First off, we couldn’t attend the Forum. Thanks to David Brown (Davo), the Supporter Services Officer, for extending the invitation and sending us the agenda, though. As can be seen here, we’ve certainly ‘done our bit’ in seasons gone by, attending these Forums, and putting forth the views of the contributors from our own Blog and Online Forum.
I was readying myself to type up said agenda, which went through all the proposed questions and the answers prepared by the Club, when the Blues Trust helpfully uploaded their own copy.
They were actually present at the Forum, but nothing further is revealed on the page, sadly, as there was a chance to ask further questions after the main agenda had been completed. This is often the most interesting part of the evening, when the representatives of the individual clubs voice their opinions about issues affecting them, and give honest responses to the answers the club have provided, that evening.
KRO Birmingham offers a useful insight on his blog.
One thing I will say for the Club, is that they are always forthcoming with the truth, no matter what the question. The only exceptions are when the question borders on ‘obvious’ areas such as potential transfer targets and confidential boardroom discussions.
We at Joys and Sorrows are fully aware that some find it risible that some of the issues raised include the manufacturer of the pies these days, but we as supporters clubs have a remit at these Forums to bring to the Club’s attention any issue raised by genuine fans. I think if I were running the Club, I might think it were a tad petty to receive one complaint about one pie, considering the 20,000 visitors that come visiting fortnightly. However, when the fans reporting are supposed to be representative of the majority, then the Club have an obligation to ‘sit up and listen’ and they do. Fans are being invited in for a ‘taste test’ on a new range of Balti pies created by Hollands (replacement for Pukka) as they try to improve the offering at St Andrews this season…
Almajir has come up with three questions he’d like to see asked at a future Forum. I think he has hit the nail on the head with the importance of the questions and if he was a regular on our forum, he could well have put them forward via our own channels.
The volatile situation in Hong Kong should be a cause for concern for many reasons, let alone footballing ones, but certainly Edward Zheng didn’t seem like he was speaking short term…the question of ‘over-reliance’ on one agent/agency wouldn’t be answered even if we asked it, surely. Either it’s the discretion of Dong Ren or Pep Clotet who would have agreed said agent/agency so who are we to argue, or else the club are freely utilising any number of agents/agencies, just not at the time of writing (if – indeed – Almajir is correct…though I have no reason to suggest he is not!). The problem as I understood it wasn’t per se that Monk was only using one agent, it was a two-fold problem (in it’s simplest terms) – again this is only my own understanding of the situation – that the Board weren’t satisfied that the single agent Monk was using was getting the best deal for the Club (cf. allegations from previous clubs) and that Monk refused to ‘move away’ from his mate/agent when the Club asked him to.
If Clotet is using one agent, it’s obviously with the Club’s blessing, i.e. they think he IS getting the best deal for the club, or else it’s not even Pep using the agent, so it’s a totally different scenario anyway…
The final question was an excellent one…on Brexit. The problem there is that even if you asked the House of Commons what the outcome is likely to be, say, on December 12th, they wouldn’t know with certainty. So how BCFC would know a) Who is likely to be in charge of the country, b) If there’ll be another referendum, c) If we’ll exit Br, d) When… and e) If we do, what changes that will mean for football in general and for the EFL in particular. One thing is for sure, they’ll make sure money is kept at a premium…I would imagine existing contracts could be honoured so I won’t be losing too much sleep over it. PL teams could well do with losing a little more sleep than we would, I’d imagine, with some of their huge non-homegrown squads…
Paraphrasing Lee Harris of KRO Birmingham, we’ve got a promising January window to look forward to, a better than ever security for our up-and-coming young players like Jude Bellingham, Pep seems to have 2-3 years to attain Premier League football if he can’t achieve it this season, so there’s a dose of reality… and FFP shouldn’t be an issue. We have been reassured of that before however, in the same Forum, so let’s hope lessons have been learned!
I want to ‘sign off’ by pasting what I believe to be an answer from Edward Zheng (I met him twice previously) simply from the language used and the enthusiasm underlying in the answer…it begins being a little ‘cagey’ in response to an answer about FFP, but then enthuses about our playing style, and the way the Board want us to play, but also how proud they are of the youth of the squad, coupled with the change in style from ‘defensive stalwarts’ to more attacking and attractive…see for yourself:
As we are sure you can understand, financial details are sensitive and we do not comment on speculation. Some matters have to remain private and confidential, as they would in any business.
As a Club we cannot go into specifics, but we are mindful of EFL regulations and we continue to operate in a manner which reflects this but at the same time also helps to fire our ambitions.
As the board of Birmingham City Football Club, we need to be aware of trends to deal with and face new situations and act accordingly. In the modern football area, nothing can be assured as definite for any team. The only thing that holds in our hands is to give everything we can to scratch what we want, and avoid what we don’t want.
We hope that the fans have the same confidence and brave hearts as us, standing alongside with the Club and the team.
Every single club has its problems. You can’t always sort them out in the short term. But we know where the right direction is and we are on our way heading there.
Our main objective and principal remains: to get this Club back to the Premier League.
We have started on a new journey with a new philosophy, a new way of playing and new strategies. If not this season, then we look to the next to try and realise our ambitions. We learn from what we are doing now and try to improve even more.
We believe that attacking football, possession-based, is the best way. Not only is this the most effective way, but also it is entertaining and enjoyable to watch. I am sure you will agree that some of our performances and football this season has been exciting.
In our last five matches alone, we have had 99 shots.
The Club has generally played a certain way since relegation. This had to change. We have therefore committed to bringing through our talented young players. Our recruitment strategy has a clear focus.
Look at the impact our youngest ever player, Jude Bellingham, has made. Odin Bailey too. Five Academy players have made their debuts this season. Ivan Sunjic (just 23) is a fantastic player, Dan Crowley (age 22) and Fran Villalba (age 21) also.
We have just signed Jeremie Bela, another player of a good age we believe will be able to help us.
We are all aware of the areas of the team and squad where we need to strengthen. Our focus is very much on the winter transfer window and, without revealing any targets, we have things in place.
There is a lot to be positive about and with your continued, passionate support, we can move forward together to the place where we all want to be.
Keep Right On.