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Today's main story in the world of football is not one that affects Birmingham City, but it is one that could be of interest to fans.
It's that time again. Gnashing of teeth via keyboard keystrokes can be heard all over Baggie Land. Fans are getting restless. Cries of "where's the money gone Tom" are all the rage again. We arrive at this place every single summer. Are they justified this year or are we all suffering from our annual pilgrimage to planet hysteria unnecessarily.
There are few things that can cheer some people up on a Monday morning. One thing capable of this is the sunshine and another is a positive Birmingham City story.
As if by magic, we have both today.
Blues fans awoke this morning to the news that three academy graduates have been offered new contracts.
As the Birmingham Mail reported here, Mitch Hancox, Will Packwood and Amari'i Bell have been offered new deals, whilst Callum Reilly has had an option in his contract exercised by Blues to keep hold of the midfielder for another year.
It has been a while since I last felt the urge to blog. That is normally the way when things are going well. The return of Twittering Pete almost brought me out of my blogging slumber the other week but I felt people had grown tired of the bloke. Yet I have spotted some support creep back for him and it has stirred up the blogger in me. A second moan forming in the Meldrew section of my brain is regarding stadium expansion. More of that later.
Oh Peter, how did it come to this?
A week or so ago, his place in Albion fans hearts was getting to Bob Taylor levels. Derby goals will do that. He would never have had to buy a pint of the black stuff again around these parts. Despite QPR's public advances, he told everyone this was his club and that he was settled. Most fell for it. Personally, I never bought it. He has always been just a tapping up away from a move. A perfect client for any agent.
Today was a sad day for me. I haven't had many of these down the Albion for a while. It wasn't the defeat against Fulham, or even the display, which was admittedly poor. It was our support that saddened me. The booing at half and full time was really disappointing, the treatment of Chris Brunt shocking.
Hyperbole is something that is common among football fans of every club, up and down the country. At Blues, nowhere is hyperbole more prominent than when starting a discussion about Nathan Redmond.
It has been a while since I last blogged. I feel a little guilty and neglectful. Thing is, football blogging tends to be a negative thing. A chance to have a moan or raise concerns. Hence my inactivity. Its going oh so well. I don't want to jinx things by talking positively in blogs all the time. The old Semper Te Fallant feeling that Baggies have is never far under the surface.
Much has been made this week of the future of Blues boss Lee Clark following the team's 5-0 home demolition by Barnsley.
The general consensus amongst Birmingham fans is that he should either be sacked or resign - a viewpoint I find frankly absurd.
That's not much else that could have gone wrong for Blues today.
From the offset, we were without a recognised right-back, a problem that extended to the other side of the pitch when David Murphy went off injured. Ambrose replaced Murphy and Jonathon Spector slotted in at left-back as Blues' defensive woes continued.
Five months ago, everything was rosy in the world of Baggieland. We had one of the best managers in the business and the best Director of Football. Now, they have both been poached by the F.A. A massive compliment to our clubs excellent progress but potentially a crushing blow to our future. If this was to happen to most clubs, a period of decline would surely follow. Will this be the case for us? I think not.
As Lee Clark touched on after the Watford defeat, Blues have started poorly in all four competitive games so far this season.
We went 1-0 down to Barnet after a sloppy opening period, whilst Charlton could have been a few goals clear, had Bradley Wright-Phillips been any good in the air. On those occasions, Blues came back to steamroll their League Two opponents and snatch a draw against the newly-promoted Addicks.
Well, here we are again. It's that time of year again when football fans are full of hope and dreams, unspoiled by a league table. Although, that has not always been the way at the Albion going into the first game. This hope is a recent phenomena. Damn that Jeremy Peace, I quite liked my expectations low. We all know that it's the hope that kills you.
With the league campaign kicking off this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the squad we will be using to do battle. A 5-1 victory last night against Barnet has given us a few pointers for the season ahead and I'll be using that game, some pre-season action and manager Lee Clark's comments in this preview.
As it would be wrong of me to squeeze the whole squad into one piece, I will break it down to ensure everyone gets a fair write-up. Today, I'll focus on the goalkeeping position and I will work down the pitch each day, culminating in the strikers preview on Saturday morning before the Charlton game.
Blues have been handed a 'category two' status under the FA's new Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).
The plan, which is designed to improve the quality of home-grown players, means that clubs with the highest category rating receive more funding than ever before in their youth development schemes and consequently, the national team will apparently benefit.
In what is the second installment of my blog from last week detailing just what sort of player we might be signing in Karim El Ahmadi, here we will gain a purely statistical viewpoint on Lambert's new lion.
