View from the South – Birmingham City v Ipswich Town

My mate Will was unable to make this game due to family commitments and his brother Chris is in France on holiday so both had a lucky escape. Will had asked in the week whether I could pick up Little Jack from the pub in Baginton and so it was that I drove up from Surrey on a bright Saturday morning before completing the journey to St Andrews along the A45 with my young companion.

All week I’ve seen a load of comments extolling the virtues of 4-4-2 as far as Blues are concerned. Everyone has their theories about the 3-5-2 system Lee Clark has been employing and how it doesn’t allow Chris Burke to start and how we don’t score enough goals and I have to confess, I commented that the side can look unbalanced with Eardley not being a natural wing back. Well, we got our wish; Blues set up 4-4-2 and the line up included Lovenkrands of all people up front with Novak with Burke, Shinnie, Adeyemi and Spector making up the midfield quartet. Robinson reverted to left back, Burn and Bartley played in the middle with Eardley on the right. Darren Randolph returned between the sticks from his recent travails at Leicester when he broke his nose and injured a hand diving bravely at the feet of David Nugent.

So much for the line up and 4-4-2 but for the record, it didn’t work. This performance was easily the worst I’ve see from Blues this season as we were largely outplayed by a functional Ipswich team for most of the game. We have Darren Randolph to thank for not being on the end of a right good old pasting. It matters not what system you play when you don’t perform the basic functions that a football team should i.e. pass the ball to a player of your side who should competently control it before passing it on to another player from your team. This basic Ipswich did and we didn’t hence they as the away team had 58% of the possession to our 42% and had eight attempts on target to our three. Our game plan seemed to be hoof it down the channels, hold it up, give it to Burke and try and get behind them. Burke never got into the game until late in the second half, Lovenkrands was totally ineffective and a shadow of the player he was at Newcastle and Rangers, the rugged Ipswich defence were more than equal to such an unimaginative plan and at least when they employed it themselves they got it in the box and if you keep crossing it in sooner or later something will break your way if only by the law of averages. Ex-Wolves man Christophe Berra headed Town in front on 29 minutes from a cross from Cresswell. He outmuscled Bartley to finish powerfully and Ipswich were deservedly ahead and I thought it was going to be exactly the same as last season.

Ipswich looked dangerous every time they came forward and could have scored more. The impressive Cresswell kept tormenting Blues with crosses that with better headed finishes from McGoldrick could have been added to their score. McGoldrick was denied by Randolph who pushed a searing drive onto the post and another shot from the same player was saved with his legs. Add to that another fine save from Luke Hyam low down by his right had post and the number of headers that Ipswich were winning from corners (they had almost twice as many as us!) and 4-0 to Ipswich would not have been an unfair score line at half time. The sum total of Birmingham’s pathetic contribution to proceedings was a cross from Burke who managed to get to the byline and deliver a cross which Lovenkrands could only loop over the bar. Shinnie did have one effort when he lobbed an effort over Dean Gerken’s head but the danger was easily snuffed out by his covering defenders.

Shane Ferguson and Matt Green came on in the second half for Shinnie and the ineffective Lovenkrands and things improved a little from the home perspective but they were still second best. It should have been 0-2 at the three-quarter mark of the game when McGoldrick raced through on goal and shot wide. Randolph continued to keep Blues in the game and added another three fine saves including one from Ipswich’s man of the match Cresswell. Blues didn’t look likely to score and like many in the crowd I was resigned to another home defeat with not a single home goal so far this season when salvation came in the form of Burke. It was a lucky goal but who cares? It came during Birmingham’s only sustained spell of pressure in the game probably aided and abetted by the natural tendency of teams to sit deeper at the end of the game approaches. This saw Ipswich camped in their box looking to see the game out when the ball fell to Burke. He twisted this way and that and was given just the room he need to turn onto his left foot and curl his shot towards Gerken’s top right had corner. The effort took a fortunate deflection and looped up over the keeper, eluding the covering defenders into the net.

A goal at last and the effort lifted Blues who then nearly snatched an undeserved victory a couple of minutes later when substitute Scott Allan shot but narrowly wide with Gerken beaten. All was so very nearly lost when Ipswich finishing as they had been for most of the game, on the front foot, so nearly got the winner themselves. Bartley fouled McGoldrick right on the edge of the area and I thought we were very fortunate that referee, Darren Drysdale chose to give a free kick rather than a penalty. It was very close from where I was sitting and perhaps too close to make a direct attempt on goal easy. The wall did its job and Blues had a point; something for which we can all be grateful on what proved not to be Birmingham City’s finest hour (and a half!)


