Birmingham news and blogs Wednesday 13 April 2016
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When Saturday Comes

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WSC 351 out now 

12 Apr 16

May issue available online The new WSC is out now, available to order from the WSC shop .

Classic match ~ Aston Villa 2-1 Bournemouth, 1972 

8 Apr 16

8 April ~ Aston Villa could be relegated this weekend if they fail to beat Bournemouth and Norwich better their result.

Get with the programme ~ Wolves v Liverpool, 1970 

30 Mar 16

Division One 30 March ~ “Well, with the season almost over, how do I feel about the past few months?” asks Wolves’ manager Bill McGarry.

On this day in history ~ Division Four, 1975 

22 Mar 16

Mansfield on the up as Reading field Death against struggling Scunthorpe 22 March ~ Happy times for Mansfield who had played one of two Friday night fixtures, a 3-2 win over Exeter.

Aston Villa’s high wages can’t overcome bad management 

21 Mar 16

Every part of the club is in a mess 21 March ~ For several years now there has been a strong correlation between a Premier League club’s wage bill and their position in the table, with the two often matching almost exactly.

Exciting Benítez needs different skills to save Newcastle 

14 Mar 16

Spaniard has a tough start at Leicester but not much time to improve his new team 14 March ~ When Steve McClaren was appointed manager of Newcastle United following the club’s final day escape from relegation last season, it was seen as an…

Get with the programme ~ Preston v Swansea, 1964 

14 Mar 16

FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park 14 March ~ This was an all-Second Division tie on a boggy pitch in the days when both FA Cup semi-finals were played at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon.

Classic match ~ Spurs 2-4 Aston Villa, 2000 

13 Mar 16

13 March ~ Going into this weekend Aston Villa were bottom of the Premier League, nine points from safety, while Spurs are having their best season in a long time and are second, just five points behind Leicester at the top.

Classic match ~ Man Utd 3-5 West Brom, 1978 

6 Mar 16

6 March ~ West Bromwich Albion’s match against Manchester United today is an excuse to look back at their Old Trafford clash in 1978.

True European heritage lies in Dundee not “top” leagues 

24 Feb 16

Plan to exclude smaller clubs from European Cup would remove all sense of competition 24 February ~ Dynamo Kiev have reached the semi-finals of both the Champions League and the old European Cup.

Get with the programme ~ Luton v Sunderland, 1972 

19 Feb 16

Division Two 19 February ~ Mid-table Luton greeted fifth-place Sunderland in a fixture that would be repeated just over 12 months later at Roker Park in the FA Cup quarter-final.

Renaming stands and the problems with recognition 

17 Feb 16

Old Trafford’s South Stand will now be renamed the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand 17 February ~ Manchester United recently announced that Old Trafford’s South Stand is to be renamed the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand.

Clubs need to win a title before truly lusting after success 

17 Feb 16

Leicester’s first championship would change their mindset from joy to burning desire for more 17 February ~ It remains difficult for me to imagine Leicester City’s fans currently want a maiden national League title as much as those of Napoli…

Classic match ~ Wolves 2-1 Preston, Division One, 1949 

13 Feb 16

13 February ~ With Wolves and Preston both are decidedly mid-table this season so not a huge amount rests on their match at Molineux today.

Tony Pulis’s fear of attack frustrates West Brom fans 

10 Feb 16

Hard-working players regularly picked over creative types 10 February ~ Tonight’s FA Cup fourth round replay between Peterborough United and West Bromwich Albion could well be one of those where neutrals would prefer to see both sides lose…

Shaky Arsenal hold no fear for in-form Bournemouth 

6 Feb 16

Cherries have eased relegation concerns ahead of Gunners’ visit on Sunday 6 February ~ For the first time this season there’s a feeling of relative safety at Dean Court after Bournemouth’s gritty Premier League victory over Crystal Palace …

Championship leaders Hull proving tough to love 

5 Feb 16

Steve Bruce’s Tigers travel to fellow promotion contenders Burnley this weekend 5 February ~ It may smack of ingratitude, but even when at the top of the Championship with 18 games to go, having also made the FA Cup fifth round, embarked on…

Group effort has Birmingham City back to their best 

29 Jan 16

Blues’ fortunes have been turned around since Gary Rowett took over 29 January ~ Most clubs are reluctant to reveal the exact cost of a new signing, but this week Birmingham City eagerly announced that £1.5 million had been spent on Diego …

Crowdfunding for Laurie Cunningham biography 

28 Jan 16

Ex-West Brom and Real Madrid striker was first black player to wear an England shirt 28 January ~ A crowd-funding campaign has been launched to produce the first biography of Laurie Cunningham.

Martínez needs history to repeat for restless Everton 

27 Jan 16

Howard Kendall’s team were having similar problems until their 1984 League Cup run 27 January ~ Once again Everton have an under-fire manager, unhappy crowd and pivotal-looking League Cup run.

