Often Partisan

Burnley Reflections

Birmingham City lost 2-1 at home for the third successive game, this time going down to goals from George Boyd and Andre Gray. Jacques Maghoma had got the Blues back on terms but it wasn’t enough to get a share of the points.

In all fairness, it was probably the best I’ve seen us play in some time. Gary Rowett returned to basics, the tried and trusted 4-2-3-1 with Clayton Donaldson up top, two wide-men in David Cotterill and Maghoma flanking Jon Toral in the number 10 role while Maikel Kieftenbeld and David Davis played the holding roles in midfield. For long periods Blues looked good; Davis and Kieftenbeld breaking up play, Toral showing his Spanish magic in the middle while both Paul Caddis and Jonathan Grounds did their best to support Cotterill and Maghoma going forwards.

But for a little bit more clinical finishing, Blues needn’t have gone behind. Maghoma managed to screw an effort wide that looked easier to score, Cotterill saw a swerving (and deflected) shot tipped away by Tom Heaton in goal while Jon Toral saw a header well-saved all in the first half. Shotton could have put Blues in front when he hit the bar with a header before Gray showed Blues how it was done.

On going 2-1 down, Rowett made two of the most baffling subs I’ve ever seen. Although I thought the subs were a bit late in coming, it looked a good chance to bring on fresh legs and get back into the game; however rather than taking off the tired-looking Donaldson or bringing on fresh legs on the wing Rowett elected to take off both wingers for Diego Fabbrini and Kyle Lafferty.

The move left fans scratching their heads at the formation Rowett was trying for and the players without any pace at all up front. Fabbrini did have an effort narrowly whistle over the crossbar that could have levelled the game up – but in my eyes it would have made the changes effective more through luck than judgement.

I can’t fathom how Rowett cannot grasp that neither Fabbrini nor Toral can be played wide. There was all this talk pre-match of “planning for next season”; leaving Buckley out for Viv Solomon-Otabor in the squad to see how our next young wing sensation could pan out for us in the upcoming campaign – yet Viv once again didn’t get on. Honestly, I don’t get it.

It’s frustrating because I know Rowett has worked wonders and that he’s got an average squad playing well – but it’s not the first time we’ve seen Fabbrini and/or Toral shunted wide to little or no effect.

The match was anti-climactic in honesty; I think most of the crowd was more concerned by the score at Old Trafford and there was more atmosphere in the bars behind the stand at half time than during periods of the match. One other great thing to note is that despite paying a fortune to have stewards search everyone pre-match some fans still managed to get smoke canisters in… clearly those searches are effective and value for money.

As a performance, it was okay; as a result, it was poor. It could be worse though – we could be watching a group of gutless wonders who show more fight on Twitter than on a pitch like that mob across the expressway. I think they’re in for a rude awakening next season… and I hope we’re up for properly giving them a game when the time comes.

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100 Responses to “Burnley Reflections”

  • ChrisBCFC says:

    The substitutions were ridiculous.

    At the time, we were pressing Burnley and simply needed a change in forward personnel to take the initiative. The obvious options at that point were to replace Donaldson and Toral for Lafferty and Vaughan – the latter to add some much needed pace.

    The central midfield pairing of Davis and Kieftenbeld would have been more than strong enough to have coped without Toral – who didn’t particularly track back in any large amount and so really wouldn’t have been missed.

    Instead, we saw both wingers – who were creating some superb chances and looked fine – taken off for Fabbrini (not a winger) and Lafferty (not a lone striker) and we reverted to some strange form of 4-2-2-2 without any width whatsoever.

    It’s mistakes like these which are undermining Gary Rowett’s managerial development, and this sort of decision has absolutely NOTHING to do with a lack of money (as some supporters seem to believe).

    Whether he has 50p to spend or £50m, making subs like that with the personnel available can’t be defended. He needs to ask himself more than a few questions, because it’s happened more than a few times recently (Lafferty off for Davis when trailing by a single goal to Brighton, for example).

    • RichardM says:

      Agree with this Chris except the last point – Lafferty was taken off against Brighton becuase he wasn’t fit enough to play 90 mins – although should have been replaced with Vaughan not Davies.

  • Tony says:

    Once again we saw the limitations of Gary Rowets managerial capabilities, the substitutions were as you say ridiculous, there have been quite a few occasions this season we have seen similar.
    There can be few managers who have signed players and then used them so sparingly, what’s the point of signing them in the first place?
    He did ok at Burton But Hastelbank did better, the problem I think is in his head he is terrified of getting a good hiding hence his defensive obsession.
    As has been said he has done a great job steadying the ship after Clark, but that’s it he cant take us any further, I would replace him in the summer but we all know that’s not going to happen.