The Good: The fact that we got anything at all out of this game.

The Bad: Just about everything about this performance apart from Darren Randolph’s contribution.

The Ugly: Our prospects going forward; without any disrespect to Ipswich Town who were by far the better team, I do not see them as one of the stronger sides in this division. They are still in a transition phase from last year under Mick McCarthy and at the moment aren’t great shakes but they didn’t have to be against us. If we are going to perform like this we are in serious trouble because we wont win enough games, score enough goals or be able to rely upon our man of the match keeper every time to scrabble a point.


Birmingham City: Randolph 9, Eardley 6 (Allan 34, 6) Bartley 5, Burn 6, Robinson 6, Burke 6, Adeyemi 5, Spector 5, Shinnie 5 (Ferguson 58, 6) Lovenkrands 4 (Green 65, 6) Novak 5.

Goal: Burke 75 minutes

Booking: Robinson


Ipswich Town: Gerken 7, Cresswell 9, Chambers 7, Smith 7, Berra 8, Skuse 8, Anderson 7 (Edwards 63, 6) Tunnicliffe 8 (Tabb 80, N/A) Hyam 7, McGoldrick 8, Nouble 6 (Murphy 67, 6)

Goal: Berra 29 minutes

Booking: Hyam


Referee: Darren Drysdale 6: Bit of a mixed bag from the officials. The referee wasn’t communicating well with his Assistant on the Kop side in the first half, The Assistant flagged for offside at least three times and the referee failed to notice in due time allowing play to run on for a few seconds. Overall though I felt the officials were fair to both teams and I liked the way that Mr Drysdale stood no nonsense from players trying to buy free kicks by going over too easily. He waved away several such incidents early on and hey presto, it stopped happening! I heard the usual moans and groans about the officials on the way out of the ground from one or two people but sorry, the result had nothing to do with them and everything to do with Blues’ performance which was poor. We should put our own house in order before blaming others. If anything, I thought the referee was lenient to us in the last minute; some would have given a penalty!






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


18 Comments on View from the South – Birmingham City v Ipswich Town

  1. A very fair assessment of the game. After that performance, or lack of performance, Lovenkrands should be offloaded as soon as possible. Can’t we reach the same agreement with him that we did with King?
    For the record I sat on Kop level with Railway end 18 yard line. The McGoldrick tackle was definitely outside the box. Referee got that one right.

  2. Thanks for your comment Steve. I was sat in block 24 at the other end of the Kop level with the edge of the penalty box at theTilton Road end. It’s interesting how different the view is when you’re not square on to the incident isn’t it? It looked very close to the edge of the box if not in from where Little Jack and I were and I was so relieved when Mr Drysdale gave a free kick and didn’t point to the spot. Your observation explains why. Thanks for clearing that one up.

  3. It was a truly awful performance by Blues and a better team than Ipswich would have taken full advantage. As it was, thanks to Randolph, we gained a point that we didn’t deserve.
    I agree with Steve Turner about the Bartley tackle – it was definitely outside the area.

  4. It was a poor game played by two poor teams. Even though i was at the game,i recorded the Football League Show ( how sad am i) and was amazed to hear Mick McCarthy say, he thought his team were “excellent”. At least Blues have the excuse that our team is made up of has beens, frees and loanees from clubs who don’t want them. We have a goalkeeper, a centre back and thats it. The rest are just not up to Championship standard. I hate to be a purveyor of gloom, but we have to hope and pray,that there are 3 teams worse than us this season. Carson and Pannu have destroyed the club !!!

  5. I agree with you John. Both teams were poor and Ipswich were certainly not excellent as they missed enough chances to win three matches as Mick McCarthy rightly stated. Poor though they might be, Ipswich could and should have given us a right good hiding and 1-6 would not have flattered them. We should be thankful for small mercies. These are dark days for our club but can we leave the owner and PP out of this please mate? That stuff is out of our (the fans) control and all we can do is support the players whom I believe are still giving of their best. It is not their fault that many of them are not good enough. I believe that there are at least three teams worse than us so we all just need to tough it out this season and look forward to better things over the horizon. I will continue to travel the many miles to watch Blues but fully understand those who feel differently even though I disagree with them for staying away. Low crowds make St Andrews like a morgue, allows away fans to take liberties and I hate it but it is what it is at the moment and those of us who still go have just got to get on with it and accept adversity full on. There will be joys as well as sorrows but it may be a while. See you at QPR.

