Often Partisan

Forza Blues

Forza Blues held their second meeting last night at the St Andrews Tavern and as someone who in the past has opined on the atmosphere at Blues I went along to see what they had to say.

The group, which was set up by season ticket holder Paul Smith, have the aim of trying to rebuild what they see as the lost atmosphere, noise and hostility within the ground. Paul spoke during the meeting about his fears that the crowd seemed to be more concerned with the issues surrounding the ownership of the club than actually backing the team itself.

Paul also spoke about the passion from Block 11, and how he personally didn’t want to see Forza Blues be in competition with that block. He spoke about how he’d rather see Forza Blues be somewhere like Block 39 of the Kop so that they can create noise at the other end of the ground to help build a better atmosphere.

There was also confirmation that the group had had some tentative backing from within the club itself and how they envisioned Forza Blues as becoming another official supporters club. Whilst I initially went with the idea that they were looking to create an “ultras” style fan group I don’t think that’s the case; from what Paul was talking about it’s more about building another fan group that brings like-minded fans together, arranges away trips and the like.

When I asked Paul about the “ultras” ideal he was quick to point out that he didn’t think that would be the right way to go about things; he agreed that atmosphere was something that is organic and it can’t be forced. However, he thought that if the group could get a few similar types of people sitting together who would be willing to sing at the game, then the hope would be other people would join in and the atmosphere would be a little better.

Whilst he acknowledged that turnout at the meeting was quite low, Paul didn’t see that as  a problem at the moment. He said that it would take a while to organise things properly and it would be better if the group aimed to be in place within the ground for the start of next season. The main thrust of the meeting tonight was to get people on board and to commit to helping him get the group properly going and run in a proper manner; something I think he feels he has achieved. Paul told me that he took his inspiration from the film “Field of Dreams” – ie ‘build it and they will come’

I must admit that I admire the passion of people like Paul and the willingness to stand up to try to do something that they believe in. I like the fact that Paul saw what he was doing as a positive thing and that he didn’t want to be involved in any kind of politics – he just wants people to have fun and sing at the Blues. The big question is if he can get enough people to join him on his quest.

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33 Responses to “Forza Blues”

  • Reeboh says:

    I’ve been supporting fords blues from the start. Block 6 is where they sit at the moment, but definitely a move to a corner block near tge GM would be good. Adding to the existing atmosphere over there.

  • Daddyblue says:

    I wih them the best of luck. It can only be good for BCFC. How many did turn OP

  • bluenose08 says:

    I commend what they are trying to achieve i can remember walking up the coventry road back in the 70s and all you coud hear coming from the ground was birmingham,birmingham and that was before kick off ! I dont want to hear us bating the oppositions fans i want us to get behind our team and appeal for decisions to go our way,really put pressure on the refs. k.r.o.

  • AR says:

    Paul Smith is trying to do something positive to support the team, & though I sit in the Main Stand I applaud his efforts & hope he succeeds. “Thongs'” comments are negative & unhelpful.

  • mitchell says:

    It’s been noted by Ferguson, Clough & Graham that St.Andrews is noisy, hostile and very intimidating. Even though I missed the 70’s and early 80’s, we used to become nosier if we went one nil down. Since the magic of the Bruce era faded we have only had a handful of games where the atmosphere has been top notch. Granted, most home support tends to be quieter – I have been to 6 away games this season and all of the home support has been awful.

    I like the idea though and hope Paul get’s a few more numbers for the next meeting.

    KRO

  • Mark Peacock says:

    Fair play to him for trying and I hope the atmosphere does get better. I just hope they don’t turn into another block 11 and sing gays songs about themselves and instead sing songs to get behind the team!

  • andy says:

    The atmosphere has been a little flat at st andrews this season and it can only be attributed to the turmoil surrounding the club since relegation and the continuing silence from Peter Pannu. Having said that we need to start raising the roof starting on sat against Bristol City. The 12th man really does count and Stoke City will vouch for that.

  • Julian Glass says:

    It sounds like Paul is a cross between a control freak and a social engineer. Please don’t tell me when to sing. I find I do it in response to what’s happening on the pitch. Isn’t that the way it should be?

  • Dr Nick says:

    I think a dedicated hooligan section is a wonderful idea. Keep all the knuckle draggers together where the police can nick them at will.

