Often Partisan

Home and Away

Blues won their third win on the bounce away from home at the weekend and continued an unbeaten sequence that stretches back six matches, climbing to fourteenth in the table. Lee Clark has spoken about confidence being high in the Blues camp and has praised the way the players have adapted to what he wants them to do.

It’s been a strange season in a lot of ways for Blues. For as long as I can remember St Andrews was the place Blues picked up points, with most teams often coming to shut up shop and see what they could nick – especially in this division. Away from home it’s always been about what Blues could nick as well, but in the last season and a half and in this one in particular it seems reversed.

It’s true that we’ve seen some good home performances this season but they seem to have been the exception rather than the norm. I think it’s easy to make the connection that the malaise that seems to surround the club is affecting the team on the pitch; I think there is a veritable monkey on the back of the players at times as fans seem ever more impatient for a good performance and I think it translates on the pitch to nervousness and mistakes. Away from home expectation isn’t as high and the support is different; the hardcore away fans from what I have seen are much more behind the team and are attending out of a love for the team rather than fulfilling an obligation.

If we are to do well at home I think we need that away fan camaraderie, that sense of fun back on the terraces at St Andrews. I think that there is an element of people being spoiled by Premier League football and the good times and that in some ways we need to get back to having fun and expecting nothing. I think the fact attendances have dropped is immaterial when it comes to atmosphere; I think that if anything it’s the fairweather fans in the main that have stopped coming down and that the remainder left going week in week out constitutes the real bedrock of support. Unfortunately, it’s a more jaded and cynical time now and I think a lot of the plasticness of football has taken its toll on people. Even block eleven at times have forgotten to remind us that they’re singing on their own during recent home games.

As much as people see new owners as a panacea for the problems surrounding the club I think it will take more than fresh faces (and money) in the boardroom to bring the feelgood factor back. I genuinely think at this moment Blues are in a true catch-22 situation; the fans aren’t getting behind the team and thus the team are struggling a bit on the pitch; and because the team aren’t firing they aren’t igniting the fans and giving them something to be excited about. I genuinely believe that if Blues put together a run of five or six decent home results then attendances would go back up because what people want to see more than anything else is a winning team.

I also genuinely believe that if the team are doing better, and the fans are backing the team it makes us a more saleable prospect. The chief reason we’ve not been sold is because no one wants to pay Carson what he feels the club is worth – and for the moment, that’s not going to change. For all the bluster on Free Radio Gianni Paladini was looking to do a deal on the cheap and that is echoed by rumours of other parties keeping a watching brief, looking to pounce when it looks like Carson is backed into a corner – somewhat like vultures circling a dying creature. As much as I want to see new owners I think I’d rather have someone buy the club without watching it virtually die first; this is why I cannot countenance a boycott or anything like that.

For now, rather than mope over the financial situation I want to think about the positives; a decent unbeaten run, a team high on confidence, scoring goals and now keeping clean sheets. Let’s hope we can maintain that because maybe, just maybe everything else will fall into place.

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39 Responses to “Home and Away”

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Absolutely spot on, on every point. I don’t think I can add anything to that.

    *thud* (yes I know, makes a change) :-)

    • chris says:

      Staffs and Dan.
      For me it’s not spot on on every point.
      Stating “Gianni Paladini was looking to do a deal on the cheap” is far from being spot on.
      He offered £11 million up front and the club is only worth between £10 to £15 million by most people, then subtract the last set of accounts which added another £10 million loss to the debt, I’d say £11 million up front is as good a deal that they will get for an outright purchase.

      • almajir says:

        Carson didn’t though – and he’s the one selling the club. If Paladini was as desperate as he made out he was, he’d have made more of an effort to meet Carson.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        The point is chris, Carson Yeung is asking £32m… Gianni Paladini offered £11+.

        With respect, what the club is worth is irrelevant.. it’s how much Carson Yeung wants that matters.. so Paladini was trying to get the club on the cheap from that point of view.

  • Dorsetblue says:

    Bournemouth dominated the game. Our defence and keeper were superb. I know you expect the home team to run the show but second half our play at times was so poor.

    Having said that we all know what the season is about – it’s about staying up and hoping things will change next season.

