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The Blue Half of Birmingham Rises




Birmingham, the main city in West Midlands, the second most populated after London in Britain and home to two of the most popular clubs in England. Aston Villa, the more illustrious of the two has gained admission into Europe in recent years, mostly in the Europa League but coming close once or twice to the Champions League, had it not been for the big four-Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Birmingham City, the less illustrious of the two, is a fierce rival of the Villans and the loyalties of the Birmingham inhabitants is usually divided into these two groups. In recent years though, Birmingham under manager Alex McLeish is a different team is expected to do well in the coming years.

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The Story So Far...

The last few years have seen incumbent manager Alex McLeish do extremely well at the club and it was no surprise when other clubs came after him. Alex McLeish, after a brief discussion with club officials at Birmingham, parted amicably with the latter, headed for an unknown European destination.

McLeish was later revealed to have been appointed as manager of Citta Di Palermo. Birmingham, despite weeks of negotiation, had failed to secure an appointment. Two weeks after McLeish left, the club was still looking for a manager. It was then that a new man came into the scene.

*****

Mauricio Ferroli

A former Udinese player, Mauricio Ferroli was a rising Italian football until an injury put paid to his hopes. Starting his career at Parma as a reserve goalkeeper, he moved to Udinese on loan two seasons later. Impressed by what he had seen, the then Udinese manager signed him permanently and made him first choice for the side- all at twenty two years of age.

He was also the first choice for the Italy Under-19s and Italy Under-21s during his time there. After he turned twenty two, he made his senior team debut. Although he was not a first choice keeper, Ferroli still got his caps now and then. At twenty five years of age, a wild tackle in a match against Portugal saw his career come to a premature end.

After quitting his playing career with Udinese and Italy (for whom he had notched up just ten caps), he took up goalkeeper coaching at Palermo. Two years later, he became the Under-20s manager at the same club and led them to two consecutive titles. He was then promoted to reserve team manager at Palermo and led them to a third place, a real high for the club's reserve team.

After Napoli went without a manager due to some inexplicable reason, Ferroli was put in charge temporarily. During his five games in charge, Napoli won four and drew one, including a memorable 3-0 win over rivals Inter Milan. However, the board appointed another person as the new manager of the club leaving Ferroli without a job until Birmingham City chairman Carson Yeung offered him the managerial post at St. Andrews, before the start of the 2010-11 season.

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BIRMINGHAM APPOINT FERROLI



Birmingham City have today announced the appointment of former Udinese goalkeeper, and Napoli manager Mauricio Ferroli as their new manager. Chairman Carson Yeung said he was delighted to have a man of Ferroli's ability as manager. At thirty, he is one of the younger managers in England and a fierce fan of Merseyside club Liverpool. In his first interview with the Daily Mail, this is what Mauricio Ferroli had to say.

DM: You are here as the new manager of Birmingham. How do you feel?

Ferroli: What shall I say? I am delighted. I couldn't think of a better club to start my career at. Apart from Real Madrid or Barcelona of course.

What plans do you have for the club?

I think we need a stronger team in the midfield and strike. The defence seems pretty good and goalkeepers seem okay, though a backup would be good.

Would you be bringing the Napoli staff here?

English climate does not suit them. So no, Napoli staff wouldn't be here.

Any signings you would like to make?

Nothing's decided yet. So no idea.

It would be interesting to see how Birmingham City do under their new manager.

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Birmingham Boss Looking To Sign Macheda



Birmingham City boss Mauricio Ferroli today hinted that Manchester United's rising star, Federico Macheda might well join the club on loan till the end of the season. He said that though nothing was formal, Macheda might well be the first signing, along with a few more strikers and attacking midfielders.

To be continued...

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Any comments?


---------- Post added at 07:36 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:09 PM ----------

BIRMINGHAM CITY-PRE-SEASON AND TRANSFERS



So, as the new manager of Birmingham City, I decided to build a strong side capable of at least qualifying for Europe. For this, I realised we needed a strong strike force and a midfield which could not be rivalled by teams of our stature. Therefore, without any further delay, introducing the new transfers of St. Andrews for the 2010-11 season.

