So here we are 21st in The Championship three points ahead of Rotherham United who have four games in hand.
March 2021 saw The Blues play 5 games, win 1, draw 1 and lose 3 and score 3 goals whilst conceding 9 which had one positive outcome which was the removal of Aitor Karanka as manager.
The appointment of Lee Bowyer bodes well for the future as he is “one of our own”
Below is an article which I have submitted for inclusion in the next edition of the LATE TACKLE magazine which sums up my feelings on Lee’s appointment:
“The appointment of Lee Bowyer to the position of Head Coach of Birmingham City Football Club has filled the hearts of all Bluenoses with optimism for the future.
Because of the nature of the history of The Blues , the fans always give a newly appointed manager every chance to prove his worth and let’s face it we have had plenty of practice, as Lee is our eighth managerial appointment since October 2016 the previous seven surviving an average of six months each.
But this time it’s different because Lee is “one of our own” and that’s important as the history books confirm.
We have had seven managers since 1875 who have both played and managed the club on a full-time basis – ARTHUR TURNER – GIL MERRICK – GARRY PENDREY - TREVOR FRANCIS – STEVE BRUCE – GARY ROWETT and now LEE BOWYER.
Why is this important?
Because if you match the limited successes associated with Birmingham City then it happens when we are managed by “One of our own”
Under Arthur Turner, who managed the club from 1954 to 1958 we won the Second Division (now Championship) in 1954-55 season, got to the F.A. Cup Final in 1956 and achieved our highest top division finish of 6th – a record which still stands today.
Gil Merrick’s tenure from 1960 to 1964 saw The Blues beat local rivals Aston Villa over two legs to win the Football League Cup in 1963, he also led us into Europe where we made two Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Final appearances in 1960 and 1961 losing both to Barcelona and Roma respectively.
Next was Trevor Francis, our longest serving manager overseeing 290 matches, who took us to the Worthington Cup Final in 2001 and three successive Play-Off Semi-Finals.
Inheriting Trevor Francis’ squad was Steve Bruce who got us the long awaited promotion to The Premiership.
Only Gary Rowett and Garry Pendrey failed to bring success to St.Andrew’s during their spells of 106 and 98 matches respectively, indeed Garry took us into Division Three in May 1989.
With a club like Birmingham City there is one constant; and that is the fact that we are a working-class club which is important to the local community, which is the major commercial and industrial centre of the West Midlands.
You cannot describe it, you have to feel it. All the above managers have played for the club and therefore understand that special connection with the fans, I can’t prove it but I would bet we have won most of our games throughout the years playing towards the Tilton Road Stand in the second half, the atmosphere is electric and intimidating.
So whatever your opinion of Lee Bowyer and his various misdemeanours no one can dispute his passion for the game and his intense dislike of the taste of defeat.
On the website www.coachesvoice.com he states “since I retired from playing ... the one thing about me that will never change is how I feel after a defeat. As a player, it always took me a few days to get over it, and I’m the same now (as a manager)”
His first game as Head Coach saw a home victory against a Reading side vying for a Play-Off place. What we saw was a team playing a system which emphasised the qualities of the players who were energetic and committed.
This was from the same players that had delivered in Karanka’s 38 games a 50% loss rate. What was the difference?
Lee had, in less than 48 hours, made them believe in themselves reaffirming that they are good players and that they can succeed if they play for the team and work hard. He also gave the players a system which they could operate i.e. 4-4-2 reinstating the upfront partnership of Hogan and Jutkiewicz. A side benefit of that decision was that Lukas scored his 50th goal for The Blues and the smiles on the player’s faces were the best seen on Sky Sports in a long time.
It’s worth remembering that during Lee’s 81 game playing career he won a Carling League Cup Winner’s medal when we beat Arsenal 2-1 in 2011
He brings with him from Charlton Athletic a manager’s win ratio of 40.8% from his 157 matches
Compare that to the other “one of our own” managers: Trevor Francis 47.9% Arthur Turner 44.6% Gary Rowett 39.6% Steve Bruce 37% Gil Merrick 31.7% Despite Garry Pendrey only achieving a win ratio of 20.4% it’s worth remembering that Gianfranco Zola achieved 8.3%!!!
Can we survive in The Championship?
I do not know but at least we know we will not fail due to a lack of effort and commitment which is all any supporter of any team wants.”
In my opinion the final eight games of the season should see us secure 5 points with a win against Rotherham United and draws against Forest and Derby which would result in us ending the season with 43 points. Rotherham, on the other hand. have twelve games remaining and I can only see them getting three points via draws against Huddersfield, Coventry and Luton. Their run-in includes games against Millwall, Middlesbrough, Barnsley, Brentford, Blackburn and Cardiff for which it is difficult to see them gaining anything.
So my prediction as an optimistic Bluenose is that we will finish the season on 43 points with Rotherham ending up with 38 points. Fingers crossed!!!
Yesterday it was revealed that St.Andrew’s, valued at £20.6m, has been sold, with BIRMINGHAM SPORTS HOLDINGS selling its remaining 75% stake in BIRMINGHAM CITY STADIUM LIMITED to Ms Kang Ming Mong of the British Virgin Isles company, ACHIEVER GLOBAL GROUP LIMITED for £10.8m.
They will receive £1.25m/annum rental income from the club. The remaining 25% of BCSL is held by VONG PECH of ORIENTAL RAINBOW INVESTMENTS who is the major shareholder of BCFC which is wholly owned by BIRMINGHAM CITY PLC.
The board of BIRMINGHAM SPORTS HOLDINGS is: Zhao Wenging (Chair) Huang Dongfeng (CEO) Chin Kong, Hshao Chang Geng and Dr. Gui Honglin (Executive Directors) Sue Ka Lok (Non-Executive Director) and Pun Chi Ping, Ms Leung Pik Har.Christine and Yeung Chi Tat (Independent Non-Executive Directors)
SOME IMPRESSIVE “SCRABBLE” SCORES?
With such an impressive line-up of Directors it is hard to understand why the club is in such difficult circumstances.
Our CEO has made more mistakes, on a regular basis, than the Metrological Office.
The Chair is “locked” in Birmingham because of COVID-19 travel restrictions but at least he had, reportedly, the sense to get rid of KARANKA (still no official club statement on the reason for his departure?)
We are massively in debt due to poor decisions (by Dong) in terms of recruiting average managers who left with above average pay-offs and ineffective transfer deals leading in 2017-18 (Redknapp’s reign) to a total annual wage bill of £38m.
The lack of working capital creates concern about the £1m required to get the Kop and Tilton Road stands back to a safe enough condition to allow the fans’ return.
The atmosphere at both Small Heath and Wast Hills must be toxic with long-standing employees leaving for the reason described by Richard Beale, who was part of the development of Nathan Redmond and Demarai Gray, as he was “not willing to sit back and let what was happening happen”
Richard’s departure meant he joined Julia Shelton, Ciara Gallagher (Julia’s replacement as club secretary), Paul Robinson (Under 18s coach), Colin Tattum (Media & Communications), Rita (Manager’s secretary for decades!), Richard Lloyd (Finance) and Kristjaan Speakman (Academy Manager and Sporting Director (Designate) ) leaving the club.
Recruitment staff have been furloughed for over a year and scouting has been outsourced to companies in France and (surprise, surprise) Spain!
Never before have we had to acknowledge those words “Though the way be long let your hearts beat strong.......”
Hopefully Bowyer is given the opportunity and time to prove his worth by our current owners because the complex organisation created by BSH has made it very hard for any potential new owner to assess the value of the overall business.
KEEP RIGHT ON!