It's "Leeds Against The World" time again here at Through It All Together, and this week, we have the lovely Birmingham City on Tuesday night. Of all the things I hoped for this season, a top ten finish seemed to be the thing I got most excited about, because it was something I honestly thought we could accomplish (and Steve Evans beat the dead horse about it so often). Our opponents currently sit in ninth while we're in fifteenth... so they have accomplished what I wanted, and we're probably stuck mid-table for the rest of the month, barring a serious change in form. That kinda sucks.
Anyway, we'll have a full preview of the game tomorrow, but today, we've asked Daniel Ivery of Birmingham blog Often Partisan a few questions to give us a view from the gloryland of the top ten. As always, we hope you find it a worthwhile exercise to see things from the other side before a match. Meet the Blues through the eyes of Daniel, then check out his blog and get ready for Tuesday night.
Leeds Against The World: Birmingham City
Hey, Daniel. Thanks for doing this. Our manager talked a lot this season about a top ten finish, but it looks like that’s out of reach for Leeds United. Birmingham City, meanwhile, sits in the top ten with 59 points. What’s been the biggest reason for your placement this season? And are you happy about where you’ll finish?
It depends on who you ask this question. There are many people within the Blues fanbase who are very happy - our ownership situation is arguably worse than yours, we've seen little investment in the team in comparison to other clubs in the division and having seen some of the most erratic football management in our lifetimes under Lee Clark... top ten is just dandy, thanks.
However, I can't personally help but wonder "what if?" Blues have given away too many points this year for my liking and there have been occasions when I have wondered why we've not gone for it a bit more in games. Rowett is a cautious manager - he likes to have a very organised team with protection for the back four and that was what was needed at first. However, the team has to evolve now if we are to push on and the last few weeks we've fell back somewhat.
Like you mentioned, your ownership situation (like ours) is often a topic of controversy. What’s the latest on that?
Where do you start with ours? It's been a seemingly never-ending saga (five years now - someone even wrote a book about it, nudge nudge wink wink) and although there is some hope of resolution in the medium term I've been around enough to be sceptical enough to wonder if the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train.
For the benefit of your readers who probably won't know our situation, Birmingham City's largest shareholder is a convicted money launderer by the name of Carson Yeung Ka-shing, who is currently out on bail from Stanley Prison in Hong Kong pending his final appeal against his six year prison sentence.
His former lackey, ex-copper and once-again-barrister Peter Pannu was sacked from his position as MD, CEO and head honcho of the club at the end of 2014 after he went on a bizarre rant on a supporter website (again with the wink) which saw complaints made about his conduct made to the authorities in Hong Kong.
The holding company based in Hong Kong have been in receivership for around 14 months now, and the club are only afloat thanks to a loan (secured on the ground, natch) from a bloke we know nothing about who's never had his photo taken by anyone in the press. This unknown bloke (whose name is Paul Suen Cho-hung) is supposed to be leading a takeover which has been dragging on for nearly 12 months, At least you know who's stiffing you...
Assuming that gets sorted, or at least doesn't change, what on-the-field changes do you hope the club makes this summer?
New striker, new centre-back, new midfielder, new left-back, and Paul Robinson told no matter how much he thumps his chest he might not be needed any more in defence.
Do you have a favorite Birmingham-Leeds memory?
Nikola Zigic scoring 4 past you at Elland Road. He loved playing you lot, didn't he? I miss him :(
What’s one matchup we should watch for on Saturday?
Give Jon Toral space (if he's fit) and he can punish you. If it's Fabbrini then it might be tricks galore and a defender in knots, or a few Greg Louganis impressions as he trips over his shoelaces and blades of grass.
Give us a reason you’ll win:
We're not that bad at home really, We can actually score and defend at home and although we don't have much to play for Leeds aren't best liked at St. Andrews for many reasons so the crowd will be up for it.
Give us a reason you’ll lose:
We're not very good and we have nothing to play for realistically. Our season has petered out somewhat as the players consider where they're on holiday in the summer and if you guys want it, you'll be able to nick it.
What’s your predicted result?
1-1 draw, a spot of shouting/pavement dancing outside with a line of West Midlands' finest holding the two sets of fans apart/giving them a good reason to not actually do anything to each other.
"Nothing to play for realistically" was the quote I came away with from that interview. April in the Championship I guess. Birmingham sits 9 points out of the top 6, and Leeds sits 20 points out and 11 points clear of relegation... so yeah, we're both probably just playing this out now. But wouldn't it be nice to see both sides play like they enjoyed the game? Or the competition? Or something? Humph.
Anyway, big thanks to Daniel Ivery for responding to our questions and helping with our seventh edition of Leeds Against The World Q&A. You can read more of his work over at Often Partisan.
We'll have a full preview of the match coming tomorrow from our Anthony Linley. What do you think will happen against the Blues, Leeds fans? We're trying to get some reader conversations going below in the comments after every article, why don't you start us off? Think Daniel gave a fair representation of the Bluenose fanbase? Think we'll come out fighting? Or have the Whites started planning their vacations too? Let us know what you think, and as always, thanks for reading. #MOT