Welcome to Ask the Oppo! Perry Groves’ Lovechild is being held by the Tottenham Revolution Army so today Eldo71 talks to Stan Ferris from Dudley, West Midlands, ahead of this afternoon’s match against Birmingham City.
Eldo71: At last, Brum have some real dosh after the Carson Yeung takeover. How has that gone down with Blues fans?
SF: Like a lead balloon to be honest…nah, just jesting! How do you bloody well think it has gone down? It’s a great thing for Blues because as everyone knows we have had the lot before doing as best a job as they can but always reminding us that they were doing such a good job on our behalf and kind of reigning in our hopes and aims a bit really. That sounds selfish but Karren Brady had a way of bringing us down to Earth too often and football fans don’t want reality they want to hope and dream. That’s not knocking Sullivan and Gold but just the way I feel and others that I know. We really feel as if this is a new dawn.
Eldo71: So you’ll eventually have to ditch ‘Keep right on’ the club anthem…because with all that wonga you’ll get there, to the ‘end of the road’, I mean, won’t you?
SF: That song will never, ever go away. We are Birmingham after all. As we know, Yeung has given us £80million for transfers over the next year, with £40million available in January. That is the difference between us struggling, flirting with relegation and either just avoiding the drop — or not. This way, Alex McLeish — or whoever it may be –can bring in six or so quality players and make the difference to our squad and in so doing practically ensure our survival. Then it is all about next season.
Eldo71: Looking at your previous three games you have lost them all…is this down to the players or McLeish’s management?
SF: You’re right, we’re on a roll at the minute…of defeats. In our last three matches we’ve gone down to Burnley, Bolton and Sunderland, hardly the leading lights of the bloody Premier League. Who’s to blame? Got to be a combination, really. I’ve go to say that McLeish ain’t really top level and I wouldn’t be surprised if the new owner realises this sooner than later and he goes.
Eldo71: You might be right. Yeung is very much a hands-on owner and the bookmakers make Alex McLeish 7-1 third favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave his job.
SF: It’ll happen won’t it. People worth this much money don’t get where they are without making the right call. After four defeats in five, would you give a manager £40m to spend? I wouldn’t. New manager within a month if the results continue to be shite.
Eldo71: How will McLeish approach today’s game. Will he be cautious do you feel or come with a cavalier attitude?
SF: What do you bloody think! You can’t go to Arsenal with all guns blazing ‘cos you know what can happen to you. I think he’ll keep it tight at the back and midfield with ’stifle’ being the key word and try to nick something on the break or from free-kicks when we do have possession. I think it’s going to be a long afternoon for Blues fans, though, to be honest.
Eldo71: Are you coming to the game?
SF: Unfortunately, not. I do shift work and was rota’d in for today but I must admit I didn’t make too much fuss about missing the game. I go to all the home games and 50 per cent of the aways.
Eldo71: So which players do we have to look out for today in the Blues side? I saw Seb Larsson’s fabulous free-kick against Burnley, he’s one to watch from dead balls isn’t he?
SF: Technically, he’s brilliant but I can see why you let him go. He’s great on the ball but it’s getting him on it. But yes he is deadly from free-kicks. We’ve got Garry O’Connor up front and he will nick the odd goal but he’s hardly going to tear the Arsenal defence apart. Lee Bowyer’s been busy for us as you would expect and he might ruffle a few feathers and unsettle Arsenal and that’s got to be the way to play them.
Eldo71: Birmingham last won at Arsenal in 1957, the year the Russians launched a dog into space. Can the Blues cut up ruff and beat us today or at least gain a draw?
SF: Is that a joke, by the way? Absolutely awful! If we can stay tight and hold out for a draw it would be brilliant but I just can’t see it, although it hurts me to say it. Still, you never know. I’ll go for 1-1 but will settle for 5-5!
Eldo71: Cheers, and up the Gunners!