So it seems Villa are on the verge of sealing another signing from the Eredivisie, this time in the shape of Feyenoord midfielder Karim El Ahmadi. The Dutch-born Moroccan international helped his side to a second placed finish last season and looks as though he could be new manager Paul Lambert's first signing at the club.
No sooner is the madness of England's EURO2012 campaign over than events closer to home force their way back to the forefront of our minds.
It was a pleasant change watching England - no worries about whether they can sign any new players, not a care in the world as to whether their owner was going to sell or not. Apart from the McLeish tactics, it was a breath of fresh air.
First up I'd like to apologise for my not-so-brief hiatus as designated Villa blogger for The Post. As you will all know by now I didn't get the job and I've just about come to terms with that. Apparently some chap called Lambert was the young manager the club were after, so I thought I'd have a little look at how the manager who many feel is merely a MON mark 2 might tick the boxes.
Well, now we know. After almost 2 months of deliberation and bookies making a fortune, we now have a new manager. To pretty much everyone, the choice was a surprise. The response from fans extremely mixed. Many see It as a huge gamble and can't understand how we came to the decision. If fans got a little overheated during the appointment process, it became a meltdown of Chernobyl proportions for some after the announcement.
As Chris Hughton sat in the Carrow Road press conference room this afternoon being unveiled as Norwich City's new manager, it all felt a little surreal. His blue-and-white striped tie had been replaced by the Canaries' gold shimmer and he was talking about his new club with an excitement and sense of purpose.
To me, it felt like seeing your wife with her new man - having left you the day before.
We like a bit of drama down the Baggies don't we? Summer wouldn't be the same without some stress attached to it. Seven weeks in and we are all pacing around like expectant fathers, hitting F5 every minute on Newsnow and trawling every media outlet available in an attempt to find out the latest information not to come out of the club. The Albion public are suffering meltdown.
So the dust has now settled on the 2011-12 season, and Wolves will now begin their next campaign in the Championship after being relegated from the Premier League in fairly emphatic fashion.
For long periods of the season it looked like Wolves were going to be in the relegation mix again, but may just cling on by the skin of their teeth; similar to what happened the previous season.
So near; yet so far. Just for a moment, as Curtis Davies wheeled away circling his arms in celebration, it looked like we could do it. The momentum was with us and there were 15 minutes left to find a goal to force extra-time. We did not deserve it, but we had belief.
However, the fact that we needed such a comeback was our own doing. We had only come alive for the final half hour of a 180-minute tie. The first ninety was a contender for our worst performance of the season and the second game did not start any better.
Well, I didn't have to wait long did I? I was beginning to sound a little too smug with all the wallowing in good news. I was expecting something to go wrong, we are Albion after all. Usually its problems of our own making but not this time. As much as it pains me to see Roy go, even our bad news is now something to be proud of. Little ole us having our manager poached for arguably the biggest football job in the world. Sad? Very. Proud? Even more so.
I came away from the game feeling utterly frustrated. We missed the opportunity to put them deep into trouble but that point may well be enough to keep them up. If we had played anywhere near like we can, we would have won comfortably. This is weakest Villa team I can ever remember. We played poorly for the most part but it was still enough not to lose.
The term 'cult hero' is one that is usually given to players who entertain fans and make them laugh - yet are not usually the best players on the pitch.
Ray Parlour was given this status by fans at Arsenal. The Charlie Dimmock lookalike was a rare Englishman during Arsene Wenger's early days with the Gunners and whilst he was not as technically able as Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg or Patrick Vieira, his work ethic endeared him to the fans. (Scoring an FA Cup final goal after being mocked live on air by Chelsea supporter Tim Lovejoy also helped his case.)
Every team has their own set of cult heroes past and present and Blues have unearthed a new one this season.
Its been a couple of weeks since I last blogged. To be honest, continually posting such positive things doesn't sit naturally with me. The unofficial Baggie supporter motto of Semper Te Fallant is always lurking there in the background. However, Albion under Hodgson continue to smash hoodoos and delight with results whilst around us our local rivals continue to delight us with their own results. Not since Wolves choked a 11 point lead has their been a better all round season.
He may have played for Atletico Madrid and started for his country at the 2006 World Cup - but Spanish international Pablo Ibanez will have to prove his quality all over again as Blues push for play-off glory.
Ibanez will start his first game in his favoured centre-back since the FA Cup replay with Chelsea in early March when he lines up next to Curtis Davies at The AMEX Stadium against Brighton on Saturday.