Transfers In



Federico Macheda-On Loan From Manchester United
Lee Chung Yong-Transfer From Bolton Wanderers
Landon Donovan-Transfer from Los Angeles Galaxy
Fabian Carini-Free Transfer
Vedad Ibisevic-Transfer from Hoffenheim

Transfers Out

Maik Taylor-Free Transfer
Gary O'Connor- Free Transfer
Enrico Valles-Loan At Oldham

I was delighted with the fact that I had got Donovan-an American international with loads of experience-who impressed me during his loan spell at Everton and Ibisevic-the towering Bosnian who could form a lethal partnership with Zigic. I could use the height advantage then to score more goals from set pieces- Zigic being the tallest player in the Premier League and Ibisevic not far behind.

Carini provides good backup for Ben Foster and Yong adds much needed creativity to the right wing. Macheda's development at the club should be exciting to watch also.

PRE-SEASON RESULTS




I cancelled whatever friendlies my assistant had fixed and then went on to fix my own friendlies- all of them played at home of course, giving my some revenue. And being friendlies against large teams, these games gave me quite some amount.

Birmingham City 3-1 Valencia C.F.
Birmingham City 0-1 Genoa
Birmingham City 2-4 Napoli
Birmingham City 0-0 Spartak Moscow
Birmingham City 2-1 Hamburg SV
Birmingham City 1-2 Rangers

A disappointing pre-season, but I couldn't allow my self to think of the results I got. All I concentrated on was fitness, performance and trying out tactics. I think I have found one which could be very good- the wins against Valencia and Hamburg saw that tactic being used.

AMAZING AUGUST FOR BIRMINGHAM

Birmingham City 5-1 Aston Villa
(Petrov 17' - Luke Young O.G 5', Landon Donovan 19' 43', Vedad Ibisevic 23', Lee Bowyer 45+2')



An amazing win over our fierce rivals in the Second City Derby and what's more, it was the opening day of the Premier League. The day got off to a horror start for the Villans when Luke Young put the ball into his own net. Petrov equalised in the 17th from the spot when Ashley Young was brought down in the box by Stephen Carr. What followed was absolute rioting from Birmingham. We killed their game and imposed ours, often forcing them to chase shadows. Donovan, Ibisevic and Bowyer all deserved their goals. We also saw a Kalinic goal disallowed due to him being offside.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-2 Birmingham City
(Steven FLetched 5' 29' - Michael Mancienne O.G. 83' Cameron Jerome 89')



It seems we are surviving on own goals at the moment. Mancienne's own goal and Cameron's goal saved the day for us as we struggled against rampant Wolves. It took the whole of the first half for us to get our bearings by which time Wolves had already taken a 2-0 lead. A stern telling off from me at the halftime break and it seemed to work when we started to attack more. But we couldn't find a goal until Ibisevic's cross was headed in by Mancienne. Ancelotti, who was in the stands, was clearly not impressed. And then Jerome proved to be the savioiur as he seized on an error from Nenad Milijas to score a low shot into the bottom corner. A miraculous comeback to say the least.

Walsall 1-6 Birmingham City
(Alex Nicholls 34' - Craig Gardner 8', James McFadden 30', Ibisevic 36', Brice Ntambwe 55', Macheda 64', Stuart Parnaby 68')



A rampant performance from us and I was impressed by the way the boys played. It was a small opponent so part of me expected a comfortable win but not this comfortable. It was as if we were in training and we weren't playing a match at all. Good performance from everyone and hope we can keep it up.

Birmingham City 1-0 Liverpool FC
(Ibisevic 21')



A game which was played equally between both sides. Liverpool had their chances but just failed to take them. Lucas was especially wasteful. We mainly stuck to defending and let the come to us before we hit them on the break. We tested Reina many times but failed to get a breakthrough. Finally, Ibisevic tapped home an Aliaksandr Hleb cross from the left wing to score the only goal of the game. Down at our end, Ben Foster was just amazing. He kept Torres, Dirk Kuyt, and Ryan Babel at bay almost singlehandedly as they fired off shot after shot. A great win here at St. Andrews which pushed me up to third in the table at the end of August with Tottenham and Chelsea above us.

