September 12, 2002

Midlands derby revived!: In honor of Fat Buddha and BigCalm, I'm posting this thread on the upcoming Premier League clash between intra-city rivals Aston Villa (BigC's team) and Birmingham City (Fat B's team). These Birmingham clubs last played each other at the highest level 15 years ago, when Villa lost at home 3-0. Villa are the visitors for next Monday's game, coming off a 2-0 win that ended a two-game losing streak. Birmingham, newly-promoted from Division 1, have had two lucky breaks this week. They almost pulled off an upset over championship contenders Liverpool with a 2-2 draw yesterday, and earlier saw their owner walk away from a small plane crash-landing. Both teams are only separated by one point in the League standings, so this will be a compelling match, with much to play for. But I'm most interested in FB and BC's genteel brand of trash-talking. Educate us on the history of this clash and flame away, gents.

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 03:22 PM - 45 comments

genteel brand of trash-talking ?, well that is something I have never been accused of before. A cynic might think you are tryoing to stir it old chap! Over the years Villa have got the best of us, but that is to be expected. They are the ones with the proud tradition of winning cups (you will have to go way back in the history books to find out when) and leagues. It makes winning all the sweeter for us when we manage it. I said ages ago I wouldn't indulge in flame wars with BigCalm, there is enough garbage being spouted on the various Blues and Villa message boards, this one being the least genteel. Not that I wouldn't welcome honest and forthright opinion. Blues v Villa has been something of a rarity in recent years and I think this one will be something of a throwback to older less gentle times. I don't think many prawn sandwiches will be scoffed. In the past these have been extremely passionate, visceral affairs, with a poisonous atmosphere one will only encounter very rarely. The air hangs heavy with bile and bitterness, this is no friendly rivalry. You will often read of Everton and Liverpool fans attending games together, this is unlikely to happen at Blues - Villa games. As Blues fans we are accustomed to defeat, those of us of a certain vintage are anyway, some Johnny Come Latelies know nothing of the bad times. To lose to Villa though, is unthinkable. I once saw us lose while I stood mute on the Holte End. I have never been more miserable, and I had to pretend to be happy. Where Villa are concerned, I lose all rationality; quite simply I hate them. One of my best mates was a Villa fan, I didn't hate him, and I don't hate Villa fans, but the entity that is Aston Villa I loathe with a desperate intensity. I never want them to win, whoever they play. I could have wept when they won the European Cup. Monday will be interesting. Its the first time we have played in the league for 15 years, but then history has nothing to do with it. At the moment I don't think Villa have the either the finesse or aggression to match our midfield. Our ground is now universally acknowledged as a seething cauldron and is a very intimidating place. A few people (including some of our own) are in for a surprise. Blues to win easily I think.

posted by Fat Buddha at 07:04 PM on September 12, 2002

There you go, Fat Buddha. Ah yes, as a long-distance Liverpool fan, I remember the nailbiters of the 80s, including a few Cup finals. I think it came out pretty much even. These days, there's not quite the contest, given Everton's decline. But I've always been impressed by the general good-naturedness of Liverpool fans (of both colors). Of course, the exception being the riotous thugs in Euro that stained the Red forever. As for Villa v B'ham, I'm glad to see my estimation of the encounter validated by a local fan. This is not the Villa of Andy Gray glory. And yes, players like Cisse are making the Blues midfield a real threat, not to mention Grainger's crossing prowess, and Morrison's latest heroics (bloody heck). I've got Grainger in my fantasy team so I hope he does real damage. ;-) Where's Calmy?

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:02 PM on September 12, 2002

I'm here! Much obliged to you wc2002 for posting this. Right, some background then: Aston Villa and Birmingham City are geographically close - the two grounds are no more than 3 miles apart, despite the fact that both teams are big clubs, and both clubs get in the region of 30-35,000 supporters at each game. <understatement>They are not great footballing friends however.</understatement> The last time they played was in the cup 9 years ago, and the last league match was in 1988. more. If you grow up around Birmingham, you're normally either a Villa or a Blues fan. Oh there are other misfits who support the Baggies and the Saddlers, but the two great rivals are Blues and Villa. Around the time that the teams play, the pubs seem to divide along Blues and Villa lines. I know several pubs I would not go near on Monday (because they're Blues pubs), and I'm sure FB can think of some "Villa" pubs in a similar vein. I was secretly pleased when Blues got promoted into the premiership, just so that we could have the local derby games that we'd been missing in the Midlands. I've also got some great friends who are Blues fans, so when we win I shall enjoy being sickly smug at them (or, if we lose, avoiding them for two weeks). <flame>And the Villa will get great satisfaction from taking 6 points from the Blues this season, and ooh, at least 6 goals</flame> I'm so sure of this, that you should check out my fantasy team for next week (you can view it on Saturday) Up the Villa! /BC

posted by BigCalm at 03:52 AM on September 13, 2002

See what I mean? Both edifying and eloquent, FatB and BigC are the gentlemen rivals of Birmingham, the Mavens of the Midlands, the Lords of loquacity! ;-) Well done, well done!

