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Brothers in Arms - A Year in the Lives of Two Very Different Footballers


displaced_seagull

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Sunday December 25th 2005;

It's Christmas day in the Kilbane household - and both footballing brothers are at the family home in the town of their birth - Preston , Lancashire. Amongst all the usual festivites - although with both having games tomorrow there will be less eating, drinking and merry-making than usual - are a present for each, from their parents.

A leather-backed diary might not look much to most people - certainly it hardly compares with the luxury cars, the hugely expensive audio/visual equipment and the latest in computer technology that some of the games' top stars may be unwrapping this year, but there is method to this 'madness'.

Two men. Two brothers. Two footballers. Two different worlds - 27-year old Kevin Kilbane plays for Premiership Birmingham City whilst older brother (31) Farrell Kilbane is on the books of Conference North side Burscough . This is the story of their 2006.

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Sunday December 25th 2005;

It's Christmas day in the Kilbane household - and both footballing brothers are at the family home in the town of their birth - Preston , Lancashire. Amongst all the usual festivites - although with both having games tomorrow there will be less eating, drinking and merry-making than usual - are a present for each, from their parents.

A leather-backed diary might not look much to most people - certainly it hardly compares with the luxury cars, the hugely expensive audio/visual equipment and the latest in computer technology that some of the games' top stars may be unwrapping this year, but there is method to this 'madness'.

Two men. Two brothers. Two footballers. Two different worlds - 27-year old Kevin Kilbane plays for Premiership Birmingham City whilst older brother (31) Farrell Kilbane is on the books of Conference North side Burscough . This is the story of their 2006.

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Authors Notes

Here we go again. Bit different this one - I'm managing Burscough in the Conference North, and signed Farrell Kilbane over the summer. This is my attempt to 'serialise' the lives of two very different footballers, at two very different clubs. Obviously, I'm not managing Kevin's club as well, so we'll have to see how that one goes. If he isn't playing, it shouldnt impact too much on the story, as it will give me the chance to write about life when you are not in the team. Farrell is my skipper, carved out of granite it seems, so most likely will be involved a lot.

As I'm writing this on Boxing Day, whilst waiting for Sport on Five and an afternoon of football to begin, Merry Christmas everyone icon14.gif

Tech details;

FM05, patched. England (All Leagues), Belarus (All Leagues, Full Detail), top divisions only of Germany, France, Holland, Italy, Spain and Scotland.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Brian of Nazareth:

Good luck with this D_S. Be careful too - lest you fall into dire straits icon_frown.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Nah, my team are more like the Sultans of Swing icon_wink.gif

Cheers Bri, Cheers Simon icon14.gif

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Sunday January 1st 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Happy New Year! - or not. It's not started too well. Going to Anfield is always tough, and although they started the day in 14th, below ourselves, they got off to a far better start. 2 in the space of 3 minutes just before the break were enough, and although Matty Sadler scored right at the end, it was never going to be enough.

As for me, well, I started, and played the whole game, but up front alongside Clinton Morrison. I was also booked - it's my first of the season, and I was a little disapointed about it, because it was the only foul I committed all game. Still, things can - and will - get better!

Liverpool 2 - Birmingham City 1

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

What a start! - Southport are flying, second in the table, and we are now up to 8th. Things are looking good - today Ian Pulman whacked a hatrick in a 3-2 win. It's a shame about Ian really, none of us expect him to be around for much longer - the gaffer managed to bring him in on loan from Gravesend, but there's not the money to make it permanent.

Talking about the Gaffer, he's been getting a fair bit of praise recently. Tony Roberts, the Southport boss, told the papers that he rates him - and called him a nice guy to boot. I can't argue against that - he signed me from Southport in the summer, and immediatley made me captain - so he's doing alright already!

As for me, today wasn't so good on a personal note. I scored my first for the club on Boxing Day, but this time I only lasted an hour - taken off after picking up another booking. It's my fourth of the season, so if I pick up another, I'm suspended for one match. I'll have to learn to be careful. This one was justified - I tripped the lad Robinson, but luckily they put the free kick over the bar. Still, a good start to 2006 for the boys, but not, so I hear, for our kid. Just off to watch Match of the Day and have a look to see how he did. He can't moan though - playing in the Premiership, he's on £18,500 a week - me, I take home £50. Luckily, I've got the plastering to keep the missus happy!

Burscough 3 - Southport 2

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Wednesday January 4th 2006

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Another game! - it's our 7th in 17 Days!

Still, at least it was at home - against Leigh RMI - and at least we got the start we wanted! - We began really well, and I suppose I set up the move that led to the opener - had all the time in the world to intercept a pass, and knocked it out to the left. Gary Martindale did the rest - and yet again, Ian Pulman finished from close range, although apparently it went down as an Own Goal by the 'keeper. Unfortunatley, we couldn't hold on - young Gary Bunting, in at left back, slipped, and McCarthy headed home a corner for them on 69.

He looked gutted - but no individual takes the blame in this team. I didn't have the best of days either, the legs were starting to feel it towards the end, and to be honest I was glad when the boss took me off for Miles Chamberlain. Hope I'll be OK for Saturday though - we're up for the Cup, at home to Ipswich in the Third Round!

Burscough 1 - Leigh RMI 1

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Hope so, PM icon_smile.gif

Saturday January 8th 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Cup time! - Everyone loves the FA Cup, and it's a competition I'd love to win - one day. It won't be this season - we're out already. Drawing Newcastle meant we were always going to have a tough game, and we were beaten 2-1, despite being level at one stage through Clinton Morrison.