    Great plan, the St Andrews gene pool needs a little clean up

  • Macc lad says:

    Sexist and homophobic. Well done there.

  • chris says:

    NICK, you talk garbage and if you actually went to Forza Blues site you would see it has nothing to do with hooligans. Do you sit there with you prawn sandwich? Or do you just clap occasionally, as you would at the Rep?
    JULIAN says, “I find I do it in response to what’s happening on the pitch. Isn’t that the way it should be?”
    NO, NO & NO
    You should be singing no matter what’s happening, in the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s we’d be singing 15 to 30 mins before kick off, so there was nothing happening on the pitch.
    You sing when the team are playing poorly, losing or under pressure not just when they do something positive, are winning or having a good spell.
    I give up with the idiots who go now and just sit there like it’s a cricket match.
    Why is it guys over 40 are singing while next to them 20 to 30 year olds are like statue’s ?
    Is it a macho thing or embarrassment (THONG) not to sing or is it not cool to sing, pathetic.
    You can see the difference when we are at an away game, the stiffs stay at home thankfully.
    Is it modern day fans syndrome? You don’t see this at rock gigs where the fans of all ages are still joining in, why do we have to be winning or putting the opposition under pressure before you get behind the team, what a bunch of pretentious, image conscious glory hunters we must have.

    • Julian Glass says:

      Chris, you are beginning to sound like a fascist. I can’t be a real fan unless I’m singing. That’s how it must be in your world. Wrong. It doesn’t mean zilch. In away games the I join in the singing because it’s organic and not forced. There’s a camaraderie that develop on an away match because of the whole experience. When the football really becomes something to cheer about at Stans the singing will be more prominent.

      Stop belittling fans just because they didn’t sing.

  • shedrocket says:

    I think its a great idea in principle. The big question is whether he’ll get the numbers needed. He’s going to have to be an advertising genius and social media king to get it up and running and persuede people to change their season ticket seats etc. But good luck to him, if we can get more noise on a match day by hook or by crook it will only help the team.

  • Roy Smith says:

    I can’t remember the number of times I heard commentators and journos at the West Ham match say something like “the ref was always going to give a penalty when faced with that hostile atmosphere”
    At St Andrews we have become so quiet that I doubt if refs ever feel under pressure to give us anything. How often is Ziggy fouled only for the ref to give it against him and yet all we do is give a quiet moan and let it pass. Let’s get in the refs’ ears and pressure them into giving us decisions like the West Ham fans did.
    We used to do it all the time. I remember the playoff match against Watford when according to some Blues players the Watford team were scared to come out of the dressing room we were so hostile, yet today we wouldn’t frighten an under 11s team.
    We need to be the 12th man again. Doesn’t matter who owns the club, it’s ours not theirs.

  • Brendan Fitzgerald says:

    Bit of a tangent but how funny was the abuse given to the fat West Ham fan on Monday! Petty, spiteful and absolutely hilarious! For the record Upton Park was like a grave yard until they got their second goal!

  • Telboy61 says:

    Having been to a few away games this season it’s great to experience that camaraderie that the constant singing and banter bring, it would be great to get that level at home games too, but how do you transfer the enthusiasm of that condensed 500/2000 to 15000 or more, it’s tough, but clearly the ability to move around the ground to sit in like minded groups was key to the success of the halcyon days remembered by so many. With all seater stadiums you are where you are, and moving is a once a year affair, so organised groups like Block 11 and Forza are great focal points for those that want to create the atmosphere that the rest of us can enjoy, I sit in block 25 and am fed up with the negative attitude from a few individuals, it’s noise, but not the sort of noise we want to encourage, but then I am laughed at when joining in with a round of KRO etc. Those around me will know I believe it starts at the very beginning…it’s an old argument, but we need to bring back Singing the Blues, Mr Blue Sky (extended) and Feel It (yes that’s what The Tamperer is really called!).

