Monday, 31 March 2014

Our trip to St Andrews - 'a small town in Villa!'

St Andrews' Reception.
The Birmingham City match was one of the away matches that we had planned to go to from looking at the fixtures as soon as they came out. It's was one of those big grounds that I hadn't been to and from Redhill in Surrey it is quite easy to get to. While I was expecting to drive, a last minute good deed by my wife to baby sit for another family meant that we were left with the train option. Not a bad way to travel I thought as I could write up the match report on the journey back rather than having to drive. 
Stephen and Robert are on their way!
So off we set at 10am to catch a train up to Victoria station and then a fast Virgin train from Euston to Waterloo. As usual it was standing room only on the first train but reserved seats would be great for the bigger journey from London to Birmingham New Street. There were no journey problems apart from having to decipher which of the 20 tickets I had needed to be shown to the guards, as none of them would work on the underground barriers!

I suppose dad can tag along.
Pick up a fast train at Euston.
Dad is keen to show everyone his AFCB away shirt.
So we were in Birmingham by 1pm and headed for the Bull Ring and the food halls. Then it was off to the game and working out how to get there was made easier by knowing that Moor Street station was on the way. Before long we picked up a few Birmingham supporters heading the same way and started chatting about Zigic's lack of goals and comparing his performances to our biggest signing Tokelo Rantie, who is also having a tough time in front of goal. I did ask if the lads would not get too upset if they lost today, but they seemed confident that Birmingham would do the double over Bournemouth, after their good win at Millwall. Perhaps they did not know what was about to hit their team - a bit more than a seaside storm!

Robert holds back the bull in front of Birmingham's Bull Ring shopping centre.
While Robert and Stephen marvelled at the strange looking Selfridge building in town and mirrored passage ways in the city centre, we were soon at the gates to St Andrews. We headed to the main reception and gawped in the windows before spying the club shop up the hill. "It's tiny," said Robert. Yes, I think AFCB supporters have come to many away games and can see that we have one of the best club shops around now.  
Bournemouth coaches - we guess the away entrance must be here. Stephen leads the way.
After a bit of confusion we found our way to where the away supporters gathered at the Gil Merrick entrance and after a quick body search we were in St Andrews. The stadium looked very tidy indeed with three big two tier stands and the smaller, older Main stand to our left. It was not long before our fans were singing "Your ground too big for you, your ground too big for you!" That was quickly followed by my favourite: "You're just a small town in Villa, small town in Villa, you're just a small town in Villa!" It was all in good humour.

Everything is very blue!

The big score board - excellent.
Banter launched we enjoyed watching the Birmingham mascots and Armed forces charity mascot warm up on the side lines. We then had AFCB coming out to our right to warm up while Birmingham's team appeared from the left corner. The ground slowly filled up and after taking lots of snaps the game kicked off. As you can guess we were buzzing from the start as soon as Ritchie put us one-nil up. The speed of the attack and the bewilderment on Lee Clark and Birmingham players' faces was a joy to behold. We could tell from very early on that this was likely to be three points in the bag because the football Bournemouth were playing would not have looked out of place in the Premier League, and that is no disrespect to Birmingham because they were giving it their best, even if their supporters didn't always think so. Three-nil at half time was not lucky. AFCB were totally in charge. 

While the second half showed our supporters that there is still more work to be done with Birmingham getting a reaction and a Mecheda double restoring a little pride for the Blues, it had been a great performance and another three points on the road towards what is becoming an impressive total. While some Bournemouth fans shouted to Lee Clark that he was "getting sacked in the morning", I don't ever like to hear that. I think the spirit his Birmingham side in the second half was excellent and proved that they are still fully behind their manager. They simply met a better team that is playing some inspired football at the moment. I enjoyed talking to Birmingham fans and if AFCB don't go up it will be good to go back there next season, so I wish Lee Clark and his players the best for the remaining games.
The mascot's are out.
A difficult job getting the home crowd going.
This is about as close as the mascot's dare come to the away fans.
All the chat leaving the ground was whether AFCB could be in the shake up for the play-offs having seen the points close to Reading to just five. In a way I didn't even want to think about it so as not to jinx the club's progress. But it's hard not to want the team to just keep playing in this kind of form and if that makes them one of the best six teams in the division then they will have earned their place there. Whatever the outcome, watching AFCB on the road is as good as ever at the moment and the singing is tremendous. Can't wait for the next one. UTCIAD!

Match Highlights

Eddie Howe leads his team off after giving us another great away day. Thanks lads!


  1. Quick question, "small town in Villa" means what exactly? Where in the world is the place called Villa?

    1. Don't take it so seriously. It's just a bit of banter to get the attention of some of you Blues fans. We were treated really well by the Birmingham fans and really enjoyed our time at St Andrews. Good luck in your remaining fixtures this season!

  2. Even if you guys do not get promoted, sadly that does not mean you will play us next season, we may be plying our trade in league 1 :(
    Good luck for the rest of the season !!!

  3. It's Aston Villa. Aston being the place name not Villa. Morons.

  4. Backward. We carry the city's name. And don't associate us with that scum. SOTV.

  5. You embarrass the City of Birmingham, Small Heath, Small time.

    1. Touched a raw nerve with the vile. Go back to Oxford, Warwick or the Black Country. We go back home to Birmingham. Take note.

    2. Most Brummies support Villa. In 140 years of watching football in this great city, your attendances have always been smaller than Villas. Hurts to be the small team of the city doesn't it. SOTC

  6. I think we all know the place names but Villa sounded much better than Aston in the chant :-)

  7. Just reporting on the chants that were sung - perhaps you did not hear the AFCB fans? Anyway I think the Birmingham fans were good to stick with their team and it was a good comeback.

  8. You won't be back next season, relegation is nailed on for us !

  9. You need to beat Doncaster and your team has enough quality to do that. After that you probably need two more wins but 7 more points could be enough. Looks like Barnsley are your biggest threat, but Birmingham have a much better goal difference and 5 more points at present. It would be a shock for you not to stay up.

  10. don't forget Charlton have 3 games in hand altho they cant buy a win at the moment

  11. Nice to see a report from an away fan saying good things about Blues fans and the team, that doesn't happen very often. All the best for rest of the season and hope you make the play off

  12. "You need to beat Doncaster and your team has enough quality to do that. After that you probably need two more wins but 7 more points could be enough."

    Major flaws in that, we are not better than Doncaster, we won't beat them, 7 points is to many for us - if we stay up it will be on the failings of others not on us being better.

    Enjoy the rest of the Championship. Onwards and downwards for us. Burton next season here we come !

  13. I think Charlton may go straight past you I'm afraid leaving Barnsley, Yeovil and Millwall in pursuit of Birmingham.