So, tomorrow is Good Friday and every football fan outside of the premier league is treated to a bumper weekend of football. Traditionally, I remember this as a time of really decent Birmingham results. Whether these are rose tinted glasses, poor memories or simply dreams that make me feel nostalgic this way, I enjoy Easter weekend football with the Blues.
What will this weekend bring the Blues faithful?
Rotherham away tomorrow. The truly amazing away support has sold out again for the trip to the New York stadium and on the face of it anything less than a win will do.
But is that really the least we should want? Lose or draw the game and it piles a bucket load more pressure onto Zola, his coaching staff and the Board. Those two outcomes are simply not acceptable in our current circumstance.
Not to win against a team that has lost 15 of their last 16 games and have a goal difference of -58 in league will show how far behind we are to where we need to be. It will show that there is something not right in the set-up. Whether it’s a training issue, formation issue, selection issue or strategy issue (or a combination of these issues) only time and result post-mortem will tell.
But I will go a step beyond that. if Zola wants to prove he’s the right man for the job at St Andrews and he wants to lay down a marker for what we can really achieve then nothing less than utterly hammering Rotherham will do. Tear them apart, score a bucket load of goals and set your stall out. winning unconvincing will hold the wolves at the door, but it will keep them close. Smashing Rotherham will get them to back off further.
The only problem with that – Birmingham always gift wins to teams that can’t otherwise buy them.
I considered entering a prediction – the only difficulty I have with that is how conflicted I feel about the club at the moment. Rose tinted, Easter football loving me would say 3-1 Blues. The last 22 games, fed up with Board and manager me says 1-0 Rotherham (with either a really earl goal or last minute winner). The crap result will be followed by post-match comments including “we were really unlucky”; “we’re working really hard”; “the team are committed”; “it kills my brain”; “we deserved more from that match”; “we put in a good performance”. Much worse than that though will be if we win – the blitz of social media output from both the Blues Comms team and Panos revelling in beating a team considered the whipping boys of the league will be intolerable. And I cannot believe I am bemoaning a win in such a way.
Next up on the Bank Holiday Monday is Burton Albion at St Andrews.
I genuinely have no idea how this one will go. Burton’s home form is reasonable, their away form isn’t; they’re fighting for relegation and scrapping for all their worth; they’re actually an efficient footballing side.
There are loads of pointers either way for this one. I think the attitude for this game will need to be entirely different from Friday’s attempted assassination of Rotherham. I firmly believe we should aim to be solid, be compact and hit them when they’re exposed. If we chase the game we will get picked off. Burton need the points too, so they will be coming down the A38 looking to get a result and we need to recognise that. If that results in an uninspiring bore-draw then I think I’ll be OK with that – especially if it follows on from a cricket score this Friday, what we cannot do is lose points to teams around us.
I just think that neither team are capable of keeping a clean sheet, if I were to predict a result, it would be 1-1.
Does anyone have the confidence that Zola will be able to achieve at least 1 win over this weekend? I would say 4 points is the minimum return from this weekend we should expect, do I believe Zola can get 4 points in 2 games? No, no I don’t.
Do I think we will survive? Yes, I think we will (just), but not because Zola has guided us to safety, it will be because Blackburn will not be good enough to overtake us – which is kind of safety by default.
To all those going to the games over this weekend – offer your continued, amazing and partisan support to each and every one of the 11 men in royal blue, you are THE best thing about this football club of ours.