Often Partisan

High Drama

Birmingham City bowed out of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night losing on penalties after three times coming back to equalise – once in extra time – despite playing seventy-five minutes plus injury time a man down after Wade Elliott’s needless sending off.

Typical isn’t it? One of the best games of the season at St Andrews and I spend the whole game 41,000 feet above India flying back from the far east. From reading comments online it does seem that the team (Elliott apart) did the fans proud and most people seem more than satisfied with the effort and application put in. Having seen the goals online I can only purr at the quality in the first goal – Novak’s reverse no-look pass was as good as anything I’ve seen this year – and two players who I’ve thought shouldn’t be in the squad in Peter Lovenkrands and Olly Lee both showed why they are being picked.

Of course, it means the team are going to be tired for the visit of Charlton Athletic at the weekend and Lee Clark has said that training for the next couple of days is going to be the bare minimum to allow bodies to rest – but one has to hope that the manner of the performance and the fact that Stoke were pushed so far will help raise the morale of both the team and the fans and that it will help the team to push on to take three points at the weekend.

The strength of the squad is going to be tested somewhat because of the tiredness along with the injuries to Lingard and Burke (the latter of whom could be back) and the suspension of Wade Elliott means that the attacking options in midfield and wide are going to be restricted. One player who doesn’t seem to be near the team at all (and indeed isn’t featured in the development squad) is the on-loan Scott Allan and one must wonder what has happened to the player to see him bombed so far from the team. The last time I saw him play for the development squad he was so anonymous I didn’t even notice he was taken off 10 minutes from time with an injury and if it’s the case he’s just not good enough for us I think he will be sent back in January – I’m led to understand we cannot do so before then.

I think it also speaks volumes that we’ve not heard anything further regarding the potential free transfer signing of Polish defender/midfielder Dariusz Dudka; whilst I would be reluctant to write it off as it would be my luck his signing would be announced one hour after doing so it does concern me that the manager wants him and it looks like we cannot afford him. With rumours of administration abound in the Daily Mail it’s more fuel to the fire if it does appear that we can’t afford a free transfer player.

One thing is for sure – despite all the stuff going on (or indeed not going on) off the pitch, the players are giving it their all on it. The team might be further depleted at the weekend but I remain as hopeful as ever that they will win and I do think we’re seeing the emergence of new heroes despite the crap going on. It might be high drama at times at Blues but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Postscript – 16:00 – Blues have indeed signed Dariusz Dudka. Told you it couldn’t be written off…

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94 Responses to “High Drama”

  • Masaccio says:

    We can only hope we get a verdict in ongoing trial before Christmas and this creates some momentum in the Board room.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    Interesting the comments on Olly Lee, LC got slated by some ‘fans’ playing him recently. Just shows that we should trust in the manager to get on and do what he can with meagure resources and incompetent owners.

  • JohnR says:

    Dan I was there and the match was up there with those great nights when we won the cup. It’s such a pity there weren’t another 10,000 in the ground (they couldn’t all be flying over India at the time). One player who also seems out of favour is Matt Green, do you know why that is?

    • almajir says:

      Click the Lee Clark link ref Matt Green, he clearly says Lovenkrands is doing better in training

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I think it could be second half of this season, or even next before we see Green emerge as a 1st team squad regular. But, there have been bigger and better players than Green that have taken a season to settle into a club. We need to give the lad time to step up those 2 or 3 levels.

  • Ali Duncan says:

    A very positive evening all round. Probably my most enjoyable game of the season so far. It shows the cup still has that special something after the great game on Tuesday and the high drama of the Yeovil game. I’ve really enjoyed our little cup run and think (hope) we’ll carry that form into the league.

  • mark says:

    Comment edited – Mark it’s linked in the article, you don’t need to put it again in the comments.

