Open Letter To The Players

11 Apr 2024 | 2 comments

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The following article has been written by one of our Trust members.  They are the opinions of that person and not necessarily those of Blues Trust.  Would you like to contribute a discussion point of your own about Birmingham City Football Club?  If so, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Dear Players,

I had a sales job years ago and the following is something my boss said to me: “Stress breeds inactivity”. He was talking about how extreme pressure makes you indecisive. It doesn’t matter how much you’re paid or how high profile or confident you are.

Stress, pressure, whatever you want to call it, affects us all. The only thing which changes is how individuals deal with it.

The second part of what he said to me really stayed with me. He said: “So when you’re under stress do something, something positive, but do something to change the situation. If you don’t, you’ll be paralysed and things will happen to you, rather than for you.”

The analogy I’m drawing is with you, who last night watched on as a distinctly average Cardiff City side ambled up to St Andrew’s, soaked up the limp pressure you applied to them and scored the goal necessary to consign us all to yet another hopeless defeat. You were largely bystanders, unable to influence the outcome of the match. I believe this is largely because you’re buckling under the pressure of big occasions.

That you have the ability to play well, incisively and with purpose and aggression is beyond doubt. We’ve seen it in patches this season. Albeit, sadly, on too few occasions.

The continual passing across the back, persistently backing off, the lack of movement at throw-ins, the indecision in attacking areas or the over-hit final pass only plays into the narrative you are a team caught in the headlights, like the proverbial frightened rabbit.

We get it. It’s difficult to perform to a high level every game. It’s stressful, it’s competitive, it’s nerve-wracking. Imagine what it’s like for us watching, having invested our lives, our dreams and no little hard-earned cash to cheer you on. That’s all we have. Supporting you through thick and increasingly thin, to help as best we can and to influence you.

How it looked from the side-lines last night was like you gave up, surrendered, capitulated.

Some of you might not care. Some of you might have deals already lined up for next season and don’t want to get injured. But whatever, some of you froze because of the pressure.

If you’re happy having a relegation on your CV, it says something about your character which should make any decent future employer think twice. If you froze because of the pressure, put it in perspective for the last four matches and realise you have a chance to do something really positive for the hundreds of thousands of Bluenoses out there willing you on, week after week.

If you want some perspective, I have it for you. I work for a one of the largest health boards in Europe. Every day I see people saving lives while they get shouted at, abused, overworked and under-appreciated. Day after day. They have to make split-second decisions which mean life or death, every single shift. They have to justify themselves regularly, live with the consequences of their decisions, then turn in and do it again, day after day, with a smile and positivity.

All of this pressure and stress they endure for other people, to improve other people’s lives. It’s not about them in the least. They do this, in many cases for an annual wage some of you make in a month, or even a week, in some cases struggling to pay bills and raise families.

That is what real pressure looks and feels like.

You have a privileged position, within our community, doing a job you probably dreamed of doing as a kid. There are 20,000+ fans at every home match who would swap places with you in a heartbeat if they could, for no money at all. It’s our dream too. We can’t swap places though. We’re not good enough. You are. All we can do is beg you to care as much as we do.

On behalf of all my fellow Bluenoses, I’m asking you for one thing over these next four matches. Give it everything. Be brave. Fight, like you know we would if we had the chance or half the ability you’ve been given. If you fail, at least we will know you gave it everything and we will respect that. What’s gone is gone but you are in the extremely fortunate position of being able to shape the future. For you, for the club and for us fans. It’s not too late. Make that pass. Make that challenge. Charge down that ball. Take that shot. Don’t think, act.

When I got home at almost 1am after my 180-mile round-trip to watch you, after sitting in traffic for hours, I thought our chance to stay up was gone. I’d decided last night I wasn’t going to come and watch you in the final games. Like I said, “stress breeds inactivity”. However, I woke up and decided to write you this letter instead. And I will come to the matches to support you. Its pretty much all I can do to affect the outcome of our season in the circumstances.

You’ve got the power to write some history. It’s up to you how it reads. So, what are you going to do? How are you going to affect the outcome of our season in the next four matches? I would suggest the answer’s in the words of our song. We’ll be there with you, until the end of the road.


Jez Hemming, lifelong Birmingham City fan

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  1. susan allen

    We are only 1 point from safety We are not relegated yet and won’t be either Let’s circle the wagons and go to war. Kro

  2. Ed Truman

    Excellent letter Jez. Right on the nail. Will it make a difference? We’ll see over the next three weeks but I sincerely hope the players have seen it and it has made them think. If we have to go down, let’s do so with all guns blazing and not with a whimper as Birmingham Live rightly pointed out after the debacle on Wednesday night.

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