28. Jul, 2021


Dear old Harry Fellows, yes I think it was grand old Harry who got me into football. Harry was my Grandad, my beloved Mum's Dad. My Dad's pretty special too, I should add.

Sadly, I lost Mum last year,a victim of Dementia and Covid, so this is for you Shelia Ann, hope I find the back of the net! Anyway Harry was a big Aston Villa fan. He was a typical old working class Brummie. Labour to the core Harry would shepherd the family down to the polling station where each family member would be instructed to tick the appropriate box. Freedom of choice was a stranger in this particular chore! Fortunately, perhaps family conscription was far more limited when it came to the fortnightly trek to Villa.Park..

This time Son Ron was the chosen one. while wife Ethel, Daughter Barbara and Mum spent their Saturday afternoons in a less frenzied setting. Yes dear reader, Football matches did kick off at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon in bygone days. H certainly made a sound choice. He saw Villa win the League Championship, FA Cup and League Cup on numerous occasions. Fitting Aston Villa won the European Cup a year before he passed away.

Every Saturday night we would visit Harry and Ethel in their high rise flat. Ethel was lovely, she had a bit of the Irene Handl about her. I should explain Irene was known for playing lovable but slightly scatty Cockney Grandmothers. I suggest younger readers youtube Metal Mickey or For the Love of Ada to for a better explanation. Little Et was the Brummie version of Irene. She was the travelling salesman's dream and would purchase any good that would be displayed on the door step. Much to Harry's frustration the family budget always made a healthy donation to any travelling suit.. In the end Ethel's weekly allowance was drastically reduced before the Fellows family formed a lasting bond with the local Pawnbroker.

On these visits Grandad would tell of the daring deeds of Tom 'Pongo' Waring and Trevor Ford. Vintage Villa
Centre Forwards who were adored by the legions on the Holte End. Set against this family background I should have become an avid Aston Villa fan. But I've always had the tendency to back the underdog or in a less charitable description 'Losers'. Hence Birmingham City became my poison. Indeed thousands of Blues fans will testify that poison is the accurate description of the effect the teams results has. For, its fair to say ample space is still available in the trophy cabinet. Social Distancing has always been in operation.

Perhaps typical was an early memory of Birmingham City. On the first day of the 1979-80 season Birmingham City were at home to Fulham. Imagine my joy when the Grandstand vidiprinter flashed the score at half time.


Happy days. next season we would be returning to the promised land of the First Division. But such fanciful aspirations were duly expunged when Fulham scored 4 without reply in the second half. It was not the first time the club from West London rained on a Blues parade and boy what a parade! In 1975 they beat us in a FA Cup Semi Final.. Ok, it happens many a Spurs fan will say. But in the last minute of extra time by means of a goal constructed on a pinball machine. Lets just say John Mitchell's goal involved neither foot or head. Swings and roundabouts. we went up in 1980 and in 2011 we won the League Cup with an equally ugly effort .

 ps. Tottenham Hotspur were a great team in the 1980's winning the FA Cup twice and the UEFA Cup. Birmingham City have never won the FA Cup or the UEFA Cup.