There’s A Birthday In Small Heath – By SkyDaz

Dawn breaks on the boulevard of broken dreams known locally as St Andrews. All around the world children are excitedly clambering out of their warm beds and chattering like Birds of Paradise in the mating season. Exhausted parents desperately try to claim a few more minutes of peace before the chaos of the fresh new day destroys the calm.

In a nearby terraced house a young boy wearing Birmingham City pyjamas is rubbing his eyes and trying to ascertain the time on his Birmingham City clock. He has been waiting twelve months for this moment and throws back his Birmingham City quilt, reaches under his bed for his Birmingham City slippers and religiously touches his Birmingham City team photo on the wall. All sponsored by Floors-To-Go.

The front room is closed shut because it contains the presents that have his name on them. His mother and father are already awake and are waiting patiently for their son to join them.

“Good morning Trevor.”

“Morning dad, morning mum.”

The father calls the boy over.

“Son, it is time.”

The mother nods.

“You are of an age now to fully understand what it is to be a Birmingham City supporter. You have demonstrated your commitment to the cause by attending home matches and booing players when their names are read out and you have faithfully travelled with the ATC to many grounds. Next door houses the perfect gifts, essential for all Blues fans.”

“Auntie Joan’s?”

“No. Not that next door, I mean the other room.”

The father stands and solemnly leads the boy to the front room. The anticipation is sending the boy into raptures. He has wondered for weeks as to what his ‘big present’ could possibly be.

Dramatically the father slowly opens the door to build the tension as the boy tries to look round him at the contents. He is greeted with a surprise for sure. There standing proud is what can only be described as a bus stop sign and a large brown box. The boy looks up at his father with a questioning look and holds his tongue as he sees tears welling up in his father’s eyes.

“Can I open them?” he stammered.

“Of course, go for it.”

The boy ran first to the brown box. He ripped off the sellotape and pulled out a large grey metallic box with a large red button in the middle of it and a light in the corner. Confused he turned the box over and over but there was nothing else. He then ran to the bus stop which had not been wrapped due to its size. There was a light on the top of it.

“Do you like them?”

“I think so, what are they?” he didn’t want to appear ungrateful but he didn’t understand.

“There is a sticker for the grey box. Put it underneath the button.”

In the brown box there was indeed a sticker and it read ‘Panic Button’. He stuck it on the grey box.

“There is also a sticker for the sign.”

Attached to the pole there was indeed another sticker and it read ‘Bandwagon’. His father lifted him up and together they stuck it onto the bus stop.

“I still don’t understand father.”

“It’s simple really my son. You are a Birmingham City fan and for as long as you live one of the lights must always be lit. That will denote your position regarding the club. You can never ever be in the middle. When we win you will light the bus stop and when we lose you can press the red button. Every Birmingham City fan has these items in their home in various guises and although some will deny their existence in truth they are out there. Sometimes you will spend weeks with one lit before having to light the other one. No matter what happens though remember you are always only one goal away from switching the lights over. In conversations you will always be a representative of one of the lights and as long as you keep one of them glowing you will always be a true Birmingham City supporter.”

“I think I understand father but I would like to spend more time with the bus stop than the red button.”

“We all would son but if that was the case you would be a Chelsea fan. Do you want to be a Chelsea fan?”

“No father, I love the Blues.”

The mother and father looked at each other and smiled.

“Good for you son but we must warn you that the red button will play a huge part in your life as a football fan and there is nothing wrong with switching the lights round on a weekly basis.”

The small boy looked from parent to parent. In that moment he knew that he was the most loved boy in the world. And what was more he was now a man. His other presents were irrelevant. He never bothered watching the dvd of ‘Zulu’, nor did he ever read Simon Jordan’s autobiography ‘How to be successful despite a terrible haircut’ or play the special game version of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ sponsored by Robbie Savage and Matthew Upson.

Some things transcend monetary value. Being a true fan is one of them. Keep right on.

Bruce, The Forss & David Dunn – By SkyDaz

Joys & Sorrows columnist Kym Smith has swindled columnist for every other Blues publication in the world and former Blues PA-guy SkyDaz into writing for Joys & Sorrows. I’m not sure how often Daz will get time to post something but as I’m sure most of you know, he’s always got something interesting to say.

Should he stay or should he go? As Joe Strummer almost asked. The Bruce Out camp claim to have overwhelming support, but then again so do the Bruce In camp. The Bruce In camp is led by Capital Gold’s Tom Ross and the Bruce Out camp is led by a horde of season ticket holders without access to public broadcasting. It’s a bit of an unfair fight.

