Deploy the fishing rod emoji and brace for impact after points deduction

22 Mar

Poor old Birmingham City (yeah, yeah, yawn – I’’m “obsessed”). With Brentford having caught right up with our Championship rivals, to the extent of being a single point behind them with a game in hand as we head into international break, that gap has suddenly leapt to a whopping 8 in our favour. This after Sky and BBC WM (amongst others) today reported the point deduction awarded to the St. Andrews outfit for breaching profitability and sustainability regulations. It is a sanction meted out as a result of the club losing  £37.5m in the 12 months up until June 2018 after Harry Redknapp had gone shopping the previous summer. That, of course, a spending spree which saw Jota, Maxime Colin and Harlee Dean added to a wage bill that may have been ten times better for the players but has proven anything but for the club. With any punishment for the fan led assault on Jack Grealish in the Aston Villa game still lurking in the wings, who knows if there could be more to follow?

Yeah, yeah. I’m obsessed. Apparently. I love it though and don’t deny focussing on Blues. A lot. If for no other reason than they are a great yardstick as to our own progress. Can a team who plays fair and invests wisely, yet frugally, out play a free spending outfit with Premier League experience and a big stadium? A team who once had their moment in the sun but are now very much in the top flight shadows. See also: Leeds united, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough.  

Having finished above Birmingham for the previous four seasons in the Championship we’re now in serious danger of making that five out of five since promotion from League One. And it is magnificent.

Of course there’s the arrogance of so many fans on social media. Of course there are the cracks about being ‘tinpot’. About ‘little’ ‘teams like Brentford. But they are an irrelevance to me and to most Bees. Bring it on. All day long. We eat that crap for breakfast. It keeps us going. Inspires us. See also: Leeds United, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough. Size counts for nothing. Quite frankly,  the bigger you think you are the harder you fall. As is now being proven. The Twitter tears today are a quite magnificent thing to behold.

Of course there was big mouth Harlee Dean and his infamous ‘ten times better’ quote. As diplomacy goes, it was up there with Martin Rowlands and Russell Slade in the cult hero stupidity stakes (typo). Henry Kissinger, he ain’t. But we more than made our point about that in the two games which followed as Brentford scored 7(seven) without reply to secure another win double for the season. The post match lap of honour and singalong, as Big Bee Radio went rogue, the stuff of legend.

Yet for me the fascination – and it is one – with Birmingham City goes back to the late 80s / early 90s. I’ve written about this before and so apologies in advance but some things bear repeating. Those of us a bit longer in the tooth will be well aware how our paths crossed over and over back in the day.

1990-91 saw us go head-to-head in an epic Leyland DAF Southern zone semi with the Blues. Having already disposed of them in the FA Cup second round, Brentford could have fancied themselves as knock out football favourites. But with Wembley beckoning ,  there are no prizes for working out who eventually won both legs to record a  3-1 aggregate win.

Deano and Bliss

The 91-92 Third Division title race famously saw things go our way in the final game of the season as Huddersfield Town and Gary Blissett ‘did the needful’ at Peterborough. A moment made all the sweeter by Saint & Greavsie having already used their Saturday morning show to congratulate Birmingham on being champions.

Things weren’t so sweet the following season as  Birmingham edged past us in the battle to be named the least bad of our respective sides. Both teams fought a desperate, and in our case doomed, battle against relegation from Division One (now the Championship) with that final game humbling at Bristol City being enough to sink the Bees and save the Blues.

However, the coup de grâce was delivered in 1994-95 where, thanks to the joys of Premiership restructuring, there was only one automatic promotion place to the Championship available. With both teams neck and neck at the top, one game stood out like a sore thumb on the fixture list. For months in advance the trip to St. Andrews, only three games before the denouement of the campaign, was the one we all thought would be the crunch match.

Sure enough, it was. In the pressure cooker atmosphere of a packed stadium, where a win for Brentford would have made it all but mathematically impossible for even us to stuff things up, it was Blues who came out on top with a 2-0 win. To this day, I’ve been unable to watch half-time guest of honour Jasper Carrott. I’d love to blame psychological scarring from that result but, in fact, it’s more just his material. Ahhh, insurance claims.(kids, ask your dads).