I was booked - again - maybe I've been watching Farrell too much! . I did stay on for the whole game though, again on the left of a five-man midfield. Last week I said I was playing as a striker, but really, it is more of a midfield position. Certainly I've been doing more defending than in my usual role as a left winger!

We've got a really tough couple of games coming up - Newcastle and Arsenal next!

Newcastle 2 - Birmingham 1

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Today was not a good day. We walked out, as usual, at the Victoria Stadium full of hope. A couple of hours later, we sat in silence after being given a real lesson in how to play football. Ipswich thumped us 5-1, sending us out of the FA Cup. We didn't have the best of buildups - my young central defensive partner, Wes Beckles, picked up an ankle injury in midweek, and although Miles Chamberlain tried his best, he is a little short of match fitness. As for Ipswich, Darren Bent's hatrick proved he is a player of real class - he caused us all sorts of trouble. The opener was, from our defensive point of view, very disapointing - young defender Chris Casement headed home from a corner. Kevin Horlock's fifth on 79 was just the icing on the cake for Ipswich. We did, though, score - Gary Martindale grabbed an absolute peach, probably a contender for Goal of the Round - he just blasted it from 25 yards, and the 'keeper had no chance.

Still, we did at least get a big crowd - the Chairman told us that we should be proud, as the game has raised a lot of money for the club - over 2300 apparently. Wonder if they will be there next week?

Burscough 1 - Ipswich 5

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Tuesday January 10th 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Typical. Just as I was getting a run in the team, I'm crocked. I overstretched to reach a pass in training, and I felt my knee instantly. The Physio, Steve Branigan, had a look, and I've strained ligaments. It's nothing too major, but unfortunatley the only thing I can do is rest. I'll be out for about a Month, missing a really crucial part of the season, especially as we are in a position in the table (14th) where we could either do very well and get into a fight for a European spot, or get sucked into a relegation battle.

It's also the January transfer window - and I hope the boss, Sam Allardyce, doesen't decide to bring somebody else in. I'm confident that I can get back in the team with the squad as it is now, but if the boss brings somebody else in, you always begin to worry.

I'll have to put it out of my mind - here we go, a hard month of recuperation and rehabiliation awaits.

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Where has it gone wrong?! - We were truly terrible today. We went up to Marine in horrible wet and windy conditions - and got truly thumped. We lost Gary Martindale to injury earlier in the week, and today, in between losing 4-0, Ian Pulman broke his toe - he's out for a couple of months, the Doc says - it's just what we as a club, and Ian as a player, could do without.

All the players are feeling the strain a little - we've been playing with a fairly regular side, and with a lot of youngsters, there are inevitably lads around the club who are looking tired. Still, we've got a few months yet left to play.

Really, we should be safe from relegation now, but you never know. The boss just wants us to focus on our own game, instead of any other club. We could still make a charge for the playoffs even - it's pretty tight at the moment.

It could be worse though - Kev rang me earlier to let me know that he's out for a month. At least I'm still fit.

Marine 4 - Burscough 0

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Dan; Most of my story names are puns/copies of song titles icon_wink.gif

I've also decided to change this to a Six-Month diary. Going over the end of one season and into another is just daft (although it does mean I've had to rewrite a lot icon_mad.gif

Saturday January 14th 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Today was hard. It always is, when you are injured - needless to say, I was sitting behind the dugout in the Players' Family area as we lost again. We are still 14th, but another defeat to Newcastle (Patrick Kluivert scored) won't help things.

We've also said goodbye to Stephen Clemence - sold yesterday to Everton. There's no replacement yet - nor rumours around the club of who it would be - so I guess I've got to be happy really, as that's one less player to compete with for a place. Really, I think we should strengthen though - we simply have to stay up this season.

Ho Hum - Arsenal next!

Birmingham 0 - Newcastle 1

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

It's a funny old game, football. Today we travelled to Barking & East Ham in the FA Trophy. Understandably, with fitness levels not too high and lots of games in not a lot of days, the boss made a fair few changes - but it still felt strange to be sitting on the bench as Carl Nesbitt wore the captains armband on the pitch.

They took a suprise lead from the penalty spot on 8 - looked a harsh call to me - but Ben Perry-Acton levelled on 13. I did get on - Greg Tiffin took a knock, so I came on for him at the break, with young Inderjeet Aujla moving to right back. We had a fair bit to do - Whitehead scored for them again, and he looks far too good for the Combined Counties league, or wherever it is that Barking play in, but luckily Ben Paszkowec scored twice for us to put us through. Welling in the next round.

Sitting on the bench was a different experience - but I'd rather be back on the pitch from the start next game!

Barking & East Ham 2 - Burscough 3

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Wednesday January 18th 2006

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

That's better! - a 2-0 victory, and tonight everyone around the club is far happier. We opened the scoring after 4 minutes, and never looked back - Ben Perry-Acton won it on 62. I had a good, solid game - I never really felt under any pressure, which makes a change!

Now we've got another win in the league though, we really need to build on it. I'm sure if the gaffer had some more money in the kitty he would look to strengthen the squad for the run-in - but equally, I'm not sure what positions would need extra cover. We've been unlucky with injuries in attack over the course of the season, but hopefully we'll be alright.

Up to 10th again - just 6 points below the Playoffs, so we might get up there yet.

Burscough 2 - Lancaster 0

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Saturday January 21st 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

No game today - not for me, nor the lads - but we have had the World Cup Groups drawn. I hope that I'll be in the Ireland squad - this injury is a setback, and I can't see myself involved in the Friendly against Romania in a couple of weeks - but we'd have to fancy our chances in a group with the Czech Republic, South Korea and Mali in Germany in the summer.

No more signings - or sales - yet, either. Still a few days left of the transfer window yet though...