    KRO

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Not much talk of admin lately, but it is still a faint possibility, so we need to put 10 points between us and the relegation zone. I am concerned about the sudden talk of making the play offs, but the flip side is that this is a result of optimism creeping back into the club. Football is 50% psychology and I for one am beginning to look forward to the matches again. So, avoid admin, stay clear of the relegation zone, dream of the play offs and get the club sold, then maybe just maybe, happy days will be here again, sooner than we had prayed for! KRO!

    • StaffsBlue says:

      The play-offs is a possibility, no more, but to rule it out at this stage would be wrong. As I said on Saturday, if we beat Forest, we’ll be well placed for a charge into the top half of the table over Xmas and the new year.

  • Frankie says:

    Should be no surprise that we are a more effective team away from St Andrews.
    We do NOT have the players who can influence a game on a regular basis but we DO have good effective players at this level who will get us past the magic 50 point mark and hopefully 60.
    Sadly we will have some less than savvy fans, who’ll be complaining when we do not demolish the next team ‘served up’ at home.

  • dave mann says:

    went saturday, great win two good goals and a great display from the back four and our
    goalkeeper, randolph never looked like being beaten and bournemouth could have played
    another 90 mins and not scored, zigic was exellent again, won everything in the air and
    took is goal well though not sure about the goal celebration, six unbeaten and at this rate
    12 points every 6 games were be there or there abouts at the playoff end of the table,
    its a big if but confidence breeds confidence and were playing like a team again, bring
    on forest start winning at home and who knows, be posetive not negative and get your
    back sides down stans saturday and keep this run going.KRO.

  • RichardW says:

    Does this not just show that we are a better team on the break when playing away from home than having to take the game to teams on our own patch ? Maybe Clark would be better setting things up a little more defensively at home. Three strikers hasn’t worked because the service has been poor.

    • Pete says:

      Do not entirely agree. We have done it at home (Sheff W and Millwall for example), the problem has been in many games we have played well with the 3 up front, but not been consistent. That is not an issue with the system, it is an issue with mentality we need to improve at.

  • dave mann says:

    we should set up to our strenths and let the opposition worry about us weather it home
    or away but we tend to play with less preasure away and that suits us and our support
    away from home is unbelievebley good but at home unbelievebley bad, its chalk and cheese
    and the dlfference makes away games more watchable than at home.KRO.

  • Ali Duncan says:

    I’m not sure I share your view that gates will go up if we put together five or six decent home results. I feel they might increase ever so slightly but I can’t see a remarkable increase. Without being too pessimistic I wonder, and it’s been covered before, if we’ve had our “as-good-as-it-gets” period and perhaps the club has now returned to our natural place – a mid-table second tier team? Many people won’t like that and some fans naive blind loyalty means they’ll never accept it but I feel we are where we are because at this moment in time that is where we deserve to be.

    Some people fed on a diet of perpetual success can’t deal with us playing Yeovil and Barnsley etc and simply stop going. In a way it’s indicative of the game in itself that I suspect even if we’d drawn Man Utd or the Vile in the cup we would have struggled to get 25k (council restitutions aside for the latter). The love has gone for a lot of people. Chuck in tough economic times and cheaper guaranteed enjoyment entertainment elsewhere and you can see why this is happening at clubs outside the top 10 of the EPL all over the country.

    Football trends and patterns shift so I’m not saying we can’t rise again. With the right owners, a sound financial platform, decent coaching and shrewd signings we could and probably will get promoted at some point in the future. I simply feel why we did so well gate-wise in the recent past is because fans had been starved of success and seeing Blues in the top flight. Now they’ve had a taste it has become standard. Also I think nobody likes watching their dearly beloved grand old club have only the objective to survive in the top flight. We, as fans, were blessed to see a top 10 finish (twice), win a cup final at Wembley and play in Europe. Perhaps we overachieved? I personally believe we did. If everyone takes off their rose tinted glasses of the 1970s we haven’t achieved more at any point in our history.

