Birmingham City 0 – Luton Town 1
Saturday 13 February 2021
For some reason, I had a strange feeling of optimism before the match, I thought that today could be the day we turned our season round. I was wrong. Instead, we were served up the same old shite we’d had all season – impotent going forward, shaky at the back, particularly at set pieces, bewildering substitutions, the lot. All the tropes which have so far made up the 20/21 season.
Karanka made two changes from the Bournemouth game we should have won but ended up losing. Halilovic started for the first time since Christmas, and Valery, a right back recruited when we clearly had more pressing matters in the strengthening department, made his debut.
Blues started reasonably brightly with the wingers and Halilovic showing up well in the first ten, until the life started to drain out of the side, and myself, and they reverted to looking like a bunch of strangers who had just been introduced to each other.
A no great shakes Luton took their time to take advantage but managed to do so on half an hour. It is ironic that two seasons of long throws have yielded absolutely zilch for Blues, while opponents seem to be able to score at will against us using this tactic. It may have something to do with opponents, unlike us, competing for the second ball and not leaving players free on the six yard box because you’ve all rushed like idiots to the near post. Potts was the lucky recipient this time as he stood in acres of space in an otherwise crowded box to nod home after Etheridge had made a good save from the first attempt.
There followed the usual ten minutes to quarter of an hour panic where, even though there’s still an hour to go, we, led by the captain, charge around like chickens with our heads cut off in search of an immediate reply, only to look more vulnerable to conceding a second.
We didn’t concede a second here, Luton realised there was no need as it slowly dawned on everyone that we weren’t scoring if we played all night. The usual, wingers and lightweight no 10s faded after early promise, Hogan unable to trap a bag of cement on the rare occasions when the ball went anywhere near him, simple passes going astray, the usual.
Surprisingly early changes made no difference – Harper and Leko made no impact. Later changes were bizarre as the big boys – Jukey and Cosgove – came on in a set up now devoid of wingers to get the ball into the box.
In my near forty years, I’ve never cared less about a Blues’ team. Apart from Gardner, Jukey and Colin, I feel no connection to any of them. Sure, lockdown and not being there has made bonding difficult, but this lot seem like a bunch of journeymen who could be playing for any side and don’t give that much of a stuff for Blues.
Vapid players, characterless manager, faceless owners who’ve purged the real Blues-loving employees from the club. Like the two main stands, the identity of Birmingham City is crumbling before out very eyes.