Often Partisan

Hope and Expectation

The signing of Jon Toral on a season-long loan brings the number of signings during the close season to six; this comes in addition to five new contracts being agreed for existing players.

I’ve seen on forums some dissatisfaction that Blues haven’t really spent much on transfers following the talk back in May about the club being in a better financial situation than it has been and that money was available for players. I think the idea that TTA were also supplying money for the club (as per Ernst and Young) has led expectation that Blues would splash out larger sums in transfer fees and wages.

I can understand the frustration. It’s been a tough few years for the club and any message of hope is going to be seized upon. Blues performed better on the pitch than they had done since the days of Chris Hughton – and the upward trajectory of performance has been met with increased expectation. Expectation demands ambition – better players brought in, the squad developed to challenge the top end of the division rather than fight at the wrong end.

However, it’s my personal opinion that some fans need a reality check.

I will confirm my belief that the club is better off financially than it has been for a while. I think that things aren’t as desperate as they have been; that there has been money and backing for the management to build the squad and to plan for the medium-term at least. To me that doesn’t mean that the club will be spending seven figure sums on players just yet. It would be nice if we could but at this moment in time it’s about ensuring the club grows financially without once again overstepping self-sufficiency.

Blues are offering better contracts than they had been; I’m sure there are players in the 10,000 a week/500,000 a year plus bracket now when there wasn’t last season. Rather than wait until the end of the season to renew deals, Blues have moved to tie players down for longer periods to ensure that there isn’t another massive turnover at the end of the upcoming season. That won’t have come cheap – a three year deal for a player at 10k per week is 1.56million in wages, without taking into account signing on fees, bonuses, agents fees or taxes – that money has to come from somewhere.

People have asked “what about the Tesche money?” – well, it’s my opinion (and let’s be honest, no one will know this for a fact) that the fee agreed for Kieftenbeld it probably similar to the fee for Tesche. I’m fairly confident the wages are similar. Likewise with “the Fabbrini money” – I’m sure we’re playing Arsenal a similar loan fee and wage percentage that we would have been paying Watford.

Rowett has been honest about wanting a smaller squad. Blues are now in a position where there are basically two players for every position and I think that will do it. I think the only way Blues will add players now is if they’re significantly better than what we have – and maybe if we can move on players to make room for them – for example a striker if Blues can move on Wes Thomas or Lee Novak.

Of course, that could change – a long term injury for Donaldson (God forbid that happening) would almost certainly necessitate a movement in the market but I think Blues might well be best holding their powder until such a time. If there is no one immediately available who would be good cover at the right price, is it worth bringing in someone who is “a body” because we can?

I know the last few years have beaten the hope and optimism out of us but the dark days are coming to an end. Carson is losing his grip on the club, we’ve got a good manager in charge and we’ve got some good players on the pitch. Expectation of good times is one thing I’m going to try to avoid – but I hope for them.

117 Responses to “Hope and Expectation”

  • Blue Steve says:

    I’ve just noticed that of Jon Torals 34 appearances for Brentford last season 26 were from the bench! He is probably therefore still quite raw and I would guess that Andy Shinnie will be starting next Saturday unless he has shown up really well in training. I must admit he looks to be a very good dribbler!

  • tarantini says:

    Amongst the lies, dissimulations and hysteria that pass for football coverage in the meeja, thank God for a bit of balance. Well-informed and well-argued, all power to OP.

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Slow and steady as she goes.

    No more boom and bust, !!.

  • Big Al says:

    Did anyone see the report on the 10 worst run clubs in Britain? There are 5 championship teams in the list and we’re not one! woohoo! Bolton meanwhile have a debt to rival some African countries.

  • Blue Tsunami says:

    Reality check is right. People have very short memories in this media driven age. Look back a mere twelve months to the start of last season and then compare it to this one. Talk about chalk and cheese. GR has quietly and professionally gone about his job, filling most of the gaps (a CF would be nice cover) and securing those players that we can rely on for the next few years. The club have backed him and, as you say, Hong Kong is slowly heading in the right direction. This calm and sensible approach is just what is needed. GR has his squad now and we should give him the time and space he earned by his impact last season. A solid 8-12 th position should be achievable when you consider what the richer teams in the division have done. I see anything else as a bonus.

    • AndyW says:

      That is a really sensible post BT in my view, and I agree with all you say. What’s the saying?….softly, softly…….and our main ambition for this season should be to be a Championship club at then end of it. I am not a ‘doom and gloomer’ anticipating a relegation scrap, neither am I unrealistic. Of course I would love us to be at the top end of the table, but it’s too early to say whether we are worthy of that. We are undergoing a takeover. It will be a long one, no doubt. But I believe “taken over” we shall be at some stage, and then we can look to the future. I really believe that in GR we have someone who deserves our confidence and support, who will hold us in position until the better times come, and at which time we can all get excited and start believing again. Let’s be honest, it’s not like we haven’t been here before?

