Blues Season Review Part 1
Now that the dust has settled, the flags have been put away and the blood pressure medication is shelved until at least August, it's time to take a look at the 2006-2007, starting with the best bits:
1. Promotion - of course. Although there are a hard core of Blues fans that believe there was more fun to be had by staying in the Championship, most feel that although the Premiership is going to be a hard slog, it is the place to be, particularly since the massive hike in TV monies was announced.
In Birmingham City's long history of not taking the easy path, promotion seemed more of a prospect at some times than others. After the good run of wins following the Norwich fiasco in October, it seemed to be a dead cert.
Following the 'nil points' event of Easter weekend, promotion seemed slightly less likely than Steve Bruce becoming the first Championship Manager on the moon.
The cookie did eventually crumble the right way for Birmingham City and they hung on to an automatic promotion spot - courtesy of Clinton Morrison.
2. Newcastle Away - simply one of the best television performances ever. Blues managed to pull themselves out of their normal stage fright at performing live on TV and put together a scintillating performance that had the assembled crowd at St James's Park leaving the ground in disbelief.
One to be savoured, DVD'd and remembered.
3. Wolves Away - full marks to both teams for this one, as they managed to produce a thrilling spectacle for the neutral observer. For Blues it proved to be a seminal moment in their promotion push.
This was a football match that had everything; goals, penalties, saved penalties, enraged managers, nail-biting moments and plenty of end-to-end play. The only elements that seemed to be missing were a sending-off and a punch-up.
4. The Brave New Team - the individual players are going to be mentioned in their own end-of-term reports over the next couple of week, but credit must be given to Steve Bruce for assembling a team that consisted of a large number of players that fitted the 'young and hungry' mould mixed with a few of more experience.
At this stage, honourable mentions must be made of Gary McSheffrey, Stephen Clemence, Nicklas Bendtner, Fabrice Muamba, Seb Larsson and Colin Doyle.
5. Bouncebackability - far from being a team that lay down and admitted defeat, this season's squad came back from behind on many occasions to snatch points when it mattered.
6. Fitness - there were far fewer injury problems this season. Much of this can be attributed to the average age of the squad dropping by several years.
However, it would seem that Steve Bruce and the Board have started to pay more attention to prospective players' fitness records before making signings; a change of policy which has reaped rewards.
Part 2 continues with the low points of this year.