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The Road To The Top Or Possibly The Bottom...


United_Fan_#1

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As is the case with all stories, my character is completely made up. Also I have chosen to write my story in the form of newspaper articles. The Birmingham Herald is a made up paper. I haven’t found anything that says it’s a real paper.

I hope you all enjoy.

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Birmingham Herald

09/07/2009

NEW ERA DAWNS AT BIRMINGHAM CITY

Former Birmingham great Jack Doggat, who retired from football five years ago was yesterday formerly introduced to the public as the new manager of Birmingham City for the coming Barclays Premier league season.

Doggat who turns 36 next May has been given the difficult task of keeping Birmingham in the Premiership and everyone is eager to know how he will go about everything given this is his first appointment as a football manager. Certainly the statistics are not on his side as all will remember the appointment of Alan Shearer at Newcastle last season who was unable to keep Newcastle up in the Premiership.

In his press conference at St Andrews yesterday, Doggat announced that he was likely to make several changes, as he sees that in order to move forward, Birmingham need to make a big signing or two. The first is expected to be announced within the next few days, as Doggat announced that one player he is looking to bring in is a goalkeeper with a big future ahead of him. That was all was divulged and many are now curious to know who it is.

Birmingham is predicted to finish in or at least close to the relegation zone. Doggat however remains more optimistic stating that Birmingham will finish mid table or better.

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Birmingham Herald

09/07/2009

CHANGES ALREADY BEGINNING TO TAKE PLACE

Birmingham manager Jack Doggat has already begun to reshape the squad, by sending loaned player Teemu Tainio back to Sunderland without even having played a single match. Tainio who signed for Sunderland before the 2008/2009 season for two million pounds from Tottenham featured regularly in Sunderlands fight to stay in the Premiership but was seen as unnecessary this season and was loaned out. Doggat obviously saw Tainio as unnecessary also.

Doggat however has surprised all even more with his move to sign Manchester United number two keeper Ben Foster. The fee has been undisclosed however is rumoured to be around the mark of fifteen million pounds. It is also believed that Doggat has also made an offer for another United keeper. Apparantly an offer of five hundred thousand pounds has been made for resereves keeper Tom Heaton. With offers being made for both these keepers, it is believed that Maik Taylor may be on his way out of St Andrews.

Only time will tell.

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Birmingham Herald

13/07/2009

DOGGAT MAKES HIS FIRST SIGNING

Birmingham manager Jack Doggat has surprised all today by announcing his first signing for the 2009/2010 Premiership season. As was predicted the fee of fifteen million pounds was paid to bring the 26 year old to St Andrews. Foster who has two international caps under his belt has been number two to van der Sar for some time now and at times number three at United coming in behind Kuszczak. It will be interesting to see if Doggat throws Foster between the sticks as number one as he already has Joe Hart on loan from Manchester City.

Many fans are mighty disappointed with Doggat, labelling this purchase as a waste of money. It will be up to Foster to now prove all the fans wrong.

Other transfer news sees goalkeeper Tom Heaton also of Manchester United sign for Southampton for five hundred thousand pounds. Doggat was earlier linked to the young English keeper however Heaton has obviously chosen to sign elsewhere.

The fifteen million pound deal bringing Foster to St Andrews is a new record fee for Birmingham. The previous record was the six and a half million pounds paid to bring Ecuadorian Christian Benitez to St Andrews from Santos Laguna.

In response to questions about the signing Doggat stated that “the changes I am making are being made to take the club to the next level.”

With Foster now in the roster, The goalkeepers position now seems a little more covered however with Hart only on a season long loan and Maik Taylor beginning to show signs of his age, Doggat will certainly be looking to bring in perhaps one more keeper.

There are some other concerns however for Birmingham with Keith Fahey, who is currently number two to James McFadden on the left side of midfield being linked with a move to London to join Gianfranco Zola’s West Ham United squad.

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Hi tenthreeleader, thanks for the confidence boost, I hope you keep enjoying this

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Birmingham Herald

17/07/2009

BIRMINGHAM STRENGTHEN THEIR BACKLINE

Birmingham today announced the signing of English central defender, Steven Taylor from newly relegated Newcastle. Taylor became a prominent figure in Newcastle’s defensive line towards the end of the season and is said to be relishing the chance to continue to ply his trade in the premiership rather than down in the championship. The fee for Taylor remains undisclosed, however is believed to be around the five million pound mark.

