Birmingham ban birdies before games
Published 23:00 14/10/10 By James Nursey
Alex McLeish was gripped by his visit to the Ryder Cup - but has banned Birmingham's players from golfing 48 hours before matches.
Brum boss McLeish, 51, saw Europe's triumph over the USA at Celtic Manor as a guest of the PGA.
Several of City's golf-mad squad also attended Colin Montgomerie's side's thrilling 14.4-13.5 victory in Wales.
But McLeish has refused to indulge his players' passion for the sport at the expense of the club's Premier League priorities.
City's squad have been given a code of conduct by Big Eck, known for attention to detail.
And Birmingham players, who have a corporate membership at The Belfry, face disciplinary action if they play two days or less before a City game.
No-nonsense McLeish insists the rules are necessary to ensure his players rest when they aren't training.
"It is not a day off, it is about recovery," explained the Scot.
"Golfing so close to a football match, it stands to reason it is going to take it out of your legs.
"If you are marching around a golf course then it is quite demanding to go and play a game of football 24 or 48 hours later.
"We have a 48-hour ruling, it is in the club rules.
"It is so intensive a league rest is important and days off are also not about going out and getting pissed and sleeping the hangover off."
Birmingham boast several keen golfers including Stephen Carr, Maik Taylor, Roger Johnson, Craig Gardner, Colin Doyle and Stuart Parnaby.
McLeish admits he doesn't have a great swing but loved witnessing Europe wrestle the Ryder Cup back in a famous win.
"I am just a spoil sport because I am not good at golf," smiled McLeish.
"But I went on the Sunday and the Monday to the Ryder Cup.
"It was brilliant to be there and witness it.
"One of the guys who works with Lee Westwood, Steve McGregor, was our fitness consultant over the last couple of years.
"I met him on the Monday amongst Lee's entourage and it was a great day."
McLeish's visit to Celtic Manor was a welcome distraction from Birmingham's mounting woes in the top-flight.
James McFadden and Jean Beausejour are out of tomorrow's trip to Arsenal in the Premier League with McFadden facing months sidelined due to a cruciate knee injury.
Gardner is also suspended and McLeish has a doubt over striker Cameron Jerome who injured his ankle in training.
City have not won in five League games and were booed off after losing 2-0 to Everton which made it three consecutive home games without a goal.
But McLeish said: "We just have to be patient and certainly not be panicking.
"There is a tendency to panic in the Premier League.
"But it is so fickle you can go from down there to up there in one result.
"That's why we all have to keep our heads and be cool.
"You have to have the fire and the passion but be cool in the head.
"A couple of wins changes the whole outlook in the dressing room and also the outlook publicly."