I was on Radio WM this week and Franksy was understandably painting a gloomy picture of the club. I felt it was my duty to remain positive though and kept insisting that just because things are being reported as possibly happening, they haven’t happened yet.
John, who has done the odd article for us, sent me this one. It pretty much sums up how I feel about things. What about you?
Birmingham City is a football club in crisis. No, not according to me, not according to the football league – not even according to the media, whose comparisons with Portsmouth following our relegation have been surprisingly on the slim side. Birmingham City are a football club in crisis – according to many of its own fans. In fact, Birmingham City has become such a farce in the football world that some fans have even started up a Facebook group to protest against the Carson Yeung regime – I use the term ‘fans’ loosely!
Carson Yeung is in trouble in Hong Kong for money laundering, the club has spent no money so far in the transfer window and Peter Pannu’s promise that we will not embark upon a ‘fire sale’ of players has not been kept – apparently. It wouldn’t be Birmingham City without an air of doom and gloom!
Look at the facts though, and actually Birmingham City is about as strongly placed for a season in the Championship as they have ever been! So Yeung is in a spot of bother in Hong Kong? That as may be, the club have stressed a number of times that this is not related to his business in Birmingham City. Even if it is, what’s the alternative? Shall we bring back Gold and Sullivan? I suppose they were squeaky clean and loved by all? No, the last few years of their regime was marred by fans calling for them to leave – not to mention numerous police investigations. Yeung is said to be broke – I’m sure you would be too if you had splashed out thousands of pounds on flop loans like Alexander Hleb, Matt Derbyshire, David Bentley and Obefami Martins for no return, just as Blues did last season. Yet, even with dodgy signings like that we won the Carling Cup (or more, Arsenal lost it!) and guess what? This season we will be playing in Europe!
Playing in Europe with a rubbish team, because we have spent no money? Erm…actually, no. We may have not spent money but look at the quality of player we have brought in; Marlon King, love him or hate him is a proven goalscorer – something Cameron Jerome hasn’t been called since he left Cardiff. Adam Rooney is a bright young prospect. Chris Burke is probably one of the finest wingers in the Championship and Morgaro Gomis certainly looks a decent little battler. Steven Caldwell is a little old but did you not know ageism in the workplace was banned a few years ago? Its a good job too, because I don’t hear anyone complaining about Stephen Carr signing a new one year deal and he’s no spring chicken! In fact, we have so far signed more players than other English club except Sunderland. Money isn’t everything; Rowan Vine, Marcus Bent, Jesper Gronkjaer and Giovanny Espinoza were all bought by Blues in the past – give me King on a Bosman any day!
What of the ‘fire sale’? It hasn’t happened. We’ve only sold two members of our squad (not counting players released.) Gardner to Sunderland for around £5m and Roger Johnson to Wolves for around £7m. Neither are a great loss. Neither have been snapped up as bargains. Gardner has no technical on the ball ability whatsoever – he was poor at Villa and only played well for Blues out of pure passion – it helped that nobody else was contributing towards the goals! Roger Johnson is a fine defender – when paired with Scott Dann. He showed towards the end of last season that he is poor without his defensive partner and is nowhere near worth double figures alone – 7 million is a reasonable figure! Dann won’t move unless we get a huge offer – I doubt Everton can afford 12 million without selling Leighton Baines, as reported this morning. Stoke have been turned down and not once has Dann indicated to Hughton he wants to leave. Neither has Foster, in fact with goalkeeping coach Watson staying on, I’ll put ten pounds on Foster being in the team to play Derby in a few weeks!
So what of the manager? McLeish left and took his depressing style of football with him. We actually got paid by Villa to let him leave! What did the board do? They got in the man 80% of fans wanted – Chris Hughton. Unlike Randy Lerner who ignored protests to bring in a figure of hate amongst the whole of Birmingham! Next season, we might attack, we might score goals – we just might be exciting to watch – its not as though Hughton does not know how to get a team to the Premiership! If he fails? So be it, we can stay in the Championship and rebuild so that when we do return, we manage more than two seasons in the promised land. I’d take Hughton’s stable attacking football over McLeish’s negative yo-yo tactics any day – wouldn’t you?
So where’s the crisis? Its where it has always been – in the heads of Blues fans expecting the worst. The reality of the situation is that Birmingham are heading in the right direction and the only crisis is the scaremongering ‘fans’ that always expect the worst. We’re Birmingham City – we do everything the hard way but we always get there in the end!