By Andy Munro.
Let’s hope that we make the Europa League stage because precious few bluenoses could afford or justify spending over one and a half grand for 24 hours to watch Blues in Madeira.
It is just unfortunate that the Blues board suffered a last minute gliche to their ambitious plans of streaming the match live to a giant screen at St Andrews and serving Portuguese beer and piri piri chicken from the refreshment outlets to give the UK-locked bluenoses a chance to enjoy and celebrate a Europa night to remember. I am, of course, only joking, as my suggestion along these lines to BCFC was met with a wall of silence and apathy… and so I was left to listen intently to BRMB. Apparently it was available to view ‘streamed’ to home computers but my low tech skills deserted me in my vain attempt to arrange it.
However, it was still gripping stuff and in true radio style, every tackle sounded last ditch, every shot sounded a purler, every injury was career threatening and every back pass falling short. My nerves were in shreds and only slightly calmed by Tom Ross sounding like he was on the halfway line at Billesley Common.
After a slightly nervy start, Blues took control with a changed side cleverly crafted by Chris H to take account of injuries. It was a Sun Sport punmakers dream as Wood hit the woodwork twice and we seemed well in control. The back four were solid as a rock with Curtis Davies growing into his kingpin role with every game. The midfield seemed to work excellently with Spector (an excellent signing in my view) and the Ridge providing stability to allow our exciting wing pairing of Redmond and Burke to create havoc (blimey, you couldn’t say that last season!). Having the mobile Beausejour playing off the giant Wood was also a clever ploy. Woods is as strong and intelligent as Jerome is mobile and quick. and the former looks a good asset although he’s obviously still a bit raw.
Undoubtedly Blues should have won it against a side who finished high up in the Portuguese Premier and have seen off some class European sides over the last few years. Mind you the tie is far from over against a side that is half Brazilian and good on the counter attack. However it should be a brilliant atmosphere if the tremendous din kicked up by a few hundred bluenoses in Madeira is anything to go by.