View from the South – Birmingham City vs Ipswich Town

I was nearly Billy No Mates for this game had it not been for the fact that Little Jack still wanted to go to the game despite his Grandad, Chris and his Uncle Will not being able to attend for various work and family related reasons. It seems they were the lucky ones! I drove up from my home in Blackwater, Surrey to Baginton to pick up Jack and from there down the A45 to the ground; a quick drink in the Royal George and into our seats. The kids for a quid had increased the meagre crowd to over 18,000 but it made little difference to the flat atmosphere about which Block 11 rather unhelpfully kept reminding everyone even though in fairness they have a point.

The side was unchanged from last week and there was some optimism that with the sterling comeback at Millwall from a seemingly hopeless position, the point gained against a good Leicester team and the excellent result at Leeds that Blues were finally turning the corner and could follow it up with a good win at home against bottom of the pile Ipswich. Unfortunately, it was back to the same old rubbish dished up against Huddersfield. A slow start, a complete inability to pass the ball five yards to a fellow team mate accurately and with total lack of movement, initiative was handed to the visitors whom I have to say are at the bottom of the league on merit. Ipswich are without doubt the poorest team I have seen at St Andrews with the exception of ourselves and they broke the deadlock with only eight minutes gone.

Nathan Redmond gave possession away cheaply with a square pass from the right 35 yards out and Lee Martin intercepted and drove towards the box. His subsequent effort fell to DJ Campbell, who was allowed to turn far too easily to shoot across Jack Butland from eight yards. It was a terrible goal to concede due to sloppy play and dreadful defending. I am sick and tired of reporting about gift goals that we seem to keep giving to the opposition. If you do that and then have to start chasing the game, however poor the opponents are, they have something to hold on to so with reasonable organisation aided and abetted by a total lack of threat, secondary to low tempo and no movement losing football matches becomes the norm. Birmingham, were hopeless in the opening 20 minutes although Wade Elliott brought a save out of Ipswich keeper Stephen Henderson with a fine 20 yard drive. Daryl Murphy tested Butland with a low effort that the young keeper easily saved before Marlon King forced Henderson to tip over his 25-yard free-kick at the other end. That was about it for the first half and Birmingham went off at the break to a chorus of boos.

Little Jack and I met up with Kevin and Mike from Joys and Sorrows. Kev was up from the West Country with his two sons, the youngest of who was attending his first game. You always remember your first match and it is a pity that the youngster will have this one fixed in his memory! Lee Clark turned to Chris Burke in place of the lacklustre Redmond in an attempt to provide some spark but it had little effect as in the first ten minutes of the restart the Scottish winger hardly touched the ball. It could have gotten worse for Blues as a Danny Higginbotham header only failed to double Ipswich’s lead because of a good save from Butland when Blues’ defence started dozing during an Ipswich short set-piece. Blues should have had a penalty when King was manhandled as he attempted to head a clipped ball into the box before Clark took off Leroy Lita and sent on Zigic, a change I would have made at half time rather than just after the hour.

This change certainly made a difference as Blues had Ipswich on the back foot for the rest of the game. However, Blues then squandered enough chances to win three games let alone one. Elliott blasted wide for the home side when well placed but the best chance of the game by far was wasted by Zigic who with a free header from King’s inch-perfect cross put it wide when in reality Henderson should have been picking the ball out of the far corner. This was a sitter and no mistake; he really should have scored. King’s beautiful touch for the big Serbian striker minutes later put him clean through one on one with the keeper but the big man’s shot was fired straight at Henderson instead of wide of him. This was another glorious chance wasted. Ravel Morrison’s deft chip found the roof of the net before Curtis Davies blasted wildly over in time added on as Blues continued to push for an equaliser in a game that they should have won with the quality of the chances created in the second half. It was not to be however and Ipswich held on to claim a smash and grab win.