  • mark says:

    Dan – what ever cr*p going on………………..those stay away fans missed high drama, gallantry beyond expectation imo………………

  • blewnozejohn says:

    the team gave everything they had, you cannot ask for any more than that. it shows the players are with LC and his coaching team. I stated that a successful season would be to stay up and stay out of administration. The crowd was great and when the 3rd goal went in, the noise levels went through the roof. It is The Blues… a rollercoaster….I keep on apologising to my daughter and telling her to go support Man U (tongue in cheek)… like you Dan, she wouldn’t have it any other way and neither would I…. if we show the same togetherness on the pitch we will be all right…KRO…

  • Bluenosesol says:

    I was heartened by the reaction of the crowd as they scored the penalty which put us out. By the expressions on the Bluenose faces you would have thought we had won!. I think the players were spurred on when at 3-1 up, the Stoke fans began singing “We are taking the Piss” as they began showboating against our ten men team of mostly kids. Well they soon cut out the show boating when we pulled a goal back. Showboat was replace by blind panic! A fantastic game and a hard lesson for those many supporters who decided to bail out with 15 minutes of the game to go. I am beginning to defer to my comment at this stage last season – “Relegation My arse!” KRO.

  • chas says:

    Dan, you may have missed it, but there was a quote from Clark(allegedly) in the Mail on Monday I think it was, that he wanted to sign Dudka if something can be worked out.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      The player is a defensive midfielder… which is what we’ve been crying out for over the last season and a half. Because we don’t have a midfielder with that defensive mentality, we’re having to sit 2 players in there at the moment to try and do the job. I think having that kind of protection in front of the back 4/3, will give the other midfielders the freedom to express themselves a little more. And he can’t be that bad a player with 60+ caps for his country. The only reason he hasn’t played for a while is due to injury. A few sources reckon he would have played against England if he’d been fit. We’ll have to wait and see I suppose.

    • almajir says:

      Chas – you may have missed it, but that was kinda the point I was making – that Clark wants him but we’ve not signed him ;)

  • ken says:

    What a nice load of cash CY and PP have missed out on with the quarter round draw ,a full house and perhaps TV money. I can see the tears from here

  • StevieW says:

    It is amazing what a shop window to the Prem can do for the motivation of players.

  • Chris W says:

    St Andrews was rocking, the atmosphere electric, reminiscent of days gone by, an atmosphere we could do with at league games. Never once did the crowd relent, even when we were 1-3 down, the same with the players, they gave 110% plus.
    New heroes are emerging, maybe LC freezing players out is teaching them a lesson and now they are hungry to prove him wrong, Not sure why Scott Allen has bombed or Matt Green, maybe the latter is struggling with the pace and physical aspect of the Championship and a loan spell might be an option.
    Rumours are that Lingard should be back for the weekend and Burke should be fit.
    You have been in HK and spoke to many within the know, have you any idea if monies are available for Dariusz Dudka, or rumours as to the likelihood of Administration. There have been so many conflicting stories that no one seems to know what to believe.
    Welcome home

  • MR says:

    I was at the game Tue and can only reiterate the comments of others – the team seemed to get better and better as the game wore on and their committment was top class.

    Don’t want to spoil the positives from that game but I do believe a small point again highlights that LC is clueless as our manager. Having clawed our way back into the game and with a Cup quarter final at stake, what does he do for the penalties – has the two youngest and most inexperienced players of those chosen take the first 2 pens – and miss.

    What was he thinking? As manager, he should have been decisive and got the senior players to take the first couple to put us on the front foot in the shoot out – but he threw it away with his stupid schedule. No blame at all on Hancox or Reilly but they shouldn’t have gone 1 and 2.

    Seems a mute point in all the drama but I heard a lot of fans echoing this opinion as we left the ground, seems a missed opportunity to me.

    KRO but get a new manager ASAP.

    • Mike ware says:

      Clark clueless only person who is clueless is you look at what he has had to work with get off his back

      • MR says:

        What he has had to work with? You mean almost the same decent players that Houghton had in Spector, Redmond, King, Zigic, Burke, Elliott, Reilly, Fahey and Gomis etc and made a success of them. People talk about the lack of money but our squad is easily top 10, he is massively under achieving with the resources he has.

      • steve says:

        Tbf,it’s a good comment about the penalties.

