Beside the fact that we have a proud history of helping lower sides get their season back on track, and accepting that bad results happen to all teams – things are pretty dire at the moment. Notwithstanding the long break, we haven’t won since the 11th February and at home since the 1st February. Actually since then we have played 5 at home and only picked up 3/15 points. While we have picked up useful draws and, mainly because of other results, we do remain mid table and PROBABLY unlikely to go down – although not certainly safe – our run is pretty shocking. Since that last win, 8 games 6 points, not even a point a game.
February saw our best return with wins over Forest, Barnsley and Bristol City in the league and FA Cup success over our tenants. We also drew against Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall, QPR and Brentford. That gave left us without defeat in the month. There were only two matches in March, the defeat against Leicester in the FA cup, which we did very well in, and the 3-1 home defeat against Reading which we were shocking.
Then came the lockdown. I’m not going to blame where we are right now on the lockdown, because actually the Reading game was the warning. We looked bereft of ideas and creativity, and actually we were completely found out. I suspect that all the sides that have played us since football re-started, watched that game because it showed where our soft underbelly is. That brings me to the coach.
Pep announced just before we restarted that he was leaving at the end of the season. Now I have absolutely no doubt that Pep is a decent fella, he seems very personable and comes over pretty well in interviews – however the timing of that announcement is utterly ridiculous! Talk about “motivation.” Clearly Pep has lost his, as demonstrated in last night’s fiasco which has to be one of the worst performances that these players have shown. If I did my job with that lack of interest, I would be docked wages! Anyway back to Pep. The guy should have just left. He is doing himself no favours and doing the club no favours. Who in their right mind would look at Pep and offer him a job after this run and with the absolute disregard to his employers.
As a result of this, we find ourselves slowly but surely falling in the league – my opinion is, there aren’t enough games for us to fall into the relegation places especially after the recent announcement by Wigan – however we will end up close because on the last 2 performances, I can’t see where another win is coming from.
So is Pep to blame? Well maybe a bit. As I said I actually don’t dislike him, although I am disappointed. No the real issue lies with the board. They appear to be sleepwalking our club into oblivion! Is that too melodramatic? Maybe, but it’s what it looks like to me.
Ok we have never been a successful club with trophies, although we’re still the only West Midland club to win one THIS century – that’s 20 years old by the way! However we are a club of tradition – 145 years of it. We have seen great results, poor results great players, poor player wonderful come backs, last minute goals, promotions relegation, the odd trophy and 3 victories on our last 3 visits to Wembley. We have been giant killers, suffered at the hands of giant killing, had new stands built and competed in Europe.
Why have I said this? Well because I don’t think the board get it. To them this is a business project. The ONLY constant at any football club is the fans. My sons are 4th generation Blues fans. This is personal, we are emotionally connected to the club. Sadly I don’t believe this board are, although to be fair some do.
There are also unfortunately clearly lacking any knowledge on how to stick to regulations. We have been in trouble with the EFL at times when we really shouldn’t have been, and while I accept that the EFL aren’t without criticism and blame, our board should really know what is right and wrong. If they don’t know, then get advice.
Anyone who reads this blog will know we rarely criticise the club, because I think we all accept that it isn’t always easy. However things need to change because if they don’t, my fear is we could end up losing it. I wonder if part of the issue is cultural differences. I work part time for a company who deal with a Chinese supplier. The quality of the product is superb and pricing is very good too, however they are inflexible to change. Some products don’t work in the UK because of either naming convention or even assumed tastes – when that is challenged the supplier gets very defensive and doesn’t see the change. It isn’t the fact they are rude, it’s a cultural thing that challenge needs to be done in a particular way.
Anyway how do we go forward. Firstly I think the board has to release Pep now for his professional security and our safety. Secondly I really believe we need owners that “get” the club, and although i am grateful that this board took us out of a financial mess previously and to be fair have invested in players, and have encouraged community related work which is awesome – I think that the relationship between the board and the fans, besides that example, is none existent and therefore there needs to be change.
I say all these things respectfully and recognising that there are always two sides to the story, however as a fan for over 40 years – I am really concerned with how things look at the moment and I think change needs to happen.