1 Leg On The Cup: Reply Time!
Tony and Johnny update us with their latest blog. This time we catch up on the Birmingham v Chelsea tie…
Replay day and i’ve got everything sorted so we’re good to go! Birmingham City have very kindly offered us comp. tickets with access to the press lounge after the game but only if there’s enough room as the worlds Real media will be there just in case it’s AVB’s last game! Well they jumped a bit too soon for that so we were confident of getting in for the post match interviews. We’re booked in at the Travelodge close to the Bullring just in case it’s a late one with extra time & penalties and we won’t have too far to go to find a beer or 2.
Back on the tarmac for this trip & we set off from Manchester about 3 o’clock for the 2 hour journey. The only problem with staying at Travelodge hotels is they’re a bit basic & i need about 4 or 5 cups of coffee to get me going in a morning so the first port of call is a shop for a jar of the good stuff & milk, but being colour blind i bought the wrong milk!
A fairly uneventful trip apart from a quite heated debate about pies! Is a Shepherd’s pie an actual pie? There’s no pastry anywhere, it’s just meat in a dish with a mash potato top so i’m saying it isn’t & i’m writing this so i’m right! lol lol.
We headed for the Highland Inn in Solihull to meet Dave the landlord we had met at Chelsea, the sat-nav was once again having me at it & the big fella insisted it was my fault that we missed the junction putting another 25 minutes on the journey! “i should of hit your snooze button when you bought the wrong milk!” he told me as he moved the sat-nav, that was now working perfectly, out of my reach! And we walked into the Highland around 5.40!
We couldn’t stay long as we had to get over to the Bullring & book into the flop then get over to St. Andrews before half 7 and Dave told us that the local traffic would be bad when Birmingham were at home, so just a couple of quick pints and a dodgy photo & we were back in the car. Once we had found the hotel & dropped the car we then had to find a cab to get us over to the ground & time was running out! We had hoped to meet a few Chelsea fans we had picked up on twitter since the game at the Bridge but they were already on their way to the ground so we went straight to the press gate.
No room at the inn! We were told by Rachel, who had sorted things out for us over the past couple of weeks, once AVB had been sacked even more press wanted to be at this game for a chat with Bob di Matteo! But she did sort tickets out for us with a great view of the game & next to the travelling fans so we would get the full effect of the atmosphere, we were even under one of those giant shirts that seem to float across the people at stadiums when you see them on TV! I just had time to whip my camera out before it covered me.
City in their blue home kit & Chelsea all in white for this one and there has to be a winner on the night. I’m not going to bore you with a full-on match report as i’m sure you will have seen it on TV and to be honest it’s far from the best game we’ve seen on tour this season! The first half seen Birmingham started brightly but with no end product where as Chelsea seemed fully in control when they had the ball but without ideas or imagination as to what to do with it, me & the big fella were already wanting a penalty shootout! The fans on the other hand were great, it’s amazing how the same tunes are used up & down the country with just different words added but it was strange that a game between Birmingham & Chelsea seen the home fans singing about shitting on the Villa and the away support singing ‘stand up if you hate Tottenham’ lol.
Half time 0-0. & it couldn’t come quick enough! The Rhino went off to get the half time fayre reviewed in our pie-ometer section and Birmingham, gawd bless em, have got somewhere you can go for a smoke! so fully refreshed i ask the big fella if he thinks the game would get better in the 2nd half? “no idea” he tells me, “i’ve been watchin Arsenal on my phone for the last hour, they’re 3-0 up!”
We’re off again, the second half gets underway with no changes from either side, Chelsea looking a little better in the opening 5 minutes creating a couple of half chances and on 55 mins take the lead when Juan Mata slotted the ball home after a blocked shot from Kalou fell kindly for the Spaniard inside the box. 5 minutes later Chelsea doubled their lead when Meireles smashed the ball home from just outside the area. 0-2. City’s heads dropped a little after the 2nd goal and when Torres was brought down in the box the home fans feared the worse. Chelsea fans chanted Torres’ name wanting the out of luck striker to take the spot kick & ironically the Brummies were chanting for him to take it as well lol lol although the inevitable “what a waste of money” quickly followed.
Juan Mata stepped up to take the spot kick, Colin Doyle had saved an effort from Mata back at the Bridge so this time the Spaniard opted for the opposite side, Doyle once again thwarted the Chelsea man & once again a got a little video of it, the Chelsea fans remained, as they had been all night, in full voice and as well as songs about not wanting Rafa Benítez as their next manager & the return of Mourinho being a better option, they got their own back on the Brummie fans with what we thought was the best song of the night, with the clock running down the Brummies were heading for the exits in their droves to the sound of Is there a fire drill? lol Brilliant! Birmingham did seem a bit inspired by the Pen save but the Chelsea defence stayed strong and stopped any chance of a comeback. FT 0-2.
We walked, yes walked! For about 20 minutes after coming out of the ground in search of a pub called the Adam & Eve, people were pointing us in the general direction and we just followed the crowds. We come across a pub called the Clements Arms and decided to give up walking & go for a beer! Not as easy as we thought though as non of the pumps on the bar we’re working, it was cans only and a pint can of Carling was £2 so not too bad i suppose? Lots of City memorabilia plastered all over the place reminding fans of good times in the past including the recent Carling cup win over Arsenal who tonight, had narrowly missed out in the champions league after not improving on their 3-0 half time lead.
After letting the crowds die down we hopped a cab into town to finish the night off in a pub closer to the hotel & of course the compulsory Kebab that i usually end up waking up with part of it stuck to my face! A fairly uneventful end to the night in the Theatre Bar in Birmingham’s city centre as the place was full of a touring Welsh opera crew all speaking in some sort of alien language but then again this just capped off probably the most boring trip of our journey so far! So with our train & match tickets already booked for the Bridge on Mother’s Day, we’ll be in that London all day & we’re meeting up with a few of the boys from the Chelsea Fancast, probably the longest weekly podcast there is but if you’re Chelsea through & through then this is the site for you. So hopefully we’ll have a good day out with these guys and i’ll have lots of nonsense to blog about!