Often Partisan

Postcards from Hong Kong and Thoughts on Benitez

If you follow the Often Partisan Twitter or Facebook feeds you may well already know that I’m out here again in Hong Kong.

I’ve come out for a while to speak to the remaining people left to complete the book I am writing and as such Often Partisan will be slightly affected; you may notice that posts go up at slightly erratic times due to the time difference and I won’t be writing any match reports as I’m not going to be at the first couple of games at any rate.

Whilst I was sat on the plane coming out here, I did some thinking about the Chucho Benitez thing. I’ve been quite adamant in my views that I don’t want anything like a minute of applause for our former player and with it blowing up a bit on Twitter today I thought it might be worth me putting why I’m so against it on here.

It’s sad that Chucho has died. 27 is no age for anyone to die, let alone a football player in the prime of his career. at the start of a new beginning with a new club and a young family to look after. It is tragic that Benitez has passed don’t get me wrong, but I think we should be careful how we pay tribute to him.

I think it’s right and proper to have a minute’s applause to celebrate the good things he did whilst at St Andrews, and I have no issue with this before the game – in the time-honoured tradition of doing it before the kick-off. However, I don’t like this mawkish sentimentality that is creeping into the game whereby people feel the need to applaud his name EVERY game on the 11th minute. In absolute, brutal, honesty I don’t even like the thought of doing that once – I think it’s a new fad and it’s one that I’d rather we didn’t take up.

I understand that people might think I’m being harsh but I think it’s the realities of life. I don’t need to be reminded of the fabulous move he started and finished against Everton in the Cup by applauding him in the 11th minute. Applaud him once, sing his name and then move on. We’re supposed to live in the present, not the past.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials


69 Responses to “Postcards from Hong Kong and Thoughts on Benitez”

  • Big Al says:

    I agree too.

  • Adam says:

    I agree with you. Its sad that a player in his prime has died, or anyone that age has died and i’ll be there paying my respects on Sat for the Watford game.

    I don’t want to sound harsh either but alot of comments about legend are coming out at the moment. In my honest opinion i didn’t think he did that great for us while he was on a one year loan spell albeit that was probably down to the tactics at the time but i don’t think he should be classed as a Birmingham City legend because he died young. Sorry if anyone disagrees. KRO

    • Gibbsy says:

      My son yesterday (and remember he is only 25) said he ranked him a 2nd only to Dugarry as the most exciting player he has seen in a blues shirt, when you look at the video posted on the BCFC website, some of his flicks, back heels etc, were pretty outrageous, so everyone has their own opinion, the same as we all have polar views on Zig!

      • Adam says:

        Yeah, im not saying he was bad, He made some good runs and scared opposition defense i just felt he lacked something while he was with us.

        I wouldn’t say he was in our top 5 players over the past say 10- 15 years though. The likes of Horsefield Savage Forsell even Lazaridis lol. I always enjoyed watching them play and would rate them higher. I’m only 24.

      • chas says:

        Spot on Gibbsy. Each to their own , I have MY heros (from long ago) but I still class Mauro and Jose amongst the best I have seen. Each to their own, Chucho was good for us, imo.

  • Bluesbot says:

    I think to do it once before kickoff would suffice – any noise during the game should be to encourage the players on the pitch or to engage in a little banter with the opposition, anything else could a distraction to the players, and god knows we need them 100% focused.

  • Murph says:

    I loved the guy for he’s ability and desire , proper player , I think a minutes silence out of respect as he didn’t have enough time to fully enjoy he’s life and family and a minutes applause just this one game to let him know how much we all enjoyed he’s football ability , R I P chucho.

  • Murph says:

    Meant applause in 11 minute

  • Ben Lennon says:

    Agree with some of the points made but feel there will be no harm in applauding in the 11th minute just this once for a former player who wore our royal blue with pride and excited the fans week in week out and there hasn’t been many of them in recent years!!

  • P'taah says:

    I don’t feel there would be anything wrong with the applause in just this game. Not exactly candle in the wind is it?

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Absolutely agree. It should be one minute before the game and that’s it. We didn’t have this silly applaud the shirt number in minutes when real greats have died over the years. Stick to the one minute, it’s enough.

    • Gibbsy says:

      I agree 1 minutes silence or applause before the game and any chanting of his name that is spontaneous, none of this Vile mimicking applause on the minute of the number of his shirt, doesn’t even feel respectful, more of a gimmick!

