Often Partisan


So the day is upon us. Today is the day we’ll find out if we’re going to be plucky survivors, or relegated victims. As I alluded to a couple of days ago, it’s been difficult knowing what to write – I want to be positive and put forth my belief in the team but I don’t want the accompanying kick in the cojones if and when we go down.

The question is, do I believe that we can do it? The honest answer is yes, I do. It’s weird; we could lose and stay up, we could win and go down. No single result guarantees us safety although some make it all but very unlikely to go down. However, it also true that no single result guarantees us going down, although some make it all but very unlikely we could stay up.

I think McLeish must realise this too. Despite being tipped by a few pundits to go down, it’s a one off game. We weren’t tipped by anyone prior to the Cup final to beat Arsenal, yet we pulled that off with aplomb. We’ve looked dead and buried at other points in the season only to come back swinging. Our top scorer is back tomorrow in Craig Gardner, and our top cheerleader is back in Liam Ridgewell. Despite their Villa pasts, both players are crucial to our team, and both could be vital in a team which lacks goals.

I don’t expect McLeish to go hell for leather. Not formation-wise anyway. What I do think he will do is to tell the team that they need to be up for it from the first whistle. We need to be first to every ball, hassling every Spurs player, not allowing anyone time or space to settle down – at least for the first ten minutes. I don’t expect a flowing display of footballing artistry – that’s not Blues – but I do expect tenaciousness, doggedness and sheer bloodymindedness. I want to see Blues players snapping at Spurs players like terriers, I want to see crunching tackles, I want to see passion and I want to see heart.

Don’t underestimate the part the fans can play. White Hart Lane is a compact ground, and I’m sure they can hear us on the pitch. I know the fans will sing their hearts out, and I’m sure they’ll be doing their bit to inspire the players to push that one percent harder. When we start belting out “Keep Right On”, it can be awe-inspiring, spine-tingling, hairs-stand-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck. And should the worst happen, I hope our fans will sing to the end, and show the world that no matter what, Blues fans support their team. I’d rather see Blues fans singing loud and proud when the final whistle goes than tears in the eyes.

It’s not going to come to that though is it? This Blues team doesn’t give up easily, does it? We’ve beaten impossible odds before this season. Remember Chelsea at home? Battered us all day long and yet Blues stood firm and didn’t concede. Remember the second leg of the Carling Cup Semi? We came back from the dead, and battered the Hammers into scrap iron. If we’ve done it before, we can do it again. It’s time for us, the fans, to believe once more for ninety minutes. Blues can stop up.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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