On the way home there were the usual moans and groans from some fans calling for Lee Clark’s head, that the formation was wrong, the balance wasn’t right yadda yadda. I don’t subscribe to many of these views; football is a simple game. We lost because we only played half decent for the last 30 minutes. We lost because we didn’t keep the ball by passing accurately enough. We lost because our tempo was too slow and we made it too easy for Ipswich to get back behind the ball and defend. We lost because we gave a poor team a goal start and then failed to put them under pressure. Stop blaming the manager, Carson Yeung, the board, the stay away fans, the referee or any body else for that matter other than the players. They can and simply must play better than this especially at home; they have proved it before and can again but they have to play for more than one third of the game.

We can all be great managers after the fact and I don’t blame Lee Clark for sticking with the side that had done so well for him at Leeds last week but he has to react sooner if it’s not working. My major criticism of him is why oh why does he persevere with Hayden Mullins? He was once again atrocious and shouldn’t even be on the bench; surely Fahey, Gomis or Bouba Diop are better options? Mullins was simply not up to the task of counteracting N’Daw and Reo-Coker in the central midfield for Ipswich. Ravel Morrison on the other hand was excellent and at least tried to get the ball forward into central or wide positions and makes runs. Mullins passes it square or back, cannot beat a man, is powder puff in the tackle (at least he was yesterday) and gives the ball away when he does try anything; easily our worst signing for years.

Apart from the goal we were solid enough but we have no overlap down our right because Robinson is not going to offer you that. Wade Elliott had a decent game of all of those on show and Murphy tried hard but was uncharacteristically careless with his passing at times. Lita received no service to speak of and was therefore ineffective and King was a lot better when Zigic came on. The big man was excellent in everything except putting the two best chances of the game away. He should have buried both of them. Chris Burke needs the ball in space if he is to be effective and I think he is suffering from the lack of a quick marauding right back such a Stephen Carr or Paul Caddis to play off. The return of one of them cannot come soon enough. As we are at the moment, the side is not good enough and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; we have to get to May 2013 with our dignity intact and look to make an assault on the top of the table next season. Survival is the aim this year.


The Good: The performances of Ravel Morrison, Wade Elliott, Jack Butland and Nikola Zigic when he came on.

The Bad: Awful goal to concede, atrocious finishing by us.

The Ugly: The mood of the fans at the moment. I shall be glad when all the off field distractions are at an end so we can go back to being a happy club. There is far too much talk about Chinese businessmen, the HK Stock Exchange, BIH, the board and not enough about football.

Birmingham City: Jack Butland 6, Paul Robinson 6, Curtis Davies 6, Steven Caldwell 6, David Murphy 6, Nathan Redmond 5 (Chris Burke, 45, 6), Hayden Mullins 4, Ravel Morrison 8, Wade Elliott 7 (Peter Lovenkrands, 83, N/A), Leroy Lita 5 (Nikola Zigic, 60, 6), Marlon King 6.

Subs not used: Colin Doyle, Will Packwood, Papa Bouba Diop, Darren Ambrose.

Bookings: None

Goals: None


Ipswich: Stephen Henderson 7, Carlos Edwards 6, Luke Chambers 6, Danny Higginbotham 6, Aaron Cresswell 6, Richie Wellens 7 (Bilel Mohsni, 81, N/A), Guirane N’Daw 7 (Andy Drury, 90+1, N/A) Nigel Reo-Coker 7, Lee Martin 6, Daryl Murphy 6, DJ Campbell 6 (Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, 90+1, N/A).

Subs not used: Scott Loach, Tommy Smith, Jason Scotland, Michael Chopra.

Bookings: None

Goals: Campbell (7)

Referee: Stuart Attwell 5: Performance was in keeping with the mediocrity of the game. Was not tough enough in clamping down on time wasting and when only four minutes of time added on were announced (it should have been at least six, N’Daw was down on the ground with an injury for two; I timed it!) Ipswich then proceeded to make two substitutions in the first minute of the four wasting another 90 seconds in the process! He added not one single second in lieu of this – disgraceful! The officials waved away a blatant penalty against King early in the second half.