  • martin says:

    I’m very happy with the direction the club is taking at the mo looking forward to the upcoming season thanks again OP KRO

  • pete says:

    Agree very much. I for one do not think the signings are anywhere near enough yet for getting anywhere near the play offs. This is fine by me, but a hearing people talk of play offs and spending several hundred thousand on players seems madness….

    • hammy says:

      could not agree more….survival is the priority, every season, until we get new owners, then push on….

    • Andrew says:

      playoff candidates need to spend millions on players not hundreds of thousands. Think to when we were bobbing in and out of the premiership we used to spend 3-4 million on one player and thats several seasons ago. gary mcsheffery from cov seb larson fab muamba etc players bought in to give us extra quality in this tough league. they dont come cheap and we just havent got that sort of money so we are outsiders for sure. 10th will be a success this season unless shinniesta finds his scoring boots and novak becomes a prolific poacher…. can always dream

      • almajir says:

        Do they?

        It’s not true. Ipswich have spent remarkably little in transfer fees over the past few years, and finished sixth. Burnley signed one player (Ashley Barnes) for money the year they went up.

        Spending money certainly helps – but IMO it’s about buying smart, not expensive. Clayton Donaldson cost 0 in transfer fees, scored 16 goals last year. David Cotterill – zip in transfer fees, 9 goals and a bunch of assists.

        Plus it’s short-termist to be thinking only of next season. How about Blues build a squad that not only improves but grows together – and they get to a point whereby we’ve got a rock solid unit of players who have become better over a period of time? Doing something like that means that when you do go up – you have more of a chance of staying up.

        • pete says:

          Can be done yes. However the examples are the exception to norm, where as sine suggesting we should be in with a good shout of beating born, QPR, Ipswich who are reportedly looking to spend £2m on a full back when we have spent £180k need to be realistic. Why? Because the one thing that helped last season and can help a team go up is a buzzing crowd and feel good factor. This needs realistic fans and also much more vocal support, which has been woeful. I for one, hope we have support and chants singing to support players and not just about rivals. Make ourselves the 12th man and who knows.

          You never know though but after losing 4 of our best 11 from last year I think we need at least 2 more to improve that side. I am hoping though, but not expecting or preparing to get on players backs like some who sit near me do.

  • andy says:

    I do not think there should be any grumblings, the business Blues have done with current players contracts and players coming in has been very good. Why panic? There is plenty of time to bring loan players in if need be. Personally I would like to see Devante Cole signed up, he, along with Gray, Arthur and Brown would give Blues a bright looking future.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    What I would like Rowett to clarify, is the centre back position. We have Morrison, Spector and Robinson. Edgar reckons he’s a midfielder so, what happens if Morrison is injured again? The thought of Spector/Robinson or Spector/Grounds fills me with dread.. I’m not sure I’d trust a Spector/Edgar combination either. So for me, the defence is definitely a weak point.

    One other thing, in a combined 130 games between them last season, Cotterill, Shinnie, Gray and Donaldson scored a grand total of 32 league goals. If we’re not to struggle this season, they need to up the ante a fair bit.

    I’m 99% certain we won’t see a relegation struggle this season, but I can’t see a play-off push either. I think another 10th place finish, or around that mark will be a good season. But, if we can sort out those two problem areas, who knows?

    • atko says:

      I think he’ll stick with Morrison & Spector with Robbo as back up for the odd game & if there are any injuries then delve in to the loan market. I don’t see him bringing anyone in permanently because I think he would have done that by now if there was a plan for another centre back. They would have needed time to gel in pre-season & get used to playing in the heard of the defence.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        It’s still a major weak point for me. Perhaps a premier centre back on loan at some point. Kyle Bartley would be good… or someone of that ilk.

        • atko says:

          That’s the annoying part for Championship clubs & probably why January is a better window for them. With Premier League kicking off after us, Premier League Clubs are still preparing & sorting their squads out. There isn’t as much urgency as there is in the Championship. Admittedly those players that are going to be released are already released but those that a Premiership side ‘might’ consider an offer for….whether that be permanent or on loan….won’t be considered until they have brought in a replacement. For example a centre back might be on a Premier League’s wanted list but until they have got one then they won’t consider anything for any of their current centre backs….reserves or youth or otherwise. Like I say, frustrating for Championship clubs.

    • Tony says:

      Edgar needs telling he is not a midfielder, he’s far too slow and gets caught in possession too much, not sure he’s a centre Back either to be honest.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I wouldn’t swear to it… but didn’t he start his career at full back for Newcastle?