    • AuldBertie says:

      I agree with you re attendance Ali. Too may erstwhile supporters on this Blog and many other Blues-related sites have stated that they will not return until ‘the Chinese’ have gone and as there’s very little likelihood of that happening this season it looks like we’ll be stuck with the hardcore 12.5k until then. It will also be interesting to see if these people do indeed return when we finally have new ownership: the cynic in me doubts it very much. Maybe in the early days of new ownership but unless we win every gave comfortably at home the exodus will no doubt resume with some other reason cited for their non-attendance.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        The thing is Bertie, Chinese, as in this present lot… or Chinese in general? If we’re bought out by another Chinese consortium… what then? Do those fans still stay away? Makes you wonder eh?

    • DoctorD says:

      Spot on. Like I always say, Blues fans thought the club had turned into Waitrose, but now it’s back to what it always was – a seen-better-days branch of Morrison’s. Lee Clark’s stacking the shelves with Basics Digestives when we used to have Taste the Difference Biscotti. If I can stretch the analogy.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    When you look at some of this season’s opposition eg Doncaster, Yeovil and Bournemouth, then there are teams out there that have pushed on from their long term norms. Modern football dictates that the best teams, have the best players. If you buy the best players, then you will beconme one of the best teams. Blues do not have a “natural” position, be that where we are today, or in the upper reaches of the Premier. We are struggling at the moment because we have sold all of our best players, if we are sold to wealthy owners we will buy better players and improve. If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got. It doesnt need forensic psychological analysis. Here’s hoping for new owners who can spare a few bob! KRO!

  • Alan watton says:

    if you keep a clean sheet you cant lose even if you have a back 4 with no pace a midfield that cant pass. ironically we actually have a the look of a team full of goals when we can get the ball. We scored both goals by knicking the ball at the top of the pitch (as we did at Barnsley). At home we have to play through the midfield because the opposition go deep and don’t leave themselves exposed when the give up the ball.
    We were run ragged Saturday but every player ran their whatsits off closed down all over the pitch and the manager reacted well to all the problems thrown at him.
    I actually left the ground feeling good about my team

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    Its easier for Clark to set up a team away from home to suck up the pressure, then counter on the break.

    It is harder at home when the expectation is for us to take the game to the opposition.
    We have not got enough quality creative players to consistently dominant a home game & open the opposition up.
    Too many teams have come to St Andrews this season, & done to us what we did to Bournemouth on Saturday.

    Lets be honest the standard of the Championship this season is as poorest in living memory, & we have a squad that not going to set it alight. Thats the reason the gates are poor not the owners.

    infact If we were top three in League One we would get considerabely bigger gates than we do currently.
    Sucess breeds sucess…

    • Bluenosesol says:

      BB88, agree with success breeds success, however, the fact that we have a squad that is not going to set a very poor Championship alight or anything like it and hence attract gates which reflect that situation, is most definitely down to the owners.

  • Rodney says:

    I’ve always thought Blues ‘natural’ position is that we’re a bottom 10 Premier League Team top six Championship team.

    Having started watching Blues in the early 90s I felt the Golds & Sullivan restored Blues back to our natural position, which is essentially yo-yoing between the Prem & Championship.

    I think we actually hold the record for the most promotions and relegations between the top two divisions. I don’t have a problem with this – it means there’s always something exciting going on every season.

    I admit I find it difficult to accept how the present regime has reduced us to punching below our weight with their stupidy and naivety, but I’d happily watch Blues in League 1 under new ownership if the club was being run properly and there was sense of purpose and direction with the club.

    I’d like to see a return to how things were under Trevor Francis and early Bruce days. Yes there was a lot of disappointment with the play off defeats, but there was postive vibe around the club – there was a feeling that we were heading in the right direction. Perhaps I’m getting nostalgic looking back!

  • Chris W says:

    I agree with the away game support, I look forward to the away games, though I may have to miss Wigan, the singing, laughter and feel good atmosphere is there for all to see and enjoy, the players join in too, with the kick about and when they get chance the wave during the game.
    We need this at ST Andrews, it is almost as if we have a different set of supporters at home, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone hasn’t accuses LC of tinkering with them.
    The problem with the sale is Paladini wants to but the club and values it at £11+ M, CY probably wants to sell the club before he is forced to and Values it at £32+M, The club as it stands is probably worth £20+M and no one is going to budge.
    Must have been something in the sea air as I have been laid up with man flu since I got back in the early hours of Sunday, then had to take wife to Wales for Christmas deliveries, what ever happened to living locally.
    Hopefully we get a good result on Saturday, I live in Nottingham have been having a good banter with the neighbours, would love to gloat over the Christmas period and the compulsory Mulled Wine over the garden fence.
    KRO+DNM

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Hope you’re feeling better soon Chris.

