29.12.2012 CHAMPIONSHIP 2012/2013
Bolton Wanderers - Birmingham City 3:1
Smartly designed - next to the Reebok Stadium (ca. 30 thousand capacity) there are a few shopping centres with huge parking slots. This facilitates pre-match activities - one may pop into one of several outlets, restaurants and cafes, leave the goods in a car and enjoy the football event with peace of mind.
We visited the Wanderers fan store shortly prior to kick off. Neither the Club colours nor the logo are particularly attractive (a question of taste, I must add) and on top of that, those are in combination with the design features of Adidas - in my opinion the least attractive across the big sport manufacturers' brands. And that is why we did not leave the venue with our shopping bags overloaded.
From the January appearance against Man Utd at Old Trafford, in the Wanderers' first 11 I recalled the goalkeeper only - not a difficult task at all - a Hungarian, red-haired, besides his surname is Bogdan (should rather be first name if you know what I mean:)
The Championship seems to be an adequate (if not ideal) place for both teams: neither tradition nor number of trophies look stunning, hardly any big names on the either of the sides. Both will have to work really hard going forward to secure their places in the forecourt of the Premier League. Both Managers claim to have much higher aspirations though - what other statement can one expect from a Club Manager though.
The first couple of minutes were a bit sleepy, up until 11th minute - the Birmingham forward Nikola Žigić found some room for a header where very few would have found room enough to put a leg. There was a price for his courage though: instead of enjoying the goal he had to be assisted by the Team doctor. From that moment the Serbian striker did not contribute further to the game at all, applying some jogging exercises every now and then. Until the last minutes of the match when, as a result of a completely stupid foul, the referee had no other choice than to send him off. This is hard to believe FC Birmingham paid 6 million pounds for his transfer from Valencia two and a half years ago. By the way, it is worth noting, the Birmingham team appears to have been an unfriendly place also to two Polish football "stars" some years ago: Olisadebe and Świerczewski either did not play or complained to the Polish media they did not play at all.
The hosts went onto a lead still in the first half. The second goal in particular, from Korean midfielder Chung Yong Lee was a beauty in itself - it is very likely the player will not be missed by one of the Premier League scouts since he resembles Park-Ji Sung from his best time spent at Old Trafford. The penalty goal in the second half set the ultimate score.
Around fifteen thousand fans left the ground quite pleased, some of them certainly went back to the shopping centres with a view to find the right piece of clotheing for the New Year's party.