Taylor is yet to receive a senior cap for England, but has several youth caps under his belt.

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Birmingham Herald

19/07/2009

DREAM DEBUT

It may have only been a pre season friendly match, but Foster had to prove his critics wrong early and early he did. All who believed that the transfer fee paid for Foster was too much need only have watched yesterdays match between Birmingham and Middlesborough.

Doggat went into the match with a very defensive line up not to mention he had his players playing quite defensively too. Counter attacking play has often been looked down upon, yet Doggat showed why it still works.

Birmingham sat back and allowed Borough to come at them with wave after wave after wave of attacking play. Foster pulling off spectacular save after spectacular save after spectacular save, leaving Borough wandering if their strikers were really up to scratch for their coming season.

On sixteen minutes, McFadden collected the ball in his own half, made a run down the left flank before cutting the ball across to veteran striker Kevin Phillips who showed experience in front of goal leaving Australian Brad Jones glued on his feet watching the ball roll into the back of the net from the edge of the area. Thirty five minutes in and once again Jones was left stranded on a deserted island as O’Connor struck from 30 yards out into the top left corner of the net, and once again Birmingham sat back and let Middlesborough tire themselves out.

Half time sae Duggat change everyone except Taylor and Foster bringing in a squad with where all were 21 or under with the exception of the two left on, and still managed to hold the score until 81 minutes had passed. It was then that the youngsters stepped up. A beautiful build up beginning at the heart of Birmingham’s defense ended with young Jake Jervis slotting home to make it three.

A three– nil win to Birmingham and a perfect start for Duggat and his squad.

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Birmingham Herald

25/07/2009

ALL OR NOTHING IT SEEMS

Doggat is not going to let the big names rest it seems, as once again he started with his strongest line up, bringing the kids on at half time. Thier opposition yesterday not a Premiership side or Championship. Not a foreign side of the same calibre or higher. No. It was Exeter City of the Coca Cola League One.

Many are asking what happens if the big players get injured. In fact, we asked Doggat that very question after the game. His response was “If the players don’t get used to playing my style of football, if they don’t get used to playing alongside each other, learning each other’s on field habits so to say, then how will they perform during the season. Everyone is getting a fair go. The main players are getting the ball rolling, and then the youngsters are getting valuable game time. It’s the perfect mix.”

It definitely showed today. It didn’t take long for Birmingham to take the lead, McFadden with his first pre season goal coming just 3 minutes in. O’Connor grabbed two goals shortly after, then Phillips extended the lead to 4 just before half time. Exeter were getting a school lesson on how to play football.

The younger of the Birmingham players once again took to the field at half time. However instead of sitting back and defending, they took the game to the Grecians and added another two. This time it was Jerome and Jervis taking one a piece to seal the victory at six goals to none. And Birmingham maintain their perfect start.

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Birmingham Herald

26/07/2009

ANOTHER NAME ON THE INJURY LIST

Jack Doggat is not having the best of starts to this season in terms of injuries, not that it is really affecting his results so far. Defender Roger Johnson today was ruled out until Birmingham’s third league game due to a chest injury the player picked up during the teams routine weights training. With the injury list growing in numbers of defenders, Doggat may have to rely on the academy defenders for the first league game or two.

It will be interesting to see how Doggat responds to the growing number of injuries affecting his squad.

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Birmingham Herald

30/07/2009

THE BIRMINGHAM CITY CUP IS HERE!

Yesterday saw the first two matches of The Birmingham Cup being played out between Birmingham v St Mirren of Scotland, and Livorno of Italy v Getafe of Spain.

The encounter between Birmingham and St Mirren was one of a lot of intensity from both teams. It didn’t take long for yellow cards to be introduced into the match, nor for the first goal. A goal which St Mirren captain Andy Dorman will want to forget pretty quickly. Great build up play by Birmingham saw McFadden make a trademark burst down the left hand side taking on several t Mirren players in the process before crossing for O’Connor, only it never reached its destination. A mix up in communication between Dorman and his goalkeeper saw Dorman attempt to head the ball behind his own net, however he ended up scoring what can be labelled as quite a spectacular diving header, only for the opposition in the twelfth minute.