    • Chris W says:

      Can’t some fans give credit where it is due, we can’t afford a new manager, and as he said they volunteered, if they had scored what would you have to moan about, if they had taken the last two you would have said they should have gone first.
      LC can’t win under any circumstances.
      No one was more ANTI LC than I was last season, he is doing a job with no tools, lets see an electrician, mechanic or constructor work with both hands tied behind their backs and the minimum equipment he can buy from Poundland.
      STOP MOANING for the sake of moaning… and give the guy some credit…

    • Steve says:

      Got to be honest your shocking, after a night like that and your picking fault?

  • Big Al says:

    Well done to the folk that left at 3-1. That’s why you never leave early!!!!

  • Bob B says:

    One point: Is Novak really a midfield player? I’ve not been a fan of him up front (and I know I’m not alone) but he was superb on Tuesday and his work rate was simply phenomenal over 120 minutes.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Unfortunately, most strikers are judged on goals… no matter what else they bring to a team. Emile Heskey got panned throughout his career.. but every player that played alongside him had nothing but praise for him. At the end of the day, some strikers score all the goals, others do the donkey work and set them up. I think in the last 2 games, Novak has proved he can do both. For me, it was the natural thing to do, to move him over to fill Elliott’s position. He certainly didn’t let us down.

      • Chris W says:

        I think he actually looked more comfortable too. It also gives LC another option for the games Elliott will miss. with Murphy, Burke and hopefully, Lingard to come back too LC has a selection headache.

  • Tony says:

    MR I raised just that point yesterday, you need to get the first one on the board you have to use your senior players first, it was a bad mistake on Clarks part
    He realises it now Im sure, he has become all defensive about allowing the two kids to take the kicks.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    When you have a team largely comprising up and coming youngsters and near-end-of-careerers you we just have to accept that we won’t get consistency. But one can’t help feeling the poor away form is also down to lack of desire and perhaps poor preparation

  • Tony says:

    Why bring the Polish guy in for a trial without first finding out if the money will be available to offer him a deal?. Seems a bit pointless to me, its not the first time it has happened either.

  • Tone1963 says:

    I am somewhat surpised anyone would want to comment negatively against the showing on Tuesday evening
    Myself and my son were up and down like a yoyo – best evening I’ve spent in ages I laughed everytime we scored – what we have to remember is these are a premiership team and to be fair not the best but certainly not the worst the Blues were committed to win and try they ceratinly did
    Lets push this passion through to the league and believe we can get the points to move onwards and upwards
    If you look at the leagues right now there are a number of managers being removed from their jobs because things aren’t going well…if we took that stance where would we end up….not worth thinking about stick with LC and let him do the job he was employed to do and get off his back no one likes pressure especially from people who should be supporting him
    Cup half full for me certainly not half empty KRO

  • StaffsBlue says:

    If you have a player already training with you, it often puts you in pole position to sign them. It’s not Lee Clark’s fault we have no money… at least he’s trying to strengthen areas where we’re weak. He deserves credit for that.

  • Tony says:

    Mike I dont think he is clueless, I know he is. he should also be banned from giving interviews that just compounds the problem.

  • Tony says:

    Dan the point remains why bring him if if you have no chance of signing him. by nature I am avery positive optimistic guy.

    • Applebob says:

      Have you forgotten the money brought in from being up against stoke and swansea? if blues had won against stoke they’ed probably be able to sign the player in question.

  • Tony says:

    Dan Lovenkrands should have taken the first hes done it at every level including internationals. stop making excuses for Clark. let us not forget among all this hysteria we conceded four goals at home and Sorenson probably will not plat that badly again in his entire life.

    • almajir says:

      Tony – I’m not making excuses for Clark. If he didn’t volunteer to take a pen first – and it sounds like he didn’t – then whose fault is it, really?

      Don’t let your blind hatred for anything to do with Clark cloud your eyes from the truth.

    • Chris W says:

      We conceded 3 goals while playing with 10 men and chasing the game, give some credit to the 10 who gave everything and more for the club and those who stayed, bet those who walked out at 3-1 down are kicking themselves now…. KRO+DNM

  • Tony says:

    errr well yes Chris you do actually, you find out if you are in a position to obtain a mortgage .