    • Andrew says:

      ive said this before that quality players like this cost millions before wages etc and we dont have this kind of money. still theres no reason we can hold hope of maybe clinching one playoff, with some big luck me thinks

      • atko says:

        To be fair, I don’t know anyone on here that wouldn’t have Morrison in their first choice team & he didn’t cost millions. I think it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

        • Andrew says:

          That is true, by the same token you can spend a lot of money on a player and not get what you expected, this is even more frustrating. But you cannot tell me that the likes of man city for example got where they did by being scrutinous with spending and making really shrewd signings. DO NOT think im likening us to man city or think by some reason of thinking i want us to emulate that because thats not what im saying.

  • Alan Watton says:

    An excellent and balanced article . For us the Dutchman and Spaniard are almost ‘marquee’ signings. I am actually looking forward to next week with some anticipation. After our financial car crash we have managed to maintain a respectable league position. To talk of playoffs or promotion is like almost like drafting Ronnie Corbett to the NBA. We have turned the corner , thrown away our crutches . Too many metaphors? KRO

  • atko says:

    I think Panos & GR work well together. Panos is a businessman who realizes that this football club is a business & needs to be run like one efficiently. GR has identified with him a plan which is not just short term & together they have protected their assets by extending contracts for those they see as here for the long haul. Blues will be a lot stronger this season & I am confident we will improve on our league position last year. Will we improve enough to push for a playoff place or better? Who knows?

    Teams like Brentford showed what can happen without household names whilst others spent a whole load of cash & either failed at the final hurdle or weren’t even close. GR has brought in players that have been under the radar & not particularly well known. A shrewd move IMO rather than go for the same player that everyone else is after, regardless of whether we could afford them or not. I think it will pay off barring any injury problems, let’s hope for our best season since our top 9 Premiership days. KRO!

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Agree with you Dan, however as far as this season can go if there is anyone that can
    Punch above our weight it could be us again. If we eighth by the end of our difficult start then we have cause for optimism. I am though concerned that injuries to Morrison and Donaldson will stop our progress unless we get cover there (Lowry and Cole perhaps)

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Edgar has got some humble pie to eat to get a game with us and it will only be as cover at centre back.

  • Art says:

    Thanks for the reality check Dan -you’re absolutely right.

    I tend to forget the dark days with Clark,Pannu and Carson.

    Between them they almost sent the club into Division 1 and the owners were ripping off the hard working fans.We still have a long way to go but slowly we are getting there.

    Great article.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Our Windows 8 squad is being upgraded to Windows 10. Not just the kernel but the applets too. There be lots of silent minor upgrades but the occasional major ones will be less frequent so that the operating system doesn’t freeze

  • Bluey says:

    You say some fans need a reality check. In my experience they number very few. Everyone i know or speak to are only too aware of where we stand financially and have very limited hopes for the coming season.

    • almajir says:

      You’re too far the other way though – you can only see the negatives.

      There is reason for hope.

      • Andrew says:

        hope or overconfidence?

        then when it all goes wrong whos going to get the blame, because ‘football fans’ always look for a scapegoat, someone to blame when it doesn’t go how they’d hoped. football is fickle like that

  • Keith says:

    OP is my essentially daily read THANK YOU. Reality firmly in check here until ownership sorted. After following my beloved Blues for 55 years I don’t want to wait too much longer though :-)

  • Martin says:

    Totally agree, this is the most organised I have seen Blues for a long time . Stability is the name of the game for us at the moment . the excitement will come later when CY eventually lets go. See you all Saturday !

  • Daza B says:

    We have to be positive we have no other choice they are our team and the players have committed to the club because they like the direction GR is going.

    The core of the team is the same who did so well last season the additions made will enhance the team and any other views is negative speculation.

    We do not have the money for big name signings, so no agent fees and ego’s to unbalance the team ethos. However we have competition for places across the team and a desire from a young team/Manager to go places.

    I like our approach its in the real world and my expectations is a play off position because that is the only way to be a fan believe in getting into the Prem.

  • Adam True Blue says:

    I can not see anything wrong with a bit of hope and optimism, we are in a much better place than we were this time last year, and we hopefully will not waste the first half of the season. I think GR has been very shrewd with his appointments and I for one think we have a stronger more together team than I’ve seen for a while, Cole would be nice but not essential. The future is bright the future is GR. Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    I hope we make the playoffs but I expect to finish pretty much the same as last season , that’s the reality of where we are but you never know…look at Bournemouth , Burnley etc who thought that they would get promoted with the teams they had , it’s all about how we start and it’s a tough one so we’re have a better idea come the end of the month . Kro

    • atko says:

      You see that’s where my thinking is different because as you say it’s not the easiest of starts but if we get off to a good start everyone will be raving about it. Think back to last season when Clarke was in charge & we got a win against Watford who were well fancied for automatic promotion & a draw (which should have been a win) against Ipswich. People were thinking things weren’t going to be as bad as first feared. Nobody would have expected the Bournemouth home result back then. We could get off to a good start this time around but that could be more because the teams we are playing who are fancied aren’t in full flow yet. Let’s see where we are at the turn of the year & then we will get an idea of where we are at this season IMO.

