Pastor Ricky Otto
Having no football over Christmas has been an interesting experience. With Blues current situation it may have been a blessing. Early 80’s I remember a Christmas when we had a foot of snow for 13 days. No football, no racing so this sports fanatic never went past the front door. I probably went on a five-day, daylight sleep cycle so could watch the Ashes. The irony of that, I am sure won’t be lost after this year’s England’s debacle.
The man in the picture reminded me of probably of one of the most amazing Holiday season I can remember. Christmas 1994 saw Barry Fry sign Ricky Otto from Southend United for £800,000. A nice present for Blues fans, although in those days Bazza would buy us a new player on Bonfire night, Halloween and all 4 Advent Sundays. His idea of a transfer deadline was every Friday Teatime.
Boxing Day saw Blues host Cambridge and a packed house saw Ricky open his account in the second half. 1-0 to Blues and the floodgates were about to open. Sadly, there was not a deluge and with 10 minutes to go a Cambridge corner was headed in – by Ricky. An incredible start for what we learned later was an incredible man.
Next Blues were off to Ninian Park to face Cardiff. The Football League in their wisdom ordered the game to be played at 12.30 on the Wednesday which was a normal working day.
Blues fans who travelled were ordered to a route to the ground which added twenty miles to journey. Welsh police had published this so the visitors were bombarded with rubble on the way in and out.
The visitor’s end was uncovered at the time and as always happens in Wales it hammered it down. A modest crowd where Blues fans outnumbered the home, were treated to a 1-0 win. A crisp left footer from Ricky sealed the points. A very wet but happy group back to Brum in time for tea.
So, to New Year’s Eve and Blackpool came in. They had the cheek to open the scoring through full back Bradshaw but within minutes Ricky’s right foot cross saw the ‘Pool man put through his own goal to make it 1-1. Two games in a row where there were scorers at both ends!
Ricky went all one way after that. No goals himself by 3 assists in a 7-1 win.
Now that’s a happy new year.
After scoring seven goals what did Barry Fry do? Well of course he bought another striker. By the Following Saturday he had signed another striker by the name of Kevin Francis. Just to add to the lunacy Big Kev was Cup-tied and couldn’t play against Liverpool. Another £800,000 and he’s sitting in the stands.
Ricky and Kev created a fair few chances after that with both of them convincing the doubters of their worth.
Ricky did not fair so well under Trevor Francis and was loaned out and then drifted in to non-League. Naturally his next career move was to be a Christian Minister.
A non-football friend of mine showed me a documentary about Ricky not knowing who he was. I had no idea the path Ricky had taken after football. Seeing the film when the ‘dreads’ were gone, I was not sure it was the same man but his voice confirmed it. As a Christian myself this was an incredible story, as if his life before was not amazing enough? The “Ricky Otto Story” is available on YouTube. While there are no Blues games to watch do yourselves a favour and give it a look. A remarkable story about a remarkable man.
HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR.