Who better than Kevin Phillips to talk about this Saturday’s Birmingham City v Sunderland clash? A man with bags of time for both sets of fans, a player who served both clubs well (in our case, outstandingly). There was a snag. The brush-off we received last time we raised such an impertinence with St Andrew’s suggested a phrase containing waste and time. John Baker*, an exiled Midlander who runs the Blues Muse site, is not SuperKev, but he does come up with some punchy answers, one beach ball gag and a fair amount of disdain for Steve Bruce …
Salut! Sunderland: You were pretty dire in the Carling Cup at the Stadium of Light. I take it we’ll encounter a different Birmingham City at St Andrew’s.
You beat our fourth string that reputedly doesn’t exist . . . but they somehow manage to find their way into the first team now and again. It’s true we fielded a weakened team in the Carling Cup against you chaps, but you were world beaters on the night, right?
What was coming up like? A sense of deja vu – here we go again – or real optimism?
Our form in the Championship was, er, dire, but we were reminded that it was ‘job done.’ Consequently we expected another Prem struggle . . . but then we quickly made some astute signings for the defence, and things were looking very positive back in June. However as the window was about to close the outgoing board wanted to keep their money in their grimy pockets, and the incoming board weren’t permitted to front the cash we needed for a creative midfielder.
And what is the best you can realistically achieve this season?
Prem survival. I had hoped for better, but losing some games we should have won recently – no, not Arsenal! – has the confidence full of dents yet again. It’s a Brummagem disease dunt ya’ know!
Tell me your real thoughts on Villa. How do you think the rivalry compares with Sunderland and Newcastle?
They’re better than us, and have been for most of my 45 years suppo . . , er, suffering Birmingham City. The rivalry has got somewhat out of hand in recent years in that we keep losing to them ugly buggers. What are they thinking, uh?!
There is no comparison to the Tyneside rivalry as you both wear those ugly stripes. I think I may have mentioned before that they are aerodynamically debilitating, and the proof is Newcastle in the Championship. There is a reason that Celtic are successful with horizontal stripes y’know.
What are you thoughts on the men associated with both our clubs, notably Steve Bruce and Kevin Phillips?
Kevin Phillips, a model pro. A predator around the box, and has served many clubs well.
Steve Bruce on the other hand would be best suited to leaning on the bar and ordering pints in the Rovers Return. He was a great centre half but as a manager he’s a fully qualified numpty! It took us 3 years to find this out, followed by 3 more years of suffering. Then he was off to Wigan who thought they had the capture of the millennium. But, they too saw the writing on the wall and were happy to get rid in less than two years.
Steve Bruce is part of the F.A.’s “on the job” training programme, and if you’re lucky he might just learn something about tactics soon and be useful to you. Yep, Kevin Phillips, great guy.
Who will be this season’s Premier top four, in order?
If Man City were not in the list, why not?
Phew, that was close!
And who will go down?
If Sunderland made neither list, where do you feel we’ll end up this season?
Regretting having Steve Bruce as manager. Oh, hang on, about 15th, just ahead of us.
Club v country. Who wins for you and why?
Club. England have been disappointing to watch for decades ain’t they? I rest my case m’lud.
The Eduardo question: Kevin Phillips comes on as a late sub in the last game of the season. You need three points to survive. Last second, Kev goes down but it’s a blatant dive seen as such by everyone in the ground except the referee. The penalty given, you win and stay up. You take it gladly, you take it guiltily or you’re so ashamed you almost wish you’d gone down?
Survival would be tainted by the knowledge that we earned it by cheating. In fact, next time I see Kev I’ll smack his bottom. Er, is it time to wake up now?
Will you be at the game?
I would be except that I’ve 5,500 miles, a $1,000 airfare, a few lagers, a few cabernets, and fish and chips in a Brummie chippie between me an that reality.
What will be the score?
2-1 to Brummagem. You’ll score first with a wicked deflection of an errant balloon, and we’ll protest vehemently that Hattie Jacques was offside.
However, a hopeful long distance effort from McFadden will ricochet of Steve Bruce’s head to bring the scores level.
In the 89th minute Steve Bruce will once again tell his vertically striped troops to, ‘Keep it tight lads’ . . . which will actually be the 89th time he will have said so during the game. Then while the Sunderland players start to protest his negative tactics, the boys in blue will sweep down-field and take advantage of a static Sunderland defence . . . to hit the post.
However, in the umpteenth minute of injury time Kevin Phillips will be tackled fairly in the box, but dive so beautifully that he gets a 5.9 from the Ref. McFadden will convert the undeserved penalty and the swelling in Steve Bruce’s head will go down.
* John Baker on John Baker:
Based in Boise, Idaho, USA, I’m a photographer and lead photo tours here, there and everywhere . . . see http://www.travelimages.com
Been suffering as a Bluenose since 1964 when we lost at home to Chelsea, 6-1. How sweet it is to be an idiot. I also run the Birmingham fans’ site http://www.bluesmuse.com. Stunning huh?