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Today I let myself down, and I let my team down. With the score against League leaders Hinckley at 2-2, I was sent off for a foul - my second bookable offence of the afternoon. I walked - my first dismissal of the season. Luckily, it didn't affect the team too much - Ben Paszkowec scored his 11th of the season 5 minutes from time to seal a memorable win.

I had a word with the boss after the game. He's not too happy - so I expect that I'll be getting called into his office tomorrow. Hopefully I'll get away with a warning - with Christmas just gone, cash is a bit tight.

Hinckley Utd 2 - Burscough 3

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Wednesday January 25th 2006

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

I did have a word with the boss, and I did get a warning - but a written, formal warning, is, I feel, more than a little harsh - unfair even. I know that I let the team down with the sending off, but we still won. Hopefully it'll all blow over. The upshot is I'm banned for two matches - the first for the dismissal, the second for triggering 5 yellow cards.

I was banned then, for tonight's visit of Hucknall - Charlie Oatway taking over as captain. The lads did well - they put Hucknall under plenty of pressure, but there would be a sickener with 20 minutes to go - young Aiden Matranga deflecting the ball past 'keeper Kev Scriven from a corner. He looked gutted after the game - he had, other than that, had a fine match on the left wing, even hitting the bar with a cross-cum-shot from about 30 yards.

You win some, you loose some.

Burscough 0 - Hucknall 1

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Saturday January 28th 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Arsenal today. Needless to say, we didn't get that win which we need. We did, at least, take the lead - Jesper Gronkjaer put us ahead just after half time, but the Gunners quickly got back on level terms, and then won it 22 minutes from time thanks to a cracker from Freddie Ljundberg. Still, the performance was decent against a side Second in the table, I thought.

There's also transfer rumours afoot - the club have agreed a fee, and are now discussing terms with Shaun Barker of Rotherham . The word is that he is a defensive midfielder who can also play in defence - so not really much of a threat to my preferred position. Hopefully he'll join up, and help to keep us up. Back down to 15th now, 4 points off the drop zone.

Europe? - we might get to Spain for a preseason training camp, but that'll be all...

Birmingham 1 - Arsenal 2

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

The final game of my suspension - and another sickener for the boys. Charlie Oatway put us ahead with a thunderbolt in the opening minute, but Gateshead were level by half time. We then went into overdrive - and really had enough chances to wrap the game up. We failed to convert them, and a few lads lost their cool, and picked up yellow cards. Five minutes from the end, my young defensive partner Miles Chamberlain talked himself into a second yellow.

Three minutes after that, Gateshead won it.

Oh well, I should be back next time.

Burscough 1 - Gateshead 2

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Tuesday 31st January 2006

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Well, when I said I was back, I hoped I would be. Took a knock in training earlier - but luckily, I passed a fitness test and was fit to start. I say luckily, because without it, we would have been seriously stretched at the back - Miles Chamberlain banned, Wes Beckles not yet fit - and right back Greg Tiffin, who occasionally plays in the middle, also got a knock a couple of days back.

We began really well - Charlie Oatway did it again! - 33 seconds in this time, fired one from 25 yards, into the bottom right hand corner. I've not always been supportive of everything the gaffer has done, but signing Charlie was absolutley inspired. Unfortunatley, we peaked far too early. Hednesford scored before the break, before young Ben Paszkowec - another signing who none of us were initially sure about - scored a cracker on 52. With legs tiring, the gaffer had to make changes. Charlie went off - and two minutes from time, Brookes, one of Hednesford's schoolboy players, on as an emergency sub, equalised. He wasn't even old enough to have a celebratory pint in the bar afterwards. Gutted.

Still, it is our Kev's birthday tomorrow, so I'll give him a ring. I think he's still crocked - and the Brum are playing, so he won't be drinking me under the table for a change!

Hednesford 2 - Burscough 2

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Wednesday 1st February 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Happy birthday me! - 29 Years Old. It's gone far, far too quickly. Still, I should have another 4 or 5 years - at least - left in this game, if not more. I've always quite fancied coaching, and now I'm getting towards what should be the peak of my career, I'm thinking about it even more.

Unfortunatley for the rest of the lads, it wasn't a great evening. We were soundly thumped at the City of Manchester stadium, going down 3-0 to a rampant Man City - who could even live with 10 men for much of the second half. Shaun Barker got his debut, at right back, but couldn't really help much in a poor team performance.

I am looking forward to being back - should be there in a couple of weeks now - but morale at the club is slipping, like our league position - 16th, and still 4 points out of the relegation zone.

Manchester City 3 - Birmingham 0

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Saturday 4th February 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Must win, they said. Relegation Six-Pointer, they said. Bolton at home, we said. Maybe that was our downfall. Quarter of an hour in, we were 3-0 down. Vas Lakis pulled one back in the second half, but it was far too little, far too late. The win has taken Bolton out of the bottom three, but we're still 16th - two points away from the relegation zone, with no win since before Christmas.

I guess this is what they call freefall...

Birmingham 1 - Bolton 3

Farrell Kilbane

A funny old day today - with my knock playing on my mind, I asked the gaffer to go on the bench. He had similar ideas about the FA Trophy - and decided to start with what is essentially our second string side - only Andy Fensome, Gary Martindale, Ben Perry-Acton and 'keeper Kevin Scriven 'regulars' in the starting lineup.

It got the result that we really could have done without - a 0-0 draw, where both sides had chances - Welling hit the post - but with a small squad, and injuries already, another game is something we could certainly do without. The replay is at home on Wednesday - and again, I imagine I'll only be on the bench.

