Imagine being forced to support a club that has languished in the second division of English Football, been in financial crisis and about to face a point deduction that would put an end to any dreams of a playoff push. My name is Louis Carlish and I am a Birmingham City fan living in Perth, Western Australia.
I was born in Manchester, 10 minutes from Manchester City’s old ground, Maine Road and 20 minutes from Old Trafford home of Manchester United. My mum is an Arsenal fan from South London, while my dad is a Birmingham City fan and as the rule goes “your dad’s club is your club”.
I had many more luxurious options in terms of football teams to support, but in the end I chose Birmingham.
Do I regret it, not a chance.
In 2007 I moved to Australia and at the time I told people I supported both Arsenal and Birmingham. However, every time I mentioned Birmingham the response was “who”, so up until May 3rd 2014 I was only known as an Arsenal fan.
In 2011, Birmingham shocked the world by beating Arsenal 2-1 in the Carling Cup. In my household there was jubilation and despair. I was at the crossroads however when Obafemi Martins scored the winner and I was awoken at 2am by my dad’s screaming, I couldn’t help but crack a smile. The Carling Cup, or as it is known in our house as the Carlish Cup would forever be known as one of the greatest days in Birmingham City’s history.
On that day, I declared myself a full Birmingham City fan, but this was not due to the football (unsurprisingly), but because of the fans.
It was judgment day, survival Sunday. A point was needed against Bolton for Birmingham to avoid dropping down to League One.
The Blues were 2-0 down, before Nikola Zigic reduced the deficit to one goal. Paul Caddis then headed home the equaliser in the 93rd minute to spark ridiculous scenes in the Birmingham away end and persuade me to support the club.
However, since then we have not reached the playoffs once and had to survive two final day relegation battles. Whilst this season is a complete change, Gary Monk deserves all the credit along with his staff. We are now competitive against every team and we have a squad that will do anything for the club. Our fans are back on side and the amount of work that gets done away from the pitch is a massive improvement to previous seasons. I take massive pride in the fact that I am a rare breed of Bluenose living in Australia.
As I am writing this the Jack Grealish incident has occurred where a Birmingham fan ran onto the field and punched the Villa player in the back of the head.
I would just like to say please do not judge my club on that one incident as they have achieved so much good in the past year. I think the fan is a fool who let the club down and is a disgrace to football. It was deserved justice that Grealish scored the winner, but please I would like to repeat that, as a club Birmingham City have been a massive part of my family’s life and have done more good than harm.
Anyway you would think that moving out here has made my love and relationship with the club smaller. However I can assure you that it has brought us closer together and I would not change a thing for the world. Keep Right on!
Author: Louis Carlish – Birmingham City supporter living in Western Australia. You can follow Louis on Twitter @LouisCarlish.