We travelled in belief because that's all we could hope for. It wasn't in our hands and everyone had us as nailed on certs to go down. We were out to defy them and at half time it all seemed to be going so well. Wolves were 3-0 down, we were putting on a brilliant battling performance – everything that was missing the previous week against Fulham was back again, raising questions as to what if we had played like this last weekend. And the fans were playing their part too, singing their hearts out, roaring the team onto victory.
And then Spurs scored just into the second half. Hearts sank, but heads didn't go down. Even when the news came through that Blackpool were winning. But still Blues pushed for an equaliser, and still the fans kept true to their anthem and kept right on – the slow rendition of keep right on brought a tear to the eye!
By now Blackpool were losing 3-2 and Blues were pushing for the equaliser. And suddenly the ball fell to Craig Gardner and he hit an absolute rocket of a shot. I didn't see it go in, all I saw was the ball fall to him and then next thing I knew it was nestled in the back of the net. Arguably, it was celebrated more than Martins' winner was in the final. It meant so, so much. It was written it the stars – it had to be – that Craig Gardner the bluenose scored the goal that would keep Birmingham in the Premier League.
And yet, there was still another twist. Wigan had scored. And so had Wolves. Meaning we were down on goals scored. What a way to go. The achilles heal of our team for years now is not scoring enough goals and it would be that that would kick us out of the Premier League.
I honestly do not know if the players knew straight away, because some seemed to be holding on for a point. But when Spurs got the winner, we knew it was all over. Part of me was glad they scored, because to go down on points – albeit one point – is less of a gut-wrenching feeling that gong down because you didn't score enough goals.
And that was that. A lot of things will stick in my mind after today, the feeling when Gardner scored being a horrible reminder of what could have been, but the scenes after the game were so very emotional and will stay with me for a while now.. Craig Gardner coming over to the Blues fans and just standing there with his hands on his head, Blues fans singing keep right on and being applauded by the Spurs fans, the whole ground singing 'Thursday nights channel 5', Spurs serenading us with 'you beat the scum 2-1, the players looking truly gutted as they came over to applaud us, saying goodbye to the players that will most probably leave us in the summer, the PA announcer wishing us the best of luck, and also him trying to talk over us to announce the post-match arrangements for the players' lap of honour as we belted out the last rendition of Keep Right On that the Premier League will hear for at least one season.
A lot of things could have been different. I'm sure many of us will be looking back over the season now thinking if only we could have scored then, if only we could have picked up a point there, if only Dann, McFadden and Zigic could have stayed fit. All it boils down to is the fact that over the course of the season, we weren't good enough, despite picking up 39 points which in past seasons would have kept us up.
Despite that, I am a proud Brummie. The fight those eleven men showed today was brilliant. Every single one of them to a man were great, and a special mention to Curtis Davies who has come under a lot of criticism since signing had a brilliant game. If on the off chance any Blues player comes across this, I just want to say thank you. Last season you gave me one of the best seasons I had ever seen as a Blues fan, and this season you gave me the best day of my life by winning the Carling Cup, and you made me proud today with the performance and the shift you all put in. Thank you.
When it comes to Blues I'm always a glass half full kind of person, because I believe they can do anything (within the realms of possibility of course – I'm not saying I think we can win the Premier League!) So there's no point pointing the finger, placing the blame or blaming the world for our misfortune. It's times like this where as a club we need to stick together. We've been here before, we know what it's like, and we've got a good a chance as anybody has of bouncing straight back up to the Premier League. It's never easy being a Bluenose but we will re-group, build on what we have and give it a right good go next season.
More sorrows than joys, but lets hope this time next season we're celebrating another one of those rare joys on our return to the Premier League.
I shall see you all next season.
Full Time: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Birmingham City