Attendance: 18, 063 (1,054 Ipswich fans).


Bazza 🙁

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12 Comments on View from the South – Birmingham City vs Ipswich Town

  1. Absolutely spot on Bazza. The players should not need motivating,or instructions from a manager,they should think themselves lucky, they don’t have to work for a living. They are fit,but very slow witted. Bone idle and lazy are other words, to describe them. Unfortunately,until we have new owners,the club will not move forward. KRO

  2. Clark must take some blame no pattern of play its poor to watch unable to drive these players to any level of performance, not good enough. By the way what do McDermott and fazackerley actually contribute???? KRO

  3. totally agree with everything you said also we need a change sooner than later we need a home goal early on tuesday night to get the crowd excited start with zidic king burke on the right redmond on the left morrison with diop the defence apart from the goal did o/k big ziggy owes us a goal after the 2 chances he missed but fair play to him he changed our game kro

  4. The players have to accept some responsibility for the lack of effort at least.The manager is still responsible though ,he keeps picking mullins who is attrocious.Can’t agree with some of the player ratings.mullins was -2,murphy was poor 4 and elliots free kicks,corners and passing was terrible 4.Redmond still isn’t good enough to play 90 minutes and zigics header was a gilt chance and the cart horse couldn’t even get it on target.I hope for better on tuesday but fear the worst if we play mullins because clarke just cant see a bad player despite signing a few.

  5. Ipshi*t are terrible… And to think brum could’ve been in the prem?? Embarrassment avoided. Both teams league 1 next yr

  6. Totally agree with…. Above! Major embarrassment if brum went up thru the play off farce. Both clubs hot tips for relegation.

  7. I think it probably says alot about your own team if we are supposedly the worst team to visit your library. Kept you lot quiet with hard work and determination. What else do you expect from a team who is bottom of the table and hasn’t won in 10 games? Bitter?

  8. Players have a responsibility but those who absolve Clark should tell us exactly what a manager is employed to do if enthusing, creating team spirit and a fervent desire and motivation are not his responsibility. If the team were playing with any cohesion, flair and precision then Clark would be getting the plaudits. Poor team selection and blind spots about players are, as has been said, are Clark’s further faults. The nonesense which he talks at times goes with the other things said about him and indicate that he does not have the ability to manage. We were not promotion candidates at the start of the season but Clark is likely to take us down. The first hope is for a sale of the Club to a sound, reliable purchaser. The second is that Clark is soon after dismissed in favour of someone capable who will play attractive football. We have had very little of that for thirty years.

  9. Iv been to every home game and one away, Coventry, and i have yet to see a decent game. Atrocious is the word that comes to mind, im sick and tired of watching Blues at the moment, its that bad.

  10. It was a poor game, but my youngest wants to go again. He just said after the game, don’t worry Dad, they’ll win next time. The innocence of youth!

    Good to catch up again Bazza. 🙂

  11. Thank you for all your views everyone. Pity we are picking the bones out of another poor performance at home. BlueWharf; I’m not in any way bitter and congratulations on your victory but I doubt this represents a turn around in your fortunes. If you read my comments carefully you will see that I labelled Ipswich the worst team I had seen at St Andrews this season and that is merely a statement of fact but I qualified it with the suffix ……. “with the exception of ourselves” In short, Birmingham City are the worst team I have actually seen play at our place! Ipswich are ceratinly better than the Blues team that turned out against Barnsley for instance so lighten up eh? We’re sh*te too so calm down.

    With regard to Lee Clark, I accept he has to take some responsibility for our present failings but he can do nothing once the players cross the white line. Regardless of who he puts on the pitch, professional players should be capable of doing basic things such as passing, tackling, tracking and dare I say it finishing chances when unchallenged. I wouldn’t necessarily blame the manager for this defeat; this one has to go down entirely to the players in my opinion but I accept the views of those that see it differently.

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