      • Dave Mann says:

        atko, your find that it was rowett who was manager when in his first home game beat watford 2-1 after drawing at wolves the week before in his first game!!! Kro

  • DaveBCFC says:

    We’ve improved across the board…except for a striker and a centre-half. I believe we need one of each before the season kicks off (unlikely now) in order to really challenge. Donaldson can’t carry us on his own, Thomas and Novak aren’t good enough. Morrison is our only real centre-half, Spector is a utility player and Edgar hasn’t exactly set the world alight recently.

  • He who dares wins , for gods sake, the only doubts I have this season is up front ,where nearly every blues manager fails , Donaldson is good ,but the overall tally of goals depends on where we finish , and very few blues managers have got blues two quality strikers , as a springboard to rocket the team upward….

    • Andrew says:

      i cant remember a blues manager having the money to spend to go out and buy two quality strikers, that might be the reason they fail in that area. strikers cost the most money and blues haven’t really ever had lots of money

  • Dave Mann says:

    He’s picked is 11 and that looks the team for reading next week I would think! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Disappointed to see Gleeson in ahead of Davis again. Apart from that, I think it’s probably the side everyone expected… so we’ll get a good guage to the season this afternoon. If they’re not fit and up for it today, well…

      • RichardM says:

        Here here, Davis over Gleeson anytime, Gleeson has not done enough to earn his place in my opinion

        • pete says:

          Davis for me he can tackle and allow MK to dominate with his passing more. However I can see it being Davis away and against better quality teams and Gleason at home. Still wishing for 3 at the back though…..

  • Texas Pete says:

    Yes all very practical and good advice Almajir, so that we dont get carried away. Our financial situation is not the best so we dont deserve a playoff place. We cannot afford $5M players, so we dont have them. This is not the brummie way and i dont buy it. I dont see GR discussing a new contract with, our best players or the dutchman, saying that we will have a steady season and will finish mid table. The presentation would have to be a lot more ambitious with a plan for the playoffs. We have a big group of “star” players now and they must have aims and expectations. I hope we are going to sign a big defender to go alongside Morrison even though I hope Spector can shine in a steady role. For the missing striker I would like a guarantee of 20 goals but rather than a new one, the high caliber combo of Dimi and Donaldson has been commited to and they should deliver. Anyway, incoming players is not done with yet.
    We are really talking about weaknesses in the subs bench right now with a very strong side on the field. This gives me excitement for the start of the season (that i get every year) and the nay sayers wil do what they do even if we try to control their negative expectations. Let’s have fans motivated for their essential role in a great season at the top half of the table with some ups and downs and set the scene for further investment that comes from a very well supported club.

    • atko says:

      Unfortunately towards the end of last season, Donaldson suffered a bit of a loss in form & his goals tally stalled. Even now, in pre season he still isn’t the player that scored 16 goals last season. Is that down to not quite sharp yet or has his loss of form carried in to this season? Time will tell but I fear there is way too much pressure on his shoulders & the problem is if that starts to get to him then we are going to suffer. Players like Dimi, Cotterill & whoever plays in the number 10 position are going to have to chip in more this season I feel. Donaldson is a handful but he will be a marked man this year & probably won’t score as freely.

  • Mitchell says:

    Forgive me for aiming this at Mr. Mann. As not able to get to the match today, would like the following assessment. thanks. Is MK and Toral an improvement on today’s showing?, Maghoma a threat when he came on?, and Kuscszak on a par with Randolph. One final thing please..if the starting midfield was a straight choice of either Davis or MK. Who would get your nod.

    • atko says:

      I wasn’t there either Mitchell but according to Tatts MK had a decent game & it’s easy to see why he has been brought in for that role. He did well apparently. Kuscszak apparently pulled off some good saves. He had no chance with their 3rd as he had committed himself from the free kick & the ball came back off the post straight to their guy who put it in an empty net. I’m not too worried about him or the other guy who has come in, a half decent keeper becomes a very good keeper when they come to Blues. I think we have the best goalkeeping coaches in the entire Football League including Premier League. He’ll be alright!

