Date: 23rd March 2018 at 10:30am
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Whenever I listen to a football phone-in, the host will say – “we have John on the line, a Manchester United fan from Oxford”. Social media is no better. Try hash tagging #MUFC and read the comments of ‘fans` from all over the country – anywhere except Manchester.

Of course, it isn`t just Manchester United. Try Chelsea, Arsenal and even Liverpool (although Liverpool do have a large Scouse following). You could even say the same about our neighbours from B6.

I acknowledge that Blues fans come from far and wide but a large majority live in the second city or a local overspill (like myself, from Tamworth – although a Yardley boy until January last year). Birmingham City as a club still has Brummie roots and a local identity.

When Bluenoses travel in their thousands, they are not only representing their club but also their city. The sense of humour is still very Brummie and we are, in every sense of the word, working class people supporting a working class club.

This isn`t a pop at Villa, far from it. But if you`ve ever been to New Street station on the day of a Villa home game or driven down the motorway as they`re all making their way to Villa Park, you`ll know that the locality and deep rooted Brummieness doesn`t apply to the bulk of their fan base.

My Dad took me to St. Andrews when I was four or five. I literally had no choice in my allegiance. And while Blues have been somewhere between abysmal and mediocre for most of my 31 year existence, taking me to watch the Blues was probably the best thing he ever did.

Obviously I wish Blues were a more successful, prestigious club. I wish we hadn`t been sold down the river by porn barrens and fleeced by a Chinese hairdresser. I wish we hadn`t been on the verge of going bust more times than we`ve been on the brink of winning trophies. But this is our club.

I recently stumbled upon a Tweet from an Arsenal fan which read – “I`m not going to Wembley, it`s a sh*t cup”. This was his team participating in the League Cup final. Not so long ago, Blues fans were pinching themselves after winning the same trophy against that very opposition.

Anyone in attendance at Bolton on 3rd May 2014 would have been in recovery for days after. When that Paul Caddis header landed in the back of the net, the scenes cannot be explained. The emotion cannot be explained. And that was merely to stay in the second tier.

For every bit of success the ‘big` clubs have, Blues will be battling for survival or mid-table mediocrity. Yet when we do have even an ounce of success or a big occasion (can we class surviving at Bolton and Bristol as success?) we snatch it with both hands and embrace it.

The final whistle at Ashton Gate in May marked another successful escape from the drop. The pride flowing through me as I joined in with a heartfelt rendition of Keep Right On was unmistakable. To summarise, we`d finished 19th in the Championship and there I was celebrating passionately with thousands of others who were experiencing the exact same joy.

Birmingham City – we wouldn`t change you for the world.

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