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Nicole Carroll: A one woman mission to make a name in football

Archive for October 2010

Do they have a Gab-up plan?

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This was pointed out to me by a friend earlier, but it has had me wondering all night.

Earlier this week, reports in the local press reported that Agbonlahor would not be featuring in this weekends derby match, as he has failed to recover sufficiently from a routine operation at the start of the month. The report from the Birmingham Post is here

However, Talksport this morning spoke toa bookmaker about this match and as favourite for first goal scorer is Mr Agbonlahor.

As of 19:39 Friday 29th, here are the screencaps from a couple of bookies websites:

Betfred

William Hill:

Ladbrokes: Agbonlahor 9/2

Paddypower: Agbonlahor 11/2

Coral: Not offering Agbonlahor for first goal scorer market

Perhaps I’m reading into this too much, but if he is 100% out of this weekends match, then why would bookmakers have such short odds on him being the first goal scorer. It’s a multi million pound market and football odds will be carefully calculated, otherwise bookmakers wouldn’t be able to make so much money off football betting.

So, do they know something we don’t and may Gabby somehow feature in the Halloween fixture, or have the bookies overlooked the fact he isn’t playing, considering they also give prices for Cameron Jerome as first goal scorer. (I am also presuming here that injury will prevent any him part of the action aswell)

I know someone will be along on twitter with a full explanation of why this is, but I thought it was interesting to point out anyway.

I’m intrigued. All will be revealed in less than 48 hours…

Written by Nicole Carroll

October 29, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Premier League

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Christmas is coming, and all I see is tat…

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With the Liverpool ownership saga overshadowing the up coming events of this weeks Premier League outings, I’m finding it hard to talk about our away trip to That London in the visit to Arsenal, so I’m throwing myself a curve ball and looking at off the field matters.

My family are  all Blues fans, we make no attempts to cover this up. It also makes it surprisingly easy to shop for my Blues loving relatives, as anything with the famous ball and world logo makes a present instantly fantastic.

I’m struggling this year though. I know that it is only October and many people hate talking about the dirty C word this early, but I’m an organised lady. I’m the sort of girl who likes to have all the presents wrapped up by the second week of November, so the run up to Christmas can be filled with drinking copious amounts of Baileys and enjoying the delights of Birmingham’s German market (big cookies, pretzels, doughnuts – yes please).

So, in my pursuit in finding something worthy to be bestowed on my family members, I’ve taken to surfing the club shop website but to be honest, I’m disappointed. More than disappointed in fact – it’s just, well the best word for it is probably naff.

Once you get past the replica kits, there seems to be a lack of clothes which are suitable, or even stuff that most people will wear.

T-shirts with polaroid designs on the front. Old fashioned polo shirts.  Jumpers which don’t seem to come in any other option than “chav striped”.

When you get past the clothing, it seems to get worse however. Novelty dog name plates. Door signs. Lampshade covers. Gold plated jewellery.

It just disappoints me so much, because with a captive audience of Blues fans, we could be doing it so much better. However, I do have to ask myself, what do football fans really want to see in their own club shops? I’m not really sure if I can answer that.

The problem is, that unlike other retail establishments, Blues have a range of ages to cater for, a range of different tastes and both male and females to try and entice with their wears. You have the young male supporters, who are usually adorned in designer brands, to try and tempt away from their logo’d attire, as well as the normal bloke on the street who just wants something to wear that represents his club at the same time.

Blues are never going to get it right, but perhaps a new philosophy should be brought to merchendising our own club shop.

Personally, if I’m going to offer up a suggestion, is for fewer ranges with some better quality pieces. Nice plain jumpers for men with a small Blues logo – nothing tacky, something you could wear over a shirt and not instantly recognise it’s a piece of official merchandise.

If Blues are going to sell jewellery, such as the gold pendants that many fans choose to wear, then why not form links with local businesses to supply good quality jewellery through the club shop. With a club so close to the Jewellery Quarter, then surely something could be sorted so fans have the chance to buy real gold pendants, and for the club to benefit from this, as well as forming good links with local jewellers?

A lot of people won’t see my point, but I think that if Blues want to push forwards and present themselves well to potential foreign fans, that any online club shop needs to be of a quality that matches a Premier League club.

Here’s my question though: Do you know of any club that produce a good standard of club memorabilia? Does it really matter? Comments below as usual

 

Written by Nicole Carroll

October 15, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Proceed with caution

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Sometimes, a season can seem to go wrong in the same space of time that good fruit turns to mush. This almost seems to be one of those times.

Although, on paper, we’ve had a good draw with Liverpool and have picked up a few points on the road, the statistics make us look bleak. In our last 17 Premier League matches, we’ve won twice.

Despite final day masterstrokes by the maestro that is McLeish, we haven’t found the winning formula of the “unbeatable” squad of last season. The team that never gave up, the team which almost always seemed to be able to turn a bad situation into a draw.

If anything, we’ve reverted. We’ve even shown glimpses of being exactly the opposite of the unbeatables team, letting leads slip away from our grasp as was the case against Bolton.

A lack of goals and poor performances does not a happy Blues fan make.

I think most people can fall into two camps right now. I’ll name them, the “Let’s see at Christmas gang”, and “We’ll be relegated by November tribe”.

Let’s see at Christmas followers like to see a bigger picture. They can see beyond the form and results of the early part of the season, and believe that the league table will take its shape in December and it is simply too early to call for doom and gloom tales to fall onto the club.

The ‘We’ll be relegated by December’ tribe feel that the current form will indicate how our season will pan out. On paper and on the pitch, we’re starting to struggle, and we’ll find ourselves deep in a dogged relegation battle. By the time Christmas comes, it’ll be too late to turn it around.

I hope there are a third set of fans though. The ones who are happy to proceed with caution. I think I roughly fall into this. I won’t lie – alarm bells are slowly rising in decibels in my mind, and I’m desperately hoping the next win should get us back on track to winning ways. I do recognise however, that things need to change ASAP before any sort of rot sets in.

It’s quite scary for pundits to call Birmingham a real Premier League team, but title alone means nothing. The aim at the start of the season was to stay in the Premier League for a third consecutive season and throw off the tag as a yo-yo club. McLeish has a vision for the club, and it is a Premier League vision. 17th will do for me, but we need to work for it.

Alex McLeish is the best manager to be at Blues in living memory. We have one of the best squads to adorn the St. Andrews turf. Good ingredients supposedly equal the best results. Good things come to those that wait (I hope).

Written by Nicole Carroll

October 2, 2010 at 8:24 pm