  • Blue-Nose-Gord says:

    I commend the majority of the comments in this thread and commend the idea that Forza is attempting to realise. I and my son love to sing; we have tried various ST seats around the ground and now sit in block 8, which is the most vocal we’ve been in so far BUT even then there’s times of inertia. The block 11 banter is good at present but i also have admiration for them though, as they do what they profess “sing on their own” for alot of the time. For all those who have contrasting views or object to this notion…fine; remain where you are or go sit in the areas of the stadium that aren’t known for their vocal support. Fundamentally, i believe a bow-wave of vocal support will inevitabley draw others into the songs; often my son and I are desperately wanting to sing but fear the potentially embarassing ” singin on our own” syndrome; this theory i think is common, but i’m positive with the drive of Forza and Block 11, i honestly believe the wembley and cup atmospheres can become more prevalent. I for one and my son for two are wholeheartedly behind this idea. Keep Right On, you can count on our support

  • Paul says:

    Good afternoon all I am Paul Smith from FORZA BLUES firstly i would like to thank Often Partisan for attending last night and taking the time to publish this article …. I have been reading the comments with some interest this morning and i would like to point out a few things
    1. We are not a hooligan Group NO WAY
    2. im not a control freak people have a right to do what they want im not forcing anyone to sing !!!
    3. Why is it “GAY, Girly” as you call it – why are you affraid to back the team ?????

    I like many others are fed up with the lack of atmosphere at the ground , this team have gave us one of the most exciting seasons in many years this year we have only been defeated once in the league and 3 times in total !! What have we the supporters given our team little or no support
    i like others can remember back to the 80’s and 90’s when we backed the boys ..we just dont do that anymore we expect to much ask yourselves Why did you choose Blues as your club it cant be because of the History or success No its because you was born in to it your a Brummie and proud we have lost sight (in My opinion) of what being a bluesnose is what has happened to our sense of humour what as happened to us supporting the boys no matter what the score is ?????
    The reason i set out to start this group was to get together supporters like me who want to back the side who want to vent there frustrations after hard week at work at the ref and the opposing players …I miss the fun down St Andrews we have become “BORING” so i intend by hook or by crook to make this a success i intend to publish the presentation i made last night on our FORZA BLUES website … Also i believe in what im trying to achieve and i have confidence in the fact that it will be a success ..so if like me you want to be part of something special Join us and next season we will prove all doubters wrong … if you like my idea we have a FB Page called lets get the atmosphere back at St Andrews or there’s our website ….

    Once again thank you OP
    We are Brummies , We are Loud , We are proud , WE ARE FORZA BLUES !!!!!!!

  • NooBloo says:

    I dont know whether to chuckle at this meeting or roll about laughing. The common goal should be to cheer birmingham on, no matter where you sit in the ground. These splinter type groups can only serve to divide the fans of the club.

    Some fans support the club by being very vocal and some do it by good honest analysis of how they see a match.

    Sopporting the team is like following your religion. There is no right way and no wrong way to support the club. So whatever way you wish to do it then thats the correct way for you.

    Just so long as you turn up and do it. Thats the most important thing

  • Rathater says:

    As a founder of the original block 39 I find this all a bit strange! We never held meetings, it was a group of mates meeting up in the pub having a few beers and then a good old sing song!

    The atmosphere spread and after a couple of seasons it was absolutely rocking with singing.

    We even introduced blow up animals with ‘pig & sheep’ taking star attraction.

    My point is that this in house fighting between ‘blocks’ is ridiculous, just get down the game and sing! People stare at you in disbelief and shock when you sing nowadays and I believe our wonderful over zealous Stuards have a major part in killing our once great atmosphere!

    Why our Stuards behave in the manner that they do is frankly shocking!

    Next thing that’s going to happen is song cards being given out so people know the words ( just like when we 1st went to ville park ), guys get a grip for gods sake!!!!

    KRO

    • Paul says:

      Rathater you seem to be misled in what we want to achieve there is no infighting on our behalf we want to get the atmosphere back in the ground , I appaulade the guys in blk 39 and 11 i have no isue with them at all what i take issue with is we dont support our team enough as a whole and the idea of FORZA BLUES is that if we get a group of supporters together who do want the same end goal as us this can be only a good thing ……Atmosphere is infectious if you have a constant others will naturally join in , Also this group will seek to get support from the club to make it official and if that becomes the case we can work closely with the club and the stewards to insure that there is no heavy handed approach to supporters who just want to back there team .

      This will work but its not going to happen over night

  • shedrocket says:

    Good luck paul. Some fans will just never get it mate. As paul says, those fans that disagree with the forza idea and wish to support the club by sitting in silence then that’s fine, support the club in any way you wish but please don’t give him grief for trying to get a better atmosphere inside the ground because deep down I think everyone knows that a better atmosphere will ultimately help the team which is surely what we all want?

