Often Partisan

The Winning Habit

Blues take on Premier League opposition in the FA Cup at the weekend when they face Swansea City for the second time in cup competition this season with the prize of a place in the last 16 up for grabs.

It’s very easy to be nostalgic about the FA Cup. As a kid I remember listening to the draw on a Monday lunchtime at school (one of the junior school teachers must have been a football nut cos he sneaked in a radio). I can remember some of the great finals of the eighties – Coventry in ’87, Wimbledon in ’88. It’s almost too easy to say that the grand old trophy has been devalued by managers who are more concerned with staying in the top flight than winning something – particularly when you see comments like the ones made by the manager of the claret and blue mob across the expressway (although one might suggest he was getting his excuses in early for going out again to lower league opposition).

The weird thing is, I’m excited about it again. I’m not sure why – in honesty, I think I have more chance of a threesome with Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman than I do of seeing Blues win the trophy this year. Blues are struggling in the Championship and after a ten match unbeaten streak are struggling to put points on the board; we haven’t won at home in the league in three months. Yet I have this nagging feeling that the cup will (like the league cup did) bring out the best in the players again – that they will raise their game and give Swansea a run for their money.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not expecting a win. However, with the return of Tom Adeyemi to the squad I have a feeling the midfield will be in a better position and with the impetus that the signing of a young fresh talent like Albert Rusnak could give us there might be a little more spark, a little more oomph and some more luck in front of goal for Blues. I agree with Lee Clark that the cup is important and that we should go out to win every game because winning is a habit and I think with the shackles of “not losing” off as it’s a one off game it will mean Blues can be more positive and play with less fear.

This is the crux of the whole thing – I think the long stretch without a win at home in the league has come from this feeling that Blues need to get the monkey off their backs. I think it’s made players tense and I think it was almost imperative for some to be seen not to be too speculative – to play it safe. I know our home form has been poor but I believe the only way Blues will win is if they play positively – and whilst that might leave them more open at the back we have to accept we’re going to concede goals – we aren’t good enough to shut everyone out. In the FA Cup it’s all about it being a one off game and thus I can see the players going for it a bit more – if they can get a decent result against Swansea then hopefully that will lead into a similar performance on Tuesday night against Leicester City.

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87 Responses to “The Winning Habit”

  • dave mann says:

    three massive home games in a week comming up against premiership swansea,
    soon to be premiership leicester, and could be premiership derby so nothing to
    worry about there then, seriously though i said yesterday nothing to loose against
    swansea just go for it hell for leather and see what happens and we might just see
    a cracking game like we did in the league cup, i will be at all three as usual and looking
    forward to what hopefully will be a brilliant 7/8 days for the blues.KRO.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    As I’ve said before, it was nice winning the league cup…. but it will always be a poor relation to the FA Cup in my eyes. No other competition in the world has the magic of the FA Cup. If premier managers can’t be arsed with it, then naff orf and leave it to the majority.

    As for Swansea, well, they play pretty football, but it’s not got them very far this season. I’m sure they’ll be wanting to get one over on us after we beat them in the league cup… but I’m sure our lads will be bursting to show that the 3-1 wasn’t a fluke. Depending on the formation and personnel selected, Im confident we can beat them. We need to smother their midfield and stop these little triangles they like to play. They’ve only scored 27 goals in 33 league games, so they’re having similar problems to us up front. I’ll go 2-1 to Blues.

  • clubclassblue says:

    Don’t you just love the optimism of blues fans.
    Have to agree with above comments, Swansea are probably in worse shape than when we beat them previously (as are we you may add) and may have an eye on their league form, so why not?
    Lets have a go and see what we can come out with. There have been much stranger results in the past……as we know.
    Definitely a bonus having Adeyemi back in the team.
    It would be nice to see a few less empty seats for the next three games as well, drag your mates along…..

    • Poppa999 says:

      Swansea made six changes when we beat them before and they said that was the reason – yet we made five and no-one said anything about that!

  • Poppa999 says:

    Even a semi-final at Wembley would be nice.

