The arrogant shame of a cross city transfer and how the divide is narrowing between Birmingham and Aston Villa

In recent years when a player moves across the Birmingham divide they have tended to make the move from Villa Park to St Andrews.

Craig Gardner and Liam Ridgewell are two such examples of players who had fallen out of favour at the traditionally more successful Villa, but found sanctuary in the arms of the Blues.

Thursday’s news then that Sebastian Larsson could be moving the other way as part of a swap deal plus cash for Curtis Davis has come as a bit of a surprise.

As an arrogant Villa fan, I have always seen Birmingham as the lesser of the two second city clubs, or at least that is the view from my high-horse, as Blues seemingly live in the shadows feeding off the scraps of unwanted personnel discarded by their more illustrious neighbours.

This though no longer seems to be the case, as this season the gap has significantly narrowed and perhaps the pendulum has even swung in favour of Alex McLeish’s side after their spirited fight back against West Ham ensured their trip to Wembley for the Other Cup final on Wednesday.

The league table is another barometer for the increasing competition between the two clubs, as despite Villa sitting four places and five points above their neighbours, Birmingham still have two games in hand.

Having suffered a tumultuous start to the season, Villa finally managed successive wins for the first time this campaign against City and Wigan.

This though has been too late to claim the local bragging rights, as two league draws and a defeat in the Other Cup have means that a blue flag is waving over Birmingham this season.

This in stark contrast to previous seasons, when Villa dominated the fixture, with a high point being our 5-1 victory in April 2008.

Larsson’s rumoured move then to Villa will be an experience that most fans will be unaccustomed to as if my memory serves me only two players have ever made the St Andrews-Villa Park switch and they were Geoff Vowden in 1971 and Alan Curbishley in 1983

Birmingham are seemingly experienced at welcoming in Villains in from the cold, so it won’t come as much of a culture shock for them, whose fans will now be hoping to cement local pride with their first major trophy since 1963.

Tags: Aston Villa, Birmingham City

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nick 27 January 2011 at 3:12pm

No way you are a villa fan. You even describe “their” high point as a 5-1 victory, as opposed to our high point . You will never be as successful as us . SOTC

Ree 27 January 2011 at 3:19pm

Yeh they made it to the final but they were lucky against us and again against West Ham who just crumbled after they scored. There is no chance Blues will beat Arsenal at Wembley. As for the gap between us, look back at the day we bought Bent for £18 going on to £24 mill. On the day we were makin our record signing Robbie Keane was rubbishing claims city made that they tried to buy him. They cant even afford him!

chowden 27 January 2011 at 3:20pm

I’m sorry but I disagree with your article. Form is temporary, class is permanent.

Villa are streets ahead of their local rivals in terms of history, facilities, youth development and infrastructure and even dare I say it; the current playing squad considering the clubs recent investment.

Dan Mobbs 27 January 2011 at 3:21pm

A well made point Nick. I feel I’ve failed my fellow Villains, by observing from a distance instead from the comfort of the Holte End. Duly noted and amended.

J.T 27 January 2011 at 3:22pm

Absolute TOSH!!!!

You win nothing for finishing 2nd in a cup final!!! And that is what the Blues will have….

100 years and won **** all!!!

They are an unatractive football club who are the scum of this city!!!

We dont mind taking there best player for peanuts!!!


TJ 27 January 2011 at 3:33pm

It’s ‘their best player’, actually. And a player that has now found himself on the fringes due to David Bentley’s arival.

Dan Mobbs 27 January 2011 at 3:47pm

Anything other than pure hatred for your city rivals is always going to enrage those who see nothing but the colour of the club and having such enthusiastic support is what makes Villa fans so effective.

However, there seems to be a tendency in the comments (thanks for all of them) to rest on the historical superiority of Villa. This is quite clearly miles ahead of Blues as they’ve won little of significance, but it doesn’t change the fact that this season the clubs have been difficult to separate (two draws and a narrow win), although fingers crossed Villa will have a stronger second half of the season.

MAsaccio 27 January 2011 at 4:00pm

Successful? when did the vile porkers last win a major trophy (I guess we’re not including League cups then)?

Dan Mobbs 27 January 2011 at 4:06pm

We can include League Cups if you want MAsaccio, as I did mention your victory in the same tournament in 1963. If that’s the case our last victory was 1996, but excluding League Cups it was 1982. European Cup.

Norseman 27 January 2011 at 4:09pm

There is not only an historical superiority, but a current. The fact that “the table doesn’t lie” can sometimes be taken to mean too much.

The reality is that even in the best of times, included anytime in the last 20 years, city has only had a real shot at villa in the two seasons were the latter was at its definite low result-wise. That being the first half of this year, and City’s comeback season in the top flight. Only then has City been able to beat villa. Note that I could not even write “comeback to the premiership”, as 2001 was city’s debut season in the EPL.

