Foster proves his worth with fine League Cup display

Ben Foster again showed his worth to Alex McLeish’s Birmingham City side with a man of the match performance in Sunday’s League Cup victory against Arsenal. Foster now has a hat-trick of League Cup victories as it was his third triumph in the competition in three years, having played a vital role in Manchester United’s win in 2009 and being an unused substitute in 2010. Prior to the encounter Foster spoke of his enjoyment at his continued run of games in the Birmingham first-team and also of the pleasure he…

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Does the League Cup need a Birmingham victory?

By the standards of recent years, this season’s domestic cup competitions have been pretty compelling. There have been more than the usual quota of “cupsets” and drama, and a few storylines which have defied footballing gravity and will remain in the hearts and minds of supporters – just ask anyone from Stevenage or Crawley. However, while the FA Cup still retains an iconic place in the culture of the English game, the League Cup remains something of a poor relation, despite the obvious (and one would think, enticing) reward of…

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Birmingham City 3-0 Sheffield Wednesday – Hleb injury overshadows routine Blues win

A competent performance was all that was needed from Birmingham City as Alex McLeish saw his side breeze past League One strugglers Sheffield Wednesday into the quarter finals of the FA Cup Wednesday never looked like upsetting the odds at St. Andrews as their run of nine league games without a win extended into the FA Cup. Despite having a Carling Cup final next week to prepare for, McLeish resisted the urge to make wholesale changes to the team that went down 2-0 at home to Newcastle United in midweek.…

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West Ham 0-1 Birmingham City – Zigic threat proves too much for unhappy Hammers

Nikola Zigic scored his fourth leaque goal of the season to send West Ham back to the bottom of the Premier League at Upton Park. In a game largely devoid of any clear-cut chances, the giant Serbian eventually won his aerial battle with Matthew Upson – but only after the Englishman was taken off after half time. Zigic’s 65th minute header means that Birmingham move out of the relegation zone. Up until that moment, however, West Ham looked like it would be they who would be taking three points from…

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Birmingham accept Newcastle bid for Larsson

BBC Sport has reported that Birmingham City have given Newcastle permission to discuss terms with 25-year-old Swedish midfielder Sebastian Larsson. The former Arsenal youngster’s contract expires in the summer, and talks over resigning have stalled. He signed for The Blues in a £1 million deal in January 2007, after impressing on loan in the first half of that season. He has since gone on to score 23 goals in 154 appearances for The Blues. Newcastle’s local rivals Sunderland are also thought to be closely following the situation, with manager Steve…

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Birmingham near Bentley deal, Miller move on

The Daily Mirror reports that Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish is targeting no less than four new players to help save the club from relegation. With the club perilously close to the bottom three McLeish has already moved to seal a loan deal for David Bentley, who is due for a medical in the next couple of days, and is in talks with Rangers striker Kenny Miller. On the deals McLeish said that: “Bentley has agreed to come to Birmingham on loan. We’ve just got to set up a medical…

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Birmingham make £7m bid for Keane

Harry Redknapp last night confirmed that Tottenham Hotspur had received a £7m offer from Birmingham City for out of favour striker Robbie Keane and that the club would not “stand in his way”. Redknapp went on to say that: “Robbie stays with us and plays for his place or he moves on permanently.” following Spurs’ 2-1 defeat to Everton. Contrary to this however, reports in The Daily Mail say that this deal could be scuppered with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy holding out for a higher transfer fee from Birmingham. The…

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Club Focus – West Brom – Di Matteo excited ahead of Albion and Brum clash

When the fixtures are released, every fan in the country wants to see when the local derby is scheduled for. Luckily for West Brom fans they will have to wait no longer, as Birmingham make the short trip to the Hawthorns on Saturday. With the Baggies only being able to win one of their Midland derbies in the Premier League, their recent home form is something in which they will be concentrating on going into the weekend. Roberto Di Matteo is one of those keen to forget that fact ahead…

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McLeish shows unparalleled ambition early on