    • Chris W says:

      But you still look while you are asking which is exactly what LC did, he asked if he could buy while he was on trial, so you see a house then ask how much you can borrow…. towards the actual price, in LC’s case 100%

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Loverkrands, !!. What a revelation, eh, !!. That was why we bought him in the 1st, place, Out of the blue he performned as in his better days, could he now hold the key to our lack of goals, ?.

  • Bob Your Uncle says:

    Every single Blues player showed more drive, determination and passion for the club than any single Stoke player. We have to view what Clark is doing at Blues as a project. The club has some brilliant young prospects that play with their heart on the sleeve and are also very talented. I feel mixed with some more quality experienced heads, Blues can really push on with an ever learning young manager. All we need now is a bit of money to help us do so.
    Keep Right On!

  • David says:

    Dan, many thanks for your reports on events in HK. Now that you’re back, how will you do your trial updates? Or is our best bet to scour the local press eg SCMP?

    • almajir says:

      David – the same way I did them from here before :)

      I’ve got lots of contacts in the press out there, been talking to a couple of people who were in the trial today

      • Chris W says:

        Dan, Yahoo ran an article earlier and claimed his trial started beginning of October, but from it I feel CY has dug himself a deeper hole.
        Now you are here will you still have to curb your own opinions due to legal reasons?
        How close would you say realistically Administration is, or are BIHL pleading poverty for CY’s trial since his assets are frozen and is a reason they keep delaying accounts so as to not show the true state of CY’s hidden fortune?
        KRO + DNM

  • MR says:

    You can’t let the emotion of the night obscure the poor managerial decision making. I stayed right to the end too to cheer the lads on and was jumping around and embarrasing myself in all the excitement.

    But when it looked like we could pull off a memorable victory via pens (the momentum was with us), Clark’s judgement let us down.

    Re Chris W – of course I wouldn’t have said the 2 lads should have gone first if they had scored last – you ALWAYS put your most experienced players first in a pen shoot out, it’s hardly rocket science!! Would there have been ANYONE in the crowd that night who honestly would have said before the pens ‘best thing would be for the 2 lads to take the first two!!) Of course not.

    It’s not being negative for the sake of it, it’s just obvious observations on a manager who’s out of his depth. I actually really like LC, I think he’s a real decent bloke, he’s just not good enough to be a championship level manager…yet (maybe he will be one day, who knows).

    • Chris W says:

      As some have mentioned, maybe no one wanted to take the first, I played football at Non-League level and NEVER wanted to take the 1st pen in a shoot-out, even when I was an older head in a team, it is all about confidence on the night, the youngsters are showing no fear, I always feared missing the 1st pen, it is purely psychological…
      Penalty shoot outs are a lottery and until someone comes up with a better solution we have to live with it, some of the biggest stars at the highest levels have missed penalties, the only gripe I would have is you have to hit the target, but this game has to be up with some of the greats we have had and I go back to Roma and Barcelona in the 60’s.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        All this so-and-so should have taken the first penalty is a load of b0ll0x. If you’re going to miss, you’re going to miss… no matter what number you are. I personally believe that, if it had been 3-3 on penalties and the 2 young lads had missed the last 2, it would have been much worse for them.

        And at the end of the day, Hancox and Reilly are true, died-in-the-wool bluenoses… you would expect them to stand up and go first, wouldn’t you? I know I would.

        • steve says:

          If you get off to a good start with penalties,it keeps the pressure on the opposition.The fact we missed the first two probably relaxed Stoke a bit.

        • MR says:

          Sorry StaffsBlues that’s nonsense – regardless of what actually happens during the pens, as the manager it is your sole responsibility to maximimse the chance you win the shoot out – and putting the kids 1 and 2 did not do that.

  • Knowle Blues says:

    Well done LC and the whole squad. You made the city proud.
    Some people should remember Stoke are a established premier team, with crouch £10m & jones £8m in their squad…. Playing against 10 men – Get a reality check blues were brilliant.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Apparently, Stoke had one player on their bench that was worth more than the whole Blues squad put together. Kind of puts it in persepctive doesn’t it?

  • James says:

    I can’t believe nobody has highlighted the impact that Dan Burn has in the last hour of the game.

    I’ve heard of box to box strikers but the guy was winning balls upfront from Doyles kicks and playing the ball to Lee and Lovenkrands.