    • Julian Glass says:

      Shedrocket, Paul would not get ‘grief’ from us if he stops dismissing us as ‘ not being proper fans’ and in the ‘prawn sandwich brigade’ because we don’t sing. Its not for him to decide who is or isn’t a proper fan and whether one sings or not has nothing to do with it.

      • Paul says:

        Julian

        I haven’t once accused anyone of not being a proper fan and as prawn sandwich brigade those words have never left my lips or come out of my finger tips !!!!!!! In my opinion I just feel we have lost sight of how I for was brought up as a blues fan , simple rules be proud of were your from always back the team no matter what the score from that first whistle to last then debate moan groan criticise after the game has finished ,
        Having a good sense humour was what made blues fans special all I said was that I feel we have become boring and infact to expectant and I will say this till I’m blue in the face I’m not demanding that anyone has to do anything I’m inviting people to come and join my group if they feel the same way as I do ….

  • Paulo says:

    I think there is nothing wrong with Forza Blues idea and I whole heartedly commend it! ..Fair play.

    I could say I sit in a quiet part of St Andrews (with regards to singing), but then so could 75% of everyone else. No matter where I’ve sat, it’s been an eye-opener for me. I actually WANT to sit somewhere where there is a sing song and a laugh with it, and show my support to my team. Thats what an away game is like, so why isn’t it like that at home?
    ..well, for the most part, I’m assuming no one wants to be the first one to break the ice ..or break the mould (as is what Forza Blues want to do).

    Change is a good thing, and can be achieved ..but not everyone will change. So I reckon that ignoring the politics, the press and the speculation ..and enjoying the football, is what counts.

    I know I would join in, but why should I get a different seat just to do it? If we want the atmosphere back, then bring it. No bugger else is going to do it for us.

    Here’s to an amazing season. KRO

  • Blue Magic says:

    Got to be a good thing…anything that both encourages the team and draws in higher attendances via better atmosphere is win win.
    Pity its not in the Kop.

  • oldburyblue says:

    I am in a position to know that the pre-match atmosphere was deliberately killed by Security advisors many years ago. For Centuries Tribes/Armies prepared for war by whipping themselves into a frenzy by singing or chanting in unison. Football crowds did the same in preparation for their team’s 90 min “war”. Unfortunately some idiots took this whipped up frenzy too far resulting in the violence and disorder which was common-place at all grounds.

    The decision was made to drown out the crowd pre-match by the use of loud music. Do you think it is an accident that the volume is turned up so loud that you can’t even talk comfortably to the person next to you?

  • Good point on the loud music. A few years back we always had a good rendition of Keep Right On at the beginning of the game before we sat down that was joined by all stands. Now that’s impossible because of the music. Even that time that the PA system broke they started to play Mr Blue Sky right up to kick off.

    The other main reason that people don’t sing so much anymore is that they are sitting down. In the 70’s and at away games people stand. Singing sitting down never feels right. There’s plenty of support where I sit in the Kop but it’s shouted rather than sung.

  • Dan says:

    Fair play to him for trying to do something about the atmosphere. it works when you get a group together who all want to sing and get behind the lads.

  • RedditchBluesTim says:

    All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
    Sorry to get all philosophical but for those who had something negative to say about Forza Blues activities just ask yourself the question “are his motivations positive?” if you answer the question with “no” then fine, move on, it doesn;t affect you anyway. If the answer is “yes” then consider my first point..

    KRO

  • Paulo says:

    Good point about the loud PA system!!! Mr blue sky is getting on my nerves and is getting OLD ..how about (just for one match), the guy with the microphone ..before the announcements are made ..has a laugh and gets everyone involved in belting out Keep Right ON, and see what happens?
    I admit, if its a big match, it might make more sense to the away lot ..but its about us, its our ground, our team, our stands, our colours ..and our song!

  • somersetblue says:

    Hi there folks,1st post on this glorious site,so be gentle!!.I for one would love the singing atmosphere to spread to the gil merrick upper,after a round trip of nearly 300 mile for a home game i would love a good old raucus singalong….but find that if anyone has a go in the upper they are looked like they shouldnt be there!


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