Alex McLeish has quickly done what all associated with Birmingham City were imploring him to do at the end of last season. Within a week of the last ball of the season being kicked, and Joe Hart’s return to Manchester City, McLeish signed equally promising goalkeeper Ben Foster from Manchester United for £6 million. Whilst Foster has disappointed in recent seasons, he is a player of competent ability and was perhaps the best option available to McLeish. Whilst he may not be as excellent as Hart, he will certainly provide…

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Ben to stop being Fostered

Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster looks to be on the move again as he is set to complete a £4m switch to Birmingham City. The 27-year-old has dropped down the Red Devils pecking order this season due to a string of errors earlier in the campaign (most notably against Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland). Edwin van der Sar, Tomasz Kuszczak and even reserve team stopper Ben Amos now finding themselves in front of the England international. Foster only signed a new four year contract at Old Trafford last season but…

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Club Focus – Birmingham – Avoid complacency to build upon successful season

As Birmingham’s season reached its conclusion, there were several overriding emotions shared by all fans. One, the massive relief that they had avoided relegation and thus, will be spending another season in the Premier League and two, that they have put themselves in a position to push forward next campaign and appear to have all the necessary facets to do so. They will recognise that with Alex McLeish in charge, they have a man who has the ambition to keep the club from stagnating or even worse, digressing. That said…

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Club Focus – Birmingham – Blues resigned to losing their Hart

When Joe Hart secured his loan move to Birmingham City, it was met with pleasantry and scepticism. For many, the signing showed a fundamental lack of understanding on McLeish’s behalf of the need to have players that can deal with the strenuous nature that the Premier League necessitates. Along with Roger Johnson and Scott Dann, Hart was seen as a good, young player that although talented, would not be enough to keep Birmingham from relegation. Having coped admirably as Manchester City’s number one in the first half of the 2008/09…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – Home sweet home at fortress St.Andrew’s

In their final appearance in front of the St.Andrew’s crowd this season, Birmingham City left much to suggest that next season will be a prosperous one. A blunder by Burnley goalkeeper Brain Jensen set the tone for the game and Alex McLeish will be happy that his normally goal-shy side capitalised on some good fortune by adding a second – even better, in fact, was that it was Christian Benitez’s timely first strike at St.Andrew’s that got them that second goal. The diminutive Ecuadorian has done little to suggest Birmingham…

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Club Focus – Birmingham – McLeish commits his future as Blues looks to kick on

With the furore of the Midlands derby slowly ebbing away, focus is now turning towards the upcoming summer and consequential season. The Birmingham City board and fans will know that the extension of Alex McLeish’s contract is of vital importance. Before McLeish arrived, Birmingham were nothing more than a yoyo club. Now, with McLeish at the helm, Birmingham appear set to sustain their status as a Premier League club – not just dawdling in the bottom half but able to kick on year on year. While losing to Aston Villa…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – Derby day blues for City and Carr

In the aftermath of Sunday’s Midlands derby, the big question currently doing the rounds in Birmingham is: how did we not get a result from that game? The answer will vary from fan to fan, from allegiance to allegiance but in the immediate aftermath of the game, the most obvious answer, or indeed, moment of the game, is that penalty decision. Whether it was a penalty or not will be debated interminably for the foreseeable months (or until Birmingham City beat Aston Villa) and consternation about how decisions like this…

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Did Birmingham pay the correct penalty in local derby?

There are four words currently being bandied around Birmingham and Aston. From Birmingham’s point of view, Martin Atkinson and incorrect are the most important. For Villa, correct/fortunate seem the most apt depending on a fans disposition and feelings towards City fans (along with a massive sigh of relief at winning a game that arguably could have gone either way). Referee Martin Atkinson, who had, up to the 82nd minute, had a quiet and serenely easy game of football to lord over. That all stopped however, as a game changing decision…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – Blues’ opportunity to turn derby tide

It is finally here. Sunday afternoon sees Birmingham City travel to Villa Park for an eagerly anticipated derby match. This time round, there is a realistic expectation that Birmingham will be able to beat Aston Villa and claim bragging rights for some months in the future. In recent years, Villa have dominated the local derby. All Birmingham fans will have attempted to banish the 5-1 defeat to their adversaries in 2008, as well as a disappointing loss at St.Andrew’s earlier this season. Villa became the first team to beat Birmingham…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – Future unknown