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---------- Post added at 07:39 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:36 PM ----------

Any comments?

---------- Post added at 08:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:39 PM ----------

BIRMINGHAM SURVIVE TOUGH SEPTEMBER



Wigan Athletic 1-2 Birmingham City
(Mauro Boselli 37' - Macheda 5', Hleb 90')

We would have come out of this game with just a single point had it not been for a piece of brilliance from Cameron Jerome, who, instead of going for goal himself, generously set up Hleb near the far post who had no trouble scoring past a stranded Chris Kirkland. Otherwise, the match was pretty unremarkable for us. Both sides had equal chances but neither capitalised.

Birmingham City 1-1 Arsenal FC
(Donovan 20' - Chamakh 5')

Coming into this game, I was third in the table and Arsenal were fifth. The game was predicted as a draw and a draw it turned out to be. Arsenal kind of controlled the match most of the time, except when we went on the counter. We were exceptionally good at it and we never ended up losing the ball to the Gunners during such attacks. They usually went out for goalkicks or corners off Almunia or the defenders. Donovan did well as did Macheda, Ibisevic, Bowyer, Barry Ferguson and Ben Foster, who was as usual, at his best. I wonder how he still isn't making the grade ahead of Joe Hart as England number one.

Everton 2-1 Birmingham City (Carling Cup)
(Shane Duffy 34' Jermaine Beckford 45' - Vedad Ibisevic 67')

I played a reserve-ish line up for this one. Ibisevic himself was on the bench till the hour mark when he along with Barry Ferguson and Landon Donovan entered the field. I don't really care much about this loss as I don't mind the Carling Cup much. So no major comments about this game.

Sunderland 2-0 Birmingham City
(Christian Riveros 48' Jordan Henderson 83')

Sunderland outplayed us everywhere and they deserved every bit of their win. We were chasing shadows almost throughout the game and we rarely had possession. When we did have it, we wasted it. The Stadium of Light is an intimidating venue, and I felt it so when I visited there today. Crowd support was a major part in their win. This despite the fact that Sunderland were 19th when the were hosting us.

DELIGHTFUL OCTOBER FOR THE BLUES



Manchester United 0-3 Birmingham City
(Sebastian Larsson 43' 45 +2' Ibisevic 77')

We were absolutely stunned at the end of it all. We went into this game hoping to avoid embarassment from United and came out of it with a dazzling show which saw us run out 3-0 winners. Larrsson was absolutely brilliant and he more than deserved his two goals. United were blunt in their attack and failed to live up to their famed prowess. Their defence was weak and was exposed many times in the game. Rooney and Hernandez failed to get going. For us, it was the exact opposite. We were firing on all cylinders and the scoreline reflects that. Must go down as one of the best wins in Birmingham history.

Birmingham City 1-0 Bolton Wanderers
(Larsson 89')

Larsson again shone in all his brilliance as the Swede ran rampage against Bolton despite the team as a whole performing averagely. Lee Chung Yong did well against his old club and Macheda too impressed for us. Nothing much in this match to remark upon. We were playing quality football and if not for Schwarzer, we would have won 3-0 or 4-0.

Birmingham City 2-1 Chelsea FC
(Donovan 5' Adil Rami O.G 21' - Drogba 32')

What the **** was happening? We were beating team after team with clinical efficiency and this was the best example. And like I said, The God of own goals seems to favouring us. This was the third own goal in less than 10 games which proved crucial- following Mancienne's and Luke Young's earlier. Donovan gave us a flying start with an early header soon after kickoff and Rami compounded Chelsea's problems. Drogba's goal provided some motivation for the Chelsea side but we held steady and won the game 2-1.

