Club Focus – Birmingham City – Saturday’s fight back shows Blues belong

Birmingham’s Cameron Jerome has now scored eight goals this season, making him their top scorer. In comparison to teams around them, that is a paltry figure and does not stand up. Birmingham’s frugality in front of goal makes their league position even more impressive – it renders their achievement amazing but does leave the thought that had they bought another goal scoring striker in the summer, or indeed in January, they could have been challenging with the likes of Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur for those European places. As it…

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Birmingham and Everton play out entertaining draw

BIRMINGHAM 2Jerome 26 Gardner 52 EVERTON 2Anichebe 19 Yakubu 22 The atmosphere surrounding St.Andrew’s before, and during the tie, was one of tentative expectation. After the end to 2009, each game is entered with positivity and ardent confidence by Alex McLeish’s Blues. The Scot has instilled that belief into his side but, unfortunately for Birmingham, McLeish’s adversary David Moyes has seen his side discover a new found confidence and the first twenty minutes typified everything Everton have been since the turn of the year. With the Merseysiders’ particularly large travelling…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – Battle of the Scots to test Blues’ resolve

As pleasing as Birmingham’s victory over Portsmouth in the league was, fans and the club will know Portsmouth are the real winners in this mini-series of games. A trip to Wembley would have been a fantastic achievement for Birmingham and although Portsmouth’s desperate situation constitutes they probably need the boost more, City would have been better equipped to take advantage of the semi-final opportunity and to build upon potential success. For now, the disappointment of getting knocked out of the FA Cup will be raw in the hearts of fans…

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Club Focus – Birmingham – Blocked road to Wembley leads to a southern diversion

Today sees Birmingham City, and their fans, return to Fratton Park, the ground at which their FA Cup campaign reached its conclusion. For those supporters making the long journey south, some of whom will have made the same trip last Saturday, a repeat performance would not be acceptable. Alex McLeish has been praised consistently this season for his tactical nous, particularly during the much discussed unbeaten run. In recent games, however, the squad selection has changed along with the formation and results have deteriorated and many fans will be wishing…

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Club Focus – Birmingham – Forty points target reached, now for the FA Cup

Last Saturday’s game against Wigan saw Birmingham reach the sacred 40 point mark. To reach 40 points with 11 games to spare is testament to how well boss Alex McLeish and the squad have done this season – they and local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers were tipped to be relegation certainties and whilst the Wolves contingent have struggled to truly get to grips with the Premier League, McLeish’s men have thrived. McLeish himself has praised his player’s effort: “To get to 40 points before March is an outstanding feat from a…

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The Top three Birmingham City blog awards

As part of our new series of articles detailing the best of the web, A Different League wants to come up with a list of the top three Birmingham City blogs, based on site design, quality of content, and regularity of blog posting. If you know a Birmingham City blog that you think deserves to be in the top three, then leave a comment below with the site name and the reason why you think it should be considered. Nominations so far: Joysandsorrows Colin Tattum’s Birmingham City blog

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Club Focus – Birmingham – What now for stagnated Blues?

After the recent turn in results, Birmingham’s season has stagnated somewhat. Tenacious midfielder Lee Bowyer told the Press this week: “What we were doing before was not realistic. We are coming down to our level now. We are realising. We are not going to go away and win every game. We are going to lose at places like Fulham.” Bowyer’s assessment of Birmingham’s current form and overall ability is reasonably accurate. In their excellent run of form, which culminated in defeat to Chelsea after avoiding such a result for fifteen…

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Club Focus – Birmingham – Carr the driving force

Sunday’s defeat to two excellent Fulham goals handed Birmingham their third league defeat in less than a month. As such, Birmingham’s European hopes have effectively been ended and it now seems that they are embroiled in a battle for mid table places with Everton, Fulham, Stoke and Blackburn. Stephen Carr, who has captained the side for the majority of the season, was at fault for Fulham’s late winner after conceding a rash foul on the edge of the area which allowed England hopeful Bobby Zamora to slot his free-kick past…

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Club Focus – Birmingham – Blues to pick up easy points?

