Often Partisan

Badge Kissing and Loyalty – Craig Gardner

He was the kid who came in from our hated rivals to declare he’d always been a bluenose. Pictures of him at John Frain’s testimonial circulated, and he became a regular fixture in the Birmingham central midfield, top scoring for Blues last season. However, apparently playing for his boyhood heroes isn’t enough for Craig Gardner; the word is he wants to stay in the Premiership.

The problem with kissing the badge when you score is that if your team goes through a rough patch and gets relegated, you begin to look a bit of a superficial mug if you decide you want to move on. Take Alan Smith for example; he swore on Soccer AM he’d never play for Leeds United’s hated rivals… yet guess where he ended up. Okay, there were mitigating factors, but I don’t believe the fans forgave him so easily for it. I’m not saying for one minute that I expect all players to be one hundred percent loyal to their clubs; but it does stick in the craw that a player who said the only club he wanted to sign for was us now wants to move on cos the going got tough.

It’s a shame really. Whilst I was prepared to see us lose quite a few players, Gardner was one of three I really wanted us to keep, to build a team around. I was convinced that in the Championship Craig Gardner would set the division aflame; if he could get nine goals in the Premiership then I reckoned he could be on for fifteen to twenty in the second tier. With a more dynamic, youthful team around him, I thought Blues could rebuild and get promoted, and allow themselves a better stab at staying up the next time. I was sure that as a Bluenose who’s career had come on leaps and bounds whilst with us, he’d stick with us and get us back up.

Yet after listening to his interview with Tom Ross, like many Blues fans I became disillusioned; he didn’t once mention his Blues roots and implied his exit was imminent. It’s  true we’ll get far more than the £3mil or so we paid for him – a figure of £8million was mooted by James Nursey of the Mirror, but once again a player who probably could have become a legend has kicked us in the nuts because he was worried how a season in the second tier would affect his credibility; not to mention his bank balance.

One thing McLeish leaving has done is to harden me to the thought that Blues will lose most of their more saleable assets. Whilst it hurts to see players go that could and probably should have been good for the club, I can’t help but think that these are the players who got us relegated in the first place. There is an argument that if Gardner had kept to his feet in the game against Wolves, we might not have gone down at all. As football has got more cynical, I can’t help but wonder that if Gardner rocks up somewhere like Newcastle, will he show off pics of him in a Black and White striped shirt with Gazza on the back? I wouldn’t be surprised any more.


30 Responses to “Badge Kissing and Loyalty – Craig Gardner”

  • DARREN says:

    I like every other Blue nose was shocked by Craigs interview.
    Blues through and through do me a favour mate,mercenary more like!

  • hammy says:

    i, like u, want gardner to stay, along with johnson, dann and carr….the others can do one….

    mind u, i havnt heard him say he wants to leave as yet, but, i have to say, its the owners that
    are worrying me…..

    does anyone else get the feeling its all a bit to 2 dramatic, even for us???


  • gary mcintyre says:

    let him go. he’s of no use if he is not committed to the club Kissing badges doesn’t wash with me Take the money and spend it wisely.

  • Squire says:

    What actually concerns me is that no player has yet publicly committed themselves to stay with the team even amid all the speculation. Ben Foster is different he says he’s happy to stay but then delivers an escape clause “but you never know in football”. I would dearly be delighted if Gardner were to stay – make him captain and see how much of a a bluenose he really is. Will he then kiss the badge or kiss off and jump ship?

  • Sweepover says:

    In that interview,for the first time since Gardner has been at the Blues he was complimentary to the Villa, “massive club Tom” and “I loved every minute I was there”.

    Coincidence ?,

  • Helmet says:

    For Gardner read scumbag, it’s all about the pound sterling isn’t it Craig? On a good note I don;t think the board will be selling any players to the vile porkers no matter what price they name. Let the retard go to Sunderland and enjoy another relegation battle next season.

  • Helmet says:

    @ June – Carr and Ferguson have both stated they would stay on and fight for the cause. That’s alright then.

