Here is an article from Kaje, one of our main contributors on the forum.

I’ve been having a think about potential changes Big Eck could make to try and win back some pride and, more importantly, some points.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. Feel free to discuss, agree, disagree or add!

1) Drop Carr. I’m sorry, but he needs to be dropped. It’s not because he’s crap, but he’s carrying what must be a very painful injury and it’s showing in his performances. Get Jiranek or Parnaby in there please.

2) Drop this 4-5-1 crap. I understand that you’re playing it to ‘win the midfield battle’ but we’ve lost the ‘midfield battle’ for the last three games you’ve tried it. So let’s move it on now, shall we?

3) Obviously ‘Dave’ Beausejour was injured for yesterday’s game – but he needs to be the first name on the teamsheet. Without him, we have no pace and no wide threat.

4) Jerome IS NOT A LONE STRIKER. He just does not have the ability to play in a lone striker role. He needs a strike partner, so let’s see more of a Zigic/Jerome partnership please.

5) Stop playing the high balls to Zigic. Yes, I understand he’s a giant amongst men – but it could very well be a Crouch situation. When Villa signed Crouch, they tried to use his height and it just didn’t pay off. He went to Liverpool, they played it to his feet, and the rest is history. He’s now a fairly regular goalscorer for England and Tottenham. Zigic might see his height as more a disadvantage than a positive attribute, let’s try playing to feet and see what happens. It can’t be much worse than at the moment.

6) Consider Bowyer’s position within the team. For me, he’s slowly losing his physicality and that was really his only ever asset. I’d very much like to see the continued Gardner/Ferguson partnership, but until he’s back in selection contention let’s see Michel given the run alongside Barry. Please. He’s a much better passer and creator than Bowyer.

7) Fahey. Just no. Fahey, for me, is a central attacking midfielder. This does not mean he has the ability to play out wide – ever. He’s not a substitute for ANY winger, let alone a left one.

8 ) If Beausejour is out for another game, rather than use (ha, use?) Fahey, let’s try shifting Larsson to wide left (he’s done that before) and play Redmond. He’s young, sharp, quick, hungry and could well show up some of the current crop of first teamers in passion and drive.

9) Stop the long ball from Foster. Please. Foster plays a very similar distribution game to Maik Taylor. He boots it long (too long) and often wide – and usually to an opposing player. Let’s try the short kick, short pass, roll-out or throw a little more please. Let’s build from the back rather than lose possession straight away.

10) For the love of God use your damn subs. None of this 89th minute balls, if we need a change then CHANGE IT.

11) I can understand using the same team after a loss and giving them a chance to prove themselves. They didn’t. So why pick the same team for a third time in a row? They had their chance, they blew it, you change things around to freshen things up and – hopefully – give some fresh ideas.

12) Don’t say that the crowd is unfair when they boo YOU for being stubborn and ultimately costing us points because of it. Please. That’s not our fault.

Discuss this post, and other items, in the Joys and Sorrows Forum.


21 Comments on Ch-ch-ch-changes

  1. I agree with this article almost in its entirety, but it is all common sense and something that I have been saying since Eck resorted back to 4-5-1 at the end of last season. I am a season ticket holder who travels a 280 mile round trip for home games.


    We have not got a good finisher up front at the moment, and bowyer is not the player he was at the start of last season. Carr is stuggling but at least he gives his all and we do not have a natural replacement for him. Fahey has not developed as we would have hoped and maybe if Eck gave the new boys as much opportunity as he has with Fahey we may find out what they are really like.

    I know you should not blood youth when you are losing but we need more pace and a little more stamina so let the kids do the running for older guys. Good teams have a good mix of Youth and Experience. Recall Mutch and play Redmond. We need some Hero’s and we love love nothing better than a local home grown one.

    Lets face it Gardner is the nearest thing we have to a Hero at the moment, he gives his all and scores a few goals and he is real Blue Nose.

