Birmingham City: St Andrews

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Birmingham City: St Andrews

St. Andrews - labouring under a gypsy curse for 100 years

In folklore, Gypsies seem to spend a disproportionate amount of time cursing football grounds. St. Andrews - home to Birmingham City for over a century - is another victim of Romany magic. According to legend (dutifully trotted out by The Telegraph in 2006) the club took possession of the land in 1906 and turfed out a band of gypsies, who wasted no time placing a curse on the club - much as they are alleged to have done to Leeds United and Derby County among others. 

Many saw the centenary of the curse as the date on which it would be lifted. Then manager Steve Bruce pinpointed the Boxing Day match in 2006 against QPR as the day on which the curse would be lifted, telling The Mirror:

"The gypsy curse is lifted on Boxing Day as it's 100 years. Hopefully we can celebrate with another victory because we probably need 13 more wins to go back up automatically.It's a fantastic club considering we've won nothing and it will be great to celebrate 100 years."

They went on to win the game 2-1 and would eventually win a place in the Premiership. Since then, their vacillating fortunes have seen them fall back to the Championship. 

Ex Brum manager Barry Fry told the story most colourfully in an interview with Four Four Two magazine in 2009:

Well, we went three months without winning a game, and I was in the office shaking my head at our secretary, Alan Jones, saying I’d got it all wrong. He said “It’s not your fault, Baz, it’s the gypsy’s curse”. Gypsy curse? Fuck off, what rubbish. But he said we’d always had it and that Ron Saunders put crosses on the dressing room floor, on the walls, on the players’ boots to scare it off, but that didn’t work cos he got the sack. So I said to Alan, “Do you know anyone in the gypsy world?” Turned out he knew the top geezer, so he got him down and he said the only way to lift the curse was to piss in all four corners of the pitch. I thought it was a wind up, but what the ’ell, we were desperate, so I pissed in all four corners, holding it in while I waddled round the pitch. Did it work? Well, we started to win and I thought it had, then they fucking sacked me, so probably not.

See also: folklore

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 15th April 2013 | © Weird Island 2010-2020
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