Date: 23rd November 2007 at 3:11pm
Written by:

What made you support Birmingham mate?
It’s a family thing. I grew up in the shadow of St Andrews and there wasn’t really any choice in the matter. I have never regretted it, as the club is well and truly in my blood. One thing I am thankful about is that my family are not Villa fans, as I wouldn’t want to have a superiority complex and live life as a historian.

Are you happy with how your season is going so far?
It has been an interesting season so far – so much is up in the air due to the apparent takeover. Whether it happens or not is anybody’s guess – and with our board, anything can happen.

Sometimes, I think Sullivan, Gold and Brady should star in their own sitcom. I suppose it would be like Fawlty Towers, but with lots of Gold’s luxury sex toy all around. God, that’s an evil thought – but I lost faith with the board a long time ago, and humour is the only thing that keeps me going. But overall, not too bad a start on the pitch – could be far worse.

Steve Bruce has gone, is this a good or bad thing – and who will replace him?
It was always going to happen eventually. He has been a good servant to this club, but things came to a head and it has been clear for some time that he would be off. All the takeover stuff hasn’t helped, and without it he perhaps would have stayed. I just hope our next manager can be full of passion, and help us climb to the next level.

Personally, I would love to see Alex McLeish at the club – though Steve McClaren wouldn’t be the worst choice in the world. Whoever gets the job will instantly become the best manager in the city. But they will have to manage the board and fans as well as the players.

How did you rate his summer signings?
Well, Steve Bruce did bring 12 players in and I am genuinely convinced we will stay up. That is all that matters, so I can’t moan too much. The thing is, there is a gulf between the Premier League and the Championship, and I’m glad Bruce actually got some bodies in. A certain Northern Irishman across the city failed to truly strengthen his squad in the summer, and he could regret that. He’ll be fine, though, as the Villa fans think Martin O’Neill walks on water – I just think he’s wet.

Will he need more in January – and will he get them?
Yes, but it’s too hard to predict what will happen due to the takeover, sadly. If it goes through, all bets are off – we don’t really know enough about the new guy’s ideas and what he has been reported to have said to really comment. All I would say is that we desperately need more firepower, and perhaps a bit more strength at the back.1

Who is the Birmingham danger man that Pompey should watch?
If he plays, and I would really love him to, Mikael Forssell could be a danger. After being out injured he has a point to prove and has been scoring for fun in the reserves. Hopefully he’ll finally be able to put his injury problems behind him and start scoring regularly for the first team. If he does, I have no doubt we’ll start climbing the table.

How do you reckon Birmingham will go this season?
We’ll not get relegated this season and I imagine we’ll finish somewhere near to the bottom half. While that doesn’t sound very inspiring, staying in for a season after promotion is invaluable and will give us a foundation to build on.

What about Pompey?
I’ve been impressed so far and things are still wide open in the league. Well, they look like it but are perhaps a bit more “normal” in reality. I have no doubts that the top-four will stay the same, and Portsmouth are one of those clubs who could challenge for fifth-place. Such an achievement would be mightily impressive. Might invest in a cowbell in your honour if you somehow make the top-four, though…!

If you could take any Pompey player from our squad and put him in yours, who would it be and why?
I’d still go for David James. Sure, he’s getting on a bit but he’s still the best English keeper by far. Personally, I feel if he was in goal against Croatia, England would be getting ready for Euro 2008. Even if he had made a blunder, he is nearly at the end of his career and it wouldn’t really damage him. As it is, Carson’s one-man comedy show destroyed both England and, possibly, his own career. James, in my view, has been unlucky throughout his career to have never really been consistent for quite long enough to be regarded as a true great, but on his day he is still phenomenal and worth a heck of a lot of points across the season.

Go on – who is going to win, Birmingham or Pompey?
I can’t be anything other than realistic and say a Portsmouth win. But who knows – football is a strange old game at times and anything can happen. I just, sadly, can’t see it!

Questions answered by Vital Birmingham’s Jaspers Parrot.

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