Reflection on my journey with Birmingham City
Very recently, there is a funding campaign to bring a Serbian Bluenose to Birmingham for his first game at St Andrews. Last year, Portuguese Bluenose Andre made his way to B9 with the help of another crowd funding. It is not like many local Bluenoses where they have links with the Blues family easily so they gain their dedication despite temptation from “success stories” of big clubs.
Without counting those who started supporting the Blues from Birmingham but then moved away, I don’t think I know anyone like me who became a Bluenose from Hong Kong. I was a very dedicated business student back in 2009 when the Blues went listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and I began looking at the business model of a professional football club. This is the first club that gained my continuous attention but as a business in the first place. Before that, I had nearly no interests in football at all. I still have a wallpaper of David Beckham on my bedroom wall back home and I have absolutely no idea why it is there. It is just like one of those random gifts from relatives at their disposal. I ever wondered if a relative of mine gave me a Blues related souvenir during my childhood then things might be different, but this obviously didn’t happen.
Besides following the games, I spent some of my attention on the operations of the Blues as a company, such as the marketing activities attempted in China, international friendlies economics, and break-even analysis etc. Once I worked out the number of occupied seats required to feed the first team squad; during one of the seasons it took a whole stand just to pay Zigic’s weekly wage.
I arrived in the UK in 2012 to begin my tertiary education and it was also the beginning of one of those dark days for the Blues (though some people started counting from the year before). One week I was able to remember the starting line-up and the next week there was a rotation on half of the squad. With Lee Clark’s unique philosophy we cruised through two seasons of misery. I met Lee again in Bury two months ago where we had a great chat about the Blues and it is great to know he just nailed another survival job. My first few Blues games were very ordinary besides singing the chants together, at some point I felt like a tourist as if someone watching Man United for the first time for instance.
You never know you love such thing so much until it gets your heart boiling. The implied message from the 2013/14 season was “We have nothing left to attract you, are you still with us?” And I decided to stay. In the 94th minute at the Reebok Stadium, together with the other 3800 fans, we were nervously waiting for another counter attack. I noticed someone was crying with tears as we looked to go down and were set to a complete collapse. Paul Caddis’ last minute header gave Blues the much needed certainty and stability in the near future. Success can be copied, but the values from around club cannot be replicated. Proper working class club, since then I can sense it from the crowd, the stands, the stadium planning, and even the sponsoring companies. No matter what the future holds, it is the same people who stays at the end of the day; this is some proper spirit.
(More to follow)