  • steve says:

    I must have missed something. Who said anything about every game ?

  • Oldbluenose says:

    I have to agree with all above comments, Before the match, we could/should show our respect and fondness for Chucho, but to keep repeating it match after match, ??????.

  • matt says:

    Applaud him once, sing his name and then move on. We’re supposed to live in the present, not the past!

    Hang your head in shame!

    I for one do not want the painful 11th minute for ever but for god sake dan shocking!

  • David Richards says:

    Well Said !!!!

  • Jaffa says:

    God bless him and his family.Yes show respect on saturday then leave him be.Al dig as deep as you can to try and get some answers on the sale.Any chance you will be seeing Pannu!!

  • steve says:

    ” Be careful how we pay tribute to him ” Why ? As long as we pay tribute to him,it doesn’t matter. I don’t think it will go past Saturday’s game anyway. dan,some of your comments are disrespectful.

  • fletch says:

    i agree , 1 minute before is total respect , anything else looks cheesy

  • Bluehobba says:

    Agree, Applause before the game and show his goals flicks etc on the big screen. RIP Chucho KRO

  • bluenose1949 says:

    Agree 100%. RIP Chucho.

  • Tony says:

    Gibbsy with respects your son is to young to have seen much quality in a blues shirt, there are many others who outshone chucho by a mile , Dugarry was but one.

    • Alex T says:

      Well im 37, and I can confidently say Chucho was our most exciting player bar Dugarry in the last 20 years. Sorry, but Horsefield and Savage dont even come into the same ball part and Mauro Zarate failed to have enough influence on results. If we had kept hold of him there is no way we would have got relegated….. and his overall package would have been a lot cheaper than Zigic as well.

      Personally I am all for a minutes applause in the 11th minute…. Have we become such snobs that we wouldn’t do anything just because another teams fans have done something before us?? Or because we deem it pre-meditated? ? Surely it should happen because it just feels right??!

      • Ali Duncan says:

        As always Alex, you’re speaking (or writing even) total sense. Who are we to judge or dictate how certain fans should pay homage to a deceased former player?

  • Pete says:

    I can’t say I mind. I do not see a groups of fans doing it each and every game anyway.I do thin it is a little gimmicky, but then agin a minutes applause was just a gimmick to stop fans being disrespectful and because some could not keep quiet for a whole minute.

    For the record, I cant believe the logic of those fans saying things to the tune of we should mark the occaision, but not go crazy as he was not that great and was only on loan, etc. That I find a little sick. I do not think we did enough support and caring about a former captain in Gary Ablett, now should we care three times as much and do three times as much as he played for 3 years and not one? Or does the marking of a young life passing work on a goals per caring ratio…?

    On a different note, with the king news today I cannot see many clubs looking to take a punt on King with a police charge possibly pending, so I guess he will be staying with us. Surely Clark will involve him if he knows he will be staying?

    • StaffsBlue says:

      What kind of reaction would King get if he were to get a game? Personally, all I care about is, when he has the blue shirt on his back, he’s a Birmingham City player and I’ll cheer him on like any other player. But there are maybe some who aren’t quite so forgiving.

      • Bluenosesol says:

        Staffs, we can all forgive the remorseful, King is now taking the p**** and is disrespecting supporters and the club with his delinquent behaviour. One minute you are saying his misdemeanours are in the past and he has served his time, now you are saying you dont care if he is a complete arse as long as he wears a Blues shirt. I for one have lost patience with him. Time to get rid!!

      • Chris says:

        so you don’t care about his victims of his many offences including violence and sexual assault or Lee Hughes and Luke McCormick’s victims?

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I’m not condoning anything. He’s paid his dues for his past crimes, how many times does someone have to pay for the same crime? As far as I’m aware, this is the first time he’s been in any kind of trouble since he came out of nick. But, if he is found guilty and/or does receive a prison sentence for this latest incident, of course, the club have to get rid. No doubt about that.

  • neil says:

    totally agree, personally i think there should be a minutes silence, after which a montage should be played on the big screen, after which applause would follow.

  • Tony says:

    This must be modern man talk all this rubbish about what King has done and has not done, I couldnt give a monkeys what he does as long as he scores goals some people are far to effeminate. probably push the babys buggy and carry shopping bags too.

    • Bluenosesol says:

      Now you really are becoming offensive, please think before you type!