  • Art says:

    Unless he walks of course and maybe he will.

  • Jaffa says:

    Rowett is baffling at times.His use of the loan players and Fabbrini have been poor but the job he has done this season is commendable.I have said it before and I will say it again.The top six are the ones who have spent the money.

    • ChrisBCFC says:

      You cannot blame his awful decisions on a lack of money. Money would not change his decision to take two wingers off and introduce two central players, leaving the team completely narrowed and ultimately impotent.

  • andy says:

    I take it none of you will complain if Rowett takes the Derby job in the summer then? Take a reality check!

    • almajir says:

      Said it many times, will repeat now. Tears will not be shed, it’s football. I’m expecting him to go sooner rather than later.

      • Bluey says:

        Do you think he`ll be here at the start of next season?

      • steve says:

        Has he upset you Dan ?

      • Waycoolblue says:

        Your always bashing GR. The fact is its only ever noticed or seen as a mistake when it goes wrong or don’t work would you be saying all this had we won NO so we lose as the better team and its all down to GR,s mistake I think Not We lost get over it and stop with the Bashing.

        I know you may not let me post this but Its for you to read.

        • almajir says:

          Did you go to the game?

          I did. I said we played well for long periods (which you’ve conveniently ignored) – which we did – but (as pretty much everyone I know who went has said) the substitutions were baffling. Believe it or not, it’s possible to both praise and criticise someone.

          BTW, you were the guy who emailed me saying you weren’t going to post on OP… funny how you can’t stay away ;)

  • Little Al says:

    If Rowett decides to walk then so be it. Managers come and go, every manager makes mistakes and every manager is open to criticism and praise, it comes with the job. Rowett has done well with limited resources but who is to say another manager would not have done as well or better.

    Just like the lot across the city its the ownership that has caused our demise and until it is resolved and the club gets proper financial backing we will continue to struggle.

  • Bromsgrove Blue says:

    Better performance today although woeful defending to let in the 2 goals especially the second goal where Gray was left unmarked. Found Rowett’s substitutions strange no width after taking off two wingers. Looks like we’re treading water until end of season. Kro

    • steve says:

      I think the final ball let the wingers down. We did get into some good positions but the final balls from the wingers wasn’t good enough so in a way i can understand the changes Rowett made. There was no moaning around me when the changes were made.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Even before Rowett was appointed, I stated that I thought his managerial lack of experience worried me a bit, but I was more than willing to give him a chance, I still am. You don’t mind a manager learning on the job, but in all honesty, I can’t see that he’s leaned too many lessons this season.

    Some of his decisions, tactics and substitutions are baffling and have me scratching my head in much the same way as the previous manager. Obviously he’s not as bad as that, but sometimes you wonder if some of his decisions are made as much out of bull-headedness than genius… that he seemingly can’t see the bleedin’ obvious.

    He’s obviously got a lot going for him, because at times, we’ve been as good as any of the teams in the top 3.. we just haven’t been consistent enough. I hope that he has a bit of a rethink in the summer and learns from this season’s mistakes… and there have been a few. I like him as a person and hope he’s still here to have another crack next season.

    • atko says:

      To be fair to Rowlett; it’s not just him, he talks the changes over with his staff before implementing them. I wish I knew they reached their decisions, would love to have a mic on the bench like they do in American Football.

  • mark says:

    as it proved to be burnley troubled us….few more cracks showing in GR the manager….
    what a relieve that the vilers met down has finally happened :))) oh happy days……….

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Other than 2 mistakes for the goals, I don’t think Burnley were any better than us for most of the game. I predicted a 2-2 draw, but in all honesty, it should have been at least that. Unfortunately, we took our foot off the accelerator with 15 minutes to go.

  • Bromsgrove Blue says:

    Agree with the last comment. Donaldson and Toral should have been subbed and Vaughan and Lafferty given a chance to have ago. Again we seem to make our substitutions too late in the game, when we are invariably behind and chasing a result.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Admitted, the substitutions were made as a reaction to Burnley’s second goal, but, until then there hadn’t really been a need to change things as we looked like we were good enough to nick it. Unfortunately, they were the wrong substitutions, which took the steam out of us. VS-O for Cotterill and Lafferty for Doanldson would have been better. IMO of course.

