This Saturday ten years ago. What were you doing?
We have now reached the tenth anniversary of probably the most momentous occasion in the history of Birmingham City Football Club; The day we won the League Cup for the second time.
I do not wish to belittle the first occasion we won the Cup in 1963, when Trevor Smith, pictured below, lifted the trophy in, of all places, the main stand at Villa Park, after we had defeated our across the City rivals 3-1 over two legs. The fact is that the League cup then was a relatively new competition, in fact, many of the top sides had not even bothered to take part, which is not the case in modern times. While accepting this is the second most important knock-out trophy in England, it is a mightily important piece of home Silverware, after the Premier League championship and FA cup. What a day and what a magnificent performance by this Blues team of underdogs.
It is also the gateway to the Europa league with all the excitement that competition generates and winning the League cup is certainly no mean achievement these days.
People tend to remember exactly where they were when memorable events took place like the Twin Towers Massacre and even the assassination of the American President John F Kennedy, ironically also in 1963.
I was lucky enough to be at the game and soaked up all the atmosphere like a willing Bluenose sponge, sitting among the throng of the near forty thousand strong Birmingham contingent.
I still feel the goosebumps even while writing this article as I recall the first goal from Zigic, the disappointment of the Van Persie equaliser, and the sheer joy of the Martins winner, a shot into goal that seemed to take ages the reach the back of the net, almost like a slow-motion replay. The moment Steven Carr triumphantly held the trophy aloft and the roar of our supporters. I loved the after-match celebrations: ‘we are the champions’ the music blared out across the stadium followed by ELO’S ‘Mr Blue Sky’ as we all joined in, singing our hearts out. Grown men and women crying with joy, kids jumping in the air waving, shirts, scarves, and hats at our heroes on the pitch. Absolutely unforgettable and the most important day in the life of any Blues supporter which I am sure none will ever forget.
So where were you if you were not lucky enough to get a ticket? Millions of us from all over the world glued to the television or Radio, or like an old friend of mine Les Green, now sadly no longer with us, who was giving his daughter away at her wedding and anxiously looking at his watch as the seconds of the match ticked away. I was obviously not at the wedding but another friend was, and apparently, news of the Blues victory came through to Les just as the vicar asked. ‘Is there anyone present who knows of any just impediment……..?” Well, we all know the rest.
Apparently, Les punched the air and screamed out ‘Yessss!” It might have been worth missing the game to see that incident. I understand his daughter forgave him even though the vicar was a bit shaken until Les’ outburst was explained to him.