From October 24 to April 10, Birmingham’s season was relatively perfect – a 16 game unbeaten run, a consistent top half position, excitement at the future and a new board all meant Birmingham’s season had gone as well as could have been hoped for. However, football is not a fairytale and in recent weeks Birmingham have been given two shocks. The first, a heavy 5-1 defeat to Manchester City, can be easily eradicated from their memory, but the other will be a constant burden over the minds of fans until…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – McLeish needs to get rhythm, or he will get the blues

Alex McLeish’s tacit admission that Birmingham will struggle to replicate the form shown this season in the subsequent campaign will – or at least should – resonate with the St.Andrew’s faithful. McLeish, who has overseen a concerted effort of excellence from Birmingham’s players this season, said in a press conference earlier this week: “In many ways we’ve probably done too well. The owners will expect us to get higher than that next season but if we want to get into the top seven, we need a massive amount of money.…

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Club Focus – Birmingham – Birmingham’s home comforts

Four home games against the ‘big four’ and four draws. Birmingham’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool on Sunday has culminated in an unbeaten home record against Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. It also meant that they extended their unbeaten home record to 12 games, a statistic paralleled by few other teams. Said unbeaten records are of paramount importance to teams like Birmingham, as their home form has been good enough to accommodate poor away form (something that they have avoided), Birmingham find themselves in a strong league position. Being able…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – Hart the hero to leave St. Andrews?

Frustration may be a feeling surrounding St.Andrews at the minute with the revelation loanee Joe Hart may have to return to Manchester City next season. The 22-year-old has impressed massively this campaign and will still have harboured hopes of going to South Africa with England’s World Cup squad – a real possibility with Fabio Capello recently intimating such an event’s occurrence: “We’ve got Green, James who is older and experienced, and Hart, who is young. I don’t think we have a problem when it comes to goalkeepers.” Capello’s acknowledgement that…

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Club Focus – Birmingham – Phillips the elder to tutor Benitez the youngster?

Prior to Saturday’s game against Birmingham at St. Andrews, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger remarked that the events of the same fixture two seasons ago would have no bearing on this tie and the Arsenal players would not be thinking about it. However, in his post-match interview, he said: “We have a big disappointment just for today and we have to continue to fight.” Wenger will recognise the importance of this game and its similarities to last season. Whilst this time there was no injury to Eduardo and no outburst from…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – Tough times for Blues but things could be a lot worse

2010 is in serious danger of becoming a bad year for Birmingham City. Recent defeats to Sunderland and Blackburn mean that they have now lost six games since January – the same amount of defeats suffered prior to the turn of the year. Since their unbeaten run ended they have accumulated just ten points from a possible 30 – a paltry return that is in stark contrast to earlier fortunes. Although the game against Blackburn was a reasonably even contest that could have ended up as any scoreline, manager Alex…

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Club Focus – Birmingham – Birmingham’s Brave New World

Despite recent defeats against Sunderland and Portsmouth, Birmingham continues to be one of the biggest success stories of this season. Not only has their form exceeded all expectation, previously tumultuous campaigns, tarnished by management difficulties, fan despondency and failed takeovers. This season, however, has seen everything come in to place. The new TV screen was finally installed after many years of fans harrowing the former owners, the David’s (Gold and Sullivan) to bring the club in to the 21st century; more trivial things saw the opening of the sandwich shop…

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Nervy Sunderland grind out Birmingham win

SUNDERLAND 3Bent 5, 11, Campbell 88 BIRMINGHAM CITY 1Jerome, 60 Darren Bent grabbed a first half brace as Sunderland all but guaranteed their Premier League status after a hard fought victory over Birmingham City at the Stadium of Light. The Black Cats – cruelly denied in the dying minutes against Manchester City last week – could not have asked for a better start as Bent powered an effort past Joe Hart after only five minutes. The lead was doubled when the England hopeful was put through by Steed Malbranque and…

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