For the first time since the November 9, Alex McLeish decided to change the line up against West Ham and it didn’t pay off. His hand was forced through Christian Benitez’s injury but the inclusion of Craig Gardner and Keith Fahey were tactical. The tactics did not work. Although Gardner and Fahey looked comfortable on the ball, they were not able to contain the West Ham midfield in the same way as the consistent midfield in previous games would have. Admittedly, they were beaten by two excellent goals and the…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – Veteran Phillips to the rescue

Sunday’s fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers saw the reincarnation of Kevin Phillips who had only played in fifteen minutes of league football since October 17. At 36 years of age, it seemed that Phillips’ career at the Midlands club was slowly ebbing away due to a combination of niggling injuries, increasing age and a strike force of Cameron Jerome and Christian Benitez that was working, albeit working without scoring too often. However, Phillips’ arrival to the muddy St.Andrew’s pitch sparked something new – suddenly Birmingham looked dangerous going forward in a…

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Club Focus – Birmingham – Johnson’s exit represents changing of the guard

Whilst transfer deadline day brought no new signings for Birmingham, it marked the end of an era for the Midlands outfit, as Blues stalwart Damien Johnson left the club. Johnson was the only remaining at the club since that epic 3-0 victory over Aston Villa in 2002, and typified everything good about Birmingham – he was strong, intense, defensively minded and driven by a passion for traditional, robust football. As he leaves the club to join Plymouth Argyle, he leaves behind seven years of loyal service, seven years that have…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – Month of disappointment in transfer market

As the transfer window grew to a close, there was a mixture of feelings towards the first month of 2010 for Birmingham. They lost to Chelsea, ending their magnificent unbeaten run in the process but rather than roll over and continue an expected slide in form, the team produced a gritty display to hold Tottenham at St.Andrew’s. So, whilst on the footballing side, January has been a good month as their three league games came against three of the league’s best teams and two points was a respectable return, the…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – Chelsea end fifteen game unbeaten run

A lot has happened on the blue side of Birmingham in the last few days – Craig Gardner has signed and has joined City for a rumoured fee of £3.5 million. The biggest story, however, has been their defeat to the hands of league leaders Chelsea. The last fifteen games have encompassed Birmingham’s best period of football, perhaps ever. It has seen the status of a once small club that was never really good enough for the Premier League, jump to a genuine threat to the top half of the…

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Ominous Chelsea masquerade as champions

CHELSEA 3Malouda 6, Lampard 32 & 90 BIRMINGHAM CITY 0 In theory, the African Cup of Nations was supposed to show-up glaring deficiencies in Chelsea’s squad. In practice, it has simply allowed them to peacock the sheer strength in depth they possess. Four games, four wins and seventeen goals later, and a potentially tricky period of games without key members has been negotiated with the minimum of fuss. A seven-goal hammering of a free-falling Sunderland was sandwiched by two routine cup run-outs, so the arrival of Birmingham City – unbeaten…

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Birmingham City daily news – Brum move for Jovanovic, McGeady, McLeish proud of his players

Every morning A Different League searches the nations press to bring you the latest goings on at Birmingham. Today: Birmingham City have moved into pole position to sign striker Milan Jovanovic after the Serbian international snubbed a move to Liverpool. (The Mirror) Birmingham beat Everton and continue to defy critics. (The Times) Alex McLeish’s side made it 15 games unbeaten against Everton as they continued to demonstrate that their current blend of stoicism and brilliance is as successful as it is intoxicating for their followers. (The Independent) Birmingham City boss…

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Club focus – Birmingham City – The Beginning or the End?

The squad may be training in Malta because of a break in their schedule, but the ever growing media coverage they are getting is still fervently bubbling away. The main transfer saga of the winter for Birmingham has been whether Craig Gardner will make the leap from Aston to Small Heath – a saga that appears to be coming to the expected conclusion. The rumoured transfer fee of £3.5 million shows that Alex McLeish is particularly interested in acquiring Aston Villa’s young central midfielder. However, the burning question that must…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – Consistent line-up brings consistent results

