Interview: Keith Fahey on Birmingham City fans, memorable League Cup win and playing in Europe

The former Republic Of Ireland midfielder made 121 appearances for the Blues between 2009-2013

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20: Keith Fahey of Birmingham holds off pressure from David Nugent of Leicester during the npower Championship match between Birmingham City and Leicester City at St. Andrews Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

Keith Fahey is one of the most well thought of Birmingham players from recent years. In fact, if you type in ‘Birmingham City legends’ on Google, Fahey is one of the first names to appear. And it’s not hard to understand why.

The Irishman shared the lengthiest spell of his career at St Andrew’s and his most successful, both personally and collectively.

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He played a huge part in the squad that won the club’s first League Cup in nearly 50 years, competed in the memorable European campaign and won man-of-the-match on the day the team secured promotion back to the Premier League versus Reading in 2009.

Whether you’d go as far as awarding him legendary status or not, you’d be challenged to find many Blues fans that don’t hold him in high regard.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - APRIL 25: Keith Fahey of Birmingham celebrates scoring the first goal during the Coca-Cola Championship match between Brimingham City and Preston North End at St. Andrews on April 25, 2009 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Speaking to BirminghamWorld, Fahey says he can understand the love but also wouldn’t blame the Birmingham faithful if they weren’t particularly fond of him either.

“I could kind of say I’m not thought of well by some but that’s just life I suppose,” he said.

“I’m not really surprised how well thought of I am by Blues because I was part of probably the most successful time of the club in its history and I was a decent part of that squad. I didn’t set the world alight but I did play my part.

“There will be fans frustrated as well with probably the lack of what they wanted or expected from me but I did well I suppose coming from Ireland.

“I settled in quite quickly on the pitch and in the small amount of time I was there I achieved quite a lot personally. International caps, goals and collectively with Birmingham and Ireland - Ireland qualified for the Euros, I won promotion with Birmingham, won a cup, got relegated and also played in Europe.

“There was a lot that went on in a short amount of time there. So no, it doesn’t surprise me how well I’m thought of by some but also how little I’m probably thought of by others.”

Birmingham City's Keith Fahey (R) scores his goal against Reading during their Championship football match at the Madejski Stadium in Reading on May 3, 2009. AFP PHOTO / IAN KINGTON (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Fahey spoke very fondly of his time with the Blues and alluded to some of the memories above as some of his favourite within his football career.

“My personal favourite moment with the club has to obviously be the Carling Cup win and before that, winning promotion on the last day of the season against Reading where I scored and set one up,” Fahey explained.

“I also remember the European run and that whole kind of year with Chris Hughton as well.

“That overall year I played a little more centrally. It was not at the standard of the Premier League but for me, I played a good amount of games in my favourite position and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed being around that group more than I had previously.

“If I had to choose between those as a highlight though, it would have to be the Carling Cup win. 90,000 at Wembley against Arsenal, it doesn’t come much better than that.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Keith Fahey and Kevin Phillips of Birmingham City celebrate victory during the Carling Cup Final between Arsenal and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium on February 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The Irishman’s time with Birmingham was one that included numerous highs but it did also have its lows, including the relegation to the Championship in 2011 - the league that they have remained in ever since.

But from a personal perspective the biggest low arguably came from his final season with the club. One that was plagued with injury and left him unable to say a proper farewell to the Blues fan-base before heading back to Ireland.

And yet, he still looks back on it with fondness and never dwells on the negatives.

“I don’t have regrets in life,” he said.

“I’ve done a lot of stuff I shouldn’t have done. Well, I say I shouldn’t have done them - it doesn’t mean I regret them, I’ve learned from them.

“I would have liked to show a bit more creativity playing on the pitch and tried to be a little braver maybe and push myself a little more.

“I know definitely when I was playing around the Premier League - I adapted and I was very safe in the game and my approaches to the game.

“That would be the only thing. Other than that, no regrets.”

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: Keith Fahey of Birmingham City passes the ball under pressure from David Silva of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Birmingham City at City of Manchester Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Birmingham City was without a doubt the peak of Fahey’s career. It’s where he played his best football both domestically and internationally and for that, he will always hold a special place in his heart for the club.

“Everything worked out the way it was supposed to,” he added.

“I’m extremely grateful and happy to have been with the club for probably its most successful time in its history.

“I didn’t play well at times or set the world alight but there were also times that I did play well. I scored goals, got assists and I put a good shift in in the four and a half years I was there.”

You can read part two of Keith Fahey’s sit down chat with BirminghamWorld’s Ben Ramsdale here.