Birmingham were quick to pounce on the opportunity to exploit St Mirrens current lack of confidence and bombarded Scottish international Paul Gallacher with an array of long range and short range shots, however he stood composed between the sticks.

Birmingham’s defence was certainly doing their job on the day, with Taylor especially keeping things in order at the back in Johnson’s absence and was letting very little get past to test Foster.

St Mirren managed an equaliser ten minutes before half time on the counter when Billy Mehmet cancelled out his captains headed goal with a headed goal of his own rising above both Taylor and Larsson before finding the far bottom corner of the net. Yet this was not to be St Mirrens day.

On 42 minutes, Paul Gallacher spilled what should have been an easy take from a James McFadden cross, into his own net, giving Birmingham the lead yet again, and yet again it was from an own goal. Not two minutes later, O’Connor ran onto the end of Michel’s through ball and slotted the ball under a diving Gallacher to give Birmingham a comfortable 3-1 lead going into the break.

Having seen an interesting yet tough game so far Doggat brought his team out from half time unchanged. Of course being the host club he wanted Birmingham to win the friendly cup. And that was the mentality he brought his players out with.

From the whistle to signal the second half started to the whistle to signify the end of the game, Birmingham controlled everything. Barley allowing St Mirren even a minute on the ball at a time. Another goal from O’Connor on 73 minutes and a long range rocket from Bowyer on 87 minutes then secured the victory and a spot in the final of the Birmingham City Cup for the host club with a 5-1 victory over St Mirren.

In the other match Getafe easily disposed of Livorno 3-0.

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Birmingham Herald

31/07/2009

BIRMINGHAM CITY CUP FINAL FEVER

Yesterday saw the final of the Birmingham City Cup played out between Birmingham and Getafe. A closely fought encounter saw neither side giving any half hearted performances. Getafe took the lead in only the seventh minute, when Soldado broke through the Birmingham defence slotting low into the bottom corner of Fosters net.

Both teams continued to try their luck hitting the post, or forcing brilliant saves from both keepers, only to be denied at all costs. In the twenty eighth minute, McFadden floated a free kick into the middle of the penalty area where Steven Taylor was waiting only to have Taylor brought down from behind by Getafe’s Cata Diaz, who was given a controversial yellow card, which many felt should have been a red. Still, O’Connor showed composure in front of goal to smash home the penalty.

Getafe however had other ideas for the direction of the match, wanting to prove they were the better side on the day, and duly puished Birmingham’s defence as they sat back waiting for the perfect counter, when another defensive error allowed striker Miku too much space leaving Foster open for a one on one which Miku gladly won, giving Getafe yet another one goal lead.

After the break McFadden had a chance to equalize for Birmingham again only to have his free kick from 25 yards out cannon off the upright and cross the line for a goa lkick, summing up the game for Birmingham as it had been going so far.

With Birmingham’s morale and confidence being shot down by Getafe, the away side once again capitalized on 80 minutes when Soldado again broke free volleying home a second for the night and giving Getafe a comfortable two goal cushion for the last ten minutes that they held on to to take out the Birmingham City Cup.

In the third place playoff, Livorno saw off St Mirren three goals to one also.

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Birmingham Herald

06/08/2009

FOSTER OUT IN THE COLD

Capello yesterday announced his England squad to face Holland on Wednesday 12 August in a friendly, and has left out goalkeeper Ben Foster and decided to include veteran Robert Green instead.

Reports suggest the 26 year old is being rested but the speculation on the Birmingham City keepers international future will continue to mount until the team’s next World Cup European Qualifying Section match.

The new Birmingham signing has already made it known in recent days that he is pleased to be part of the set up at St Andrews.

Foster has won two caps for England and is keen to continue to represent his country.