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:31 AM on September 13, 2002

Blues first League victory over Villa was on 16th SEPTEMBER 1905 when they won 2-0 at Muntz Street. It's written in the stars.

posted by Fat Buddha at 03:21 PM on September 13, 2002

I hope you're right and Grainger scores both goals.

posted by worldcup2002 at 06:23 PM on September 13, 2002

Grainger is an interesting character who divides opinion amongst Blues fans. He once played an entire second half with a broken leg. Some Blues fans, myself included regard him as a mindless thug and a not very good footballer. To others he is a cult. In the Leeds game the other week he actually appeared to nut another psychotic full back in Danny Mills. His opta stats for the season are very impressive though and I will be more than happy to change my opinion of him. He could well score; whatever other doubts I may have about him he is Beckhamesque if we get a free kick around the box.

posted by Fat Buddha at 06:43 PM on September 13, 2002

Add to that Geoff Horsfield who looks like a duck out of water in the Premiership (i.e. Should be playing Division 2 or below football). Many Blues fans would happily accept beating the Villa twice and being relegated, rather than losing to the Villa twice and staying in the premiership. Most hardcore Villa fans would say the same, vice-versa - I know I would. Can't wait Can't Can't wait Can't wait til' monday.... /BC

posted by BigCalm at 06:55 PM on September 13, 2002

Horsfield will only come on to annoy your centre halfs and hold the ball up after John and Morrison have run you ragged, and the points are in the bag.

posted by Fat Buddha at 07:09 PM on September 13, 2002

Stern John? The man who can miss an open goal from 6 yards? er, we've got one of those too, Vassell. So expect a nice, friendly derby, which'll end in a draw. No? Well, here's hoping.... /BC

posted by BigCalm at 07:33 PM on September 13, 2002

Hahaha. I hadn't counted on FB's animations. Hahahaha. This is even better than I thought it would be. Great fun. All I'll be able to get on Monday is the live text commentary off, but I'll be reading the derby with a smile on my face.

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:33 AM on September 14, 2002

An Independent view.

posted by Fat Buddha at 12:03 PM on September 14, 2002

Haaah! BigCalm love your week 6 team. Welcome to the world of ZERO points.

posted by Fat Buddha at 06:31 PM on September 14, 2002

The Baggies and the Saddlers aren't Birmingham teams, so it's not surprising they don't get as much support in Birmingham! As a Baggie, I think I speak for all of us when I say that a Birmingham victory will be just the ticket. Villa are loathed throughout the Midlands and they've had it their way far too long.

posted by salmacis at 06:43 PM on September 14, 2002

Well said Salmacis. I remember the year we both went down, the day we both went down, Harborne was full of Baggies and Blues fans, united in misery and hatred of the Villa. You have to admit Baggies fans are misfits though. I have never met a Walsall fan I don't think. I know the etymology of Baggies, but whatever happened to the Throstles?

posted by Fat Buddha at 07:34 PM on September 14, 2002

I'm glad you know the etymology of 'Baggies'. Could you be so kind as to explain it to us? None of us have any real idea so all we have is guesswork. Throstles fell into disuse as people realised Baggies sounds better. :-)

posted by salmacis at 08:10 AM on September 15, 2002

Well I couldn't explain it any detail, but I thought everyone knew it is to do with the extremely baggy shorts you lot used to wear around the turn of the century.

posted by Fat Buddha at 12:18 PM on September 15, 2002

That's only one theory, and there's no real evidence to support it. I prefer the explanation that it comes from the baggy trousers the fans used to wear. There used to be a lot of foundries in the area and the workers would go to the games straight from work.

posted by salmacis at 04:42 AM on September 16, 2002

But it is the team that is referred to as the baggies, not the fans, aint it mate?

posted by Fat Buddha at 11:33 AM on September 16, 2002

The minutes are ticking down ... What's it like in Birmingham? FatB? BigC? Oh, they're already at the pub ...