  • Biggun_BCFC says:

    Hang on….just wait before judgement, he has NOT asked for a move, he has said he has no idea about his future, also he had no future until McCleish took him on… so perhaps he don’t really like whats going on there either, plus….. been local or not…. just because they are weathly already why do people always feel footballers OWE us a favour…. I work for 1 of the BIG banks… and if another bank came along and offered me more money I’d be off – ever after 10 years service….. no matter how much you earn you always want more… been a bluenose or not – you want the best in your career…. and if you were in that same position you would do the same, anyone who say not is just speaking Rubbish

    • Carl says:

      Disagree. 1) these players DO OWE US, they got us relegated and could at least hang around until Jan 2) I work where I’m happy and actually earn less than my last job where I wasn’t happy – but maybe that’s just me

  • Bob marley says:

    A little bird tells me he is very close to doing the same as Mcleish and making a short trip across the city.

  • BluePenguin 76 says:

    Lets be honest, there’s no loyalty in football whatsoever…..Gardner is looking elsewhere at the first hint of bother and frankly that speaks volumes about footballers and football in general. Look if I had the honour of turning out for the club I love, I’d be busting a gut get us back up into the premier(because it should mean something more than money)….ok, if it doesn’t happen after a season or two, fair play…move on.It wont harm in doing a season in the second tier,look at Nolan??.

    I understand a career is important but the ship hasn’t even started to sink and he’s thinking about jumping on the first dingy outta there!!

    Lets wait and see what happens ,i’m praying we get someone who can steady us a little and convince some of the bigger names to put a shift in and get us back up!!………I hope Gardner stays ,I really do,I think he’d bag a hatful in the championship…. but i wont hold my breath, thank god most “Bluenoses” are a bit more loyal than Craig.


  • Wingman Blue says:

    The board has to appoint a credible manager, fast. Every day they lose fighting the lost battle that is McLeish, the more the rudderless ship swings towards the rocks. The crew need a leader of men, not rumour, speculation and intrigue. Sign up Chris Hughton, and let’s moven on and KRO!

  • Smiffytheblue says:

    I am very sad to hear that Craig may want to leave us but, unfortunately, not surprised. I have followed my beloved Blues since 1967 – I can tell you tales like when 9 years old and standing at the clock end at Highbury, a nasty cockney put a lighted cigarette butt down my back after Johnny Vincent equalised in an FA Cup 5th round tie. The time I stood on the Tilton in 1971 and saw Trevor blast 4 goals past a hapless Bolton defence. Wins over Arsenal and Chelsea in the FA Cup in 1968 only to outplay the baggies at Vile Park in the semi and lose 2-0 (the first time I cried for the Blues). The second time I cried, while standing on the Kippax at Maine Road, was when a terrible fluke of a goal by Fulham knocked us out of the cup. After all these years, the demise in the eighties, the times in and out and back in the third tier of English football, I feel that dreaded sinking feeling again. I believe that the sad truth is that McLeish and Gardner plus a few others want to leave because they know that the ship has hit the iceberg, she has sprung a major leak and is on her way down. What would you do if you knew your employer was in serious trouble? I love the Blues and always will but these guys in charge of us have no clue and no money. Their feeble business plan has been blasted apart because of relegation and to make it worse one of the culpable persons has jumped ship to the dark side. We need a miracle – just look at who we are signing and think of who may go. The Chinese will sell and put all the money back into their failing business model. God help us – I really hope I am wrong but it doesn’t look good. KRO and SOTV.

  • Biggun_BCFC says:

    McCleish / Dann / Foster / Gardner / Ferguson


  • almajir says:

    Quick message to the Villa Fan who likes to leave smartarse comments

    Don’t bother.


  • adam Barton says:

    Gardner Loyal ? your having a laugh that kiss to the badge ment shit .
    there is no loyalty in football anymore
    Loyalty was Bill bremner , norman hunter .. back in them days
    im 21 so wasnt around to see them but i have watched video’s after video’s of the 70s football and 80s etc footballers nowa days need to be put in there please
    im a bluenose though n though no matter what division were in players should play out there contract its disgusting to see players like gardner wanting to leave !! KRO ..

