Gold has last laugh after Savage snub

April 20, 2006

Birmingham chairman David Gold had the last laugh after being snubbed by Robbie Savage as Steve Bruce's side climbed out of the Premiership relegation zone courtesy of Mikael Forssell's late winner against Blackburn.

Savage had departed Blues for Ewood Park in acrimonious fashion 15 months ago and Gold was still prepared to let bygones be bygones and offered to shake hands with the former Welsh international before the game.

But Savage refused to reciprocate and, although he struck his first goal for Blackburn 12 minutes from time to cancel out Nicky Butt's earlier effort, a late effort from Forssell earned Blues a vital win.

Gold admitted: 'I am disappointed. You put out a hand of friendship, an olive branch and that's what happens. The papers were full of a 15-month-old story with rewritten quotes saying that I would never forgive Robbie Savage.

'Yes, at the time it was all disappointing and I was saying that it was very difficult for me to ever forgive Robbie Savage for leaving the club after having signed a four-year contract. That was the gist of it.

'But I saw Robbie on the pitch and put my hand out to shake hands with him and he walked away from me which I found very disappointing.

'Robbie has known me long enough and he has been around the block a few times as far as the media is concerned. He was outrageous in the papers the day before.

'But we know that it goes with the territory and we should both be big enough to shake hands. I went into the dressing room and told Steve Bruce what happened and I am sure that the players were made fully aware of it before the game.

'More significantly this was a vital victory for us in the battle to stay up and the situation is back in our own hands which is vitally important.'

Forssell's goal was his first in open play in the Premiership for two years after an horrendous time with injuries including a major knee operation.

Manager Bruce said: 'Mikael has popped up at the death to score us a goal and I am delighted for him because he has been a long, long time out and we have had to be very patient.

'He has been as frustrated as hell at times but he is the only person on the pitch who could have scored a goal like that, the way he has shuffled his feet and turned around to get in the shot.

'It was a typical Mikael Forssell goal. We hope that is him off and running even though there are only three weeks of the season to go.'

Blackburn boss Mark Hughes has virtually written off hopes of qualifying for the Champions League but knows it is important for the season not to fizzle out to ensure securing a UEFA Cup spot.

He said: 'Fourth spot is very difficult for us to achieve now. We have had a good season up to this point but it is important now we keep going.

'We have got three games left and we have to go for maximum points. It is very clear what we need to do now.

'We have not got a game at the weekend so maybe that is a good thing so we will regroup and have a whole week to work on what has not worked well for us and then we will go again.

'We have three huge games and have to try to make sure we qualify for the UEFA Cup.'