    • RichardW says:

      Totally agree – he was my man of the match, great for him after a couple of iffy performances. He actually led the line with more energy and positive outcome than Zigic.

  • Peter Hughes says:

    Saw Dudka at wast hills,looked a bit rusty but classy,will have to get sorted soon as there were a few scouts from Spain there.

  • Tony says:

    Chatts Blue you are correct of course .

  • AuldBertie says:

    I always stay to the end regardless of the score and it certainly paid dividends this time. I took my missus and 10-year old nephew whose grandad was also there. His grandad always leaves early and asked my nephew if he wanted to leave with him with 10 mins to go with the score at 1-3 and he said no. I think he was pleased he made that decision :)

    Does anyone know why the electronic scoreboard/replay screen was on the blink? Maybe times are already that desperate that we can no longer afford the electricity to run it? Also the 1875 bar was closed as with the Swansea game: another area of potential lost revenue. I just don’t understand the thinking behind that.

    I watched Davo’s latest video diary last night http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BVHCJ3ump0 and is was very heartening to see so many young people amongst the Blues fans. Lets hope with performances like Stoke we can keep the lifeblood of the club flowing and not lose whole generations to our friends in B6.

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      Cost saving?

      • AuldBertie says:

        The screen I can understand Julian but surely the profits from the 1875 bar would exceed the operating costs? The bar behind Tilton block 3 was very busy with big queues and with a fairly well populated Tilton end for this game the risk of opening the bar and incurring a loss must have been quite small.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    The missed pens may be the heart ruling the head for lads and LC but is could have saved us a tonking

  • dave mann says:

    concistency……..thats what we need, this season is very poor or very good, no middle ground
    2 premier teams win 3-1 draw 3-3 loose 4-0 leeds, loose 2-1 bolton, struggle with yeovil, beat
    millwall 4-0, beat shaff.w. 4-1. weve got to start playinng the way we can like tuesday but
    defensively were poor so thats why were having mixed results and performances, charlton
    prediction?…… wont even bother….. tell you what i will let you know about 5,oclock saturday
    then i will get it right………if ime sober enough!!!!!! KRO.

  • AuldBertie says:

    So now we’ve signed Dudka on a two-month deal http://www.bcfc.com/news/article/20131031-blues-bring-in-top-pole-1145785.aspx. They keep finding the money from somewhere!

    • James says:

      not fit until after the international break, why are we paying him to play if hes not fit?
      Same with Papa Bouba Diop last season

    • almajir says:

      Yup, I added a Postscript to the article. This is why I refuse to believe the eight week to admin story…

      • AuldBertie says:

        So you did. Serves me right for clicking on the Comment link and missing it :)

      • Chris W says:

        Amazingly we have some money, makes you wonder why all the rumours of Administration, who can we believe.
        You seem to be the only voice of reasoning and as you have first hand knowledge from HK are you any the wiser as toe where this money keeps turning up from?
        A could be a good signing if he fulfils his potential, just what we need to let the midfield be more adventurous.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Lee Clark himself has said that the board are probably sick of him asking… but, he’s gonna keep asking the question anyway, until they say yes. Good on the bloke for persisting!

  • Oldbluenose says:

    L,C’s, perciverence paid off at last, Just hope the guy finds his fitness quickly, even though it may take a couple of weeks, he COULD pay dividends for us in gainig strength to solidify the defensive midfield, ?.

  • Peter h says:

    As i said earlier saw Dudka play,hes not far off,similar to Barry Ferguson but passes forward not
    sideways or back.

  • tmsblues says:

    Well you are right… Dudka signs as soon as you suggest otherwise ! You are surely right though that admin is not as close as some might suggest! The Club can/will limp along for some time yet. Only a fool would let it slip into admin. Yeung needs a ‘face’ saving way out of this so it looks like he’s gone with some Chinese dignity if that’s possible. Suspect an injection of Far east money is the only option though this gets harder to obtain if one is a convicted launderer !

  • The Francis Fake says:

    You have to give LC credit for creating such a wonderful fighting spirit as that was as good a battling performance as I have seen in 50 years on Tuesday.

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