After winning and coming 2nd in the Joys and Sorrows prediction league, I guess it wasn’t a COMPLETE surprise that I won the EZ Group’s competition predicting Blues’ results of the season just completed.
I did get 1 result bang on, and several close – I actually won by 5 points, a lead that I MAY have extended if I had entered every week! A thank you goes out to Hootie for facilitating the competition.
I actually came fourth, having come fifth originally and finding out Kev had two entries in the top two! So I was a shoe-in for a runners up prize….I claim italics as my font of choice….Russ.
So I found myself with two tickets for PA13. I was very excited, as I had never been to anything like this before. The timing was perfect. On the previous Thursday I stood in the Devon County Council elections as a candidate. I had spent weeks canvassing and a social was an ideal way to celebrate, (or commiserate), post election.
I invited Russ to join me and he very kindly put me up over night. Russ and I thought it may be nice to write a joint article, so here we are.
Indeed. And congratulations on the election win!
Sunday was a lovely day, and the journey up was great besides the last bit where a BMW had gone into the central reservation just past the Dudley turn off. After getting changed, Russ drove us to the ICC for the reception.
Just thought I should point out that Kev got changed too, he scrubbed up well after his Devon driving dash.
We were greeted by a free drink, bagpipes, a ballskills exhibition and loads of people milling around, newspaper journalists, fan groups, the art directors, Eze Group officials, and I guess friends and family of the players and management team who were due to be in attendance. There was a huge screen showing highlights of last season and there was a real excitement in the air. There was a back drop board for photo opportunities, and of course we took it!
The seating plan was properly done and I even got a mention!
I’m hoping they print a full apology for the lack of my name, but I shan’t take up my solicitor’s advice of suing for reclamation of the ticket price. Ahem…
We entered a glitzy room, resplendent in huge Blues logo awnings and crystal-ball style table decorations…
The awards were presented through the evening and were facilitated by Tom Ross. Tom was very good, and was helped by a number of special guests.
The award from the Junior Blues went to Paul Robinson. He was delighted, and thanked the junior Blues of Nathan, Callum and Mitch! He did thank the supporters and finished his speech asking the gaffer for a new 2 year deal! His prayers seem to have been answered. Maybe Lee was listening from his table!?
The meal was superb. There were 4 courses, although how you count coffee as a course I’m not sure. Russ and I missed that course too, as we were too busy meeting the players! (More of that to follow!)
While we ate, there was entertainment. This was by Paul Pashley. He was very good too, a classy singer.
Russ and I spent a lot of the evening meeting and talking to players and staff. Here are a few of the photos:
One award was for the club from Georgina Moseley, Harry Moseley’s mum. She thanked the club for their support of the Helping Harry Help Others project. This was particularly moving, especially Harry’s blog video. Kev spoke to Georgina, and we are hoping to do a feature on this shortly. Watch this space!
There was also a charity auction, there were a number of shirts up for grabs that the players wore in the Helping Harry Help Others sponsored game. The bidding was interesting. Tom struggled to keep up with things as people bid from around the room. When we got to the final shirt, that of Curtis Davies, after a number of bids from the floor, Davies himself started bidding. It looked like he was going to win his own shirt, until Zigic joined in. After a number of bids, it was agreed they would both pay £1500 and have a shirt each! The other two shirts (one was Jack Butland’s) went for about £300.
We also met Mike Wiseman and Kev had a good chat with him. I managed to get a snap of the moment Mr Wiseman congratulated Kev on his election victory… 🙂
Yes, I have met Mr Wiseman before at the fans forums. He is a TOP man, and always willing to chat with the fans. He was VERY complimentary about the manager. He told me that LC is very thorough and is particularly good with the younger players, spending time with them and bringing them into the squad. The impression I got, is that there is a good feeling in the changing room and they are hopeful of a more successful season next year.
Mr Wiseman’s prayer for grace was a nice touch too.
It was yeah. All round good egg!
There was also ‘free gambling’ available, however we didn’t partake in it! It was a £10 for free here, £20 for free at a Broad Street Casino ‘after the show’. Strangely though, the after-show-party was due to start at 10:30 p.m, but actually we didn’t leave the ICC until 12:30 a.m! Curtis Davies was still there, posing for photos, as ‘curfew’ wasn’t until 1 a.m. (It is called ‘carriages’ apparently, though the only carriage we saw was when Terry McDermott cheerfully waved Kev and I goodbye on his way into a Hackney carriage on Broad Street!)
There were a number of Blues legends there too including Geoff Horsfield, Johnno and Garry Pendrey.
We spoke to many players, and Burke seemed to be the only player actually sure he was still going to be there next season.
We nearly went home with an additional gift! Marlon King was outside as we were leaving and we had a brief chat with him Russ asked which was the best award he’d received. We chatted about that, (I can’t remember what he said!), but he then offered us his Goalscorer of the Year award! He then changed his mind, and went to his phone and we moved away. To be honest, we probably would have given it to Mrs Moseley!
Mr King actually said ‘What’s my position?’ Russ: “Striker” Marlon: “Exactly, so what do you think?” Russ: “Goalscorer of the year, but I meant the best award of your career!” Marlon: “Perhaps Player of the Season at Watford!” He actually said he ‘should probably give this (his award) to my daughter’
We ought to mention that not all the players were there. We didn’t manage to “collar”: Morgaro Gomis, (were ANY loanees there? I don’t think so, so no Caddis, Ferguson, Ravel, etc). We were hoping to speak to Garry Pendrey, well Kev was anyway – but GP seemed to ‘escape’ early. Perhaps he voted for the runner-up in Devon?
Yeah gutted. GP was a hero of mine.
I’m not quite your age yet mate. My first Blues hero was Jack Butland, when I was a toddler. Ahem.
Paul Robinson was entertaining, especially as he had clearly “enjoyed” the hospitality! He managed to break Callum Reilly’s bow tie!
Russ introduced me to Callum. Callum was a pupil at the school Russ teaches at, and had visited recently. When Russ said this is Kev, he owns Joys and Sorrows, Callum said “YOU run Joys and Sorrows? Wow great to meet you!” That made my night! We’re confident of getting an interview with Callum very shortly, as well as a prominent former player. Again, watch this space.
Over all it was a SUPERB evening.
My highlights included a good chat with Lee Clark, who was very friendly and open. Terry McDermott said he was hopeful we could go up next season, with the right backing from the Board. All the players were great, very warm and friendly, and it was fun – being a few inches over six feet myself – getting photographs with ‘giants’ Colin Doyle and Nikola Zigic.
Oh, of course we ought to say – although you probably all know, Curtis was rightfully named as player of the season.
Finally, the event was a real credit to Birmingham City. The club has been criticised in the past for not doing things properly, well not this time. This was top drawer, well organised and well run. Well done Blues!
Did you go? Add any comments below.
Kev and Russ.