  • BobbyBlue says:

    Looking forward to the game. I agree that the players are more likely to play without any fear, certainly a good thing. I think that will make for an entertaining game but one that Swansea will win comfortably. I just can’t see lightning striking twice! Here’s to hoping :)

  • Ali Duncan says:

    Coventry was 87.

    The performance against the Swans earlier in the season was superb and easily one of the best of the season. If we start well and match them physically then I think we can give them a game. I have a good feeling about this one.

  • Chris W says:

    I don’t really care about the result as long as the team give it a good go. Don’t get me wrong, I would love a win, but like most Bluenoses, not expecting lightening to strike twice.
    Blues have a fairly good record against the Swans, Played 33. won: 18, drawn: 8 and lost only 7.
    Against higher opposition they do tend to play better and in the cup there seems less pressure.
    Swansea are still in Europa league and obviously want to stay in the Premiership, so though they will want to win, I feel they will play a similar side in the FA cup.
    My only concern is our back four, we lack pace and height. Swansea play it on the floor so with 5 in midfield has to be our only option, do we go 4-5-1 or 3-5-1-1. I think we should forget 4-4-2 as it just doesn’t seem to work.
    My best expectation is a draw, but this is Blues and anything can happen, depends on which eleven turn up, 110% minus 100%, lets hope for the former and really give the fans something to cheer.
    The fans have to be in full away form voice, get behind the team from the start.
    KRO+DNM

    • pieman1979 says:

      I’d go with a 3-5-2 myself. We need to start playing more attacking football and this is one of those games where we could test ourselves with an attacking formation KRO

      • StaffsBlue says:

        We played 3-4-3 against Swansea last time. The only players not available from that team now, are Spector, Burn and Green. The rest are fit and avaliable.

  • dave mann says:

    you might be right BobbyBlue but lee clark will take the game more seriously than
    michael laudrup because of him being english and knowing and valueing the fa cup
    tradition, thats why he will play his strongest team and laudrup will rest a few because
    there in a relegation struggle and thats more inportant for them to stay up than to have
    a cup run, that just might give us the edge and complete a cup double over them
    because if we play like we did in the second half in the league cup we WILL beat
    them.KRO.

  • Ali Duncan says:

    Personally I’m hoping for a decent performance and a draw so I can get down there for the replay. I’m doing the 92 and that is a ground I’ve yet to tick off.

  • Paul Carter - a lover of BCFC he says:

    Swansea at home was an eye opening performance. Those players ran their hearts out for Lee that night and produced a near perfect performance. Can’t see that happening twice though so I think it will be a 1-1 draw. I still get cup fever and can’t wait to get that superb ground of ours on Saturday. Lets hope the boo boys stay away and we progress to the next round.

  • dave mann says:

    i mightdo the replay aswell but being a tuesday night it might be a bit awkward but
    were cross that bridge if we come to it, lets hope its done in one game, and then
    concentrate on the next two games with leicester and derby because the
    confidence of a win and the 5th round of the fa cup will put us in good shape
    for those two massive games.KRO.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I’m hoping we play 4-5-1 (or 4-1-4-1.) I think a midfield of Burke, Rusnak, Adeyemi, Howard, Ferguson, is capable of competing with their lot. No point banging long balls up to Zigic… Williams (if he plays) will swallow them up.

    Chico Flores (also if he plays) is the weak link, he can be a bit… industrial at times. Hopefully Rusnak can tempt him. ;-)

    The only area I am worried about, is at the back, if Bony is up front for them. We need height, with Burn gone, because Bony is good in the air.

    • Sh!t on the villa says:

      Glad you like the 4-1-4-1 staffs, hope clarke can put it into practice. Keep the ball high up the pitch and short passes until someone can be smuggled into the box for the finish. KRO.