  • Lich Blues says:

    i think you have it spot on Staffs. We should have had at least a draw out of today’s game. I genuinely do not understand the substitutions. After Cotterill went off Caddis kept looking down the wing for a release. No one there and then we tried to play it through the middle. Personally I think GR has done well over the past couple of seasons and the challenge for him will be trying to win games comfortably with better quality players at his disposal if he has the financial backing. Will this ever happen? Please please one day soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Just read Sean Dyche’s after-match comments. Arrogant pr*ck. If you can’t be magnanimous in victory, it says a lot about you as a person. Gone right down in my estimation.

    • RichardM says:

      Just made me laugh, typical one-eyed football manager. “Incisive passing football for 1st goal (err….bobbled off Kieftenbeld’s toe and fell nicely for Boyd) whereas our goal “they manged a rebound off the keeper”. “Fully derserved to win, never under the cosh” (I must have imagined all the keepers saves and Grounds hitting the bar)……maye he’s still bitter about the Millwall Play-Off semi-final ??

      Brighton far better, as are Middlesboro, Dyce might be staring another Play-Off in the face if he’s not careful…

  • Nicholas says:

    Has manager/coach of less standard then blues , I would of made the same subs
    Reason Total your best player can play any where along st to attacking 3
    Donaldson top scorer needs to stay on pitch
    Cotterill played well but had to be sacrificed for Total
    Getting on Laverty you could only replace with other side man
    Vaughan needs a pre season no goals in 16 games
    It’s ok thinging has a supporter to making the subs you think
    But different has coach

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Toral could probably play left back, or in goal. That doesn’t mean he’d be as effective in those positions. To play him out wide is just a waste of his talents. Unless Cotterill and Maghoma were knackered, there was no reason to take them off. It wasn’t the fact that he made the subs, it was the uneccesary change in formation and tactics that did us. If we’re going to play without wingers, we might as well switch to a 4-4-2 diamond… or a 3-5-2.

    • steve says:

      Yes there was. Their final ball wasn’t good enough. Everything was being cleared. Their keeper wasn’t being troubled enough.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        And of course, it made a big difference. Unfortunately, not in a good way!

        • steve says:

          Obviously not but the way we were playing suited their defenders. Obviously you couldn’t see that on Channel 5’s highlights package.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            Haven’t watched that since the first couple of weeks. It’s crap. Obviously you do though.

  • swissjonny says:

    Very frustrating.I just dont get why we are not blooding some youngsters. Now is surely the time? Much as GR has done a decent job in steadying the ship his list of limitations lengthens by the week. We have seen his naivety and inability in the transfer market but now it appears he is incapable of using substitutes wisely and also not giving youth a chance at an appropriate time. I dont think he will be with us next season-he almost went this season. I thank him for what he has done but we need a more experienced coach if we are to go forward with limited resources. We all know the limitations of our squad but some of his decisions are extraordinay.If Pearson doesnt go to our Championship colleagues from across the expressway I would love him to come to us. Holloway would be an interesting appointment. We really need someone with championship experience and better contacts for signings and loans.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Never mind , we played ok and I got the score right and the vile went down so all in all it wasent a bad day , need a win Tuesday to keep that 9 th place so still something to play for and then on to Huddesfield via ( morecambe for weekend away ) then ‘ Boro and Cardiff , still need 8 points to better last season . KRO

  • swissjonny says:

    The Vile are down which is great but the papers saying that they will get Moyes and big money. Not sure that I believe the big money bit.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Moyes is about they’re level and I don’t mean that as a compliment and they will have big money compared to other championship teams but they had big money last summer and blew it so it doesent bother me in the slightest , Relegated and embarrassed .. Ancient history and no future sounds about right .. Hope the fans are crying and a reality check ( a very used phrase on this blog ) of championship football next season is sinking in , oh the tears I cry for you are pure tears of joy and happiness , morons !! KRO

    • StaffsBlue says:

      A club can have all the money in the world.. but if those people spending it (not the manager) haven’t a clue what they’re doing, then it really doesn’t matter!

  • swissjonny says:

    I dont think they realise what a tough division the championship is.One things for sure their away support at horrific venues will be nothing like ours.I will be really interested to see what their home attendances are like as well.