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:46 AM on September 16, 2002

Guardian's match report here. Trying to get the game in on internet radio, no such luck. Guardian says Villa is looking poor early doors, sorry for the Ronglish. Buddha, I have your boy Grainger picked in my fantasy teams and he's gettin carded! Yell at him to WIN ME POINTS!

posted by elsoltano at 02:28 PM on September 16, 2002

Got radio working just as the Blues score. Sounds like a very physical match so far.

posted by elsoltano at 02:37 PM on September 16, 2002

Soltano: What radio? Is it internet radio? where? I've got Grainger in my team, too, and damned if he didn't get himself booked. Well, Fat B should be happy since Morrison scored. At least Grainger could've gotten an assist. Let's see if he keeps out of trouble in the second half. ;-) Thanks for the Guardian match report link. Do they do that for all the games? I might switch over from Soccernet and the Boring BBC if they do.

posted by worldcup2002 at 02:51 PM on September 16, 2002

I'm keeping very very quiet here and hoping that no-one notices the score....

posted by BigCalm at 02:54 PM on September 16, 2002

Worldcup: it's on Aston Villa's website. Here's the link. Yep Guardian does that for all the games. What's nice about being a Yank EPL fan is that the games start around 3pm EST for me and last until right about the end of the day. So that post lunch/pre leaving time boredom is easily taken care of. So far it sounds like both teams are pretty even with even the Villa announcers being shocked at the amount of energy the Blues are putting into the game. Savage sounds like he's all over the pitch.

posted by elsoltano at 02:57 PM on September 16, 2002

soltano: Twice you've saved me today. I'm converting to the Guardian for "live" text reports from now on. Glendenning's commentary has me in stitches. This is the way it should be done! And Villa look to be the only team that doesn't force you to register (or pay) before you get to listen to the game. I may have to stop supporting Liverpool and start backing Villa. Not really. Score, Grainger, score!

posted by worldcup2002 at 03:08 PM on September 16, 2002

No problem Worldcup! Looks like Villa are building pressure. My roomate has just IMed me that he has Stern John, Damien Johnson and Martin Grainger on his fantasy teams this week. We're both proxie Birmingham fans due to Stern John being a former Columbus Crew member. He's not mentioned in any of our chants or songs anymore, but we gotta stay loyal. Also looks like the Villa webcast has crashed again.

posted by elsoltano at 03:22 PM on September 16, 2002

Is it a goal? It is! Birmingham has scored from a throw-in! Melburg threw it into goal! Hahahahahahahaha!

posted by worldcup2002 at 03:39 PM on September 16, 2002

Ack they're calling me into a meeting as the game hits 72 minutes. #$#@%* work!!

posted by elsoltano at 03:39 PM on September 16, 2002

I think Villa have caught the "curse of the goofy goalkeeper" from Liverpool. First, they bought James from the Reds (shoulda known better) and now, Enckelman's scored an own goal (which takes the cake -- how many keeper's have scored own goals?). Oh! 3-0, goal to Horsfield! Fat B will feast on this for years ... The Blues fans have run on the pitch. The Villa Internet radio commentator calls it "a pitiful, petulant display ..." That looks like the most biting attack from Villa tonite (sorry, BigC).

posted by worldcup2002 at 03:46 PM on September 16, 2002

Back from my meeting and the Blues have scored twice?!! ElSoltano: "I don't really need to be in this meeting do I?" Manager people: "It's about your project isn't it?" ElSoltano: "Shit.."

posted by elsoltano at 03:51 PM on September 16, 2002

Bang 3-0 to the Blues. Congrats Fat Buddha, sorry for the loss BC. Time to head home for me.

posted by elsoltano at 04:02 PM on September 16, 2002

Well that was bloody draining. The truth is I hate those games, too much is invested in it and my stomach is in knots before during and after the game. That isn't to say I am not chuffing ecstatic right at this precice moment, because I am. I am also laughing my bollocks off. I know how BigCalm must be feeling, so I will be gentle. First Horsfield, who came on after Morrison and John ran your 6 centre backs ragged, took his goal well for a second division player didn't he. Second: Funniest.Goal.Ever.

posted by Fat Buddha at 05:46 PM on September 16, 2002

Yup, the most amusing own goal I've ever seen. Especially since it shouldn't have counted! The Villa goalkeeper never got a touch, so it should have been a corner to the Blues. Still, the Blues were well worth their victory. Angel and Allback were a disgrace. How they have the cheek to pick up their pay packets after that first half I do not know.