      • Chris W says:

        4-1-4-1, 3-5-1-1 or 4-5-1, all have the same mindset, get the ball moving up the field with short passes, however, the problem lies with smuggling someone WHO CAN put the ball in the net. Obviously Ziggy or Novak have been consistent enough given the chances we have created. Against Yeovil, we could still be playing and would still not have scored.
        One thing about Blues this season is not the creating but the finishing that has let us down, we really need to find that killer punch, whether from midfield or defence. 12 goals have been scored by defenders so far with Novak and Zigic scoring 6 & 4 respectively. Kyle Bartley is 2nd behind Novak as leading scorer.
        KRO+DNM

  • dave mann says:

    i wouldnt be supprised if all three start on the bench staffs to be honest and only used
    if we put them under the cosh like we did in the league cup, if were 3-0 up with 20 mins
    left and they bring them on i wont be to concerened then but lets wait and see.KRO.

  • dave mann says:

    he will definetley come of the bench but i dont know about starting but then how many times
    this season as lee clark fooled us all with his selections, but one things for sure hes got to
    play 5 in midfield to keep the ball away from them because they will cause us damage if we
    let them play and we must take our chances when we get them.KRO.

  • mark says:

    Imo it will probably be a closer game than the Lc. My mate who’s a swansea fan thinks that they are more interested about their league position than the cup game….and play a weaker team……..if thats the case we might see swans reserve team turn up………

  • mark says:

    Blues could win this 2-0 they will need to be fully committed for the 90 mins

  • dave mann says:

    thats what ive been saying mark they will play bench and reserve players cuz the leagues
    more inportant and there still missing mitchu and hes been a huge loss for them and they
    dont want any more injuries so i agree it will be around 2-1, 2-0 win for blues…..if we
    do loose its not the end of the world so take that on board all you doomers and gloomers
    because the next two league games are more inportant, if we loose them two then i might
    start to worry a little bit.KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      If Swansea play their second team, it’ll be a grave mistake.. we’ll bury them 2-1 (Burke and Hare… sorry, Howard to score.) Pick the bones out of that ladies. :-))

    • Chris W says:

      Swansea is all about enjoying themselves, as long as they put the effort in I won’t worry about the result. As you say Leicester and Derby are more important and could make or break our season, we need good results and a win against Swansea can lift both players and supporters.
      We usually do better against teams above us too.
      KRO+DNM

  • pieman1979 says:

    I’d play hancox, Robinson, caddis at the back, Howard, brown, adeyemi, burke in midfield with rusnak just in front and Novak, lovenkrands up front (3-4-1-2). Then my bench would consist of Zigic, shinnie, Packwood, lee and Elliot.

  • dave mann says:

    if he plays that formation pieman1979 i will be staggered, not knocking it but cant see two
    up front and three at the back, i will go,
    randolph,
    caddis, packwood, robinson, hancox.
    burke, adeyemi, brown, rusnak, ferguson.
    zigic……4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 with rusnak just behind zigic, as i said yesterday reece brown
    warrants is place more than howard on his two previous performances but thats only
    my opimion and not fact.KRO.

    • pieman1979 says:

      That’s what LC needs to start doing though, using unpredictable starting lineups so that the opposition aren’t prepared enough for it. Using 4-2-3-1 is a big downfall for us imo as teams can be one step ahead with their preparations KRO

  • Blueboy88 says:

    Just for accuracy – There is considerabley more chance of Birmingham City FC winning a trophy this season than you participating in a threesome with Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman….

  • dave mann says:

    dont fancy either…can do better tham that anyway.KRO.

  • dave mann says:

    again i see your point pieman1979 but we havent got the quality of player to keep changing
    personnel or formation, we went 10 games unbeaten on 4-2-3-1 and it worked for us but
    now weve losta couple of games eveybody starts to panic and want to change the system
    again and again, stick to what the players are happy with and leave it and results will turn
    round again ime sure.KRO.

    • Chris W says:

      I have to agree, stick with a system the players are comfortable with. LC has tried others but however you dress it up, 4-3-2-1, 4-5-1, 3-5-1-1, they all have the same effect, swamp the midfield play higher up the park and create chances. As I have said it is who these chances fall to that will decide the outcome…
      KRO+DNM

    • pieman1979 says:

      Its these matches that we need to trial alternative formations at, too risky to try something new at league games. With a decent sub selection we could easily revert back to 4-2-3-1 should the need arise. I like the 4-2-3-1 and it does work well with the squad we have but we also need to change things up a bit just in case that need arises in the league

      • Dan H says:

        I think we should try 3-1-6 they could have played for 10 hours on Saturday and they wouldn’t have scored.