    • Chris says:

      So you wouldn’t care if he sexually and physically assaulted your daughter or wife or (if true as no charges brought yet) hit and run your son or dad and drove off without helping them.
      No wonder this country is going to the dogs with morals like this, typical Eastenders mentality.

    • Pete says:

      Are you doing this as a tongue and cheek comment to sound like a moron as some kind of irony?

  • andy says:

    Its a shock and tragedy, I agree with the minutes silence for chucho before the game on Saturday but I also agree with applauding afterwards and then moving on, the 11th minute applause is a little daft.

  • Murph says:

    As said , a minutes silence before game as a mark of respect for him and he’s family and just this game a 11 minute one minute of clapping of appreciation for he’s talents to the football family .

  • Ribeye says:

    By definition, nobody can ‘rest in peace’ if they receive a clap from a stadium full of football fans every week. We need a solemn and dignified show of celebration for the life and times of a player who always wore his blue and white with pride and who will forever be remembered as a key part of the team who gave us our highest ever league finish. I’d like to see his family invited over in a few years time maybe to see where dad once played, but lets drop the weekly clap idea. RIP Chucho.

  • Texas Pete says:

    What a load of rubbish! If anyone feels that applauding throughout the whole game or the whole season is an appopriate tribute, then they should. It is not up to OP to decide, or someone who thinks death is an inconvenience. The feelings of individuals in the crowd will decide the level of respect shown
    Perhaps you should campaign a set period of time for family to mourn. Try dictating it to be until an hour after the memorial, after all, a year and a day is just not 21st C is it.
    My sympathy goes to his young wife and children who were just seeing a new life start only to suffer this devasrtating shock so far from.home.

    • almajir says:

      You’re confusing personal opinion with me dictating what should and shouldn’t be done…

    • chas says:

      Texas Pete, have you actually read what Almajir wrote ? He spends enough time telling readers of the Blog that these are HIS opinions and in no way is he trying to speak for anyone else. There is certainly no need to get arsey about things.

  • Shergar says:

    I Respect people’s opinion and everyone has a right to one but a debate on how individuals show respect to a former player that’s passed away I’m not completely comfortable with.

    • Bluenosesol says:

      Shergar, I accept what you say. at the end of the day everyone must do what they feel comfortable with and dont do what they feel uncomfortable with. Over the last 100 years, many dozens of Blues legends to differing degrees, have passed on and whatever we do, we need to bear them all in mind.

  • Always a Blue says:

    People should respect Chucho in the way they feel fit,but rememember there were two players (Ian Handysides & Byron Stephenson) who were not on loan and lost their lives at a young age,we do not mark their passing at every match.

    However I shall be there on Saturday to pay my respects and if the fans decide to carry the tribute on throughout the season I will join in.

    Just on Marlon King,if he was found guilty surely we could terminate his contract?

    • Chris says:

      Byron wasn’t playing when he died he was 50.
      Jeff Hall was playing when he died though of polio and we had the old clock on the Kop as his memorial.

    • Pete says:

      It would take some time until this matter would end up going to court, so his contract would probably be up by this time anyway. I suspect that only criminal sentences would mean he could be dismissed.

  • Always a Blue says:

    Good point on Byron Chris,

    Anyway let’s just do the right thing on Saturday.

  • Frankie says:

    Agree also.
    A lot of clubs seem to have hi-jacked this ‘tribute’ from the Bruges fans.
    We should remember Chucho with affection on Saturday, he was an exciting player and by ALL accounts a lovely human being.

    RIP Chucho and all respects.

  • Dino Tiltoni says:

    I agree, well said.

    If McLeish had showed more faith and retained him we might still be in the prem, Mcleish might still be manager and Chucho might still be alive.

  • Brian king says:

    Chucho was a breath of fresh air when he played and entertained us all with his energy and cleaver play. It can only be correct that we show our respects to his memory and his family by a minutes applause for this former blue nose who has died so young. But we must remember their will be others who also will deserve our respects and indeed gratitude, People who have given a lot more to the club than Chucho did with respect. It is those people who will deserve more than one minutes applause.

    Then we have our Mr King who in my opinion deserves our unanimous disapproval, I don’t care how many goals he scores for he is not a person who should be playing at this club or indeed any club.