posted by salmacis at 06:49 PM on September 16, 2002

/grits teeth Ok, so it looks like Enckleman is now going to make an absolute fortune from the royalties on all those "sporting bloopers" videos - just as Villa were coming back into the game. Additionally, Ronny Johnsen, Alpay, and Angel all had dreadful games. Still, (more gritting of teeth here), Blues played better than us throughout the game, and though they didn't deserve the 3-0, they still played well enough to win. Ready for the first of March then? We'll be after some revenge when the Blues come to Villa park!

posted by BigCalm at 03:28 AM on September 17, 2002

BigCalm, spoken like a gent, I shall give it a rest now. For the benefit of those in the US or elsewhere, BBC radio 5 carries live commentaries on midweek games, so its always worth checking if there is one you particularly want to hear, unless it is blocked somehow outside of the U.K.

posted by Fat Buddha at 05:21 AM on September 17, 2002

I remember the World Cup games on Radio 5 live were not webcast, because of broadcasting rights. However, I think Radio 5 is allowed to webcast Premiership games (I'm guessing that because the BBC World Service regularly broadcasts saturday afternoon football to all and sundry, they can webcast it too). Is this the longest thread ever on Sportsfilter?

posted by BigCalm at 05:42 AM on September 17, 2002

Is this the longest thread ever on Sportsfilter? Dunno, but this is my contribution towards that accolade.. ;-)

posted by salmacis at 09:26 AM on September 17, 2002

Gents, on a related note, since I'm in the US, where can I get the following? 1. BBC World service - what radio channel would that be? Do I need to get a shortwave radio? All we get here in the Bay area is BBC News on our National Public Radio station for say 2-4 hours a day. Definitely not live football. 2. BBC Radio 5 internet broadcast? URL's please! 3. Any other live, free, easily accessible internet transmissions of EPL games. I want live EPL football, dammit! Help me get it. (This excludes me paying $10 at a bar to watch it, or $40 monthly for cable just to get my weekly fix -- I wish the cable folks would give us a la carte cable choices ... )

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:28 AM on September 17, 2002

Worldcup, you don't get Fox Sports World? God.. I don't know what I'd do without it. I went home last night and was able to watch the match. Bless Tivo. I'm able to watch 3-4 games a week. Plus you need to get it by October 24th so you can watch the US Open Cup Finals and cheer on my Columbus Crew! As for the others, I get BBC World Service on my NPR here in Columbus, but it's only on from 1am until 5 am. Arsenal's site has free live radio, and a few others are free as well. All of these are free I believe. Also check out Soccer Audio - which seems to update sporadically and is a bit hard to navigate. Do you read Big Soccer at all?

posted by elsoltano at 11:49 AM on September 17, 2002

Radio 5 live.

posted by Fat Buddha at 12:00 PM on September 17, 2002

Anyone know if today's Championship Cup matches will be broadcast over the internet? I'm not having much luck.

posted by elsoltano at 12:37 PM on September 17, 2002

Sorry to be repetetitive

posted by Fat Buddha at 01:21 PM on September 17, 2002

soltano: Per my previous comment, I'm trying to avoid paying $40/mth just to watch 1-2 hrs of football a week. And most times, aren't the live games pay-per-view ($10-20 a pop on top of the monthly $40) or they just show the less-worthy ones (not Liverpool, Arsenal, Man U) free? Plus, during midweek, I can't watch live games 'coz I'm at work (but I can sure listen to them like I did yesterday). I'd love to get just the Liverpool games live but the Scousers are charging for Internet radio broadcasts. Aaarh, maybe I'll do it anyway. Thanks for the links, everyone.

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:22 PM on September 17, 2002

Yeah I can understand that WorldCup. Fox Sports World shows about 4 EPL games a week. Most are on a 2 hour or so tape delay, sometimes longer. Sometimes live though. I've seen all of the teams this year at least once with it. They don't stick with just the big names, and they seem to have a Newcastle fetish as they show them all the time. My brother follows Liverpool and has been able to catch 3 games already I think. FSW also shows 2 Bundesliga games a week and assorted South American and Euro leagues, not sure if they're showing any Champions League stuff. Speaking of which, the Arsenal game looks like it's crap, and Liverpool are down 2 nil. What a crummy afternoon.

posted by elsoltano at 02:41 PM on September 17, 2002

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