Blast From The Past : Stephen Clemence

Posted on October 22, 2006 
Filed Under Blast From The Past

I started this blog a year ago next month. Over the past twelve months I’ve posted well over 1,000 articles, bits and pieces here. The 19th posting ever on this blog surrounded Stephen Clemence. I’ve always remembered that article since the image that was included was my first ever crack at a Photoshop job!

Since Clem was a bit of a hero yesterday I figured it might be nice to re-post the article – complete with image – since it was lost on the blog during the great Rackslash server crash of ‘06. I found it on the Google cache today.

I know that when I sit down to watch the game tonight I’ll see a streak of formerly bright ginger hair lining up in the middle of the park wearing the shirt of my beloved club. When Nicky Butt signed I was over the moon with the arrangement. It hadn’t worked out for him at Newcastle for one reason or another but hopefully another move of club could galvanize the talent and desire left inside of him and push him on to become the player he had been at Manchester United.

If it had worked out like that we’d have had a great player on our hands for the price of £2m. What a masterstroke it would’ve been by Brucey. As it stands it’s been the biggest mistake of the season. Mainly because we’ve had to keep him for the year and therefore it stopped us bringing in our now famous super-loanee during the January window. But as usual, hindsight is a wonderful thing and now most of us are counting the hours down until his departure and us bringing in someone new during the summer.

But whilst we all sit in the Tilton, the Kop and the pubs around Birmingham debating on how passionless and talentless the player has been, there’s another man who we should be thinking about. A player who has epitomized everything that we’ve been about since we were promoted. Whilst Bruce has tried to mould a side that plays a more expansive game Clem has sat in the reserves, bided his time and waited for another chance to show what he can do.

Stephen Clemence

He hasn’t moaned, he hasn’t bitched and he certainly hasn’t been in the papers saying how unfair life is. You could never accuse Clemence of being the type of player to be happy picking up his wages either. He moved to Blues due to a lack of first team action back in the opening January transfer window of our Premiership lives in 2003. Along with battle hardened performers like Savage, Grainger, Purse and errr… Stern John… they side battled and battled and stayed up thanks to a touch of class provided by Bryan Hughes and Christophe Dugarry.

But since Savage left, Clemence has sort of drifted away. A victim of what happens when a side moves away from its natural roots, finding his way back into the engine room has been a problem. Today I should be writing an article about how he has never let the club down, always gives 100%, never has a bad game and is going to be a stabilizing influence over the remaining three or four months of the season.

But instead I find myself talking about how Clemence rarely knows what it is like to feel the wooden splinters up the crack of his arse from warming the bench. Instead of being that bit of stability and the epitome of nothing special but gets the job done, he’s the forgotten man replaced by a once formerly great England international and treble winner with Manchester United.

I’m praying for a Clemence return in tonight’s game against Reading. I won’t hold my breath because for some bizarre reason the manager of our club fails to see what the rest of us see week in and week out. I could understand Bruce sticking with Butt if he had showed signs of becoming the player of old but as the weeks go by, the performances get worse. And the worse news of all? Butt has said he’d like a permanent move here in the summer. Is that because he’s automatic choice no matter how bad he plays?

I don’t know the answer but one thing I do know is that the smart ones amongst the Blues faithful know that players like Clemence are just as important at a club as the stars that are guaranteed a starting berth should they prove fitness. All together now:

“One Stephen Clemence, there’s only one Stephen Clemence…”

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You have arrived at the archive site of the Birmingham City blog Joys & Sorrows. If you were looking for fresh, meaty stuff then this way, please.

This section of the site covers the blog portion of J&S from 26th April 2006 - when the site returned after a catastrophic hosting failure causing the loss of over 500 articles - to 28th April 2008 - when I decided to have a prolonged rest from the site.

Here, if it so takes your fancy, you can find every single article, totalling over 1,000, written by myself and many others over that two year period.

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I decided to archive them in this way because I wanted to start something fresh for the main part of the site. Hopefully you'll be able to see that up on the main portion of the site now.

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- Aff, 03/08/08.