  6. Bazza, what are you on about with your last comment? You disagree with fans for staying away? Why? A first class sports event is promoted to provide the best of sporting performance and entertainment. That’s how professional football clubs developed over one hundred years ago. People travelled from miles around, when transport was not swift, in order to see a better standard of play than they could see on their village common. Blues aren’t remotely providing a good standard and don’t deserve support, and the owners don’t deserve to have ordinary people shelling out their hard-earned for them to rake it off to defray their ludicrous losses.

    According to your thinking, the worse the spectacle gets the more people should turn up. Do you expect crowds of 30,000 plus? As for supporting the lads, what lads? They’re a vastly different set of lads from last season, who were very different from the season before. Do you advocate tens of thousands of fans going to watch any group of blokes trawled from around the footballing world just because they are wearing a blue shirt? If we had eleven one-legged dwarves in blue shirts would you expect thousands to turn up to “support the lads”? It’s unfathomable nonsense.

    If the revenues were going into the club in their entirety and were being used to run the club then there might be some justification in attending in order to hopefully bring the club around. By attending under BIHL’s ownership you are prolonging the agony, helping to continue to reduce BIHL’s losses and paying Pannu’s disgraceful rape of the club’s revenues. Pannu’s salary is absolutely scandalous for a middle grade championship club. Many chief executives of international companies don’t have salaries of around £1.6m and the Blues job only justifies a fraction of that sum. Your “support the lads” philosophy is just putting your cash in his pocket; it’s not helping the club as we view it.

    Crowds need to dwindle to a couple of thousand to convince BIHL that the mindless cash cow has dried up and that they should seek a sale or go into administration. Relegation is more likely than not this season and in BIHL’s continued ownership further relegations are on the cards. The only target for Blues fans is to get rid of the millstone of the BIHL ownership. If you want to “support the lads” as well as the club in the long term then attend the ground, don’t pay to go in and stand outside and shout for the team. This would create great anti-BIHL publicity at every home game and it would show potential owners that the club has thousands of fans who are waiting for genuine owners with a long term aim for the club.

    The club is inexorably falling under BIHL. We shouldn’t care where to because we can pick it up from wherever it has fallen once BIHL have gone. Wimbledon fans started a new club from scratch because the club they knew had been carried off to Milton Keynes. If they can do that and get into the football league in ten years then the greater number of Blues fans can resurrect their club and get it back to the Championship in a reasonable period of time. The first target is to get rid of BIHL, which requires positive action as I have described. “Support the lads” and other pointless invocations will not achieve that aim, it will only prolong our agony.

    Some have said that they don’t want to see staff lose their jobs. Well, jobs have been lost and will continue to be shed. The employment of staff is not the purpose of supporting a football club; it is a valuable community by-product of a successful and growing club. To get to that position we need to get rid of BIHL and “support the lads” and abusive banners inside the ground will not in any way cut it.

  7. Well Baz, I can only admire your resolve and perhaps this is from your history of being a totally loyal and un-wavering supporter since your childhood. I too can remember the days when you and I would pay our one shilling each at the turnstiles (adults were two shillings). Of course those were the days when you could but an ice cream at the Mr Whippy van for “thrupence”. So it was a tough choice: two Mr. Whippys or go to the match on Saturday. As you well know, these days, the proportions that one might use to make such a choice are not so close.

    Football has always been a business but now it is big corporate business and to be among the big boys you have to have big money. Now I am sure that Carson Yeung did not deliberately set out to “destroy” Birmingham City Football Club but I am guessing that because the cost of going to a game these days is nowhere near the same as it was in our young day in relative terms, fans will not simply pony up the dosh unless they see some kind of financial faith and commitment from the ownership. It’s sad in a way but a real-world reality. As you know, me looking at it from 5000 miles away and not being up to speed with the day-to-day goings on at the club, I have said it before and must say it again that until the ownership issues, whatever they are in detail, get sorted there can be no future among the big boys in the EPL, which is a shame considering that Birmingham is the second city. Having not lived there for 33 years I see how much it has improved in many ways and it’s just a shame that the city’s sole representation in the EPL is the VIle. The reality is that without a commitment to reach a competitive position in the EPL the fan base will continue to shrink and the fans make the switch to buying more ice-cream and/or shares in Mr. Whippy…….lol

    I still enjoy reading your reports though mate and wish you had something of better quality to report on.