  • Sam says:

    I thought Gardner was a proper Bluenose and loyal to the club. I have known for some time that there is no loyalty in football anymore and this has confirmed it. Yes, he will be taking a paycut in the championship, but the love of his boyhood club should matter more than that, and he’d still be getting a good few thousand a week, many people could only dream of that kind of wage.

    Shame on you Craig, for wanting to leave when the going got tough.

  • Carl says:

    Poor Craig, he must be on the breadline. Maybe he needs to stay in the Prem so he can afford to buy a Villa season ticket for the rest of his family. Bless.

  • debully says:

    I dont want anyone here who isn’t giving 100%. I couldn’t stand watching Larssons half arsed performances in the Championship last time, god knows how we’d get on with half a team of them.

    If any player at the club has doubts let them go. But for gods sake wring the money out of them.

    Keep the faith – we’ve been in worse shape than this many, many time before.

  • Streve Wood says:

    gardener can f*ck off back to lea village.


  • braze says:

    i cannot understand how players can sleep at night when they claim to be at there boyhhod club and then leave at the first hint of trouble, spineless and money grabbing, they should be made to stay for the duration of the contracts and play in the reserves untill they learn the error of the ways, forgein players are differnt but brummies born and bread should know better!

  • pedantic pete says:

    I’m going to suspend my criticism, give him the benefit of the doubt (perhaps foolishly) and speculate that Craig is upset at losing a manager he respects deeply and simply trying to put pressure on the owners to get a really good replacement and quickly. I could be way off, but the proof of the pudding will be when a new manager is finally appointed. That’s when we’ll really know how loyal he is to the club.

  • BlueSteve says:

    Footballers who want to leave can hand in a transfer request if they feel that strongly about it, they won’t do this though as it automatically waives there right to any money owed to them by the club. Sell Roger Johnson (We have Scott Dann who is younger and can pass a ball along with Curtis Davis who was excellent against Spurs) )and Cameron Jerome along with Ferguson who is a McCleish man and was awful last 15 games and we will have enough money to hold the remaining players to their contracts.

  • […] friend and fellow blogger, (Often Partisan),  almajir who’s articles often guest here, wrote this one on Gardner and the possibility of him leaving. It got me thinking about loyalty in football in a […]

  • TR7 says:

    Smiffytheblue , we must have been seperated at birth , I’m a ’67 man myself , and like you ( apart from the Parkdrive down your neck ! ) have witnessed all that you mentioned , and I have to agree , we have shuddered to an ignominious halt somewhere in the middle of a very dark ocean.
    At this moment the only way is down , and it’s a very very deep chasm that we are staring at.
    So whoever wants to go , McLeish , Gardner et al better trample on the women and children in their blue and white scarves and get in the lifeboats and f**k right off ! and let the rest of us sort it out and support a team that wants to fight !

  • GHVilla says:

    Villa fan in peace…gardner’s a mercenary just like all footballers I’m afraid. Look at Young and Downing with us!! Kissing a badge means jack all I’m afraid to players, just us fans.

  • jack gallimore says:

    I think this was originally published in the Guardian.

    From a ‘Birmingham Mail’ interview with Craig Gardner, then of Aston Villa, in 2007:- “I’m a Villa fan. I’ve come through the ranks and nothing can be better. I used to go on the Holte End. When I was watching Villa as a kid there were people like Garry Parker, Dalian Atkinson and Paul McGrath. I used to sing their names and now I look at the crowd and they’re chanting my name, so it’s great.”

    From a ‘Birmingham Mail’ interview with Craig Gardner, now of Birmingham City: “Having played for them, everyone thinks I’m a Villa fan, but I’m a Bluenose. I have been all my life. I was a mascot at John Frain’s testimonial. But I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. People who know me, my friends and family, all know I’m a Blues fan. As they say, ‘Once a Blue, Always a Blue’.”

  • hammy says:

    gardners off to sunderland….6m quoted…

  • Sparky says:

    No surprises that Gardner is leaving us for the £, he is just like 99.9% of modern footballers – Mercenaries! Never mind the fact that he was partly responsible for our demise.

    I was saying all last season btw that Seb Larsson was leaving for Sunderland ‘cos Brucey had tapped him up.

    Lets get behind Chrissy Hughton & move on – KRO!!!!

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