For all of the rest of the last 20, Villa has either dominated city on the pitch or been playing at another level (in both meanings of the word). To challenge the position of AVFC as Birminghams top club, BCFC needs to have a sustained run of better performances in the league stretching several seasons. One win now and again is not enough. Proportionally, it would be like claiming Everton is the biggest club on merseyside.

As for attendences, quality of the squad, and stadium, I won’t even bother stating the obvious.

And yes, of course I follow the villa.

Dan Mobbs 27 January 2011 at 4:19pm

A well made and well thought out series of points Norseman.

However I do wish to emphasise that I never suggested that City were the biggest club in the Birmingham or even close to becoming such, just that the gap between the two clubs has narrowed this season in terms of meetings between the two and league standings.

This isn’t to say that the infrastructure, vision or even youth policy of Villa is anyway inferior as I made no mention of this, as I was only commenting on events that have occurred so far this campaign on the pitch. I feel it is quite obvious that this season the usually wide divide between the two clubs has narrowed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Blues are in the ascendancy, as it could be put down to Villa’s early season slump.

WorldClass 27 January 2011 at 4:33pm

They’ve Closed the Gap… What? Fed up of seeing this comment.

They haven’t closed the gap at all, we’ve temporally fallen back. They haven’t got better, obviously they haven’t or their league position would be better than it was last year.

Villa are clearly the biggest club in the city… there’s no competition… I don’t see how you can be “not so sure”.

Come the end of the season I expect now Villa don’t have 10 first team players injured, and now Houllier has established himself in the dressing room that the “gap” will be somewhat wider and some what more apparent.

Birmingham have been hugely lucky against Villa this season, even though we’ve been as poor as we have been in a long, long time. Even under O’Leary it wasn’t as bad as back then we hardly had the squad we have now.

Sundelrand better start looking over their shoulders. Villa and Liverpool are coming to get them.

Dan Mobbs 27 January 2011 at 4:46pm

Again. My point is not that they have closed the gap, but it has narrowed. My point is not that they have closed the gap, but it has narrowed.

Savo 27 January 2011 at 5:46pm

More deluded Vilers. Did you get your Blues mates to type for you all as must be tricky with 12 fingers and no thumbs?

Dan Mobbs 27 January 2011 at 5:51pm

I think it would be easier to type with twelve fingers and no thumbs, as you don’t use your thumbs to type.

Ianvilla 27 January 2011 at 6:07pm

Stop the anti blue stuff… I am genuinely chuffed for them… I have been to many derbies, and I might add I was at the Southampton game in 85 86…. If you are not sure of the significance then look up the match stats… I am as big a villain as anyone I have met… And I am sick of the animosity… There is no sectarianism and no excuse. Just know you are the best and get on with it… They know we are better than them… If people keep trying to reinforce the point then surely sn outsider looking in would sense insecurity… I am proud of our club, and actully do not have a problem with theirs… Grow up people

Dan Mobbs 27 January 2011 at 6:19pm

Thank you Ianvilla for not measuring the love of your club by the amount of anomisity you feel for your local rivals.

Paul 27 January 2011 at 9:22pm

Methinks some of the Villa fans on here doth protest too much.

mart434u 27 January 2011 at 11:07pm

The arrogance of you vile fans makes me smile

You think your better but when it comes to pride and passion for a club thats won f*** all you can’t touch us and thats where your streets behind.
You live in the past 7 FA cup victories you sing about …or used to so long ago nobody remembers or cares.
you seem to think because you have a big ground your a big club …get real look at the table. SWFC comes to mind two wins and an over price striker and you think your champions league material

Dream on think of past long past glory its all down hill

The City is ours

The Man 27 January 2011 at 11:50pm

I’m confused…what is my street behind mart434u?

Oh I see, it’s just bad grammar.

But I’ll bet what he lacks in grammar mart434u makes up for with some serious ‘pride and passion’. The sort of ‘pride and passion’ that leads to putting 10 thugs and Ben Foster on a pitch and calling it a football team.

And it’s not the big ground that makes Villa a big club. Villa have a big ground because we are a big club. And sometimes we even fill it. By contrast, St Andrews didn’t even sell out for the derby against your fiercest rivals.

Gordon 28 January 2011 at 1:33am

Ambrose Mullranie ( i am not sure of the spelling ) left the Blues for Villa , in 1949

if my memory serves me correctly,

those were the days when both sets of supporters were

better mannered,towards each other,swapping good clean

banter,instead of,filthy insults, grow up and see football

for what it is,……A GAME. A SPORT… sportsmanlike

treat each other with a bit of respect,instead of showing

a lack of breeding.this is from a Blues fan of 81years,who

al so has respect for the Villa and what they have achieved.


Paul 28 January 2011 at 12:25pm

Nice one Gordon,

though a whippersnapper by comparison (of only 50) I fully concur with your sentiments.

Dan Mobbs 28 January 2011 at 1:11pm

Excellent trivia Gordon, thanks for your contribution and sentiments. I agree.

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