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EZE Group XI: Joe Hart is number one!

Posted: Fri 21 Mar 2014
Author: bcfc.com

Birmingham City has teamed up with the club’s diamond partners EZE Group to give fans the chance to pick their all-time Blues XI and win some fabulous weekly prizes

This week we asked the club's Twitter followers to let us know which goalkeeper they thought deserved the accolade of being the first-choice goalkeeper in the #EZEGroupXI. By a narrow margin, ex-stopper and current England stopper, Joe Hart, came out on top of the pile.

No less than 12 former Blues keepers were suggested, but Joe just pipped Blues legend Gil Merrick, with Maik Taylor and Ian Bennett trailing not far behind.

The lucky winner of this week's #EZEGroupXI competition is Lewan Tobin - @TheLewan_Tobin -  who has won exclusive use of EZE Group’s executive box for a party of up to 10 people in the Main Stand at St. Andrew's for tomorrow's Sky Bet Championship fixture against Reading

Now Blues and EZE Group are on the search for your all-time favourite full-backs. Tweet your top left and right-back + #EZEGroupXI by 5pm on Wednesday 26 March* to stand a chance of winning a VIP day out for two in the EZE Group executive box for the Sky Bet Championship fixture against Blackburn Rovers on Monday 21 April.  The day will include a pre-match tour, match programmes, pre-match meals and drinks plus further refreshments during the afternoon. The two chosen full-backs will be included in next week's Flashback Friday piece.

*Please note tweets not including #EZEGroupXI will not count towards the chosen player nor be entered into the prize draw.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY - JOE HART

Hart joined newly-promoted Blues in July 2009 on a season-long from Manchester City.

Although he spent just a year at St. Andrew’s, for those Blues fans fortunate enough to witness Hart in action, it was obvious that he was one of the top goalkeepers of his generation and had the ability to be England’s number one for many years to come.

He was a phenomenal shot-stopper with a commanding presence and kept his side in matches on numerous occasions during his 41 games for the boys in royal blue.

He played every game as Blues went on a club record 12-match unbeaten run and eventually finished the season in ninth place.

On a personal level, Hart was voted as Blues’ Player of the Season, was named in the PFA Team of the Year and also included in Fabio Capello's England squad for the World Cup in 2010.

Upon leaving the club to return to Manchester City, Hart spoke to the press about his time in the second city and it was obvious from his words how much he had enjoyed his time in the second city.

“It was a great opportunity for me coming to Birmingham. I fell out of favour at Man City; the manager gave me a chance to be part of this great team, this great set-up – and great people as well. I have loved every minute of it. 

“I have made a lot of good friends at Birmingham. Players, staff. It’s hard. I’ve never really left anything like this before, in this way. If I could have stayed, I would, but it wasn’t down to me.

“I have absolutely loved it and I didn’t really want to leave. But I was told that I have to. It’s just the way football is and hopefully I have got some good relationships to come back to when I play Birmingham down the line.”

He also confirmed how his time in B9 had improved him as a player.

“When I arrived I just hoped that I would get in – which I did – and keep my place,” he said. “There were the likes of Maik Taylor and Colin Doyle behind me, two great ‘keepers in their own right. That was the main aim, everything else was a bonus.

“I expected to be busy as the goalkeeper. For all the nice things people have said, I haven’t exactly been over-worked throughout the season. I’ve just had one or two things to do, and tried to have a real input in the game.

“The lads have been different class. I think we showed what a proper team we were and it was exciting what we did. We gelled as a defensive line. We gelled on a personal basis. We all got on. It’s those four, the four in front of them, then the other two. We were a real good defensive team and we looked to counter attack. I think the relationships spilled on to the pitch and that’s where the success came from really.”
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