Welling 0 - Burscough 0

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Wednesday 8th February 2006

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

There's something afoot. All us defenders were called in yesterday, and the boss told us that he's looking to bring in a young lad on trial. He didn't mention any names, but the rumour is he is attached to a club at the moment, so would have fitness. It's not something you want to hear at my age - but I guess with all our injuries recently, it might be sensible.

In any case, he hasn't accepted the offer yet, though I'm fully fit again, but was still on the bench this afternoon for the Trophy replay. Why the FA insisted it be played at 3 in the Afternoon, I've no idea - a few of us had to take time off work, but the attendance was more than a little sparse. I did at least get on - the gaffer made 3 changes, bringing myself, Steve Maden and Ben Paszkowec on after an hour, when we were 1-0 down. We tried our best - Perry-Acton hit the bar - but we just couldn't equalise, and went out of the Trophy.

I'm not entirely sure that said gaffer is too worried though - it's less fixture congestion, certainly.

Burscough 0 - Welling 1

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Saturday 10th February 2006

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

League action all the way now then - and I'm back in the starting eleven. Lucky I was really - wouldnt have wanted to miss this one for the world. We held on for a 3-2 win over Runcorn, but it doesent tell the whole story - both sides led at times, and it was only thanks to Ben Perry-Acton's very nicely taken third that we held on - Runcorn scoring right at the death to make it tense.

It's no go on this young defender too - which has cheered a few up. We've got a name, but Rhys Whyborne at Eastbourne Borough wants to stay and try and establish himself down south. We're also going to be losing a couple of lads at the end of the season - Andy Fensome had already announced his retirement, but midfielder Carl Nesbitt is also calling it a day at the age of 35.

Me? - I think the old legs can take another 3 seasons at least. Then? - Who knows...

Runcorn 2 - Burscough 3

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Sunday 11th February 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

We're on the box!

Sky are in town for our trip to Southampton. Unfortunatley, it didn't make us any better - another 3-1 defeat left us still 16th - and now, that's it until March. As well as Internationals, we are out of the Cups, so we won't be playing competitively again for 20 days.

Hopefully, we'll use the time off to get it right on the training ground. I'm just hoping to build up my fitness for the run-in.

Southampton 3 - Birmingham 1

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Wednesday 15th February 2006

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Another game tonight - the rearranged clash with Altringham, postponed because of that Trophy replay earlier in the month.

With young Wesley Beckles back alongside me in the middle of defence, I had a really good feeling about the game as we ran out - don't get me wrong, Miles Chamberlain is a good young player, but before his injury, me and Wes really had a good understanding. Unfortunatley, after all of two minutes, it disintegrated - we were miles apart as Alty took the lead. It was about the only thing we did wrong all game though - Ben Paszkowec quickly equalised, and we went on to grab a 3-2 win - Altringham's second coming deep into injury time.

It was a really good win, and we're now up to 7th. Two places, and one point, below the Playoff spots. You never know...

Burscough 3 - Altringham 2

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Saturday 18th February 2006

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Alfreton today - and we've, amazingly, got a pretty fit squad - just Ian Pulman out injured. If he returns with his shooting boots, the playoffs are a definate possibility.

Not though, if we play like we did today. A 3-1 defeat wasn't good for the team - Ben Paszkowec scoring our goal in the second half - but I wasn't involved for most of it. Seven minutes in, I fell awkwardly and landed on my shoulder. There was no way I could carry on, but the physio, Mel Singleton, reckons I'll be OK in a week.

Hopefully I'll be alright to return to the team straight away, as we've only got 12 games left, and it's sure to be a very exciting run-in - especially if we are still in the playoff mix at the end of the season!

Burscough 1 - Alfreton Town 3

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Tuesday 21st February 2006

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

This one, of course, was always likely to come far too early - but it is a slip up which we could have done without. My stand-in in the Number 5 shirt, Greg Tiffin, scored with a deflected strike fairly early on, but by half time Nuneaton Borough were level, and on 65, on a foul day, they won it thanks to a good finish from Murphy.

The playoff hope is still there though - 11 games to go, and we are in 9th place, 4 points away. It's possible!

Nuneaton 2 - Burscough 1

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Saturday 25th February 2006

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Well, I'm back - shoulder injury shrugged off. In all honesty, I couldn't have picked a more boring game to return in - we didn't register a shot on target, whilst Leigh troubled our 'keeper, Kev Scriven, on 5 occasions. Apart from a sending off for them, that was about that.

Needless to say, the score remained level at 0-0. Not a match for the purist, but a point. We're now 10th though, but if we can win even half of our remaining games, we should be in the playoff picture.

Leigh RMI 0 - Burscough 0

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Saturday 4th March 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

I can't believe it's been 20 days since I last wrote after a match. Then, I was still injured - now, I'm fit - but the story was the same. We lost 2-0 to Portsmouth, and we're now in real trouble - down in 17th, and inside the relegation zone.

Personally, I did start - again on the left of the midfield five. It's by no means my favourite role - it's too central for me, and I'd rather be operating as the winger. Still, it's all hands to the pump - people are coming to us and seeing St Andrews as a weak place, and Birmingham as a weak team. We're now down to 19th - one place, and six points, above Derby, who've looked doomed all season.

We've got to turn that around, or we'll be playing Farrell's boys in the Conference North before too long!

Birmingham 0 - Portsmouth 2

Farrell Kilbane

Last week I wrote that if we can win 5 from 10, we should be in the Playoffs. Now, I'm not sure if we'll win again this season. Today was frankly poor - Stalybridge have struggled all season, but they still overran us, and were 2-0 up by half time. Steve Maden did pull one back after the break, but they scored again 15 minutes from time.