  2. Hi Will, thanks for the comment!

    It is indeed, for the majority, common sense – but the problem with common sense is that it just isn’t that common!

    Whilst we might see it as the most obvious things to do, for some reason the man in power doesn’t quite ‘get it’.

    Let’s put common sense by the wayside for a moment and indulge in a little conspiracy theorising – but is it a co-incidence that our poor performances and static formation started when Sammy Yu had officially left the club?


  3. Interesting article. Here are my reactions:

    1) I agree with the need to get he ball to Zigic’s feet. By all means try to develop his aerial game in training, but play to his strengths in matches. We have become quite a good passing team when we want to be (and when there is movement off the ball, which was conspicuous by its absence against Everton), so let’s pass rather than hoof the ball forward to people who are not equipped for it.

    2) I feel about sorry for Fahey. He is bagging plenty of stick this season, but he has never been given an opportunity in his favoured central role (not that I’m necessarily advocating playing him there ahead of Barry, Bowyer, Gardner or Michel).

    3) Mutch? not yet. Redmond certainly, but probably in small doses initially.

    4) Distribution from the keeper. Remember Hart’s endless long punts left to the head of McFadden last season? I could never work that one out! We’ve seen less of that, and I think Foster’s disribution is a little more intelligent. However, this relies again on movement ahead of him.

    5) I’ve got a hunch that a Jerome/Derbyshire partnership may be the one to work for us this season. From what I’ve seen, Derbyshire has pace and good movement off the ball. He and Jerome together could prove a handful for defences.

    6) Booing? I’ve read many attempts to justify it, and I am entirely unconvinced. Totally counter-productive and disproportionate to the present situation. Apart from a spell early in the second half, when we tried to rally the players, our support was miserable, and in stark contrast to that of the Everton fans. A massive part of the pleasure I get from coming to games is being part of a passionate, committed, vociferous, witty crowd. We have retained that passion and commitment in situations far worse than that in which we now find ourselves. Where has it gone? Some will argue that the team is not giving us much to shout about, but that’s just being reactive, and leads to a spiral of under-achievement. Let’s take the initiative, start having a good time again, and feed a bit of atmosphere and passion to those on the pitch. Let’s be leaders. We’re on our way!

  4. Get rid of Jerome, he’s RUBBISH….Championship player at best….We need a striker or two if we’re relying on Jerome to score, to hold the ball up, to control the ball, to read the line, to anticipate, to understand the offside rule…then we’ll be in trouble ALL season. Ask anyone about Jerome and the first and only thing they say will be ‘he’s quick’ big deal…i’d rather he stuck the ball in the back of net…RUBBISH get rid of him…

  5. A few of the things already said I agree with,BUT :- Carr not only tried hard on Saturday,he played well. Getting rid of Jerome is for someone who doesn’t see the wood for the trees. He scored 11 goals last season which is a great deal more than some other highly-priced Premiership strikers. He does need a partner, but surely Derbyshire not Zigic,who I’m afraid needs to improve by so much that his possible success is extremely unlikely. No more booing & more cheering please,even when we are not playing well; booing will only deflate the team & the manager.

  6. Let’s not keep kidding ourselves, Eck says it’s 4-4-1-1, most of the fans say it’s 4-5-1, but my observation is that, because of how deep Ferguson is coming, it’s more like 4-1-4-1, and if Ferguson passed to Dann, who hoofed it long to a totally unsupported Jerome once on Saturday, he did it 20 times, it just isn’t going to work unless you have young fit midfielders who are prepared to run forever to support him. Fahey seemed to be trying to find places to hide, Bowyer seems to be getting in everydodys way, maybe he needs a rest and a rethink about where to play him best. I agree Carr is struggling, but at least he made a couple of decent runs, only to find 1 blue shirt and 4 pink(?) ones in the box. If Ferguson is playing behind the midfield, Bowyer is trying to boss midfield and Fahey is AWOL, that just leaves Seb and Hleb to offer some sort of attacking threat to support Jerome, and they are tied up trying to protect an aging Bowyer.

