By Mark Rasdall
Last season Leeds United lost narrowly away to Birmingham and much less narrowly at home; in fact our entire defence seemed to be no match for the height and power of Nikola Zigic that night.
Tomorrow we get the chance to have our revenge - at least partially - at Elland Road. The display against Charlton was poor and we were probably lucky to salvage a point in a game which was far too open. Birmingham, on the other hand, came back from three goals down at The Den so will take great confidence from that and ensure the last few minutes of the game are nervy ones for everyone if the score is still close (hopefully we'll have killed the game long before then).
Lee Clarke will need no introduction to Leeds after those years with the Dudds and he will no doubt feel he can motivate his new team in the same way as he always seemed to when they came over the hill. Given that we lack a bit of confidence at the moment and significant injuries, I'm expecting a really close game and so a long ninety minutes...
There have been various games against Birmingham I remember well - most recently for me was the John Carver team winning 3-2 and, of course, the terrible day at St Andrews when that wall caved in.
My favourite memory, though, is the 1972 FA Cup semi-final when we beat them 3.0 and went on to win the cup in its centenary year. I remember being allowed to stay up and watch the goals on Match of the Day as we cruised past a team which, let's face it, despite being in the Second Division at the time were one of the golden teams in Birmingham's history: an early 'Seventies combination of the likes of Trevor Francis and Bob Latchford up front, with Roger Hynd at the back, and managed by ex-Leeds player Freddie Goodwin.
Mick Jones got two goals that day and Peter Lorimer the third. The first goal was the best with seven men involved and simply stretching and then carving Birmingham open with Allan Clarke heading across goal (yes, really!) for Mick Jones to apply the finishing touch.
There is a strange little YouTube video here and, despite the commentary and strange musical accompaniment, it's great to see Billy et al and then Don Revie looking forward to the Final at the end.
Tomorrow's game won't be nearly so one-sided but perhaps we are beginning to edge past the likes of Birmingham once again as we aim for even a small part of the success Don enjoyed and which we all crave for so much.
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