    Sent from my iPad

  • Tony says:

    Cant believe some of this rubbish Im reading Chucho would be behind possibly 100 players at least in the quality stakes in the last 60 years. Dont let silly sentimentality cloud your judgment he will never be a legend simply because he was not that good.
    There was a guy named Frank Worthington he did not come from some exotic South american country he came from Halifax he was a good time lad he liked a drink, and he liked the women.
    He was not nimble like chucho he was a six footer but he was three times the player Chucho was ,he had all the flicks all the style and he scored goals, probably the most entertaining player I have ever seen in a Blues shirt but even he would not figure in the top 20.
    Lets get some kind of perspective here, a minutes applause before the game then move on we are not talking TF here for gods sake.

    • Ali Duncan says:

      Fair point Tony. Chucho was not a Blues legend but people should still respect / remember / salute however they feel they wish to remember.

  • dave mann says:

    1 muinite silence before the game, 1 muinite applause for the eleventh muinite but only for
    this game and thats it, respect and apreciation done and dusted and 3 points to top it all

  • Frankie says:

    All about personal opinion isn’t it.
    I thought Frankie Wortho was a talent for sure but a tad over-rated, a bit like Gascoigne was.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Frank Worthington was never over-rated. He was a true talent, who lit up the game wherever he went.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    The club says, black armbands for the players, a minute’s silence before the game and a minute’s applause in the 11th minute. That’s fitting imo.

  • sam says:

    Basically everyone can do what they want or feel fit!
    Personally while I liked him and was away at that Everton game he wasn’t what I would call a legend and feel respect this game will do.
    I heard the club were changing the build up music pre match anyone else heard or is it just hot air?

  • mark says:

    It very sad regarding chucho 1 minute is definitely fitting by bcfc. The applaud and chanting his name should stir the players on saturday on how passionate we are as fans……….chucho will be blessed on saturday no matter what. Bloody marvellous dan your back in hk……..

  • mark says:

    Dan- my postcard from sunny and then wet st.lves cornwall……how the other half live lol. Back for the watford game……….

  • mark says:

    Marlon hit and run crash incident if this goes any further blues I believe have the right terminate his contract…….. Maybe??? Terrible news really……

  • jazzzy786 says:

    I think it should be a minutes silence NOT a minutes applause. I think silence shows respect and dignity and is more fitting in this case. A minutes applause shows appreciation but doesn’t IMO suit the occasion. I agree it should only be done once.

  • Ray says:

    Dan, I’m glad you cleared up your thoughts on why you think we shouldn’t applaud in the 11th minute. I was curious as to why you were so much against it, so thanks for that. Either way I can see it still happening now that some are in favour of it, so inevitably others will join in. I personally have no problems with it as a once off. But I feel it wouldn’t be appropriate to continue as a tradition. Granted he is one of the most talented footballers we have had in recent times, but I just don’t see it as a mainstay feature for any other games down the line.

    If people want to applaud in the 11th minute on Saturday then fine, it might even motivate the team and crowd. Tired of our slow starts to games. As regards a minutes silence versus a minutes applause pre match, I would prefer a minutes silence as I think it’s more appropriate. But look in all honesty it doesn’t really matter, once we all pay tribute to Chucho. So whatever happens I’m glad we get the opportunity to do so.

  • Alex T says:

    I don’t know about Frank Worthington, he was a bit before my time…. but in terms of quality, Chucho, for me had it all. He linked midfield up with Jerome so well that when he wasn’t played it was so blindingly obvious he wasn’t on the pitch because there was always a 30 yard gap between Jerome and the rest. When he was played in a 442 formation i think we lost twice all year! That, to me speaks more than his goal record, WHICH I firmly believe would have been corrected the following year if that muppet mcliesh would have kept him instead of buying Zigic. I believe this because the vast majority of South American players alway took a year to settle in the prem AND because he has proven he can find the onion bag before and since he came to the blues. The sitters he missed were just indicative of low confidence, which comes and goes. So maybe he won’t be remembered as a Blues legend because of his goal record and short spell with us, but he will be a legend to me for all of the above reasons plus the especially exciting nature of his play (and of the team overall when he played) and just because someone else decided that Chucho could not stay another year (when it was clear that he was needed) should not belittle the important part he played in our recent history.

    I always secretly hoped he would return one day, so apart from the obvious tragedy I am gutted he is gone…….. but never forgotten. RIP Chucho

  • Iggy says:

    Let’s have the minute’s applause prior to the game and then move on. Your stunning use of the words “mawkish” and “tawdry” in your two articles convey my feelings entirely.

    Being a Blues fan has never involved simply following the herd. Let’s avoid the temptation on this occasion too.


    PS I like Tony’s comments on Frank Worthington

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