    • Chris W says:

      Thanks Staffs, might have to have a late fitness test on my baritone, but I’ll be there Saturday
      KRO+DNM

  • mark says:

    u18 beating Coventry 3-1 away with counter attacking football dont you just love it…………….i love it….kro

  • mark says:

    Daniel liked your honesty with Q&A with cherries chimes mate………………

  • mark says:

    talking to other bluenoses there is a air of expectation and what was a joy to here was some fans who were possibly undecided about going on Saturday. Forgive me for mentioning but these are fair-weather supporters who may now want to join us on Saturday to get behind the lads, maybe its the cost who knows……or is it the tide turning and some have now realized how hard the lads are working their bollox off………..i dont care really what ever their reasons, it great they have decided to come on board to cheer the lads on………….Saturday will be about having a party, unite and giving those forest fans singing lesson……………….kro

  • Roy Smith says:

    I remember when the “magnificent supporters !!!” of Newcastle United only managed average gates in the mid teens most of whom spent every game slagging off the owners. They felt disillusioned and in the control of people who had no real concern for the welfare of the club or the fans, so they stopped going. Now I am not suggesting that we will ever average 50+ thousand like they do now but the malaise is similar. Fans want hope and when the have some then they might just want to go back to St Andrews again, but when all you can see is misery ahead perhaps it is easier to just ignore things. In this we are no different to supporters anywhere else. It’s called human nature not fickleness or lack of passion.

  • BigmanSteve0 says:

    Rodney I’m glad that you feel g0lds & 5ulivan done a good job.
    I am also glad that I’ve been on this site many a time thinking the opposite.
    They paid x amount for 1 player at wet spam who cost them more than every penny than spent at all the years @the blues & he’s a crock & bloody big crock & this makes me happy so f u to the little welsh diddly man & his 2 crombie wearing cockney chancers, Tom ro55 I hope you are reading this because you was all for the last crowd you villa fan in disguise

  • Ray says:

    As a pensioner I can’t afford the away games now but I used to go to places like Plymouth on a Tuesday night! However, I enjoyed listening to the radio broadcast on 1152 a m on Saturday afternoon, it really cheered me up! .Following this I watched the Villa lose (at home in front of their adoring fans) on MOD 2 on Sunday. Perfect soccer weekend! KRO!

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Great quote from Lee Clark in today’s BM:

    “Sometimes there’s a bit of naivety in there, but you have got to accept that as they’re giving everything for the badge on the front of the jersey and that is all we can ask.”

  • dave mann says:

    they certainly gave eveything for the badge on saturday as we were under the cosh all
    second half staffs, the support was fantastic at bournemouth and that drove the players
    on, and to be fair the way randolph played they were never gonna score if we carried
    on all night, if this run carrys on we WILL be there or there abouts come the end of the
    season and that is FACT. 6 games/ 12 points = 24 games/ 48 points = 44 games/ 71 points,
    thats playoffs……heres hopeing!!!!!! KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      We’re on the cusp dave. It could go either way over the festive period. If we can come away with 6 or 7 points from our next 4 games, we’ll be well set. If things don’t go so well, we’ll be back in the mix towards the bottom… it’s that close. So fingers (and everything else) crossed. :-)

  • dave mann says:

    £10,£5 and £1 for forest saturday, if we cant get over 20,000 for this game with a
    midland derby and current form taken into account then we might as well give up on
    the abstainers and arm chair fans…..or will they use xmas as an excuse and cant
    afford it….unbelieveble!!! KRO.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Sheffield Wednesday v Wigan tonight. A Sheffield win would do us best. Although it would put them only 3 points behind us, it would stop Wigan pulling away from us before we play them.


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