      By the time Maghoma came on we were overrun by their attacking formation & he missed a good chance soon after he came on but didn’t do much after that. From the commentary, I would say MK has to start but is that with Davis or Gleeson? Staffs would say definitely Davis but we’ll see who GR picks. I think Davis will have more opportunity to push on further forward with MK, something he can’t do with Gleeson without us getting caught out.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I have the feeling that Rowett doesn’t really fancy Davis. We’ll see as the season goes on… but, after being a regular since he came in, I can’t see him wanting to sit on his arris for too long.

      • jonno11blue says:

        Somebody’s joking. I’ve been to 5 friendlies and Kusczak has shown poor judgements in all the games. he doesn’t command his area, is slow off his line and been at fault for at least 3 goals. Signs have been that the defenders don’t like to pass the ball back to him and even in the matches when I’ve stood behind the goal he hasn’t seemed to talk to the back 4. You speak to Wolves fans, they didn’t rate him. Legzdins looks a much better goalkeeper Commanding, confident and always shouting at his defenders. Davis and Grounds have also looked poor and I agree Gleeson doesn’t do enough so I think we could really do with another central midfield player as well as a centre half to play with Morrison and another forward. Also I think we need to try and move Eardley, Edgar, Thomas and Novak on to reduce the wage bill and give leeway for further players to be recruited.

        • Andrew says:

          im sure given the chance they would shift them on and i dare say they have tried but nobody wants them, even a club that did want them they are probably on too high a wage for a team of that caliber

          happens all the time players stuck into contracts paid more than theyre worth.

    • Dave Mann says:

      Mitchell, Randolph rather than kuszczak without dout, kieftenbeld was steady if not spectacular but very good signs, toral looks the job for me at No10 great touches , Davis rather than gleeson even though gleesons wife’s mother is a good friend of my wife and maghoma as ive said many times so far as been a waste if space .. Two great goals from us first half and played well, second half Leicester dominated and must do better from set plays …,a draw would have been a fair result but promising signs anyway ok!!! Kro

  • Tony says:

    Y es I wasn’t there also, and would appreciate Dave’s assessment. sounds as if the defence were all over the shop and the keeper dodgy.

    • atko says:

      Not true about the keeper, Tony. He had a good game by all accounts. I just watched the highlights on Blues YouTube Channel & the only goal he can really be blamed for was the first as he didn’t really do anything for the corner. He needs to start commanding his box on corners & set pieces & coming for crosses. He certainly didn’t for that goal. Second was the free kick which he was unlucky for as he made the save but just couldn’t push the ball out wide which is what keepers are told to do. The third he had no chance with, a bullet of a header from a cross that should have been dealt with by the centre half but he stood there. On those highlights it did look as though we had our backs to the walls defensively but by & large coped well up to the first goal.

  • paulieboy says:

    Be prepared guys for a very long winter, and lets face reality and accept that we do not have the quality in players to contemplate doing any better than maybe 12th position or below.
    There can be no blame put towards GR as he is doing a great job under very difficult circumstances, but for how long will he accept having t work with Diviosn1 and 2 level players?
    Wanted – New Owners with investment quickly…PLEASE!

    • Mitchell says:

      Good realistic comment. We have only just got over the LC/CY/Pannu hurdles which is a great step. New investment of the serious kind is the only way to prevent a two goal lead albeit Prem. opposition being overturned etc. I am sure genuine Bluenoses feel the truth is always there and we live in a bit of fantasy that ‘this could be our year’..it what keeps us going I suppose.

      • atko says:

        I think January transfer window will be a key time for us, perhaps more so than the current window. I don’t think GR will be too unhappy starting the season as we are now. Of course, he has said he would like maybe a couple more players but I see that happening in January now. Is this a good thing? Yes IMO I think so, we will hopefully have further investment available by then & players start to fall out with clubs, find themselves surplice to requirements & maybe he can pick up the players he has been looking for then.

  • Disgruntled says:

    Only £10k a week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I was earning that a year.

    • almajir says:

      10k per year is less than minimum wage isn’t it?

      • Disgruntled says:

        Yes, but that doesn’t apply to self-employed dairy farmers, loosing money on every litre of milk we produce.

        • Andrew says:

          It’s a messed up world we live in. Farmers stuggle to make ends meet yet some pencil pushers will take home more than 3+ persons ‘conformable’ salary. Don’t even get started what footballers earn.

        • Bluenosesol says:

          DG, have discussed the dairy farmers plight with friends and colleagues on several occasions. General concensus that we would happily pay an extra 10p per litre if it went to the farmers. Why dont dairy farmers produce a higher priced Fair Trade milk where the extra price goes to the farmers? Good Luck. KRO

  • Stephen Powell says:

    If we finish mid table, that will do me.When EY have finished carson off can we then hopefully look forward to some better days and at present EY are slaughting him

  • steve says:

    Couldn’t give a toss about todays result tbh. It,s next week that matters. Nobody from either side would have given 100% today.