  7. Great article. Better than half the stuff I pay to read in the Mail! What seems clear to me is that Blues under McLeish are at some sort of turning point. I think the fans sense this as they did this time last year amd that’s why we are getting so wound up. We know things could go two ways from here. We boo Mcleish because he has delivered us a great squad of players who have the potential to push for glory but we sense he is going to lose his bottle just when it matters most. What a shocking waste this would be for fans that have waited so long for a sniff of glory. Whoever plays the team and manager need to shake off this ’17th in the league would be a great result’ mindset. Get real. it won’t be! It will feel like a failure. Success brings pressure and raises expectations but the real winners find a way to deal with that that is grander than dismissing it as a flash in the pan. Come on, Alex, take a deep breath and go for it and then we will be right behind you. He who hesitates is lost and will be booed because no one loves a bottler!

  8. WiilG says that we do not have a good finisher at the moment. Apart from the odd cameo from people like Dugarry, we haven’t had a good finisher for thirty years, which is why we’ve been down to the third tier of English football and are still trying to establish ourselves in the top flight. We haven’t scored a goal for more than three games. It is just unbelievable that the club did not sign a goal scorer. McLeish has said that the strikers at the club must step up, which is utter nonesense. There isn’t a striker at the club capable of doing the job, with no disrespect to Kevin Phillips, (a pity he’s not ten years younger). I didn’t see it but I believe that Jerome had a one-on-one with Everton’s ‘keeper and, unsurprisingly, failed. He had several chances against Wigan and failed. The one that stood out was when he was in the six-yard box, a foot beyond the far post and twisted his neck to head the ball towards the corner flag. He seems not only to lack the cool instinct of a true striker but he clearly isn’t aware of where he is on the pitch. I’ve watched this sort of rubbish for the greater part of my fifty-odd years of support and I’m not inclined to even take the trouble to attend any more. I don’t want us to get into Europe because we haven’t got the resources at the moment; thankfully we didn’t achieve it last year. I just want to see a team playing with skill, verve and commitment. Newly-promoted Albion have managed to sign a striker who is light years in front of anything which we have. Where is the positive effect of McLeish’s ‘due diligence’? Zigic is about as mobile as tower crane, Michel is said by Tom Ross to not move more than about three yards from any adopted position, and he was pursued for twelve months. I have faith in McLeish but it is staggering that only Foster of the summer signings is playing any regular part. We even shoot ourselves in the foot team spirit-wise by making a statement that Hleb is way beyond the skills of the rest of the squad and is too good to be playing with them. It might be true but you don’t make your views public. That mistake was then compounded by allowing Hleb himself to make critical statements about the squad and their poor ball retention. After that, unsurprisingly, came the abysmal display against Wigan. In midfield especially, we were out-muscled for the ball in individual challenges. It was like fifteen-year olds against men. Added to that was the lack of accuracy in passing or the lack of appropriate weight on the pass. It was an utterly embarrassing performance and, combined with the lack of goalscoring potential, leads me th htink that we will be relegated at the end of the season. At the moment, I can’t see three teams who are worse than Blues.

  9. ‘Old git’ Jerome scoring 11 goals last season doesn’t help this season, he might have scored 11 but how many sitters did he miss? Jerome couldn’t score if he was playing alongside the best players in Europe, Look at the chances he’s missed this season already… , Liverpool, Bolton, Wigan, Everton, I don’t get this support of Jerome, he is RUBBISH, it’s a day off for any defender marking him…I watch him home and away…RUBBISH…if Jerome plays we’re down to 10 men already…defensively we look good, midfield generally looks pretty solid but if we can’t score goals or hold the ball up, up front, we can’t always rely on our defence to keep the opposition out especially when Jerome is missing sitters every week…..Don’t see many clubs after him during the transfer window…..RUBBISH

  10. Agree with nearly all in this article. A different strike force at home though, Jerome is better running into space away from home.

    Big Eck has done wonders at Blues but we’re currently going backwards. The last two home games have been simply rubbish.

