are buying a pile of rubbish’.” Though this begs the question as to why he didn't, Sullivan went on to single out defender Franck Queudrue and “third-choice” goalkeeper Richard Kingson. Sullivan has since apologised. While Queudrue has reportedly accepted the apology but is, understandably, keen to move in the summer, Kingson has defended himself: “Even an animal does not deserve to be described as a ‘waste of space’.” So the future at Birmingham remains unclear. But if the Davids Sullivan and Gold are to make good on their promises of resignation, one or both may resurface at a ground near you later in the summer – if you're unlucky.