    • Dave Mann says:

      To be fair Jonny I’ve been to all the away grounds in this division and in this day and age the grounds are top notch excluding QPR which is an hole and I won’t be going there again .., hate to say it mate but the vile do take a good away following and it will be very interesting next season to see what they get and what we get for the same venue , at home they will still get 25,000 plus if they are pushing for promotion so the rivalry will be intense and I say bring it on !! KRO

  • Your right swiissjonny I was talking to a bunch of Derby supporters Friday night and not one of them would commit to say that Derby would beat Charlton yesterday , I get the feeling that GR is doing everything he can to prove that his 4* 2 *3 *1 is the best system , one thing is clear is that we haven’t enough fire power in the three attacking midfield players behind the striker , perhaps Bradley Dack , conor hourihane , or Marcus Maddison , if we can afford them , and striker and a defender, to complete the squad ..kro

  • Lichblue says:

    Too true about the away grounds Dave. I have done all off them bar two and QPR is the only real dump. As for Villa i think they will sell out at away games and get bigger home gates than most if not all in the division. I am chuffed they have gone down. Hope they go down again. But i’m bored of them and want to cheer about us. I just hope we can get sold and start to compete properly again.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Me too mate but it might be the season after next before the new owners take control and we can move on then but next season we need to keep in this league and finishing above the vile for me would be a massive achievement . KRO

  • Paul says:

    Villa down, great. Ribbed all my vile mates, moved on. Look forward to playing them next season.
    At St Andrews if Rowett goes i hope its soon so a new man has all pre season to prepare. Also im happy if he stays, by and large hes done good under the circumstances.
    I think we should look to Leicester for inspiration at their style of play that got them out of the championship at a canter but not sure Rowetts the man to do it.

    Who would u like in and why?

  • Paul says:

    Actually. Have you seen Holloways Sky sports dream team of the season, and his comments on Cotteril. Throwing his hat in just in case, or am i reading something out of nothing lol!

    • steve says:

      Please not Holloway.He’s hardly mentioned for any jobs that come up.

    • RichardM says:

      Holloway’s been on record before saying he’d be interested in the Blues job. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if he turns up next season if Rowett moves on. At least we’d get to see some attacking football!

  • carlos1875 says:

    I just don’t get it some inbread vile fan comes on the radio phone in the radio station that’s now called radio vile wm and starts bleating about there still a big club and will always be now let me see wba are neighbours are the big club what league are they in o yes the prem what league the vile o yes championship this is the league were your over paid players will get no protection from the ref like you do in the prem this is were football is football and you will be found out welcome to our league

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I don’t understand why everyone thinks Vile will get a premiership manager. Sure, they might have money, but at the moment, it’s a poisoned chalice and a basketcase of a club. No one half decent wanted to touch it whilst they were in the prem… why now?

  • Dave Mann says:

    Big clubs are judged on trophies won and not the size of the ground or the attendances in my opinion so having won nothing this century they WERE a big club last century but not this one .. As I said earlier ancient history, no future should be the banners they parade … Historicity yes but presently and in the future NO , they are an average club with very average at best supporters and that’s me being in a very generous mood . KRO

  • Dave Mann says:

    Historically .. Sorry ! KRO

  • RichardM says:

    I don’t get this “Celebrate the Villa” going down – why do people care? It just pays them a back-handed compliment and admits in so many words we think they’re the bigger club. My fear next season is that their going to romp home while taking 6 points off us, is that something to look forward to?

    I’d rather wait till we’re in a strong enough position to take the Villa on – and that ain’t gonna be nexy season!

    • StaffsBlue says:

      There’s always been a huge rivalry between the two clubs, which is understandable being in the same city. But this is as much to do with their deluded fans, probably more so methinks. They’ve given it large for a number of years, it’s time for them to take a bit back.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    If Rowett does get offered and takes the Derby job, then good luck to him. I suspect that, in his heart, it’s probably his dream job, so you can’t criticise the bloke for that. By the same token, would he be the right man to lead a the challenge against our ugly neighbours next season, given his recent comments? Answers on a postcard to…

  • Lee Tomlin would be great staffs , I think next season blues need a boost for the fans sake ,, for if villa do well next season I can see many blues fans driffting away , I see much anger directed at the board if this happens and TTA are still sitting on the fence …..kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      We desperately need someone who can run a midfield. We don’t have that type of player in our first team squad at this moment in time. Whether youngsters like Adams, Brown and Maxwell will be able to do the job in the future, only time will tell… but we need someone in place ready for next season.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Kenny Miller scores for Rangers against Celtic , 36 still knows where the goal is and we nearly signed him , we could do with someone like that next season . KRO

    • StaffsBlue says:

      With the chances we have created this season, it makes you wonder how many Claridge, Forrsell, Phillips or King would have scored. None of them cost a fortune either.

  • The biggest worry for me at the moment is because of the whistle blown on suspected tax evasion in the British Virgin islands and all tax havens , will it effect blues sale , KRO

  • JbfromOz says:

    Rowett is very much like TF was as manager.
    He’ll nearly win something but not quite.
    He’s been a good stabilising influence bit when it comes to
    winning the ultimate prize I don’t think he’s got it.
    Don’t forget we lost to that shower in Aston last October.
    His substitutions of late baffle me.