On a personal note, I was disapointed with my performance - picking up another booking, and not playing too well into the bargain. Again, my morale is pretty low at the moment. We're trying, but simply not getting anywhere. Still, at least Ian Pulman is back again - and he's certainly got a few goals in his boots.

Burscough 1 - Stalybridge 3

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Saturday 11th March 2006

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

That's better! - Our first win in nearly a month, and even then we took trouble over it. Ashton United aren't the best side we'll play this season, but the first half was simply poor, from the point of view of both sides.

We did take the lead - Steve Maden scored a brilliant 30-yarder - but on 84, we thought that we'd thrown it away when Miller equalised. I wasn't entirely blameless - caught on the turn - but luckily, 2 minutes later, Ian Pulman announced his return with a fine finish. That's the way to do it!

8 to go - and we're 9th. Suddenly, everything looks a lot better!

Burscough 2 - Ashton United 1

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  • 2 months later...

Tuesday 14th March 2006

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

I didn't exactly have the best buildup to this evening's game - young Steve Maden approached me earlier, asking me to have a word with the boss on his behalf. As Club Captain, I do have to do these things occasionally. Steve is worried that the club is relying on him too much - he's only 21, but he is very tired and is looking a little jaded at the moment. The upshot is that he'll be rested this evening, and the boss knows that Steve - and our other youngsters - do need to be looked after to avoid burnout.

Every player knows some exciting young talent who has been through that - and it's not pretty. Much like a star golfer with the yips, or a prizewinning author with writers block, it's so frustrating - and a little upsetting, at times - to see somebody with so much natural ability not able to show it because they are simply too tired to do so.

We could have perhaps done with Steve today - our attacks against a Harrogate side we thumped 6-1 earlier in the season mainly consisted of long balls aimed towards our strikers. They weren't entirely blameless either, and the finishing left a bit to be desired. Harrogate took their chance early in the second half, and there would be no comeback. We've lost two places again, and the playoff hope is growing ever dimmer.

Harrogate Town 1 - Burscough 0

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Saturday 18th March 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

If the press were pumping up our game against Bolton as a Must-Win, then the buildup to our trop to bottom club Derby was hectic, to say the least. We've probably had more media attention this week than in the rest of the season so far!

Now unfortunatley, it's likely to be even more. We were alright, Derby were awesome - and beat us 2-0. We've not won in three monhts now, and it's like a mourge when you come in to train. In all honesty, we'll probably get relegated - but what that'll do to the club, and ourselves as players, is anybody's guess.

Sam Allardyce really should have strenghtened in January. He didn't - and now we are paying the price.

Derby 2 - Birmingham 0

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Ninth again! - It seems as if we are destined to bounce between 11th and 7th all season. The playoffs are 8 points away, and with six games left there is still a remote chance.

Today though, we looked impressive - Ian Pulman scored twice in a 2-0 win over Moor Green.

However, there are rumours in the air - the club have had a loan offer accepted for a young Liverpool defender. (Un)fortunatley, Walsall are also looking at the lad, an American called Zak Whitbread . The gaffer again told us defenders personally - He's desperate to increase bodies cheaply in the last couple of months of the season.

We'll have to see...

Burscough 2 - Moor Green 0

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Saturday 25th March 2006

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Maybe we are hitting form at the right time? - Whatever the reasons for our rapid improvement, none of us are complaining. Fresh from a week in which Zak Whitbread went to Walsall, we've just thrashed Gainsborough 3-0. Steve maden may complain that he is played too often, but when he scores twice - a 30 yarder and a late penalty - he can't really be suprised. In fact, I wouldn't be suprised if we started seeing more scouts at matches in the near future. Ian Pulman scored the other one.

After a rather heavy night on the sauce - celebratory only, you'll understand - I'm off to sleep. Our Kev is on Sky tomorrow. I wonder what Birmingham would give for a 3-0 win?

Gainsborough Trinity 0 - Burscough 3

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Peacemaker7:

He's back icon_redface.gif

Hello d_s icon_smile.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I've finished this, but forgot that I hadn't uploaded it all icon_redface.gificon_biggrin.gif

Morning icon_smile.gif

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  • 4 weeks later...

And again icon_redface.gif - I will get this all uploaded, dammit

Sunday 26th March 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Some teams play better on TV. Some don't. Us?

It doesen't really matter, at the moment. We are still without a win in 2006, and looking at this result - a 3-0 defeat at home to Blackburn - it's hardly a suprise. I was actually allowed to start on the left wing for a change, but neither myself nor Jesper Gronkjaer on the right could make much of an impact - we spent much of the match marking and defending, simply unable to get a chance to run at them.

We've got to get better - although we're not marooned at the bottom of the table just yet. Right now, I'm too down to even contemplate relegation.

In a few short weeks, I may be having to live up to the reality of it. Still, in far better news, I'm back in the Ireland squad - we've got the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Hopefully I'll be able to stake a claim for a place in the World Cup squad.

Birmingham 0 - Blackburn 3

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Wednesday 29th March 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

That feels better! - A win. Country, rather than Club, and I didn't make the matchday squad, but it still feels a lot better being involved with a winning side than it does to spend a lot of time with a lot of players who are very disapointed and down.

We looked genuinely impressive, and Robbie Keane scored the opener on 34. In the second half, we slowed up a bit, but young sub Noel Hunt came off the bench to smash home his 4th goal in 6 Caps - not a bad record at all! - We could have a new Niall Quinn there.

Czech Republic 0 - Ireland 2

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Well - I didn't see that one coming! - Ciaran Ryan , who has spent the season on loan from Bolton Wanderers, will be signing for the club in the summer on a permanent basis. He's a very quick, very tricky winger - only 23, but he has scored twice and set up 8 in 32 games here. As well as that, he gives us drive and determination - and it's really good to know that he'll be around next season, whether we go up or stay in the Conference North.

