Gala Dinner – 9th. March 2012
Jasper Carrot and Alex Govan singing “Keep right on “
Seven 7 Blues legends were inducted into the Birmingham City Former Players Hall of Fame at a star studded Gala dinner last Friday ( March 9th 2012) It was a emotionally charged night but also one of great fun and banter as stories and anecdotes flew around the room from players who had not seen each other for years.
None of the 7 players had a clue they were being inducted into the Hall Of Fame, but everyone of them was a genuine 100% legend who had worn the royal blue and white shirt with pride as well as showing loyalty and bringing great credit to the club both on and off the pitch.
Chairman of the FPA Tom Ross who hosted the event said that “This club gets into your bones” by the end of the night everyone knew exactly what he meant..
From the start the atmosphere was electric with around 40 former players all chatting to supporters and enjoying the special camaraderie that being connected to Blues brings.
Trevor Francis, who had been inducted into the Hall of Fame at our first induction dinner, joined in the celebrating of the 7 inductees many of whom he played with.
Chairman Tom Ross hosted the evening with Jasper Carrot announcing the inductee’s as usual he did it with wit and humor confirming his tag as a comedy genius..
But the night was all about the actual former players being inducted into the Hall of Fame,
First up was Brummie Robert Hopkins, who was genuinely stunned and lost for words as he accepted his certificate,” Proud. Proud, Proud” was what all he could really say. Later after it had sunk in he said “you don’t know what this means to me”. He was wrong everyone in the room knew exactly what it meant to him.
Next up was 70’s hard man defender Roger Hynd . Answering questions from Tom he suddenly broke down in tears because to be in the Hall of Fame meant so much to him as he couldn’t believe people still remembered him in Birmingham.
The great Garry Pendrey stepped up to collect his award. He has said to Tom Ross before the event started that “he shouldn’t be there because no one would remember him” how wrong he was. A man who was the youngest ever captain and also managed the club will never be forgotten. Accepting his certificate he said “through life you meet many acquaintances, and you are lucky to meet real friends, every person in this room I class as a friend” touching words from the great man himself.
Joe! Gallagher, a fantastic defender in the 70’s, received his Hall of Fame certificate saying “Whilst I am not technically a Brummie I am an adopted Brummie, and I feel like a Brummie and am proud to be so.”
When Kevan Broadhurst was announced as the next inductee he was genuinely 100% surprised because Tom Ross and Dean Holtham has managed to keep it from in during all the FPA committee meetings about the Hall of Fame. Kevan is one of the originators of the FPA Kevan was truly delighted, but still feeling a little perplexed at being caught out by his two colleagues, who’s laughter could be heard all over Brum.
Another great Blues servant was next up Welsh legend Malcolm Page, Malcolm never misses a Blues game and the 100% spirit in which he played was reflected on the stage as he received his accolade. His soul maybe in Wales but his heart is in Birmingham.
The last one up was 50’s legend Alex Govan, the man who brought the fans anthem ” Keep Right On” to the club. Tom persuaded him to sing “ Keep Right On” within second the whole room was belting out the famous song. A genuinely nice man whose heart and soul are firmly entrenched in Blues.
There were in excess of 30 former players in attendance, Kenny Burns, Noel Blake, Bob Hatton, Martin O’Connor, Michael Johnson, Paul Devlin Trevor Francis, Mark Sale, Jeff Kenna, Darren Carter, Kevin Poole to name but a few. Blues fans David Buust and Simon Morgan who both played in the Premier League for other clubs were also guests..
Also a word for the Blues fans that were there they helped raise a massive amount of money for the FPA. We thank them all for their generosity.
The night highlighted the affinity, love and affection between players and fans and of course it confirmed that the game is and always has been about players and fans.
Photographs by Roy Smiljanic – Click on the image for the larger picture.