Often Partisan

Anticlimaxes and Cup Draws

Birmingham City have drawn Blyth Spartans away in the third round of the FA Cup. The EvoStik Northern Premier League side are in the third round after beating Hartlepool United and are the lowest ranked team left in the competition.

It’s been a long time since we last drew a non-league team – the last I can remember was Stevenage in 1997, which although Blues were drawn away was played at St Andrews after the Hertfordshire team switched the tie. This is no longer allowed under the rules so Gary Rowett’s men will make the long, long trip north to Croft Park on the weekend of January 3.

As you can imagine, it’s a tie that has captured the imagination of Blues fans – not necessarily because it’s seen as a gimme; after all, I can still remember the pain of losing to Kidderminster and older fans will tell you all about losing to Altrincham in the Cup. I think it’s more that it’s a ground to tick off against what is after all a famous cup team; one that has had giant-killing cup runs in the past. With a 4,435 capacity stadium (according to wiki at least), I can imagine tickets might be like gold dust even with the long trek to the ground to factor in.

For the Blyth players, it seemed a bit of an anti-climax; a lower midtable Championship side doesn’t quite have the draw of playing Chelsea or Manchester United at home – which is understandable in their eyes – and I think Rowett has to use that to motivate his team out of complacency and ensure that they get the right result in the tie. The fact is that had it been a top side it would no doubt have resulted in younger and fringe players getting a run out; with us I suspect it’ll be our first team and I think it should give Blyth much more of a challenge.

Speaking of anti-climaxes, the wait for an announcement from Hong Kong is still continuing – something that can’t be helping BIH at all. The longer the wait goes on, the more I think it’s an indication that the board cannot agree on a wording of an announcement – and possibly an indication that Pannu doesn’t hold sway as much as maybe he thought he did. Whether it’s the precursor to him losing his seat on the board is far too much to speculate, but I hope this time is forcing BIH to look at it’s future plans and come up with something a bit more concrete. As much as Pannu’s rant was a rant there were some grains of truth in it and I do agree with him that in the short term BIH do need to sort themselves out.

I’ll be at the meeting organised this evening at the George to offer my support and advice towards any plans that fans come up with to force the FL, the HKSE – not to mention shareholders and board members of BIH – to act. Hopefully, the Birmingham Mail will send someone along again this time to see what they can do too. My co-author Will and I spoke on Free Radio yesterday about some of the problems facing BIH and Carson and if you missed it, you can listen again here. I’ll be sending the third edition of the OP newsletter out tomorrow and if you want to sign up – it’s free – you can do so in the box at the top right corner.

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14 Responses to “Anticlimaxes and Cup Draws”

  • Dave Mann says:

    It’s a 4 and a half hour drive unless its on a Sunday afternoon i won’t be able to go because of work commitments and the time of the game if its on Saturday so looks like ime hopeing it’s live on tv which has every chance with blyth being the lowest ranked team left in so were see on that one.kro.

    • Bluenosesol says:

      Tickets will probaly all go to the supporters who have away purchasing history, so hope iI scrape in! Looks like an overnight stay. Will check the flights out but expect them to be cost prohibitive. KRO!

  • Big Al says:

    I doubt they’ll ever be a lower point then that defeat to Altringham. The discussions that followed that defeat centred around whether it was worth carrying on as a club. I was also at the Kiddie game – that was a complete fluke. How we didn’t score at least 5 that day I’ll never know.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    For me, we should send our strongest possible team/squad to Blyth Spartans… for 2 reasons.

    1) Any fans travelling that far deserve to see a team strong enough to win the tie.. not be the victim of a giant-killing. It’s a bloomin’ long way home on the back of a defeat because we haven’t taken it seriously enough to send a full-stength team.

    2) Let’s show the Blyth players what a real anti-climax feels like.

  • Bluesbot says:

    If you fancy reliving a bit of FA cup pain, here is the Blues V Kiddy FA cup game in full

  • RichardM says:

    I know what Blyth mean about anti-climaxes, personally I was hoping for a trip to one of the bigger clubs in the North East (i.e. Gateshead) – but the Baggies bagged them, so I guess we’ll have to put up with a trip to Blyth’s little tin pot stadium. Think I’ll bring my own sarnies and bottled water though, can’t trust the catering in these third world developments….

  • BlythGeordie says:

    Haway mon! Tha’ betta watch owt whan ya coom oop ear! If ‘twernt fer Northumbria, England’d still be a pagan mish-mash of woad-coated barbarians! Ever ‘eard of Lindisfarne bonnie lad?

  • mark says:

    Blyth will certainly be up for it, its down to blues doing a professional job on them……

    If blues think they can just turn up, and turn them over then a shock could be a strong possibility…..
    We all love the FA cup but the minnows love it more………Altringham, Kiddy and will Blyth make it a hat-trick lets hope not……..kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Depends on the team we put out. I’d be disappointed if we didn’t treat them and the competition with respect and play our strongest team.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    There may be tickets available for the Blyth Spartans game as only 335 fans turned up for their 1-0 home win over Trafford yesterday.


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