Superb!

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Saturday April 1st 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

It's April Fool's Day, and we've finally got a win!

No, you guessed, only joking. Still, we did at least score today - going down 3-2 at Fulham. They took the lead on 12, and we all thought 'Here we go again'. This time though, it was different - we found some resolve, and Vas Lakis equalised, before Fulham had one sent off, and then scored twice in the early part of the second half. Vas scored again on 75, and for a little while, it looked as if we might just rescue a point.

The result doesent help us much now, of course, but it has given more hope. I just hope we haven't left it too late...

Fulham 3 - Birmingham 2

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Or should that be, Dear Dire-y. Today, we were. Fortunatley, so were Bradford Park Avenue, and we played out a particularly dour scoreless draw. The best chance for either side came deep into injury time - Gary Martindale turned the 'keeper, but could only drag a shot, from the tightest of angles, into the side netting.

Off the pitch, it's not been a bad week - Transfer Deadline day came and went without any further arrivals, and on Thursday - although he wasn't fit to play today - young Wesley Beckles, definatley my preferred central defensive partner, has returned from another injury. It's all good.

We're 8th still, 3 points out of the playoffs and with four to play. Could still do this...

Burscough 0 - Bradford Park Avenue 0

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Saturday April 8th 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Another day, another frustrating defeat. I seemed to get away without any stick from the away supporters though, which was nice - I did enjoy my time at Everton. Tim Cahill scored the only goal of the game early on, and from then we were simply chasing shadows.

Luckily, we avoided conceding any more, and I again had a reasonable game on the left of midfield. We are though, running out of games - two points off the bottom of the league, and just as importantly, there are only six games to go.

Something needs to happen, and quickly.

Birmingham 0 - Everton 1

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

3 to go, and we're 7th - we can still do this! - Today's result didn't really help, a 1-1 draw with Worcester - Ian Pulman, as ever, on the scoresheet for us. What wasn't so clever though was two red cards - Rory Prendergast and Charlie Oatway both sent off. The boss, no doubt, will be seeing the pair of them in the morning.

Despite not winning though, there's a really good atmosphere at the club now - far removed, I imagine, from what Kev is going through at Birmingham. It's tough for him, always is for any player, but hopefully his lot will recover, and we'll go up as well - what a celebration that would be!

Worcester City 1 - Burscough 1

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Saturday April 15th 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

We did it! - And on TV, and against Aston Villa! - We've finally won our first match of 2006, and have moved onto 30 points for the season. Unfortunatley, there's now just 5 games to play, and a six point gap between ourselves, in 18th, and 17th placed Norwich.

Back to the game though - Scott McDonald scored our only goal, and we looked impressive at times. If we can stay up, and strengthen, this team does have a lot of quality players. We can make this work! - For now though, I'm just happy to be writing about a victory for a change. Come on the Blues!

Aston Villa 0 - Birmingham 1

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Kev's boys won, and have increased their chances of staying up. We lost today - and have just about blown our chances of going up. Funny old game, really - but Worksop are a class team, and are now top of the league. We're still not yet out of it, but we need to win both of our remaining games, and hope other results go our way.

Dene Cropper scored all three for them, and I can't see any way we'll go up now.

Still, at least there will be one happy Kilbane tonight. It won't be me, that's for sure.

Worksop 3 - Burscough 0

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Wednesday 19th April 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Looking good Birmingham! - Another point tonight, at home to Spurs - and I got on the scoresheet for the first time this year, and only the second time this season. It's my third in a Birmingham shirt, and the 32nd of my career, so they tell me.

We played very well though, and were slightly unfortunate to be held to a 2-2 draw. Unfortunatley, Norwich won - the gap is now 8 points, and with the exception of a few of us - goals always help! - morale is still pretty low, with most people facing up to relegation now. It's not something that I can face up to until we are mathematically doomed, like Derby, who went down tonight after getting beaten 3-0 by Portsmouth.

We've now got 4 to go, and if they are to be the last four Premiership games we'll play for 12 months, then we'll certainly go out with some crackers - Man United next, followed by fellow strugglers Leicester, a possible six-pointer - on the box! - against Norwich, and then finally home to West Brom, who are 5th at the moment. Big games, all of them.

Birmingham 2 - Tottenham Hotspur 2

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Saturday 22nd April 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

On Monday night, we could be relegated. Unsuprisingly, we lost 2-0 at Old Trafford today. If Bolton get a point on Monday night, against Everton, they will be safe and we will be relegated with three games to go. Leicester are all but doomed - only 4 wins and dreadful performances by the rest of us in the bottom five could save them - so we are the only team in the bottom three who could scramble back to safety.

In all probablility, we won't - and the vultures are already circling, with rumours of bids for Jesper Gronkjaer amongst others. I've not been mentioned in any of the papers yet, and I am happy to stay at Birmingham - but I'm not sure how many of my teammates would stick around should we go down.

Manchester United 2 - Birmingham 0

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Well, we won't be going to Hereford, Weymouth or Swansea next season. Some might say it's a blessing in disguise, but what it really means is that we now have no chance of reaching the playoffs. There's one game to go, we lie in 8th place, and Leigh RMI just need a point to confirm that they will be the fourth and final playoff representatives from the Conference North.

We managed to get one today though - although Kettering took the lead, young Josh Dutton-Black curled in a screamer from the edge of the box four minutes from time to save the point. If, and it's a big If, we can win our final game - away at top of the table Southport, who need the win to guarentee them automatic promotion - then we'll have a final total of 60 points, which is perfectly acceptable, seeing as we didn't have any when the gaffer took over three games into the season.