Oh well, despite defeat at least we were still in the play-offs…..

And now, bringing things bang up to date, the nine point deduction sees us overtake Birmingham City once more. It is as familiar a tale as Brentford cocking up a play-off campaign. I’m not going to deny a smile upon hearing the news yet equally, I’m now desperate to make sure we finish the campaign ten times better off then them. Points wise. Let’s make sure that we’d have made it five successive finishes above Birmingham on playing ability alone, regardless of any punishment. 

So, yes. I DO focus on Birmingham City. A lot. But it is as much about the history. About showing how far we have evolved. Rising up out of the primordial swamp and leaving the dinosaurs behind us – in more than one case . Shrewd ownership has proven that you don’t need to spend big to spend clever. The current rumours about Saïd Benrahma are proof alone of that.


Just how much is he worth now?

Ultimately, a nine point deduction will make no immediate difference. City won’t go down whilst they were never in any real danger of assaulting the play-offs. Current form alone (LLLL) was conspiring against them. Yet this does, at least, look to mitigate against those trying to buy their way to success without having the resource to do it. Trying to consistently spend beyond their means, whatever the consequence . However fairly the others are doing it. Aka – cheating.

Big spenders, beware. And also owners looking to hire Harry.

Screenshot 2019-03-22 at 13.59.52

Not my words but those of the BBC

Nick Bruzon


6 Responses to “Deploy the fishing rod emoji and brace for impact after points deduction”

  1. Ijaz March 22, 2019 at 6:49 pm #

    It’s easy to blame Harry but the people above him sanctioning all the deals are the ones to blame most. The figures showing losses also include the sackings and payoffs of Gary Rowett, Zola, Harry, Steve Cotterill and their backroom staff. I think it’s about time you stopped being bitter and got over those old memories. As for the gloating over our 9 points deduction that is what I’d call tinpot mentality. If you finish less than 9 points clear of us I would still classify that as us finishing above you. Anyway good luck for the rest of the season. Just happy we can finally function as a normal football club with the embargo lifted. Hopefully we don’t need to do another last day escape.

    • nickbruzon March 22, 2019 at 7:25 pm #

      Its not bitterness – it’s motivation and it’s history. That’s what so much of football is about – using the past to drive you forward. Albeit driving forward in the right manner ! The 90s were fun times – especially when we got it right. There’s nothing finer than the unexpected rivalry that football can throw up. Back then it WAS Birmingham City who seemed to be the team that we kept crossing paths with. Those are memories that can never be taken away – even if they didn’t end up well ! Thanks for commenting though. Appreciated

      • Ijaz March 25, 2019 at 7:29 pm #

        Interesting you see Blues as a rival. Aren’t there enough clubs for you in London -Lol? I would’ve thought someone like QPR, Millwall or Fulham than a club 100 miles away. Just reading that Villa, Wednesday and Derby are the next 3 to possibly get done by FFP. Quite honestly I cannot wait for the vile to get hit. Some of the comments I’ve been reading are laughable like Leeds fans saying we should’ve been hit harder for cheating. Leeds fans talking about cheating – really?! I think they should’ve been docked 10 points for spygate. Hardly cheating though – just owner stupidity. They could’ve put in £8m into the club which they didn’t which would’ve balanced the books (over 3 years). We are cursed to forever walk in limbo being passed from one shit owner to the next. The only plus is when you suffer so much heartache you just become numb to it all and any high is just so much higher. KRO.

  2. Charlie Mcmahon March 24, 2019 at 12:36 am #

    My heart bleeds a pity the quarter pounders didn’t get what they deserved as well send them both to the conference they aren’t even real football clubs 🥳

  3. newroadEnder77 March 24, 2019 at 10:07 am #

    we kan win deir (taff)/(mank)

  4. newroadEnder77 March 29, 2019 at 4:12 am #

    we kan win in yorkshir an taff

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