Classic match ~ Leicester 2-4 Aston Villa, Div One, 1981 

16 Jan 16

16 January ~ Aston Villa go into their match with Leicester today looking to build on their first win since the opening day of the season and close the gap to safety.

On this day in history ~ Premier League, 2001 

13 Jan 16

Man Utd lead from the front as Man City go the other way with Coventry and Bradford 13 January ~ Manchester United led the table from the beginning of September and finished ten points clear of runners-up Arsenal (whom they beat 6-1 at Old…

Classic match ~ Spurs 2-0 Leicester, FA Cup final, 1961 

10 Jan 16

10 January ~ Tottenham’s FA Cup tie with Leicester this weekend is the 12th time the two team have been drawn together in the competition.

The best and worst moments of 2015 ~ part two 

27 Dec 15

A selection of WSC contributors give their opinions on the past year Best It may sound slightly odd but the sacking of Ian Holloway and the appointment of Neil Harris as his replacement was a highlight for many Millwall fans.

The best and worst moments of 2015 ~ part one 

24 Dec 15

A selection of WSC contributors give their opinions on the past year Best Not since the days when Frank Sidebottom frequented Altrincham home matches has there been a club mascot as brilliantly odd as Kingsley, the David Shrigley creation …

Classic match ~ Norwich 1-3 Manchester Utd, 1993 

19 Dec 15

19 December ~ Norwich and Manchester United go into their match today with contrasting ambitions for the season.

On this day in history ~ Division Three, 1971 

18 Dec 15

Aston Villa start their climb up the table, chasing Bournemouth and Notts County 18 December ~ Aston Villa made a moderate start to their second season in Division Three, which included home defeats by Mansfield and Rotherham.

On this day in history ~ Championship, 2008 

13 Dec 15

Wolves lead the way as Charlton, Southampton and Norwich head for relegation 13 December ~ Mick McCarthy’s Wolves led the Championship for almost the entire season, keeping their place despite a run of only one win in ten games from Boxing…

Middlesbrough tipped to thump someone soon 

11 Dec 15

But Championship should stay wide open 11 December ~ Repeatedly, we Championship supporters hear of the new Premier League TV deal that arrives with 2016-17.

Counter-attacking is a thrilling art form worth celebrating 

9 Dec 15

Football isn’t all about possession – some of the best goals are also the most direct 9 December ~ In late November BT Sport co-commentator Chris Sutton was still excusing Valencia’s Santi Mina for losing possession – no harm taking on the…

WSC 347 & 2015 photo special out now 

8 Dec 15

January issue available online The new WSC is out now, dispatched on the day of order from the new WSC shop .

On this day in history ~ Division Two, 1991 

7 Dec 15

Cambridge lead the way but newly wealthy Blackburn give chase 7 December ~ Dion Dublin and John Taylor scored the goals in the 2-2 draw that kept Cambridge United top.

“Fragile” Newcastle’s attacking desire may help Liverpool 

4 Dec 15

Steve McClaren under pressure and defensive injuries aren’t helping 4 December ~ Sky must be rubbing their hands in glee.

Rise in red cards shows game’s positive development 

1 Dec 15

Lack of punishment in the 1950s was not down to players being less physical 1 December ~ On September 21, 1959 Aldershot hosted Gateshead in the fledgling Fourth Division.

On this day in history ~ Premier League, 1992 

28 Nov 15

Arsenal beat Manchester United but Norwich storm ahead 28 November ~ With the decisive third goal scored by midfielder Daryl Sutch, Norwich inflicted Aston Villa’s first defeat in 13 games.

On this day in history ~ Division One, 1953 

14 Nov 15

Wolves close the gap to league-leaders Wes Brom while Liverpool slide towards relegation 14 November ~ Wolves closed to within a point of leaders West Brom after a goal from winger Jimmy Mullen secured a 1-0 win at Molineux in front of 56,…

WSC 346 out now 

10 Nov 15

December issue available online now The new WSC is out now, dispatched on the day of order from the brand new WSC shop .

Egomania reigns when scorers taunt opposing fans 

9 Nov 15

Jamie Vardy’s celebration against West Brom ungracious but understandable 9 November ~ Leicester City’s winner at West Brom on October 31 seemed to exemplify the insolent and incendiary nature of scorers celebrating in front of opposition …

On this day in history ~ Division Two, 1988 

5 Nov 15

Chelsea’s record run begins while Walsall go the other way 5 November ~ Chelsea’s win was their second match in a club-record sequence of 27 games undefeated.

Villa’s prospects bleak as fans turn to gallows humour 

2 Nov 15

Rémi Garde is set to take over as manager at Villa Park 2 November ~ This is Aston Villa’s sixth consecutive relegation fight and the hole now dug in the Premier League basement is a particularly deep one.