Personally I have seen that many managers in the years that I have been following the Blues that I have given up caring whether they sack him or not. In the past we have fired managers who have done ok and kept those who have been useless. There’s not much rhyme or reason to the timing connected to dismissing the gaffer. Seriously if you were going to sack the manager it should have been at the end of the season so that the new person would have time to sort out who he wanted to keep and who he wanted to get rid of, eh West Brom?

There is much to gain and much to lose from getting rid of Bruce now. A new manager usually arrives with fresh impetus and ideas, eh Villa? However surely after all this time no one knows our players as well as Bruce does?

We have the collection of individual talent to romp this division but they do not gel as a team. Due to a lack of cohesion the opposition stroll into gaps and holes and render any good work as impotent. The players feel the frustration of the glaring dearth of team play and this is reflected in the dismissals. Birmingham City players are frustrated. Forssell wants to move. Why would a player who has no form and nothing current to stick on his CV feel he would be better off by moving?

If Forssell had scored twenty goals last season and four or five this season and then found himself on the bench for a few games he could rightly believe that he deserved his starting berth and demand a move away. However looking overweight, slow, disinterested and a pale shadow of his former self it makes you wonder who he is going to convince to sign him. And this is the crux of it. I guess most managers in the Premiership would snap him up given half a chance. Why? Because they know given half a chance Forssell would score!

The simple truth is that Forssell is struggling to get into a struggling team. I don’t wish to imply that the team are languishing in the league, I want to make it clear that as a team they are simply poor to watch, a little dull, one dimensional and as attractive as John Prescott in a thong.

Whilst all of us fans would give up a night of passion with Angelina Jolie to play for the Blues (wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t?) it looks like a lot of the team can’t be that bothered. I guess for their money and lifestyle that enthusiasm drifts off after a bit especially playing in a team that can’t string two passes together. As a footballer it must get demoralising.

The same can be said for David Dunn. Why would any Premiership club consider bidding for Dunn? What do they believe they can get out of him that we can’t? What would your scouting report on Dunn and Forssell say? Don’t misunderstand, in their prime I would have crawled over broken glass to watch them parade their wares but at the moment I wouldn’t watch them if they were in my back garden. So why are they considering leaving and why are clubs trying to buy them? I don’t get it. How, as a manager, do you sell them to your board? Blues fans would feel, quite rightly, that both players owed us an oath of allegiance but unfortunately loyalty is a one way street these days.

I feel desperately sorry for the injuries suffered by both lads but how much time do you give them to recover? In case no one noticed we got relegated waiting for them both to get fit! I have been fortunate to meet both Dunn and Forssell and they are two of the nicest players, they always have time for fans and interviews, but I want them fit, on the pitch and repaying the wages they have barely earned over the last few years. Shoot us back to the Premier League and then go with our blessing, I am sure all the Blues fans will applaud you both if you ever return to St Andrews. Just don’t go until you have paid your debt. Thanks.

So can Bruce survive? I should think so, my opinion could well be the death of him. ‘Bloody hell Sully even SkyDaz thinks Bruce can survive, best get rid’.

Wins over Luton and Norwich and he will win manager of the month and everyone will say they never wanted him to leave anyway. Defeats will be accompanied by ‘Luton is a tough place to go’, ‘Norwich were always going to bounce back after getting rid of Worthy’ and ‘give me to the end of December and judge me then’.

December will drift into February and then into May. I have always said that a manager should be judged on the whole campaign rather than a piece of it. Hence the reason I am surprised that last May Bruce neither resigned nor got sacked. Having not executed either action I am prepared to bow to Sully’s better judgement, he can certainly point to having earned more money than me as an example of his business prowess. I offer to take some of his hard earned cash if he is looking to dispose of some in a charitable donation.

Over to you then Mr Bruce. You’ve kept the gig, you’ve got some new players, spent a lot of cash, got some rousing classical rubbish and a stay of execution. Use your time wisely for the Grim Reaper is on the Tilton, Block 13 row 66 seat 6 and he has a P45 with your name on it.

Good luck, love the St Andrews Faithful.


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.

Unfortunately, the formatting on some of the posts is a little rough but since this is an archive, it doesn't matter too much. Nothing is unreadable although a great deal of the links will now, sadly, be broken. So internal Joys & Sorrows links will lead you to 404 errors.

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.

Commenting for the archive section has obviously been switched off. You can flick around the archives by using the 'Find It' function in the middle column or the respective 'Categories' or 'Archives' headings in the sidebars

- Aff, 03/08/08.