  8. While I was composing my first comments, “wearynose” was posting his and I have now read them. Sorry Baz but I have to agree with a lot of what he says. It’s in line with the points that I am making. Being your younger brother and having witnessed your total commitment to the club as a supporter all these years, I fully understand your loyalty to the team and your appreciation of the efforts that the guys on the pitch are putting forth but as I said the world had changed and so have the vast majority of the football fans, who simply don’t have that home-grown, keep right one to the end of the road, commitment that you do. No matter how admirable that may be, the business end of it has taken over completely. Like so many aspects of everyday life, it is under the control of the Peter Pannu’s of this world, even though he is a pauper compared the guys who are really in control (FYI “wearynose”, his salary is a pittance compared to many chief executives at international companies but your point is well taken).

    While I understand that the fans have no direct control over who owns the club, the day to day decisions and so on, we can do something and it’s exactly what wearynose says. Like any other business that is not satisfying its customers, the customer has the choice not to buy the product and if he/she so chooses, go elsewhere, spend on something else or do nothing. Only when enough fans stay away will some action, which of course could include bankruptcy, get taken one way or another. This is really the only option fans have to force change cos with our ever-diminishing choices being controlled more and more each day by fewer and fewer big corporations and the greedy, evil people who run them, it’s all we have left to try to change things for the better.

    Then next time we talk about this will hopefully be over few pints of fine English ale….lol

  9. Wearynose mate, I do not need a history lesson since I have been going down the Blues since 1963, fifty years ago. I also don’t need to be patronised about my comment about supporting the lads. I have supported Birmingham City teams worse than the present one so all that stuff about the product quality is spurious as far as I’m concerned. I accept that people have a choice whether they go to games or not and I fully respect their choice but I choose to go and merely ask that you respect that. I do not happen to accept that deliberately staying away is going to make one iota of difference to the length of time that this agony as you describe it will continue. Nevertheless, I fully accept the views of those that do; I don’t agree with them that is all but that is my prerogative.

    As for the ownership saga, I am frankly bored to death with hearing and reading a load of highly speculative comment on a number of forums with little or no actual factual evidence to support it. Call me old fashioned but until the verdict of Mr Yeung’s completed trial is known he is innocent. As for Peter Pannu, I haven’t seen his payslip to know exactly how much he has been paid and none of us know exactly how much he has had to do on behalf of the club to earn the quoted amount so we don’t know the full context.

    I have refrained from writing anything about Carson Yeung, Peter Pannu, Birmingham International Holdings etc on Joys and Sorrows because I don’t know enough facts about the subjects to make valid observations and I don’t want to add to the huge pile of speculation that is already the size of the Eiger.

    I’m sorry that you think that my loyal support of the team on the pitch is “unfathomable nonsense” but you will have to respect the fact that that is what I choose to do even though your description of one legged dwarfs wearing blue shirts is wholly insulting and unworthy of you.

    The point I was trying to make and which you seem to have missed throughout your supercilious, patronising diatribe is that a larger turn out might, just might help our limited team to perform a little better and perhaps just make the difference between a draw and a win or a defeat and a draw.It may be in the final analysis that we need new owners and a fresh start but I don’t want this to be at the expense of administration or going out of business altogether.

    You have your view Weary and I have mine. Let’s just leave it at that without prejudice.

  10. Hi, Bluenoseinaustin, I well understand the level of salary at international companies but there are many such companies with far greater turnovers than Blues who only get that sort salary. Don’t confuse them with the multinationals.

    Your point, saying “the world had changed and so have the vast majority of the football fans, who simply don’t have that home-grown, keep right one to the end of the road, commitment” seems to misunderstand my point. If the revenues are being directed properly towards the playing style and then the development of the club then fans will still put up with poor performances in the understanding that their input is being used positively. I’ve spent over fifty years watching, in the main, disappointing performances, in some seasons withdrawing my support because of mismanagement.

