‘Gabbie Cabbie’ is brave enough to express his adoration for one of Birmingham’s greatest footballing exports – despite being a fan of Aston Villa’s rivals.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
NB: The person in question in this article is not pictured within the headline image.
On the 15th August 1972, a young lad was taken to St. Andrews by his father – not given a choice nor chance to support anyone but Birmingham City. His father was a generation younger than his uncles, who both supported Aston Villa, and on another day, Gabbie may have been an Aston Villa fan.
Growing up in Kingshurst, all of Gabbie’s friends were Villans. He was ‘football daft’ – his own words, and with all of his friends supporting the opposition, as well as the relative success that Aston Villa were having during the 70’s and 80’s, he found himself taking an interest in the opposition.
“I took an interest in the opposition sometimes more than my own team for these were the halcyon days of the 70’s, and the Mavericks were in town.
I’ve always been around and connected with the obvious number one club in the second city.”
The closest that Birmingham City have seen in the modern day to the subject of this article, Jack Grealish, is young Jude Bellingham, who looks set to leave the club this summer with strong interest from Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund.
Gabbie, often referred to online as “Gabbie Cabbie”, believes that selling the best players at Birmingham City is something that the fans and club have become accustomed to, and agrees that Bellingham is likely to be the latest.
“Dortmund seems to be the destination with a price tag of over £20,000,000 – something I find amazing for a player very few outside of Small heath have ever heard of.
Some of our fans have compared him to Jack Grealish – but I think this is foolish – it’s like comparing water with wine.”
Gabbie first became aware of a certain Jack Grealish through his step-son, an avid Aston Villa fan – and he has followed Grealish closely ever since.
“What attracts me to Jack is that he’s always ready to take the ball in tight areas, his composure, and his ability to take the ball on the half turn and drive into the heart of the opposition half.”
Whilst many Aston Villa fans, and fans of other sides are fully aware that Grealish often runs the show, these thoughts are also shared by Gabbie who believes that Jack is the ‘conductor of the orchestra’ and that his importance to the Villans is ‘immense’.
“Without him, Villa would already be relegated.”
Gabbie does regular podcasts with a number of former players and is in regular contact with Alan Hudson, the former Chelsea, Stoke, Arsenal and Seattle Sounders midfielder who made over 450 appearances between 1969 and 1985.
Hudson apparently adores Grealish, and likens him to himself as a player – whilst also revering Jack with the compliment that ‘he’s the nearest thing to Paul Gascoigne he’s ever seen’.
For Gabbie, it’s easier than it is for others to rise above the hatred, the jealously and the rivalry between the two Second City clubs, and he prefers to look at football in an unbiased manner – something that he attributes to coaching and managing football at a youth level.
“There’s nothing like seeing a kid living a dream.
Jack is my kind of player, a modern day maverick with magic in his boots.”
The Birmingham City fan was also quick to place a black mark on the assault of Jack Grealish in the last meeting between Aston Villa and Birmingham City by fan Paul Mitchell, who found a way onto the pitch before throwing a punch at then newly-minted Aston Villa captain – as well as much more of the abuse that Grealish has recieved.
“Football brings out the worst in people, and at times the best.
Look at the vile abuse Jack has taken, mainly from so-called fans of my club, which then lead to that idiot running onto the pitch to assault the maestro.”
Gabbie does believe that our ‘maestro’ will move on – and states it would be ‘fair’ for him to do so – whilst also thinking that the majority of Aston Villa fans will wish him well when he does.
Whilst Gabbie believes he’ll leave, he also revealed that he would love him to stay and have a side built around ‘Aston Villa’s most accomplished midfield player since Sid’. He also holds hopes for Grealish’s debut for the England national team sooner rather than later.
“He’s the most complete English midfielder in the country.
Real stars like Jack Grealish are rare.”