    • atko says:

      Agreed Steve. At times the game was open by all accounts & both sides pushing for goals. I don’t see any game in the Championship a shootout to see who scores the most in the game next season. Managers simply don’t set their stall out like that in games. I think Blues tried to play how they would normally….pretty much like last season soaking up pressure & counter attacking but Leicester changed half their team in the second half which made an immediate difference. That wouldn’t happen in a league game obviously due to sub restrictions. Next week onwards is what matters.

  • Kingstanding Maximums says:

    We need major surgery up front. At least another forward if not two.

  • viperblue says:

    I have a great fear that after looking at the fixtures , I can see us only getting about 5 points from first 10 games. this makes the rest of the year a struggle.
    There maybe nothing GR can do about it

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    “We must stop conceding sloppy goals” is consistently trotted out by GR. Having two specialist centre backs would seem to beta prerequisite

  • Dave Mann says:

    A centre half of experience and understanding is needed this week before the start against Reading after yesterday and that would be my priority…. A striker.. Maybe but as staffs keeps telling everyone we only play one up front anyway so why do we need 5 strikers ???… Donaldson plays if fit so who do we get in ? .. If cotterill & Gray can come up with goals like that on a regular basis & donaldson gets is share then who knows, Toral as class writen all over him and my son was gob smacked with his quality and trust me he like myself his hard to please so you can take that as a massive plus …,Fabbrini who!? Kro

    • Blue Steve says:

      Have to agree Dave. We can get by with 1 striker. Donaldson has played over 45 games in each of the last 5 seasons so he is injury record is excellent. Any money we do have needs to be spent on a centre back quickly!

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Yesterday, Morrison was at fault for the first goal, not enough effort to stop the goalscorer. For the third goal, the two centre backs were caught too far apart… and the guy just nipped in between them. I know it was only a friendly, but we should be sharper than that by now. Hopefully, Rowett can see we definitely need another solid centre back.

      • atko says:

        I also thought if the keeper can be slightly at fault for any goal it was the first, Staff. I thought he should have come for the corner. When it was played in he was in no mans land & didn’t know what to do. A good keeper will come for those & if not catch certainly punch. I think that is something the goalkeeping coaches will drum in to him over the coming weeks. As I have said earlier in this thread, we have the best goalkeeping coaches in the business in the UK & our record speaks for itself for producing top keepers over the years. We need good defensive coaches to get defenders to concentrate for 90 minutes & focus. Wasn’t Mr Rowett a defender? :)

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Shouldn’t someone have ironed out Kuszczak’s weakness on crosses by now? Hart was the same, so was Byhill and Foster, but they improved over the season. I often wonder what actually happens where the coaches are concerned. Fans can see obvious weak points in a player’s game, but they rarely seem to improve. Season after season those same weaknesses are there. So what is the point in a coach? Sorry, it’s a bugbear of mine. Rant over. :))

  • Mitchell says:

    Good concise report from Mr.Mann. My thanks. So, Toral and Davis to start but no Maghoma on recent showing. CH position interesting as we do have quite ‘a few’ at our disposal, but possibly not up to the next stage of a marked improvement. As I now read it the Reading start could be.. Kuszcak, Caddis Morrison Spector Grounds,Davis MK,Cotterill Toral Gray, Donaldson.
    One important change, in view of recent Blues match analysis reports is the replacement of Tatts by Mr. D. Mann. All in favour..a show of hands please.

    • Dave Mann says:

      Cheers mitchell and yes that would be my starting line up for next Saturday if there’s no good centre half brought in .. I did say Edgar before Spector but Spector did well yesterday so I would now put him ahead … I give honest opinions and see it how I think, not everyone agrees but that’s why we all have opinions and air them on here and it’s all good banter , as for Tatts job he’s fine and a good guy so I wouldn’t want to upset him! Kro

  • Stephen says:

    Gary Gardner took Tesche’s place last season. It now looks like Vile will allow Gardner to go back to Forest. Should we bid for Tesche or even Gardner? Any thoughts

    • Blue Steve says:

      If Tesche became available now I would still be interested, Tesche and Kieftenbeldwould be a great midfield!

  • Dave Mann says:

    Totally agree, Tesche & kieftenbeld would be a quality championship defensive midfield and if he’s available YES for sure. . Kro

  • DoctorD says:

    If last year is anything to go by then expect lots of 0-0 and 1-0 scorelines with the odd 4-2 crushing.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I don’t mind 1-0 wins and 0-0 draws as long as we’re picking up points but your right that we will get the odd beating as we will dish out the odd beating also but that’s all in a season of being a Blues fan so what’s new , it’s all part of the fun of what to expect and it’s never gonna change. Kro

  • David says:

    A very good article OP. I’m quite optimistic for the season ahead although I noted SkyBet has us sixth favourites for relegation in the paper yesterday!