There's always next year!

Burscough 1 - Kettering 1

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Monday 24th April 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Postpone the execution - at least for another few days. Decided to watch the game at home. Sat on the sofa, with Farrell, Mum, Dad and my wife, Laura. Amazingly, my old mates at Everton managed to fight back having been thoroughly outplayed. They took the lead, before Bolton scored the goal that should have seen them safe.

A couple of weeks back, we were cursing Tim Cahill for scoring against us. Now, he's an honouray hero at St Andrews - 14 minutes from time, he won it for the Toffees, and we are still in with a mathematical chance of staying up. It's more than can be said for Leicester, who, as expected, were relegated after losing to Liverpool yesterday.

We can't still do it, but we've got to at least think we can - for the fans, if nothing else.

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Saturday 29th April 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Judgement day. Ironically enough, we produced our best performance of the season too - beating Leicester 3-0. It would - as we, and probably the fans - had expected, all be in vain - Bolton's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa confirming their safety, and our relegation to the Second tier of English football.

I'm fine, I've played there before, and am happy at Birmingham, but it's clear that Sam Allardyce will now have a lot of work - and a lot of financial juggling, no doubt - to do if we are to get back. We've still got a couple of games left, and hopefully with the pressure off, we'll enjoy them and put on a bit of a show for the fans.

It's still gutting though, there is no feeling like this in football. A day to forget.

Birmingham 3 - Leicester 0

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Dismal. Shocking. Terrible. Bloody Heartbreaking. Still, at least we didn't get relegated - but neither Kevin nor myself are happy tonight. Southport were in rampant mood, and thumped us 6-0 at Haig Avenue, securing promotion for themselves in the process. I contrived to score an own goal, as did our 'keeper, Kevin Scriven - but it was long wrapped up by then.

It's a sad end to what had been a good season for both the club, and for me personally. No goalscoring send-off for Ian Pulman , who's loan deal is up after this game, and no great final game for Andy Fensome , who's retiring in the summer, nor Carl Nesbitt , who wasn't involved today.

Morale is, as could be expected, a little low - but we've now just got a couple of weeks of light, 'warm-down', training before the summer - and then it starts all over again. Hopefully Kev will be in the World Cup squad - if he is, then I may well take the missus and kids to Germany to watch 'Uncle Kevin' playing for Ireland. They certainly won't see their old man do it.

Southport 6 - Burscough 0

Final Conference North Table;

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">

| Pos | Inf | Team | | Pld | Won | Drn | Lst | For | Ag | G.D. | Pts |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 1st | C | Southport | | 42 | 23 | 14 | 5 | 63 | 32 | +31 | 83 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 2nd | Pl | Worksop | | 42 | 21 | 17 | 4 | 60 | 23 | +37 | 80 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 3rd | Pl | Hinckley | | 42 | 21 | 14 | 7 | 58 | 34 | +24 | 77 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 4th | Pl | Hucknall | | 42 | 20 | 11 | 11 | 46 | 28 | +18 | 71 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 5th | Pl | Runcorn | | 42 | 18 | 11 | 13 | 56 | 45 | +11 | 65 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 6th | | Leigh RMI | | 42 | 17 | 14 | 11 | 44 | 33 | +11 | 65 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 7th | | Nuneaton | | 42 | 19 | 7 | 16 | 73 | 66 | +7 | 64 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 8th | | Gainsborough | | 42 | 15 | 12 | 15 | 58 | 54 | +4 | 57 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 9th | | BURSCOUGH | | 42 | 16 | 9 | 17 | 65 | 65 | 0 | 57 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 10th | | Alfreton | | 42 | 16 | 9 | 17 | 56 | 64 | -8 | 57 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 11th | | Worcester | | 42 | 13 | 17 | 12 | 47 | 36 | +11 | 56 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 12th | | Hednesford | | 42 | 15 | 9 | 18 | 49 | 56 | -7 | 54 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 13th | | Marine | | 42 | 13 | 13 | 16 | 54 | 57 | -3 | 52 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 14th | | Altrincham | | 42 | 14 | 10 | 18 | 53 | 67 | -14 | 52 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 15th | | Bradford PA | | 42 | 12 | 15 | 15 | 41 | 44 | -3 | 51 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 16th | | Moor Green | | 42 | 12 | 15 | 15 | 48 | 55 | -7 | 51 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 17th | | Kettering | | 42 | 12 | 15 | 15 | 43 | 52 | -9 | 51 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 18th | | Harrogate Town | | 42 | 12 | 14 | 16 | 56 | 61 | -5 | 50 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 19th | | Stalybridge | | 42 | 14 | 7 | 21 | 67 | 69 | -2 | 49 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 20th | R | Lancaster | | 42 | 10 | 10 | 22 | 44 | 65 | -21 | 40 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 21st | R | Ashton Utd | | 42 | 8 | 14 | 20 | 37 | 71 | -34 | 38 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 22nd | R | Gateshead | | 42 | 7 | 11 | 24 | 38 | 79 | -41 | 32 |

| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

</pre>

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Saturday 6th May 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Walking out at carrow Road to a chorus of 'Staying Up' is a pretty strange experience when you've just been relegated. It was a fairly ill-tempered affiar anyway, and I picked up another booking - one more in the final game, and I'll miss our first 'Championship' game of next season.

We drew 1-1, gaining another point, but that tells it's own story - from 37 games, we've picked up a miserly 35 Points. We're now at least certain to finish 18th in the table - Leicester, who are apparently looking to sack Micky Adams just a season after reappointing him - lost again, so they may yet prop up the table should Derby find some form and win their final game of the season.