        We need to convert our chances, it doesn’t matter what formation we play if we don’t score we won’t win, simples

  • Steve Aerobic says:

    The FA cup has special memories for lots of us. As a young boy I remember queuing on Cattel road from 6am in the morning for tickets for the home games against Arsenal (replay) and Chelsea in the 5th and 6th rounds and WBA at Vile Park where we finally succumbed to Albion 1967/68. I can still see the sublime Barry Bridges scoring an overhead kick against Arsenal and I was sitting on the Railway end wall as Fred Pickering stooped to head the winner right in front of me against Chelsea. Blues wore all white in that game and allowed Chelsea to wear the Blue. Fantastic memories thank you Blues I love you x

    • Chris W says:

      I remember those days too, queuing from Victoria Road and all round the ground on a Sunday morning.
      Fans climbing the flood light gantry and sitting on the roof of the Kop.
      Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham all great games and never forget Barry Bridges scissor kick, still have the mail Photo somewhere in the loft. I was on an army exercise when we played Albion in the semi, me and a couple of others hid in a bunker with a radio and listened to it very quietly, boy did we get a right yelling by the SM when he found out and put on a charge, we had to scrub and paint every white stone on camp, pity the result didn’t make it worth it.
      I was at the Leeds game and Fulham semi’s….
      KRO+DNM

      • Steve Aerobic says:

        I remember being in the Holte under the scoreboard against Albion, we did everything but score, I was only 8 at the time but I remember laughing at the Blues fans after Fred PPickering hit the bar when they sang “why dont you all f*** off, why dont you all f*** off, why dont you all f*** off” summed the feeling up nicely. Bridges scored some important goals, I remember the Mail and the Argus making a big thing of the pending Blues Villa derby and the battle between Bridges and Villas Charlie Aitkin. Blues kicked off Vincent put a diagonal ball through, Bridges left Aitken for dead and Blues were 1 up after 17 seconds! We eventually won 2-1 completing the double with a 4-2 win at Villa. Not sure of the year though.Barry Bridges a true Blues legend.

  • dave mann says:

    you go back a bit further than me steve but i remember 1973 and 1975 semi finals against
    leeds and fulham respectively, absoluetly hart breaking and the quater final at st andrews
    in 1984 against watford when a young john barnes ripped us to threads, again hart
    breaking. On Chris,s point ifwe had had someone on fire up top last saturday against
    yeovil it would have been 5-2 and not 0-2 so lets hope we take what were given tommorow
    and start taking our chances.KRO.

    • Dan H says:

      I would have loved to have seen players like Bridges, Latchford, Burns, Francis.

      I was only born in 1979, I remember an FA Cup game with Forest in 1987/88 was probably the most fans I’ve ever seen at St Andrews 35,000 and getting crushed as a kid on the kop and having to go on my Dad’s shoulders

      I’m not sure how the stadium ro fans coped with 50,000 fans in the 50’s and 60’s

      • Chris W says:

        you were lifted over the heads down the Tilton to the running track, then just before the final whistle lifted back the other way, most kids were then. You lifted your feet and were carried along. Half time all you could hear was the splash on the corrugated wall at the back as most people just peed up it, not sure what the women did.
        You would surge down the terrace with every shot and if a goal was scored you either grabbed a crush barrier and hoped or ended up at the running track, fighting your way back.
        Worse place I went was Blackpool and for the whole match only saw the ball when it went in the air, got stuck behind a stanchion and could only see about an eighth of the pitch and none of the goals.
        Good times though
        KRO+DNM

  • RichardM says:

    Fulham 74/75 SF was about the first Blues game I can remember – I remember crying when the news came through that we’d lost the replay, especially given the freakish nature of the goal that beat us (even to this day I can’t stand Fulham). It’s incredible to think we’ve never reached an FA Cup Semi since. I too remember watching Watford / John Barnes rip us apart on the 84 QF at Stans, and still feel angry about the fact we got dumped out by Portsmouth in the 2010 QF with a team of players they blatantly couldn’t afford.

