Wembley. Sunday, 27.02.11. Surreal. Totally surreal.
From the moment I arrived at Wembley Park, it wasn't just the weather that was blue. Blues owned Olympic Way, Blues owned Wembley Stadium, Blues owned the build up to the match and now Blues own the League Cup and place in European competition. Wow.
It was telling on the train into London I heard some West Ham fans chatting to some Arsenal fans and the Arsenal fans were apparently 'just going to Wembley'. No Blues fan was 'just going to Wembley'. No one associated with Birmingham City Football Club was 'just going to Wembley'.
It was clear that Arsenal only needed to turn up and the silverware was there for them to collect, apparently. The Arsenal build up involved Charlie Nicholas having a chat on the half way line (and giving praise to blues) with barely an Arsenal fan in sight. Blues let everyone in London and the rest of the country know they were there to win. 30,000 Bluenoses were left pumped to the max after the fantastic Blues rallying cry and rendition of Keep Right On. It put Arsenal to shame quite frankly. As did the Blues players, suited and booted. Arsenal turned up in tracksuits. Tracksuits for a cup final. Absolutely disgraceful, arrogant and disrespectful.
But that seems to be Arsenal these days. No doubt a great footballing side, but totally and utterly classless. Which is ironic seeing as they preach holier than thou to all and sundry.
When Zigic scored after 27 minutes the outpouring of emotion from the Blues faithful was incredible. Disbelief was my reaction more than anything. I thought seeing Blues in a cup final at Wembley was a dream, seeing Blues leading in a cup final at Wembley was something else. Totally Surreal. Having now caught up with the television coverage it is telling that Guy Mowbray the BBC commentator exclaimed 'I'm not sure the new Wembley has heard a noise like this!'
If Arsenal think they are hard done by, 5 years without a trophy, Grow Up. Hear the noise and see the reaction of the Blues fans taking the lead and maybe they'll understand that 5 years is nothing. They'll understand that to us, this means something. This means everything. I don't envy them at all.
When Robin Van Persie was taken off seemingly injured, or just not bothered to be playing in the second half, I could sense it. Whilst Roger Johnson limped, wounded, in dire need of Scott Dann's crutches but carrying on. Whilst Lee Bowyer gasped for air that seemingly had been all but used up. I could sense it. Arsenal were no longer to be feared. Foster was superb, but when is he not. Save after Save, the highlights reel will tell a different story to the day. It would look like a second Arsenal goal was coming. But it wasn't.
On comes Obafemi Martins for the excellent Keith Fahey. The Wembley Pitch is so big it was made for someone with his pace and power.
And then it happened. Totally and utterly mad. The greatest moment in Blues history, and I was taking a photo of the scene of devastation. I lowered my camera to the greatest sight my eyes have ever bear witness too. Martins, clad in bright orange boots, ball at his feet, an open goal beckoning. Boom. Totally Surreal.
The old man sitting behind me exclaimed 'this will be the longest 4 minutes of our lives'. I would happily have sat there for hours, game on pause, soaking up the moment.
I don't think I could have enjoyed the game any more.
Quite simply this changes everything.
Silverware, Survival, Europe, the End of the Road could be in sight.