    • mark says:

      TF was with us five seasons you really think GR will last longer than that……..imo i dont think so

      • Wootto says:

        Unfortunately for the foreseeable future I think we are destined to changing managers every eighteen months or so this will lead to it being difficult to bringing on the younger players or developing an attractive playing style. Nothing will change until the ownership issues are solved which at present seems to be some way in the future. We will do well to stay in the Championship next year judging by current form and progress.

      • steve says:

        He hasn’t said that.

  • DoctorD says:

    Rowett turned a team of losers last year into a solid defensive outfit that were masters at sneaking wins. He saw the flaws from Clark and stabilized things. It’s obvious now he’s having trouble turning the team into an attacking force. I wonder if we’re missing Gray too.

    • mark says:

      maybe it the subtle lunacy of raised expectation

      • steve says:

        Looking at the teams that have beat us this season,i think we have every right to be disappointed with the way the season has ended. We had every right to be optimistic of reaching the play offs from the position we were in a few weeks ago.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Have to agree with all of that.

          • Shirley Blue says:

            We have picked up points we would not have expected to as well. Stuffing Derby 3-0 at their place, getting draws at Burnley and Boro. The table doesn’t lie over a season. We are as good as where we are now and if we can finish 9th or better and beat last season’s points tally we have done ok. All of the teams in the top 6 have been able to invest substantially more in their playing strength than we have – if we had managed to finish in the top 6 it would have been close to being a miracle and especially around the end of January it looked a possibility. A good transfer window and who knows but that just didn’t happen. He looked to have strengthened the squad with Shotton, Vaughan, Buckley and Fabbrini but if anything having more players to pick from seems to have muddled the managers thinking up and perhaps upset the unity that was there.

  • Art says:

    Where would the club be now if CH hadn’t moved on.?

    Successful managers are always highly ambitious but need financial backing and board support.

    Nothing will change without a change at the top-just get used to it.

    As for GR…..he’s bound to go soon just like CH did.

    • Wootto57 says:

      Could not agree more we need to get used to continually managerial change until the owners are changed.

  • steve says:

    CH was told he had no money at all to spend. GR has had more backing than all of our recent managers. I’m not convinced GR will be a success at another club at the moment.

  • TTA have a reputation of getting in ,get it working .make a profit , the won’t want to keep working at a loss , I feel by Christmas they will sell , unless blues are at the top of the league ,

    • ChrisBCFC says:

      TTA don’t really have a reputation – they also don’t yet own the club.

      They can’t sell something they don’t own. I’d be surprised if they OWNED us by Christmas, let alone looked to sell us!

  • Why is that CB with Carson standing to one side , have I missed something .

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Quite frankly our passing is appalling in recent games

  • Mitchell says:

    I would be grateful if anyone knows the approx. worth of the collateral secured by TTA on Stans.ground in the return of their funding of £10m. My thanks.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    I’d expect they would loan an amount up to the net value to them of a sale of St Andrews. More likely is they would take ownership of St Andrews from BIH to discharge the loan thus buying BCFC using salami tactics. Once they had St Andrews another buyer would find it difficult to buy BCFC

  • 153,000,000 HK dollars , mitchell.

  • RichardM says:

    When the dust settles I think we’ll all still consider this to have been a good season – if tinged with dissapointment because of the poor results of late. We seem to consistently lose by the odd goal in three or draw games we should have won – usually becuase we’ve missed gilt edged chances or goofed up at the back.

    I think this is where the financial weakness of Blues is showing, for the sake of a goal scored/saved in each game we’d be in there. That comes down to not being able to afford the quality that a Gary Hooper, Jordan Rhodes, Andre Gray or Lewis Dunk can bring to the team, to convert those draws into wins.

    I know Rowett is taking some bullets at the moment, and rightly so on one or two points, but the fact remains he’s taken us from relegation dead certs to a point where we’re dissapointed we’ve not made the play-offs. He’s been criticised for being too predictable and negative, so he’s bought in players to shake things up and score more goals – it hasn’t worked, but remember he’s shopping in Aldi and hoping for the best cos we can’t afford Marks & Spencers.

    Maybe he has taken us as far as he can, but I for one will be very sad to see him go if he does.

  • Singapore Brum says:

    6 points out of the last 27 is relegation absolute bottom of the table form and it’s unlikely we’ll get much out of the last 3 games either.

    I really hope GR tries some youngsters now, at least something different and end the season with some hope rather end in a whimper.


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