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Birmingham Herald

07/08/2009

BIRMINGHAM ONCE AGAIN DIP INTO UNITED’S ROSTER

Birmingham City have been dealing with Manchester Untied for the second time in the last month, bringing in yet another United keeper onto their payroll. 19 year old English keeper Ben Amos signed with Birmingham for a reported transfer fee of two and a half million pounds.

The deal is said to be giving Amos a reported one thousand pounds a week.

Amos has hinted that he is keen to rekindle the fight with Foster, a team mate of his at United, to be named keeper ahead of him. Foster is currently first choice at St Andrews where loanee from Manchester City Joe Hart was second, however as a result of this latest signing Duggat was quick to send Hart back to The City of Manchester Stadium moving Amos straight to second choice behind Foster.

Duggat seems to be slowly building for the future, bringing in young talented players. Could this be what helps take Birmingham to the top of English football? Could Birmingham really fight it out with the big 4 for European qualification? Only time will tell.

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Birmingham Herald

10/08/2009

UNITED COMMUNITY LEADERS

Manchester United yesterday won the Community Shield again making it 16 times since the competition started in 1908 when United became the first ever winners of the competition.

In a thrilling match between United and rivals Chelsea, United won convincingly with a four nil score line in a match that saw Bulgarian captain Dimitar Berbatov shine and the star of the day claiming all four goals. 

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Birmingham Herald

16/08/2009

LEAGUE CUP SHOULD SEE BREEZE START FOR CITY

Birmingham City have been handed a relatively easy tie for their second round Carling Cup match, after being drawn away to League One outfit Stockport. The match is to take place at Edgeley Park on Tuesday 25 August.

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Birmingham Herald

16/08/2009

CITY OFF TO A WINNING START

Birmingham are off to a winning start in the 09/10 Barclays Premiership after a 3-2 victory at home to Sunderland. An early penalty decision against Benjani in only the second minute, after upending Queudrue gave Birmingham an early lead when James McFadden converted. Contraversy arose when Benjani was only warned instead of being sent off for the sliding challenge from behind. Birmingham claiming what replays proved that studs were shown.

Benjani made amends for his earlier mistake when he volleyed home Boudewijn Zenden’s cross, leaving Foster diving for open air in the twenty second minute. Zenden, a former Chelsea winger, marking his return to Premier League football after spending two years in the French League 1 with Marseille, signed for a free transfer and is keen to impress at his new club.

Birmingham took the lead once again in the thirty first minute through a McFadden spot kick again after Paulo Da Silva pulled on Phillips bringing him down in the penalty area.

Five minutes later a defensive error allowed Phillips to break through the Sunderland defence and a goalkeeping error further allowed him to pass Gordon leaving Phillips with an open net to shoot into, pushing Birminghams lead to 3-1.

Despite Sunderland’s effort to try pull another goal back the Birmingham defence and Foster in goals continued to stand firm, Foster showing why he feels he should be pushing for a starting spot in Capello’s England squad.

Despite the strong defence, Benjani was still causing a few problems for Birmingham, frustrating particularly Queudrue who was given the task of controlling him. Instead, it was as though Benjani was controlling Queudrue, forcing Queudrue to rely on dirtier play to stop the striker moving forward resulting in the defender being given a yellow card early in the second half. Queudrue was subsequently replaced by David Joyce being given his first ever taste of senior football and Premiership football.

It seemed that the change may not have been the best decision as in the sixty-fifth minute Joyce allowed Cattermole too much room and Lee was left one on one with Foster whose fingertips just missed the shot, and Sunderland had pulled another one back.

Despite the two setbacks, Foster still maintained his composure and continued to pull off some great saves, helping to keep the score at 3-2. 

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Birmingham Herald

21/08/2009

DUGGAT LOOKING BLUE

Birmingham City manager Jack Duggat has probably bitten off more than he can chew but if that’s how he wants to do it then let him we say. Duggat decided yesterday that not only will he manage the Birmingham first team, but their reserve grade also. However the reserves didn’t quite get off to the same start as the seniors.

On a cold, gusty 6 degree day in London, Birmingham reserves boasting the likes of Stephen Carr, lee Bowyer and Christian Benitez could not overcome a young and inexperienced Chelsea reserve side whose only first team quality player was goalkeeper Hilario.