    That said it will always be a special competition for me with some special memories – watching Joe Gallagher smash in the winner against Southampton at St Andrews in 1980,taking my posh girlfriend on a date to Oakwell in 1988 (she’d never been to a football match) to watch Blues win 2-0 v Barnsley, tonking Newcastle 5-1 at St James Park…

    On the fantasy threesome debate, I’d like to nominate Salma Hyek and Charlize Theron, anyone beat that? (I appreciate this may be a difficult game for our female supporters to play…)

    • Steve Aerobic says:

      The annoying thing against Portsmouth is the header from Ridgewell which was clearly over the line, I was behind the goal with the Blues fans and the general consensus was that at 2-1 we would have come back. We went back 3 days later in the league and won 2-0! I feel honoured to have seen the likes of Bridges and the late great Johnny Vincent and Trevor Hockey, how we could use those 3 in our side tomorrow. On the threesome debate how about Jim Smith and Barry Fry? Sound good Dan?

      • Blue in Spain says:

        Steve I remember that goal against Portsmouth, and to this day I still can not stand David James, he knew it was over the line, cheat!

  • Blue in Spain says:

    Reece Brown signed a professional contract, not all doom and gloom, congratulations to him, and well done Lee Clark for ensuring his head wasn’t turned

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Regardless of what some may think… Lee Clark is our biggest asset.

      • Blue in Spain says:

        Agree with you StaffsBlue.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          That’s 3 quality signings in a week. Howard, Rusnak and now Brown.

        • Art Watson says:

          Two very interesting comments supporting LC.

          Based on his atrocious record (Which I will embarrass you with if you wish)how can you justify supporting him and please don’t use the”he’s got no money excuse”-he’s being paid £300k pa for doing a crap job and he knows his job is safe.

          • Shirley Blue says:

            Totally agree. Can’t believe some of the comments on here.

          • Blue in Spain says:

            You couldn’t embarrass me if you tried. You as always show your negative side. Lee Clark has the second smallest budget in this league, yet so called supporters, like you haven’t a clue. Yes he made some mistakes with signings, who hasn’t. Yet the ones he’s made mistakes with, no one complained at the time, Ambrose, Lovenkrands, Mullins. You embarrass yourself with your continuous dripping. I will continue to support Clark and the coaching staff.

          • steve says:

            Unfortunately Art,until we get a new owner,we’re stuck with the useless idiot.

          • mark says:

            i am so glad you are far way and what ever you say would not influence my views on clark……….sky sports news must be very boring…………………….

          • mark says:

            again well -done to clark for persuading reece to stay with us and fulfil his football development with us…………

      • Chris W says:

        I wouldn’t be surprised if Blackpool don’t come back for him, not sure if his that loyal to stay or if CY and PP put him out to tender. He is the only asset that would command a fee now, unless Reece Brown signing has been smoked over with an initial fee from a top club, why was Viera conveniently at St Ans last Saturday, not to hold Rusnaks hand surely.
        KRO+DNM

        • steve says:

          I was thinking the same about Brown Chris.Earlier in the week,he was refusing all contract offers.

          • Chris W says:

            Something has obviously been put on the table to change his mind and make a sudden U-turn.
            He wasn’t under any pressure to sign and could have waited till the Summer… Just something doesn’t add up with this, the timing seems wrong…. am I wrong or just cynical?
            KRO+DNM

  • bluenose08 says:

    sunderland v leeds is the final that I will always remember fantastic saves by jim Montgomery and the late bob stoke running on to the pitch.

    • Blue in Spain says:

      It was the double save that was unbelievable, and it was like us against the Arse, Leeds were so confident about winning that day!

  • Steve Aerobic says:

    Hows this for a team?