Oh well, one to go - the World Cup starts in just over a month, and hopefully I'll be there. If not, it'll be a very long summer.

Norwich 1 - Birmingham 1

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Saturday 13th May 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

The last one, the final hurdle - but we've already fallen. West Brom came to town today, the visitors to St Andrews for the final time this season, and the final time Birmingham will host a match as a Premiership club for at least as season.

It was a day to forget as well, just another one in a season of disapointments. We were holding Albion fine, at 1-1 - but three minutes from time they scored a winner, and finishing fifth, will be playing in Europe next season. For us, it's off to Plymouth, Burnley, Huddersfield and Hull.

I've now just got to hope about the World Cup squad. Crossing my fingers, I think I should get the call, but you never know. It's certainly something I'm hopeful about, in any case.

Birmingham 1 - WBA 2

Final Premiership Table

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">

| Pos | Inf | Team | | Pld | Won | Drn | Lst | For | Ag | G.D. | Pts |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 1st | C | Arsenal | | 38 | 26 | 5 | 7 | 78 | 36 | +42 | 83 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 2nd | | Chelsea | | 38 | 22 | 8 | 8 | 75 | 47 | +28 | 74 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 3rd | | Man Utd | | 38 | 22 | 7 | 9 | 64 | 36 | +28 | 73 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 4th | | Man City | | 38 | 21 | 5 | 12 | 68 | 48 | +20 | 68 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 5th | | West Brom | | 38 | 18 | 8 | 12 | 56 | 53 | +3 | 62 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 6th | | Liverpool | | 38 | 16 | 10 | 12 | 60 | 49 | +11 | 58 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 7th | | Newcastle | | 38 | 17 | 7 | 14 | 57 | 50 | +7 | 58 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 8th | | Everton | | 38 | 18 | 2 | 18 | 56 | 54 | +2 | 56 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 9th | | Blackburn | | 38 | 16 | 7 | 15 | 53 | 55 | -2 | 55 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 10th | | Southampton | | 38 | 14 | 11 | 13 | 53 | 49 | +4 | 53 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 11th | | Tottenham | | 38 | 14 | 10 | 14 | 59 | 60 | -1 | 52 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 12th | | Aston Villa | | 38 | 15 | 6 | 17 | 51 | 51 | 0 | 51 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 13th | | Fulham | | 38 | 14 | 6 | 18 | 49 | 65 | -16 | 48 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 14th | | Bolton | | 38 | 13 | 8 | 17 | 55 | 60 | -5 | 47 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 15th | | Portsmouth | | 38 | 14 | 5 | 19 | 54 | 66 | -12 | 47 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 16th | | Gillingham | | 38 | 11 | 13 | 14 | 58 | 65 | -7 | 46 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 17th | | Norwich | | 38 | 12 | 7 | 19 | 49 | 62 | -13 | 43 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 18th | R | BIRMINGHAM | | 38 | 10 | 5 | 23 | 43 | 67 | -24 | 35 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 19th | R | Leicester | | 38 | 9 | 5 | 24 | 40 | 76 | -36 | 32 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 20th | R | Derby | | 38 | 6 | 9 | 23 | 40 | 69 | -29 | 27 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

</pre>

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Saturday 20th May 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

I'm in! - I've made the World Cup Squad for the 2006 finals, and I can't wait! - although obviously with Damian Duff and Andy Reid also in my position, I'm not guarenteed to be playing. It's not just that though, it's always an experience - last time not an entirely positive one for me personally, but an experience all the same.

It's those sort of things you remember when you retirte - and everybody wants to be playing international football, I'm sure of that.

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Tuesday 6th June 2006

Farrell Kilbane

Dear Diary;

Today was a strange day. We're on our summer break - but everybody at the club got a call last night to come in this morning. Nobody shirked, which is nice to see. The Chairman spoke to us all for a little while, but you could see he was waiting for something - he kept looking at his watch. Eventually, the door opened and the gaffer walked in.

It had been a busy day for him - and when he satarted to speak, we were all shocked. He's done a great job here, but nobody - least of all, I think, him - expected him to be offered the job of Wrexham manager. Fortunatley for us, he has turned it down - and he wanted to thank us all personally for making it an easy choice to turn down.

Next season, I really think we can push for honours!

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Wednesday 7th June 2006

Kevin Kilbane

Dear Diary;

This then, is it - my six month promise to Mum & Dad honoured. Myself and Farrell will no doubt look back at both our own, and each others, diaries of the final six months of last season several times - and hopefully we'll be able to reflect on these, in my case at least, self-concious words with the benefit of hindsight.

I'm just about to board the Aer Lingus flight to Berlin, and with it, the chance to play in the World Cup Finals. I can only hope it goes better than the club season has.

On that note, next season will be an interesting one. Will I still be at Birmingham? Will we go up? - Who knows.

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Epilouge

And Then...

Ireland raced through the Group Stage of the World Cup, beating South Korea and the Czech Republic before a suprise defeat to Mali. In the Second Round, they came up against France, and were sent home after a Richard Dunne own goal led to a 1-0 defeat. Brazil won the World Cup, with a 2-1 victory over plucky South Korea in the Final.

Of the other Home Nations only England reached the finals - crashing out in the Quarter Finals to South Korea . The suprise package of the Tournement, other than Finalists South Korea , were undoubtedly Australia , who disposed of Argentina on their way to a Quarter Final defeat by Spain .

Kevin Kilbane played in just 84 minutes of World Cup Football, coming on off the bench in the matches against South Korea, Czech Republic and France.

Farrell Kilbane began season 2006/07 where he left off - as Captain of Burscough in the Conference North.

The End

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