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Bez Lifts the Lid...
 Life with United...and beyond   Part XI

A man who had a fleeting association with the Blues (and we don't mean BB King), John Beresford spills the beans about Birmingham City.

Birmingham (a) 3-2 Division One 4/11/1992

An amazing game at St.Andrews. United took the lead three times to be 3-2 ahead at the interval. Injured keeper Tommy Wright was replaced by Kevin Brock who almost immediately felt the full force of a David Speedie boot on his head. In a world of his own, Brock spent the rest of the half sniffing Derek Wright's smelling salts or socks but United incredibly held on.

Later that evening Stan Seymour Jr. died of a heart attack in a local hotel.

"This was a massive win for us. We'd lost three in a week after our great start to the season and we were desperate to get winning again. We were all delighted and went to congratulate Kevin Brock after the final whistle. I remember Keegan was especially pleased with the way we had battled and kept possession.

"In the coach on the way home it had gone a bit quiet and suddenly Brock shouts out, 'I thought we had a game tonight.' I think most of the lads thought he was joking but he wasn't. 'So, how did we get on then?' he asked. We told him that he was the hero and he said, 'I thought I'd had a good game the way everyone kept patting my back.' I think it was only a few days later he realised he'd actually played in goal and he really struggled for a few days with severe head pains.

"Keegan's mood soon changed when he heard about Stan Seymour. He'd been really close with him because of his time as Chairman when Keegan was a player and he was obviously very upset. We played Swindon in a televised game on the Sunday and we all wore black arm bands. Kevin's team talk was all about how we should play for Seymour and about what he had done for the club."

At this point we break off to tell our own tale about Stan Jr. :

When Keegan joined as player in August 1982 there was a massive rush for season tickets. Queues formed all around the ground the morning after and Stan drove to St.James' obviously swelling with pride. As he parked his Volvo, Stan got out of the car to massive applause and in what was his finest hour Stan raised his arms aloft to salute the crowd. Unfortunately the portly Chairman had forgotten that he had loosened his trousers to aid his driving posture and Stan stood, trousers round his ankles, displaying a magnificent pair of Y-fronts to the massed ranks. Typical Newcastle....

"I remember that game for something else. Birmingham's right-back was Paul Holmes who lived in my street when we were kids. His Dad had also played with mine at Chesterfield so that was quite a moment for the pair of us to be on the same pitch. As it turned out it was one of those games where we ended up kicking lumps out of eachother as things got a bit physical. It was no surprise we ended that game with one keeper injured and the other out on his feet." 

Birmingham (h) 2-2 Division One 28/3/1993

"I had been called up for the England squad and was away for most of the week training with them. It was a bit scary being a First Division player among all the Premier players and I must admit I was nervous joining up with the squad for the first time. When I got there Ian Wright came over and I wondered what he was going to say. "Who's this big guy then?" he said, joking. He was great at putting me at ease and I was really grateful to him for that.

Kevin Keegan had allowed me to be away with the England squad but I came back for the Birmingham game on the Sunday. We got off to a terrible start and went two down early on. One of the expert summarisers, John Sillett, I think, blamed me for one of the goals and made some comment about not bothering to go back and train with England. I never thanked him for that properly..."

Bez also remember his one and only game for Birmingham:

Walsall 1 Birmingham City 0 Friday 8.10.99 (Live on SKY)

"I'd had a bit of a fall-out with Dave Jones at Southampton while I was out injured. We'd sorted things out and agreed to start afresh as I'd just got back into training and was hoping to get back into the team. Trevor Francis had asked whether I was available a few weeks earlier and at the time Dave Jones had verbally agreed to let me go out on loan. It seemed a good idea to go up for a few competitive games to get back into full fitness rather than play in Southampton's reserves. I knew David Holdsworth who was at St. Andrews and I was looking forward to a week or two away. 

"As it turned out I trained with them once, and played 15 minutes before getting injured. I suppose a local derby with Walsall wasn't the sort of game I should have been looking to ease back into first team football. To be honest I was a bit daft as I tried to play on when I should have come off straight away. I didn't want to let Birmingham down, especially in a local derby. The next day the knee didn't feel right at all and going down some stairs it gave way and that was the end of my time at Birmingham and effectively the end of my career."

When I went to Birmingham people said I was mad, as the left-back slot seemed to be jinxed. Four or five before me had got badly injured before I came. I suppose I should have listened...." 

Niall MacKenzie


Page last updated 24 June, 2009