    Blues Bruisers

    Coton

    Langan Blake Van den Hauw Denis

    Hopkins Savage Hockey Johstone

    Harford Horsfield

    How many on the pitch at the end?

  • Steve Aerobic says:

    Perhaps Tarrantino at right back instead of Langy..

  • Steve Aerobic says:

    They all put in a shift and never let us down on the pitch. A few off them did however have a few off field issues and it was a shame the way Savage left. I remember after we beat Villa at St Andrews in the Enkelman game I was driving in to Longbridge via Wast Hills the very next mid morning and looking in my rear view mirror saw Sav driving his baby Bentley on his way to the training ground. I was still pumped from the previous evening and clenched my fist and held it to my rear view mirror, Savage pumped his fist iin reply to me! Its that sort of incident that endears players to fans, how many of todays superstars would interact with lone fans like that? He is very divisive but I loved when he was with us. I also remember seeing Dave Langan in The Boundary Club in Olton having a drink with fans and singing along to the Wolftones!

    • Chris W says:

      I remember Trevor Hockey coming out the ground and seeing me and my mate, it was late and he asked where we lived, he took us both home door to door in his Blue and White Triumph Herald.
      How many of todays super stars would offer a supporter a lift home.
      I also remember coming down the M6 following a 4-3 defeat at Liverpool, we were 3-0 up at half-time, pulled into the services and sat with the players in the cafe along with other noses.
      This season who missed Mitch Hancox at Derby, that is what supporters want, that gives unity between fans and players…..
      KRO+DNM

  • Shirley Blue says:

    It will be interesting to see what the attendance is tomorrow. Swansea will bring less than Bristol Rovers and I am told that they are only opening the Kop and Tilton for home fans so they can’t have sold many tickets. When I first started going down in the eighties I remember we got great crowds in the FA cup. I remember games against West Ham and Spurs with 30,000+ in and we won them both 3-0 I think. That Watford quarter final I think we got 44.000. What a disappointment though.

  • Bluehobba says:

    A good read and hopefully a game to enjoy KRO

  • Keep the faith says:

    I like the bruisers however I would put purse in instead of van den hawe and broad hurst in stars of savage . It’s not colum inches it’s tackles that count .

    • Steve Aerobic says:

      Mad Pat would eat Darren Purse for breakfast…Pursey was never a hard man compared to these guys. Broads is a good shout but again no comparison to Savage as a player but as a nose yes, all day long! What a great story about Trevor Hockey, a true gent a real fans player.

      • Chris W says:

        Trevor Hockey was a true legend and appreciated the fans, as did most footballers of that era.
        They were not afraid to mingle, drink and I even knew one who shared a fag too….
        KRO+DNM

  • DoctorD says:

    The QF against Watford in 1984 was my second game at St Andrews — can’t remember much about it other than the thrill of us suddenly scoring and everyone going bonkers and a huge hole opening up in the crowd and getting flung into the chasm before it closed up and I was sandwiched right up against some smelly beery bloke who I had never seen before in my life punching the air and going mental.

    Sadly all-seater stands can never recreate that feeling.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Yes I was 16 so being in that kind of crowd in the Kop with my mates was an experience not to be forgotten. Watford had the whole of the Tilton so the Kop was rammed. There wasn’t tickets for the terraces in those days even for a quarter final and they just kept coming in. I think we were in the ground at 1.30. Happy days except for the result!

  • mark says:

    plaudits must go to our manager clark for the power of persuasion in getting our young reece to sign until he nearly 20……………imo i believe we will see another multi millions player in the making…..with a few more years under his belt and carefully crafted…….another excellent product from our line of young players……………….kro

  • mark says:

    imo reece has made the right decision to stay with us, it also a good call by the kid as well……could easily had his head turned or he could have been like others took the money and run………where would he be in some premiership reserves rotting way. This way he gets regular football and his development go on unhinged…………………….

    • steve says:

      What you on about Mark,you’re glad i,m far away? I live in Brum.The only thing you’re away with is the fairies.You need a big dose of realism.

  • Tony says:

    Lol Steve your right there, Mark lives in a strange fantasy world.


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