    However, the money of people like Bazza is not being used positively, it is being syphoned off, some of it to the utterly disgraceful, unjustified payment to Pannu. Therefore “support the lads” is what you could call a double ostrich philosophy. Not only is it ignoring the BIHL reality by a head in the sand strategy, it is paying for the continued decimation of the environment which it is being attempted to ignore. The ostrich position of course promotes the fundamental orifice to Pannu and he is continuing to shaft it.

  11. Weary, produce evidence that money is being siphoned off. Merely stating that it is doesn’t make it true any more than calling Mr Pannu’s remuneration unjustified; you don’t know exactly how much work he has put in do you? As for the double ostrich philosophy comment; once again patronising and insulting. I am neither stupid or blind I am just a bloke who enjoys watching his team play football good times and bad. Your final sentence in not worthy of response.

  12. Bazza, you don’t seem to understand the word ‘supercilious’, I certainly wasn’t supercilious; you’re criticism of fans who don’t attend, in your reply to John, could be construed as such.

    Of course you are entitled to spend your money, and your time and energy, in the way which you see fit but a rational review of the whole situation at Blues says that you are giving your money to BIHL and Pannu and thereby prolonging the agony. Yes, that is the word if you have a desire for the club to be respected, not even Premier League winners.

    In your reply to John, you say about the ownership problems: “That stuff is out of our (the fans) control and all we can do is support the players whom I believe are still giving of their best.” No it isn’t out of the control of fans. Crowds of a couple of thousand would concentrate the thoughts of BIHL. The fate of the latest set of “lads” is irrelevant. The prime concern for the future of the club is to get rid of BIHL and you can help to bring that about by not paying them money to enter the ground. Go to the ground and stand outside, as I have said. I would join that demonstration. I will not waste my family’s resources on reducing BIHL losses and paying exorbitant sums to Pannu and, by doing so, extend the period of time when the club puts out increasingly poor teams and slides down the divisions.

    As I say above, I have spent over fifty years supporting the Blues. But, you’re not supporting the Blues; you’re reducing BIHL’s investment losses and paying Pannu’s inflated salary. No one, no fan, has seen his salary slip but the published accounts reveal the payments to him. The auditor’s qualification of the accounts expresses firstly concern about a large part of the payments to Pannu being claimed in “petty cash” withdrawals and secondly the lack of clarity, and the irregular nature, around those payments. However much work he’s doing, it isn’t worth that great a payment from a company which clearly cannot remotely afford it.

    Furthermore, a company which, given its nature (by ‘nature’ I mean being dependent upon a specific pool of customers whose payments are in made in hope, faith, loyalty and for occasional entertainment) really demands that executive salaries, bonuses and dividends should be modest and in line with the turnover and financial strength of the company rather than large and taken regardless of the circumstances. You can make a difference but not by paying to attend matches.

  13. Supercilious; adj: showing or feeling haughty disdain. Read your original post again Weary. The bit about one legged dwarves; if that isn’t showing haughty disdain I don’t know what is. As for the hectoring lectures about funds being hived off to BIHL and/or PP; from what we hear I doubt there would be any money left over at present for that to happen. The club appears to be living hand to mouth so how can vast funds be going East? Any evidence that has been released into the public domain is scanty to say the least and that that there is is open to speculative interpretation and there is plenty of that. The truth will out in the goodness of time. You believe what you want to believe and do what you believe is right for you. I will continue to respect your opinion. If you want to stand outside the ground and protest, fine but don’t denigrate me and people like me who want to go inside.

  14. Bazza, OED definition of supercilious: “behaving as though one thinks one is superior to other people”. In your reply to John you said that you disagreed with people who don’t attend; that’s closer to supercilious than anything which I have written.

    The comment about dwarves was part of a question about how poor performances would have to get before some die-hard fans stopped attending. It had nothing to do with being supercilious. The point was: would you and those of like mind support any group of blokes wearing a blue shirt? It’s a fair question. I illustrated the argument by the reminder about the development of professional clubs, not to give anyone a history lesson but as the identification of a line of debating argument. That’s the nature of debate, Bazza. People illustrate their points and opponents aren’t sensitive that their depth of knowledge or understanding is being questioned. If so, nothing could ever be debated.

    As for ‘hectoring’, the OED definition is: “talk to someone in a bullying way”. I have set out a line of reasoning; in no way can what I have written be described as bullying. You say: “As for the hectoring lectures about funds being hived off to BIHL and/or PP; from what we hear I doubt there would be any money left over at present for that to happen.” As a line of argument, you previously said that no one has seen Pannu’s salary slip. Bazza, you are in denial or you are not paying attention. There are published accounts which identify Pannu’s take at about £1.6m. The cash paid to Pannu is a fact not my supposition. You are quite right, we can’t afford it but you have to be purblind to doubt that it can be happening.