Being that it was only the first game of the Reserve League season, there is still lots of time to get things right but this was a game that on paper Duggat’s team should have won easily and convincingly.

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Birmingham Herald

23/08/2009

MORECAMBE LOAN HUBBINS

Birmingham City youngster Luke Hubbins joined Morecambe on a season long loan yesterday. Hubbins stated that he is hoping to gain some invaluable first team experience from his loan spell.

Birmingham has also sold one of their reserve grade players, with young midfielder Ashley Sammons signing for Wigan for a fee of three hundred and fifty thousand pounds.

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Birmingham Herald

26/08/2009

A WIN IS A WIN IN THE END

Carling Cup time has come around and the second round yesterday saw Birmingham City travelling to play League One outfit Stockport County.

A solid start from Birmingham saw another trademark McFadden corner find the head of Taylor, who like he usually does easily put it away behind the opposition keeper and into the back of the net giving City a one nil lead.

Unfortunately for Stockport they were never really given much time on the ball and the time they were given usually ended with a mistake giving the ball back to City. However, Birmingham couldn’t put the ball away as often as they should have. Shots from Phillips, O’Connor, Michel and Vignal all either being saved, shot straight at the keeper or put wide or over the bar.

This lack of goals or finishing ability seems to be a more and more concerning issue for Duggat.

A one nil lead at half time did not tell the story of the match quite accurately at all. A game dominated by City on all fronts, from shots to possession was not reflected in the poor score line. And the introduction of Jake Jervis and Cameron Jerome at half time did not change the story.

The game finishing at one nil, a win but a disappointing performance all in all. Still, Birmingham is through to the third round of the Carling Cup.

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Birmingham Herald

27/08/2009

RESERVES GRAB A WIN

The Birmingham reserves yesterday welcomed Wolverhampton reserves to Damson Park, but sent them home after the match with a loss to their name.

Julius Gombala opened the score on seventeen minutes, before Andrew Keogh equalised for the visitors on twenty two minutes.

The game remained fairly even from there until Christian Benitez’ spectacular 30 yard strike on seventy minutes which sealed the win for Birmingham, pushing them to second place in the English Reserves Group One league table.

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Birmingham Herald

30/08/2009

CARLING CUP THIRD ROUND DRAW

The Carling Cup third round draw yesterday saw some interesting matchups being drawn. Birmingham City have been drawn at home to Wolverhampton, while Burnley also draw fellow premiership opposition with their match to be away to Portsmouth.

Probably the highlight of the round, Everton travelling to face Aston Villa, should be great viewing for anyone in attendance, while holders Manchester United have been drawn away to Fulham also of the Premiership.

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Birmingham Herald

30/08/2009

CITY HAMMERED DOWN

In a closely fought battle at Upton Park, West Ham came away one nil victors as they continued a great run of form. Birmingham were strengthened in the defense by the return of Roger Johnson from injury, but remained otherwise unchanged from the team that beat both Sunderland and Stockport.

New signing Diamanti, one of the stars of West Hams opening 4-4 draw with Fulham was the difference yesterday as his seventy sixth minute winner rocketed into the back of the net from close range.

Both teams had their fair share of chances with Mido and Julien Faubert coming close for the home team a few times, and for the visitors O’Connor had a goal disallowed for offside while McFadden hit the upright twice.

Birmingham sit in tenth place in the standings while West Ham moved up to sixth with this win.

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Birmingham Herald

03/09/2009

GRUDGE MATCH FULL OF CONTRAVERSY

When you hear local grudge match your bound to hear controversy, and that was exactly the case between Birmingham and Aston Villa yesterday. In a match that saw 9 yellow cards handed out, Aston Villa came away one nil victors.

The match was full of controversy with each team believing that certain yellow cards should have been red and Birmingham fans especially will be angered at the face that the goal scored by Agbonlahor, to their belief was offside. What’s more is that TV replays also confirmed the offside which should have been picked up by the assistant referee, who was shown in the replay to have fallen a little behind the play.

This result in conjunction with others, pushed Birmingham down one spot to eleventh while Aston Villa claim an equal top spot with Arsenal on to fall behind the Gunners by 4 goals.

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