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Inside Birmingham City ‘party’: Jay Stansfield’s tears, Garry Cook’s message and no shows

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At Birmingham City’s end-of-season awards event, Jay Stansfield stole the show by taking home all five gongs. Just over a day after the confirmation of Blues’ relegation to League One, it was an odd evening at the ICC building to mark the start of their campaign.

To their credit, a sizable contingent of the team showed up to socialize with fans and commemorate the club’s other accomplishments during the previous 12 months. Oliver Burke, Scott Hogan, Siriki Dembele, and Krystian Bielik were among the notable people missing.

The evening began with Chief Executive Garry Cook giving a statement that hardly strayed from his main theme: “The recovery will be stronger than the setback.” Everyone hopes so.

At the conclusion of his address, Cook delighted the crowd by announcing the commissioning of a memorial statue for the late, great Trevor Francis. Naturally, the news that followed set off the greatest cheer of the evening.

Numerous worn-out Blues supporters showed up, and it was evident that they appreciated some of Cook’s opening ploy. Comedian Axel Blake admitted that his performance wasn’t that great, but things could have gone worse.

Although the women’s team could not meet their promotion target, they should be more happy with their fifth-place result in the championship than their relegation. Libby Smith, Lilly Agg, Martha Harris, and Neve Herron each won their respective awards.

However, Stansfield emerged victorious that evening. The 21-year-old won several awards this season, including young player of the year, top scorer, players’ player, and supporters’ player, following his spectacular debut goal against Plymouth. Stansfield laughed as he mentioned “the quantity of managers coming in” while accepting one of his trophies. At last, the unintentional elephant in the room had been addressed. He joked, “I don’t know why you’re all laughing!”

When host Pete Graves brought Stansfield to the stage for the sixth time at the end of the evening, the forward nearly had an embarrassed expression on his face. That quickly became emotional as the pain of leaving Blues became apparent.

Such great regard for a loan player is really uncommon. His new team is Birmingham City. “To me, the entire club is everything,” he remarked.

It turned out that the “party” that nobody wanted was a fitting farewell for a player who has sacrificed all for the cause. Stansfield will always have a place in Birmingham.

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