    • atko says:

      With a pretty much unknown squad of players made up of players from the lower regions & with no money to spend on the players everyone thinks are needed to get us promotion…..all in the eyes of the media…..then that is probably about right for the bookies & will remain so every season until we are taken over. Not to mention, we have never been one of the media & bookies favourite clubs for anything.

    • mark says:

      dave i would put lay bet on that lol

  • Shirley Blue says:

    There are two players we cannot easily replace from the squad as it is and they are Morrison and Donaldson. Just because the latter has a good injury record to date doesn’t mean he isn’t going to get injured and he isn’t getting any younger. We need another commanding centre half and somebody who can come on for half an hour and give him a rest and therefore hopefully prevent injury and/or exhaustion. Novak and Thomas are not good enough.

  • mark says:

    As i said before the acid test is the first 10 games for GR, leicester game would merely been a confidence boost if we would have won. He got mixture of new and some the players from last season who have signed new contracts to blend. Lets hope he knows his starting eleven?? or the formation he wishes to play. We appeared to be find in the first half against leicester, but crazy as it sounds first half performances dont win you many matches statistically.

  • Dave Mann says:

    It was like that last season mark , we were a team of two halves , good first half and bad second half or vise versa and it’s been like that pre season also though we have played two different 11s inmost of them but it’s that consistency we need to have any chance of proving the bookies wrong and the first few games will be a major test to where we are , anyway ime looking forward to next Saturday onwards and my many travels round the country giving it all no matter how we play for Birmingham City FC so form or no form I will still be there at the end of the road no matter what players we have on the pitch .. That’s what supporters do don’t they?! Kro

    • Shirley Blue says:

      We were woeful until GR came in – 11 points from 14 games and mostly very consistent after with a few blips. In fact over a full season he doesn’t even have to do as well as he did over the 35 games he was in charge for last season to get us a similar finish this season. If he can do as well we will be on the fringes of the play-offs.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I think in our first 9 league games our biggest threat is Derby.. and possibly Ipswich. I see no need to fear the others. We just need to make sure the players do their jobs properly, then we’re more than capable of holding our own. As things stand, I have no fear of relegation whatsoever, but I think a play-off push might be beyond us for this season. We’re not that far off, but not that close.

  • It is obvious Andrew that we need a special coaching scouting team to get strikers to the club . one to coach the strikers ,and one to scout for strikers ,kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    32 games 52 points rowett got in league games last season so if we go on that calculation we will get 74 points which will get us very close to the playoffs so Shirley Blue your bang on with your numbers .. It’s just Blues fans were born to be more cautious than ambitious and that’s the way we are . The team is not weaker than the one that started last season so why not .. We can still use the loan window in September can’t we ? Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I don’t go in for all this points-per-games-over-a-whole-season stuff. It may have worked out that way if Rowett had been there from the start of the season, but then it may not. It’s supposition, no more than that. There would have been the same new players settling in and taking a dozen or so games getting to know each other and get going. We could well have mounted a play-off push with him in charge… but maybe not. Mainly, I believe, the players were lacking in confidence early on… that’s what Rowett brought when he came in.

      • Shirley Blue says:

        Sorry Staffs but Rowett and his team immediately gave us shape, organisation, balance and consistency of selection. That would not have happened under the previous regime – we know that from the rubbish served up in the previous two years. The improvement in form had nothing to do with players settling in – it had everything to do with professionalism, common sense and intelligence – all sadly lacking before.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          I understand what you’re saying SB and do agree to a point, but I still think a lot of it was due to a lack of confidence. Whether that was in themselves, the previous manager, or both, only they will know.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I was stating facts staffs not supposition but I agree that it’s over a season now for rowett and he will be judged on that , ok I was averaging the points out from the first 14 games admitted but it’s about how we start , start like last season then it’s a long autumn and winter but if we start well then we have more chance of attracting players on loan from premiership clubs , make sense. ? Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Like I said Dave, if the players concentrate for 90 minutes and do their jobs correctly, I see no reason why we can’t make a solid start. Looking at the games, I see no reason why we can’t be around 10th-12th place after 10 games.

  • Dave Mann says:

    If we’re in the top 10 after 10 games mate I will be well chuffed trust me . Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    I worked out 17 points from 10 games is what we could get going through the matches , is that top 10 ? Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      It’ll only be a kick in the ar$e away won’t it? I think your points estimate is well within us.

