29. Jul, 2021


I hope you are still awake! Having read the first instalment, you will have gathered that I'm a Birmingham City fan. Aside from the aforementioned liking for the underdog I loved the kit. It consisted of a royal blue shirt, white shorts and most importantly white socks. I am no Jeff Banks but sorry blue socks are not the not the done thing, darling!

Anyway the kit reached its zenith in Autumn 1979 when a V neck was fitted. I always thought it was far more comfortable to play in. Not that my playing ability would ever grace the St Andrews turf. But we all have dreams. Still i could look like my heroes by purchasing a replica kit. Thanks to Dad (Maurice) and other Nan (Winnie) I was brought the full kit as a birthday present..

In the late Seventies replica kits were a rare beast solely reserved for kids. Watch any old Match Of the Day and you will not see a single replica worn by an adult. Indeed many of the crowd decided a more formal attire was the order of the day. Hence the common appearance of a suit and tie.

Hardly surprising that clubs placed less emphasis on the commercial side of the game. These days replica kits of Premier League Clubs are purchased from gleaming club superstores. Mine was brought from a portacabin on the St Andrews car park. Innocent days, I guess

It was around this time that I went to my first game, to be precise it was on September 15th 1979 and Charlton Athletic were the visitors. We won 1-0 thanks to a Steve Lynex goal. Lynex found fame when he moved to Leicester City. His accurate crosses set up countless goals for Gary Lineker and Alan Smith, I wonder what happened to them!

Aside from the result I can only recall the intoxicating smell of beef burgers as Dad and I entered the ground. My second visit was far more memorable, it was the day we clinched promotion back to the First Division. A point would do the job as Notts County visited St Andrews.. An excited crowd of 33,863 crammed into the ground. And the party was in full swing when went 2-0 up. Indeed TV footage showed Dad clapping Keith Bertschin after he scored the opening goal. Dad is wearing big green parker jacket.

I should add here that I am physically disabled. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and I'm a wheelchair user. So we were seated in the corner. Alan Curbishley second was a beauty. The midfielder curled his free kick around the County wall and beyond the grasp of goalkeeper Raddy Avramovic. But in true Blues styles the Magpies were soon level at 2-2 before Kevin Dillion restored our advantage. Mid way through the second half Brian Kilcline made it 3-3. In 1987 Kilcline captained the Coventry City side that won the FA Cup.

But we hung on and were back in the big time. A year later I actually met some of my heroes. Winne arranged for manager Jim Smith, Curbishley, Bertschin and defender Joe Gallagher to visit my school. They were lovely but Jim was my favorite. He was a lovely bloke with his balding pate earning him the unimaginative nickname of Bald Eagle. You can see him bottom left on my home page.

It was hard to imagine Jim ranting at half time. But having read several biographies it seems many a Smith half time team talk saw tea cups making contact with walls. In 1982 Jim was sacked by Birmingham City. He went on to have considerable success at Oxford United, QPR and Derby County. sadly a major trophy eluded Jim. The closest he came when his QPR side lost the 1986 League Cup to yes Oxford United. The very same Oxford team he taken from the Third Division to the First Division before falling out with infamous chairman Robert Maxwell.