Classic match ~ Derby 3-3 Wolves, Division 1, 1995 

18 Oct 15

Promotion hopefuls went head to head at the Baseball Ground 18 October ~ When they meet today Derby and Wolves will be striving to put pressure on those currently lying just above both clubs in the play-off positions.

Brentford need to regroup after shambolic start to season 

16 Oct 15

New head coach Lee Carsley hasn’t yet had an impact on poor performances 16 October ~ When Brentford supporters looked at the fixture list at the start of the season, few would have expected Saturday’s home game against Rotherham to have been…

Adams bringing Plymouth back from the wilderness 

11 Oct 15

There are signs that the Pilgrims are much stronger during their fifth season in League Two 11 October ~ After a few years of watching Plymouth Argyle being like forced to watch someone you’re fond of get beaten up on a regular basis, suddenly…

On this day in history ~ Division One, 1977 

8 Oct 15

Nottingham Forest leave Liverpool trailing while Bob Latchford scores four for Everton 8 October ~ Newly promoted Nottingham Forest had gone top after a midweek defeat of Ipswich four days previously and never relinquished the position.

Celebrating the football annual 

6 Oct 15

New book explores what old annuals tell us about past players’ lives away from the pitch WSC readers can save £2 on The Heyday of the Football Annual here 6 October ~You’re bound to have some in a dusty box in the loft, or mouldering in the…

Phil Parkinson revels in safety and stability at Bradford 

26 Sep 15

But Peterborough fans already nervous about new manager Graham Westley 26 September ~ Aside fromArsène Wenger, there can’t be a safer manager’s job in English football than Phil Parkinson at League One Bradford City.

"New Stoke" must ignore hysteria and find consistency 

25 Sep 15

Despite poor results Mark Hughes’ side have shown flashes of how good they could be 25 September ~ When, just a couple of days into the season, Stoke City announced the signing of Xherdan Shaqiri it marked more than the end of a seven-month…

On this day in history ~ Division One, 1897 

25 Sep 15

25 September ~ Sheffield United went on to become the fifth club to win the Championship and the first from Yorkshire.

Forest’s new approach faces litmus test at Huddersfield 

24 Sep 15

Being forced to rein in spend or bust policy may give Dougie Freedman more time 24 September ~ If you were to invite suggestions for a Championship game for Sky to cover you’d ask a lot of people before someone came up with Huddersfield v …

Unwatchable West Brom need Berahino against Villa 

18 Sep 15

Discontent among both sets of fans ahead of West Midlands derby 18 September ~ It is usual these days for the build-up to a West Midlands derby to be dominated by talk of crises of confidence and/or identity for at least one of the clubs involved…

Unlikely teams to have never reached a European final 

16 Sep 15

And the ones who surprisingly have but get less attention 16 September ~ During last month’s Europa League group stage draw, it jarred to hear talk of Basel potentially playing their first European final on their own ground.

Get with the programme ~ Newcastle v Aston Villa 

5 Sep 15

Football League Division One, 1975 5 September ~ This was the first top-flight meeting between the two clubs since 1966 “when we were both struggling at the wrong end of the First Division table”, notes the programme.

Laurie Cunningham: Different class exhibition 

18 Aug 15

To be held at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park 18 August ~ Born in Islington in 1956, Laurie Cunningham became the first black footballer to play for England at any level, when he was picked for the Under-21s in 1977, and two years later was…

Optimism at Crystal Palace as Arsenal hold no fear 

16 Aug 15

Eagles feel at home in Premier League 16 August ~ After Crystal Palace’s season-opening win at Norwich Alan Pardew quipped that he was initially worried he might have picked the wrong team.

Nigel Adkins already finding life tough at Sheffield Utd 

15 Aug 15

Large squad and defensive frailties proving hard to address 15 August ~ After Sheffield United’s 4-0 defeat at Gillingham last Saturday, midfielderChris Basham said that the players “lacked heart”.

Bournemouth look beyond Premier League survival 

8 Aug 15

Eddie Howe’s reshaped team take on Villa 8 August ~ Bournemouth fans are very positive about the new season as the team prepare for their first ever game in the top flight, against Aston Villa.

Selling best players nothing new – Aston Villa can recover 

27 Jul 15

Tim Sherwood has lost Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph this summer 27 July ~ “I feel sorry for Tim Sherwood,” said Aston Villa legend and now football expert Andy Gray on Talksport, “he’s lost his best player, Delph, his best striker, …

WSC 342 out now 

7 Jul 15

August issue available online and in stores The new WSC is out now, available from all good newsagents or dispatched on the day of order from the WSC shop .

Michael McIndoe and the scheme that cost players £30m 

25 Jun 15

Express Star reveal former Wolves player’s investments 25 June ~ The Express Star have revealed how a scheme run by former Wolves player Michael McIndoe is believed to have lost up to 100 footballers around £30 million.

WSC 341 out now 

9 Jun 15

July issue available online The new WSC is out now, dispatched on the day of order from the WSC shop .