Tuesday’s victory over Nottingham Forest stretched Birmingham’s unbeaten run to 14 games in all competitions. Interestingly, Forest are currently denying Birmingham the accolade of longest unbeaten run of a promoted side in the Premier league. The Blues next fixture is away to Portsmouth, a game that current form would indicate a Birmingham win and, if they do, will enable them to join Forest in this 13 game unbeaten run in the league. However, this season has produced much stranger things than a Portsmouth win over Blues. Birmingham have been the…

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Club Focus – Birmingham – Baby steps

In the early stages of the season Birmingham were classed as relegation candidates, but they have progressively changed that status through excellent football. Their football is unlike the rest of the top half teams and they can only be compared to Stoke and Fulham in terms of style. For many seasons, there has been a certain level of stigmatism against this defensive and robust approach, but now, this is changing. Birmingham’s continually impressive run is showing the league that to succeed, attractive football does not need to be played. Birmingham…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – Blues look to progress to the next level

The beginning of a calendar year did not bring the emphatic start that Blues fans would have desired. Playing against an opposition like Nottingham Forest should have been easy pickings for Birmingham, but their second string team did not impress and they were actually lucky to hold Forest to a draw. Nevertheless, all of the club’s focus will remain on having a successful season in the Premier League. Many experts have commented that because Birmingham are apparently safe from relegation in 2010, Alex McLeish should place more emphasis on a…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – Transfer window offers chance to state ambition

It is becoming a common theme – once again, Birmingham have defied all of their critics. For the 11th game in a row, they have been undefeated. There are very few people alive in Britain today that would have a chance of remembering the last time Birmingham achieved this – 1906 to be precise. Although they were less than impressive against Stoke, it reiterated their ability to squeeze out results in games that they are expected to. Alex McLeish is fast becoming the Manager of the Season, and although they…

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Birmingham City 0-0 Chelsea – Birmingham defiant as Chelsea hit cold turkey

League leaders Chelsea missed the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the table to seven points, instead being held to a goalless draw by an obdurate Birmingham City. Carlo Ancelotti’s side bossed the game throughout, but his side fell the fairer side of a linesman’s flag to disallow Chucho Benitez’s 30th minute poach for offside. Up until then, Chelsea monopolised possession, and grew as an attacking threat, with Daniel Sturridge looking lively on his full league debut. The visitors concise passing pressed Brum back deep into their…

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Match Preview – Birmingham vs. Chelsea – McLeish to continue Christmas cheer

At the start of the Premier League season, Birmingham and Chelsea had compromising targets for the campaign ahead. Chelsea have been looking to regain the Premier League title and Birmingham are desperate to shake off the reputation as a yo-yo team and secure their place amongst the elite 20 teams in England. As we approach the New Year, both sides are firmly on course to achieve their goal, with Chelsea four points clear at the top of the table. To get three points at St Andrews on Boxing Day, they…

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Club Focus – Birmingham – Defensive football drives Blues forward

Sunday’s away fixture to Everton proved two things about Birmingham – firstly, they are learning the much needed art of getting results out of poor performances, and secondly, they should be taken seriously by the Premier League elite. Goodison Park is not an easy ground to play at, as Birmingham found out. Their previously solid defence was penetrated many times by Everton and to only concede one goal was a success in itself. Truthfully, City probably shouldn’t have got anything out of the game but the fact that they did…

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A Different Week – Parallel universe for O’Neill and McLeish

It seems strange to remember that both Martin O’Neill and Alex McLeish were plying their trade across the border past Hadrian’s Wall just a few short years ago. Their rivalry perpetuated a super-two showdown between Celtic and Rangers, but today both face a different kind of challenge. For O’Neill, his job is not too dissimilar to his time at the white and green playground. Expectation and pressure have been poured on Villa’s managerial hot-seat as both money and support were thrown at the club in the summer of 2007, not…

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Club Focus – Birmingham City – Keeping it real

Ever since club president Carson Yeung and his team took control of the Birmingham, the Midlands outfit have seen their fortunes dramatically change. Since their defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates, Yeung has seen his team go seven games unbeaten, winning five of those. This statistic makes Birmingham the form club of the league in the last six games, something many fans would not have predicted after seeing the Blues pick up just seven points in their first nine games. One of the biggest problems that Birmingham manager Alex McLeish…

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