West Ham United 1-1 Birmingham City
(Mark Noble 39' - Cameron Jerome 45+2')

Noble's strike stunned me and the crowd-a pure inspiration from thirty five yards out. But Jerome gave us the equaliser towards the end and the game stayed that way. Kalinic was less than impressive in this game and he just doesn't seem to be finding form for us. Ibisevic was absent through injury and will most likely be so for around three weeks more. A game we should've won but somehow ended up in a draw. I wasn't happy and made myself pretty clear to the boys. Anyways, we were first at the top on goal difference with Tottenham and Manchester City also level on points.

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FERROLI WINS MANAGER OF THE MONTH



After guiding his team to crucial wins in the Premier League over Manchester United and Chelsea, Birmingham City manager Mauricio Ferroli has won the Manager of the Month accolade for October. He was delighted to have received this award and regarded it as encouragement for future endeavours.

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Some great results there mate, it's a good story, keep up the good work!
 
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FERROLI'S FIRST THREE MONTHS AT BIRMINGHAM

Sky Sports take a look at the Birmingham side that has been confounding critics in the Premier League by maintaining an impressive record in what is only their second continuous season in top flight. New manager Mauricio Ferroli is a breath of fresh air for the club and he has brought with him various changes.

Under McLeish, Birmingham lacked the quality striker who could finish upfront, the quality midfielders who controlled play in the middle of the park and a start striker who was more of an assister than a scorer. By some intelligent moves in the transfer market, Ferroli has done an amazing job.

LEE CHUNG YONG



The South Korean midfielder has been in stunning form for the Blues. Although not among the scorers, him and Aliaksandr Hleb have combined brilliantly with Landon Donovan to prove that they are a co-ordinated midfield. Yong has provided a new impetus to the weak right wing of Birmingham and Ferroli is bound to be happy with the Asian star's performances since arriving this summer from Bolton.

LANDON DONOVAN



Played more in an attacking midfielder's role than in the conventional striker's role that he plays for the States, Donovan has proved that he is still capable of big things, often scoring in crunch moments and providing the ground support on which forwards like Zigic and Kalinic can stand. Ferroli has played him in almost every game so far and the American more than deserves it. Proof for his intelligent play lies in him coming second in the Player of The Month for September.

NIKOLA KALINIC



A relative disappointment for Ferroli, the former Blackburn hitman hasn't found the net so far and looks far from settled at St. Andrews. Ferroli, however, might like to give him more time to gel in with his style of play.

VEDAD IBISEVIC



The towering Bosnian has been lethal for the club, leading the club's scoring charts and his performances will be enjoyed by the fans. He is the most important player of the team along with Landon Donovan and Nikola Zigic, with whom he has a very good partnership. He also enjoys good co-ordination with Cameron Jerome.

FEDERICO MACHEDA



The Man Utd loanee has impressed whenever he has played and the Italian forward has limited himself to assisting than scoring. This young lad has developed very well at Birmingham and he is turning out to be a good investment for Ferroli.

FORMATION PLAYED

Birmingham have played mainly one formation since the start of the season and have mastered it. The co-ordination of the side is amazing and they have scored goals at a healthy rate while maintaining a sturdy defence and an able midfield.

A traditional 4-1-2-1-2 with Ibisevic and Zigic/Jerome/Kalinic forming the strike. Donovan/Hleb play behind them. Central midfield is taken care of by Bowyer/Larsson/Michel and the defensive midfield is manned by Barry Ferguson/Eddy Gnahore. The defence has mainly stuck to Carr, Ridgewell, Johnson and Jiranek with Dann playing substitute.



Another variation, usually played against stronger teams sees the two central midfielders move out wide into left and right midfield, usually taken by Hleb and Yong respectively, with Beausejour and Larsson playing subs.



Important Results Achieved with Formation One.


Birmingham Ciy 5-1 Aston Villa
Birmingham City 1-0 Liverpool FC

Important Results with Formation Two

Manchester United 0-3 Birmingham City
Birmingham City 2-1 Chelsea FC

Overall, this Birmingham side looks very good at the moment but it remains to be seen whether they can keep up this level of performance, especially against the likes of Tottenham and Manchester City, whom they are yet to play this season and who are title contenders, just like the Blues.
 
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Really good stuff mate, screeny of the Chelsea+ united scores? :D
 
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Here you go, screenies for the United and Chelsea results.