  • Mitchell says:

    Without doubt the biggest match imo is Reading. No complacency nor fear but an overwhelming desire not to get beat. Getting beat would be a real body blow to the whole club and I make no bones about it- I can see it happening. Still get the jitters with the defence and the goalkeeper. My reliance is upon Gray and Cotterill being on top form and of course Donaldson being hungry. We will concede goals and against Reading it is on the cards, but our reply must be a goal more than them. So next week’s game is the crunch one- not Derby.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    We have to have a new specialist centre back in by Saturday. If it’s Lowry or somebody else I don’t care just as long they are left footed and that is their position

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Reasons for delight and dismay after watching the game yesterday. Two of the best goals you will see at Stans this season. But the defence were woeful. Two schoolboy rules of football :- 1. Defenders mark the player but watch the ball. 2. Dont pass to a player under pressure. Our defence were absolutely static yesterday and every time the ball was crossed into the box there was no attempt to meet the ball by our back 4. Leicester could have scored a bagful if they hadnt hit the post twice and we came out on top in severall pinball encounters in our box. GR needs to ensure he doesnt keep on bleating out the same old observations on sloppy defending and doing jack about it. Our passing was woeful as many attcking opportunities were curtailed by awful passing. In fairness some of the passes to players under pressure were due to the fact that too many players failed to lose their markers and make space for the pass. We have our season tickets at the ready and are optimistic about the new season, however, I pray that our optimisim isnt blunted by many more inept defensive performances.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Nothing has changed in the last 3 seasons in those respects Sol. The previous manager said the same things, about not doing the defensive side of things properly and not retaining the ball for more than a few passes. You would think that the coaches and the players could sort it out between them wouldn’t you? But no.. same old, same old.

  • Texas Pete says:

    I always thought the first game is not indicative so Reading is not that important, but being the fitter ie better pre-season prepared team will provide a result.
    I agree with 17 points/ten games. Top half of the table in November would be very saisfying. I have faith in the organization of GR to do that as long as the defence is sorted.
    One new player this week would be great and so defence seems to be the priority.
    As for other teams, bring it on!

  • Mitchell says:

    Good point Texas Pete. However, my point with the importance of the Reading game is not the potential loss of the first game but about the anticipation of the first game in front of ou own fans. If it were against Middlesbrough or Derby then the drop of points would not be so bad. Reading is a tricky affair as although beating them twice last term- they are avastly different outfit. They are my favourites for promotion via play offs. Stage is all set for an opener which most fans expect to win and I agree why not. It is a game that a win would crank everybody up but the reverse would bring out every negative you could think of- therefore imo the Reading game is HUGE.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I went to Middlesbrough last season for our first game and we were bloody awfull and got away with a 2-0 defeat instead of a 5- 0 hammering .. That was the catalyst for our misery 11 points from 14 games and then when rowett came in we picked up and improved massively … A home win against Reading is will get us going with the tougher games coming up at Burnley , Ipswich and the home game with Derby , I will say that having said 17points from 10 games I will go 23 points from 14 games and that’s 12 points better off , only a guess of course but we’re wait and see . Kro

  • He who dares ,but it is getting more evident that we still need moreexcellant passers of the ball grounds trying at centreback ,or a new centreback and another proven striker so that we can continue to compete goalwise when we have no choice from a free scoring opposition side .kro.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    If we can all see that we need a centre back and a striker, you would think that the manager can see it too. It’s glaringly obvious.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      I am sure he is aware of it. What he isn’t doing is repeating the mistakes of the past and ending up with a big squad of mediocre players i.e he is only bringing in players if they are better than what we have already got. I have already said imo we need to move Eardley, Edgar, Hancox, Thomas and Novak on. That would release wages budget to finance bringing in the players of the quality we need. The problem is if they are in contract and nobody wants them his hands are tied. Also probably every other club in the division is after strikers and centre backs.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        Couldn’t agree more. We need to shift anyone who hasn’t played much over the last 12 months. Rowett obviously doesn’t rate these players, so they’re not really much use as back up. Give the buggers free transfers to get them off the books… they didn’t cost much to begin with.

        • almajir says:

          Staffs

          It doesn’t work like that – to give the buggers free transfers means we have to pay off the final year of their contract – which then robs us of ability to bring in new players…

  • Dave Mann says:

    Ime sure that mr rowett will address that problem this week before Reading , if not then we go with what we have and wait for the right two players to come in , we’ve got till September 1st to get it sorted and those that come will be ready and fit and pushing for the first 11 …. Ime not loosing sleep over it so let’s see what happens and all look forward to Saturday , the buzz is returning !! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I don’t think there’s any time limit on it Dave, they’re just weak areas that need to be strengthened.


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