  11. agree with this article jerome or mr.teflon (nothing sticks) just cant be the lone striker apparently big eck is the only one who doesnt know this

  12. Im afriad ole’ Woody’s right . A bit harsh , but like my own feelings at the moment , Who are we going to beat ?……. Who’s even going to shoot ?……..

  13. I agree with this article 100%. However, will we see even some of this happen? No, Eck seems to have entrenched himself in a bad place. Carr, Bowyer and Fahey should not start under any circumstances at the moment.

  14. I’d take Ridgewell out of the team, he is a weakness that opposition teams seek out and exploit. We should replace him with Jirnaek! The games I’ve seen him play he has showed real quality and you can tell that he has played at the highest level. He could probably dislodge Scott Dann but we are more needy at left back.

    I would also drop our two central midfielders from last year. Lee Bowyer and Barry Ferguson!! Both living off their exploits last year. More so Fergsuon who’s been dreadful this season. Lee has really gone downhill from last season he used to make some very good runs this time last year but nowadays it is rare to see him get a chance. I’d bring in Michel a very creative and physical player. So far he has not had the game time that he deserves. I’d play him with Hleb in the middle.

    Finally up front I’d replace Jerome with Zigic. Zigic is a fantastic finisher and the quality of ball offered by Michel, and Hleb I’d back him to score ahead of Jerome. I’m a big fan of Jerome but I worry he becomes complacent and fails to give 100% in all matches.

  15. John !…admit it , you’re a Villa fan aren’t you ? You’ve come on here trying to win us over by knocking easy targets like Ridgy ( who is actually doing ok – ish ) and then you move on to the listless journeyman Bowyer ( fair enough ) but then you start on Fergusson who , whilst not exactly setting the world alight , is in fact steading a very unstable ship at the moment .
    But then , you give yourself and your subversive intentions away by mooting Michel ( “I’ve got the ball everybody , now I’m just going to pas…oh ! I didn’t see him coming , sorry ! ) and Zi , er Zig.. no , I’m sorry I can’t even write his name , the hapless ( no doubt , well meaning ) Serb , as an answer to our problems ?………… go back to Villa Park John , and don’t try anything like that again !

  16. Mr Woodhall has hit it squarely on the head. We do not have regular goals in our team and ultimately we will struggle to survive. I too have been a fan for more decades than I care to remember and through all that period apart from a few seasons in the late 60’s and the 70’s have never really seen a team that scores a lot of goals with genuine goalscorers.

    I am still pinching myself about the way we secured our premiership status last year, mainly it was because we fielded a regular starting 11 and stuck to basics with experienced players (not forgetting a good slice of luck…a commodity we ‘noses are not used to!). Unfortunately this year we seem to have been found out a little. Some of our experienced players are off colour and making mistakes they didn’t last year. For me the signings have been pants…Foster excepted…we have bought players who apparently have to have time to settle in…er we can’t afford that luxury…and so when we get injuries/suspensions/loss of form we are woefully short of quality cover.

    Jerome is a genuine trier and I hope that his brain kicks in and he proves his doubters wrong, hmm, but at the moment he is the best we have and he needs to play with a partner at home for goodness sake.

    All of the above said I am a Blues fan and bloody proud whatever (blind faith so what?) so I can never condone booing during a game, totally counterproductive. Let’s just remember that this is BIRMINGHAM CITY and don’t be fooled into thinking we can go to the next level. Accept what we are and get behind the Blue boys and see if we can’t help them to remain a premiership team next season.


  17. Well said Kaje. I think it’s about time Big Eck started listening to the fans, after all, we’re technically the ones paying his wages! Never the less I don’t think booing is anything but counter productive as others on here have said. Changes need to be made, plain and simple, but let’s remember it’s early days yet. I know it’s hard after last season, but we need to be a little patient and hope that Alex see’s the light before we end up in a needless relegation battle! After all we are bluenose’s so what else have we got but hope?

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