And...




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DELIGHTFUL NOVEMBER FOR THE BLUES

West Bromwich Albion 2-4 Birmingham City
(Graham Dorrans 10' Steven Reid 46' - Cameron Jerome 44' 49' 57' Macheda 67')

A superb performance at the Hawthorns with Jerome obviously being the star. His performance in recent times has been impressive and this was his peak. He absolutely ran rampage against the West Brom defence, hitting them hard in their noses. Though things didn't get off to the best start, we still came out on top flying high. And I think this is the performance that brought him his first ever England callup against France but he never came on the field.

Birmingham City 2-0 Everton FC
(Kalinic 50' Zigic 59')

One game which I would say we deserved to lose. But somehow, everything went haywire today. Two strikers who hadn't found the net for me in some games for now, scored and Everton, who pretty much killed us, were forced the pay the penalty, despite having 12 shots, of which 4 were on target and controlling possession by a 60-40 ratio. Anyways, it was in a way a revenge for our Carling Cup loss to them some few weeks back.

Stoke City 0-1 Birmingham City
(Zigic 87')

If Everton was a game we deserved to lose, this was a game we deserved to win by much more. Zigic's 87th minute goal was the culmination of sustained pressure we started exerting from the first minute, though why the goal should come so late, I could not understand. One reason might be that we had possession but failed to convert them into enough chances. Anyways, solid three points from Britannia Stadium keeps us in the first place in the table, one ahead of Manchester City and two ahead of Chelsea. It's going to be a tight one.

Birmingham City 4-2 Blackpool
(Zigic 25' Ibisevic 40' Jerome 60' Yong 77' - Dj Campbell 28' Brett Ormerod 34')

Lee Chung Yong's first goal for his new club was the highlight of this match at St. Andrews. We took a quick lead with Zigic finding the net again in the 25th but Blackpool struck twice in six minutes with Campbell and Ormerod to send us 2-1 down before Ibisevic pulld us back. The second half saw us control the game and Blackpool were made to look like kids running around the park and Jerome and Lee both deserved their goals.

Tottenham Hotspurs 1-0 Birmingham City
(Defoe 90+3)

It is always hard to take last minute winners and this was no exception. Going into this game at White Hart Lane hoping for a point, we ended up coming away with nothing thanks a brilliant piece of work from Gareth Bale, who was destroying a weakened left defence (Ridgewell was suspended, David Murphy injured, and Stuart Parnaby also injured, meaning I had to play Scott Dann, a central defender there). Bale's dribbling was a particular hallmark of the game and his cross inside the box found a waiting Crouch whose volley was blocked by Foster. The rebound, however, fell to Defoe who had no problems with an open goal in front of him.

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BLUES DEADLY IN DECEMBER

Birmingham City 2-0 Newcastle United
(Donovan 28' Ibisevic 46')

This was a match we expected to win, so no comments there. Not much really. In the initial stages, the Toon dominated but from the twentieth, we played our best and Donovan and Ibisevic ensured a comfortable 2-0 win for us. Still sitting on top of the Premier League with City hot on our tails.

Fulham 1-2 Birmingham City
(Siem De Jong 21' - Nikola Zigic 55' Cameron Jerome 90+4')

I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of last minute winners and I know clearly how Mark Hughes must be feeling after that. It was one of the most disgusting feelings and once a person experiences it, it stays for quite some time. Anyways, I was delighted with Jerome and he should make the England cut next time around should he keep going this way.

Birmingham City 0-0 Manchester City

This was the clash billed as the title decider. With number one facing number two, there was always a possibility that they will cancel each other out, being near equals, just a point between them. And cancel they did. A win would've seen me go clear four points on top but that's football. The game flowed at both ends and though no goals were scored, the game was a complete entertainer with Tevez and Adebayor at one end being ably matched by Donovan and Ibisevic at the other.

As for Fabio Capello, I still pity him, England's number one jersey problem just got compounded. Both Hart and Foster were fantastic to say the least.

Quick update so no pics in this one.
 
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