    You say, “from what we hear”: who are we hearing it from? From Pannu and BIHL and I give them no credibility whatsoever. I don’t know for sure that revenue is being hived off but think things through. BIHL paid about 1.6 times what the club was worth at the time of acquisition; about £81m; an unbelievable sum. If your house in Surrey is worth, say, £350k then it’s like someone paying you £560k for it. How much the club is worth now is guesswork. Given BIHL’s dire indications that we are on a trading precipice then £10m might be somewhere near to it. Which valuation, incidentally, doesn’t help their sales pitch in trying to sell the club for between £25m and £40m. They can’t say both that its revenues are inadequate and that it’s a valuable business. So, given the discrepancy between purchase price and current value the most likely course of action for these offshore, uncommitted owners is to realise as much cash from the assets and revenue stream as they can.

    Fans have to ask themselves why our club, which was relegated from the Premiership as others were and have been, is supposedly in the worst trading position of any current Championship outfit. Our spending before relegation wasn’t huge; it didn’t exceed that of the majority of clubs who finished in the bottom two thirds of the table. After relegation, we sold off the expensive players and high wage earners and Zigic is the only one remaining, reportedly on £60k a week but not entirely unmanageable. I believe that parachute payments are made for three seasons, so we should be receiving our final sums this season. The club has continued to sell players and apparently drastically reduce the support staffing levels. Despite slowly dwindling gates, our support is in excess of many Championship clubs. Commercial revenues would seem to be reasonable from reports of that area of activity. So, given all that: why is the club supposedly so much worse off than others in the division? The answer is most likely that the losses on purchase are being reduced through the sale of assets and the milking of anything from revenues which is above the drastically reduced running costs.

    If you want to throw your hard-earned into BIHL pockets in order to watch utter dross then that is your right but don’t expect large crowds and bemoan a lack of atmosphere when a lot of people clearly don’t feel it sensible or worthwhile to follow your example.

    Finally, Bazza, you tell me not to “denigrate” people like you who want to attend. The OED definition of denigrate is: “criticise something or someone in an unfair way”. I haven’t criticised you, I have said that you would better serve the interests of all fans by not going in. You said that there was nothing which ordinary fans could do. I said that you were wrong and indicated what could be done. Nothing which I have said has been unfair, in the meaning of the word denigrate: I have set out some arguments and a positive strategy for expediting the departure of BIHL and returning some hope for fans.

    I admire your commitment in terms not only of cash but the time which you put in in travelling from Surrey. I dearly wish that you were being served up even a modicum of good quality football to reward you for your effort and constancy, as you deserve. But, for heaven’s sake don’t deny the qualified facts of published accounts and the true meaning of what is being presented on the pitch.

  15. Weary, this argument is becoming one long stream of semantics. We will just have to agree to disagree. I accept many of the points you make but don’t agree with you on all of them that’s all. That is something that happens in every debating chamber in the world. When you choose to return to St Andrews let me know; we could continue our discourse over a beer.


  16. The Prime Minister gets a tenth as much as Pannu and he runs the country, (into the ground I admit)
    Depressing to hear that a Saudi Prince finds Sheffield United a better option than the Blues, puts us into perspective I suppose.

  17. Wearynose, my point about how fans have changed was not really directed at you (I was really directing it to my brother Bazza but no matter) or your points per se but what I meant was that back say 50 years ago, going to the match, in relative money terms, was nowhere near the same magnitude as it is today, especially if you support one of the top Premiership teams. In 1963 the first time I went to St. Andrews with Bazza, adults paid 2 bob to get with half price for kids. If I recall back then a typical home gate (we were in the old second division I believe) was around 25-30 thousand (I’m sure Bazza will correct me on that if my memory is failing me). I believe that today’s fans, for whatever reason take pause when considering whether to go or not and maybe are more demanding and expect more. I do understand your points and agree with some of them. I remain optimistic that one day the right, competent, preferably insanely rich, person will see the business potential in the club, especially given what I have to believe is a big potential fan base given the size of the city and the relatively few other local choices; not sure I’ll live long enough but we’ll see…lol

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