Local business man and Bluenose author, Keith Dixon, has written a new book called Blues Insider. This time he has written about his experiences of both following and being involved with the Blues. I caught up with Keith recently and asked him about his book, and his relationship with the club. I hope you find it interesting. You also have the opportunity to win a copy of his book below.
J&S Nice to talk to you Keith. So your new book called Blues Insider is a record of your personal walk with the Blues.
KD Yes very much so, I have supported the Blues since I was 8; so 62 years. I have been in a very fortunate position to be a reasonably successful businessman so rather than just buy a season ticket, I would try and help the club as much as I could. I was MD of Triton showers 92/93 and of course was able to get involved with the club through sponsorship.
J&S I have to confess I didn’t realise you were MD of Triton until I read the book.
KD Yes well that’s the purpose of the book to be honest. It is personal, but it isn’t really about me it is about a fan’s connection with the club and trying to do everything you can to help the club.
J&S It wasn’t just sponsorship though was it?
KD No that’s right, when the Kumars’ business went down I got very involved with the liquidator and of course I did actually try to buy the club and it was a fascinating experience that I thought fans would like to read about. I actually think it is a pretty unique record of events at a particularly difficult time for the club. I am delighted that the liquidator kindly gifted me his diary from that period and I was able to use it within the book and explain my memories around it.
J&S It must have been an interesting time for you! (With a smile on my face!)
KD Yes it was. When I tried to buy the club, I had the concept of trying to replicate Walsall and move the club to a new ground at Damson Lane. Thank goodness I never got that deal to be honest! However, I stayed connected with the club through sponsorship with the Golds, and David Sullivan and Karen. I wanted to let the fans know how that process worked.
J&S Actually that WAS a really interesting read!
KD Ha ha thanks, well I have included evidence of the time such as the fax that Karen sent with the offer.
J&S From a fan’s perspective I remember at the time things seemed a little cloak and dagger and not exactly straight forward.
KD Yes you will see how both sides positioned themselves in different ways to get a deal done. Whatever you read in the press, there is always a spin to it. There may be important parts missed out, or parts added that shouldn’t be and I wanted to explain EXACTLY what happened. It is websites like yours and other blogs that can be trusted far more because you want to tell the truth. There has been so much nonsense spoken about this and I wanted fans to see what happened. This is my last book, (well according to my wife!), and I wanted to explain things.
J&S I was interested that you have offered your services to the present board as a non executive director.
KD Yes that’s right. Panos turned me down.
J&S I would have thought that offer would be beneficial to the club as someone who understands the club both as a fan and from a business perspective. I think it would help the existing owners to connect with the fans. For all his faults, Carson’s decision to employ people who knew the English game was a good one. He also tried very hard to connect with the fans.
KD I think so too. In truth I think because I had tried to buy the Blues I think they saw it as a possible conflict. Having said that, my offer remains open. I will say that in my opinion I don’t think any of them truly intended to harm the club. Even with the appointment of Zola. Although that was the lowest point with the club from my perspective. It was a poor decision to employ him with the CV he had. Thank goodness for Harry, which was a brilliant appointment!
J&S Keith what was your highlight following Blues?
KD Oh that’s easy. Definitely the 2011 cup final win. If we ever showed the world that we really are a sleeping giant, that was it. We outsung Arsenal and the team fought to the victory. I have to say, if I can have a second highlight, it was becoming friends with Gil Merrick. The privilege of being able to sit with Mr Birmingham City was amazing. That was a great thrill. Of course I was able to write his book too which enabled him to get back into the club and get the stand named after him, which was great.
J&S What about the low point?
KD There are so many to choose from! Actually I do know, and it confirmed I would be a Bluenose for the rest of my life, it has to be the ’56 cup final. We were firm favourites. I remember going out on my roller skates at half time with the score 1-1 knowing we would lose. My mom called me back in and I watched us fall apart. It was awful.
J&S What prompted you to be an author? You must have been busy?
KD I used to get really cheesed off when I went to WH Smith’s and saw all these books on the other lot from Witton way, so I decided I’d reverse the trend! Also my wife says that the Blues are the number one love in my life, but it is her and the family. Blues are a pretty close second mind! You’re right I was busy, but I don’t play golf or anything so I thought why not write a book? It started as a hobby.
J&S What was your first book and was it a battle?
KD My first book with a publisher was Gil Merrick’s biography. I had self published a book before that. I got an opportunity with this one when the publisher had another book fall down and I managed to convince him to publish a biography on Gil. I had to convince Gil too though! His autobiography was done before he had played for England or of course been Blues manager, so I was able to convince him fans would want to know about that too. When it is a subject that you are passionate about, it comes out ok.
J&S What are you doing now?
KD I am a non exec chairman of a number of companies. I help them with their corporate governance, board meetings and strategy. They are a varied bunch. I enjoy it. I would like to do that for the Blues to be honest.
J&S Are you still involved with Blues Legends?
KD The answer is yes. Well what I’ve done is I do it through the Blues Former Players Association. I used to be sort of in competition with them, and that made no sense so I help them now.
J&S So what about the future?
KD Well I will carry on watching the Blues. From the low point of Zola, I have completely swung the other way – typical Bluenose eh? I have renewed my season ticket and can’t wait for it to start. I’m constantly hoping we’ll sign someone. I really hope that Harry can get some good players in.
J&S If Harry can’t, no one can! Keith thank you so much for your time it is appreciated. I really enjoyed the book and I think the fans will find it fascinating.
KD Thanks Kev, I have enjoyed chatting to you.
J&S It’s been a pleasure.
So if you would like to win a copy of Keith’s new book, please answer the following question.
What was Keith’s first published book called?
Send your answer through the contact page please make sure you choose competition option on the contact page.
The competition will be active for a week. The draw from those who submit correct answers will be made on the 19th and winner notified the same day.