Often Partisan


Blues saw their ten match unbeaten run come to an end at the weekend with defeat to playoff chasing Brighton and Hove Albion. Yet despite the defeat signalling an end to a run which stretched back a couple of months there are still reasons to be positive.

I’m not even going to try to comment on the game itself; I have been somewhat out of the loop for the last forty-eight hours and thus I couldn’t tell you how we played. Colin Tattum was effusive in is praise of Hayden Mullins coming in at centre half and Reece Brown making his second appearance and the ratings he gave would indicate Blues played fairly well.

However, there is more than that. It emerged over the weekend that it is now likely Dan Burn will be back for the remainder of the season – something that pleases me immensely as I think it’s suited both parties and I think he will easily slot back into the side. Furthermore, it also looks we might be able to loan out Darren Ambrose for the remainder of the season to Greek side Apollon Smyrni – which might give Blues a bit more latitude when it comes to offering wages to replacement players.

I’ve seen panic in some quarters that Blues might not be able to make signings, that things are going down the toilet but I have to be honest – I’m still somewhat hopeful. I think we have enough about the team and the manager to keep us in the division this season – and whilst there is nothing further since the simple quote picked up on Friday about the sale of the club I do believe we’re finally going to see something change soon as we will at least know the verdict in Carson Yeung’s case next month.

Tomorrow sees Blues finally start their FA Cup campaign with a home tie against Bristol Rovers and I think it’s an opportunity to do two things; firstly, to deliver a home win and to give the fans something to cheer about but also secondly maybe to give first team starts to Will Packwood and Reece Brown. I don’t believe in playing intentionally weaker sides in the cup … but I think it would be a disservice to say that picking these two younger players would significantly weaken the side. I’d much rather see them given a chance to impress in a cup game than in the league and I suspect both of them could put in performances that would give Lee Clark more options in the coming months.

The key word is opportunity. Whilst some of the trials and tribulations of the past few months have been hard to take, there can be long-term gains. Although we have no cash input from the club’s owners the club isn’t in any significant debt and wages (bar Zigic) are manageable. We have had to make use of loan players but we are seeing development of younger players who have come in for nothing and through the system and are developing into assets of our own. It might just be because I had a good weekend and I’m in a good mood but I think if we can keep seeing things as opportunities for the club to get better maybe we can be happier about the club – and if we’re happier in the stands it will translate on the pitch.

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51 Responses to “Opportunities”

  • Frankie says:

    Reece Brown did look good and yes Hadyn Mullins showed his experience.
    Brighton were worthy victors but Birmingham were never embarrassed and could have snatched a point towards the end.

    • Dino Tiltoni says:

      Yes, that’s how I saw it. I just wish Zigic had imposed himself a bit more and go near post instead of always going far post. It was a spirited performance and if one of Burke’s two late low crosses had been swept in the unbeaten streak would have continued.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    If either Burn comes back, or we bring in another centre back, this squad is more than capable of, at least, a mid-table finish. It would be nice to add a couple of loanees to help out, especially another option up front.. but if not, so be it. We’ll go with what we have.

  • pierre says:

    having watched the fulham match i would not be surprised if they keep burn.

  • JohnR200 says:

    Dan, make up your mind, one week your all negativity next your on the positivity march. Personally I think we’ll finish mid-table. If we can get through this season without too much further damage the summer will give Lee Clark decent scope to rebuild. Maybe we will even get the bonus of new owners. Now that’s positivity.

    • almajir says:

      John – has it ever occured to you that sometimes someone might feel negative and sometimes someone might feel positive? That it’s possible to change as your mood shifts? ;)

  • andy says:

    What Birmingham City do have is a manager and players that give their all for the club. Lee Clark will not have it any other way, and if you have players who want to play for the manager and give everything for the badge then you are halfway there. The other half is either a change in ownership or serious investment into BIH so that Lee can fulfil his dream of taking Blues back into the Premiership and even surpass what McLeish achieved. Hopefully by the end of this season at least, we may have some light at the end of a very long dark tunnel.

  • DoctorD says:

    My sister bought me for Christmas the book “Birmingham City: The Complete Record” by Tony Matthews. It’s jam-packed with club stats going right back to 1875, but what it showed to me is whatever mess you think things are in, there’ve been ups and downs throughout our club’s history (attendances of about 5000 back in the late 1980s being a particular low point) and this is just the latest chapter. I am sure good times will return — how soon I don’t know, but they will.

  • James says:

    Exactly DoctorD.

    The Wheldon/Kumar years ( my first game was our first in the old third ) were very very grim; we should take the positives; decent youth set up, we’re competitive and someone somewhere will snap us up at some point.

    I’m confident we will stay up this season, anything else is a bonus.


    • RichardM says:

      I saw us get well and truly dicked by Cambridge in the old Div 2 at Stans 3-0 in 1990, when only 7,000 bothered to turn up and we were truly awful. Same story, no money to spend, fans not turning up and a team full of loanees. Later that season we won the AutoWindscreens at Wembley (first visit to the stadium in 35 years) and the season after we were promoted. The point being that although these are dark days – believe me there have been far worse, and sooner or later we will emerge back into the limelight. Keep the faith!

  • Surrey Blue says:

    Mullins was outstanding on Saturday, as was Randolph. In fact the whole defence played well, especially as it seemed at one point that Lua Lua was going to skin Caddis every time he had the ball. First 15 minutes we we on top, but after that a Blues goal looked unlikely. Great effort in last 10 minutes and Burke was our only real threat in the final third. He got to the byline on a number of occasions and had our strikers been even half-decent then they would have got on the end of one of his crosses. A god effort but probably a fair result.

  • Chris W says:

    I have maintained that a mid table finish is easily attainable with our resent squad, Dan Burn returning has to strengthen this.
    Though Mullins did well I don’t think he is the answer to our defensive frailties, adding Ferguson to midfield would give us more options and link up with the forwards.
    Players coming through from the academy has always been encouraging and they have all excelled, given their all and grasped their opportunities.
    On the whole Brighton probably deserved their win, and thanks to Randolph the score was only 1-0 and it was a sweet goal that eventually beat him. Towards the end we came on strong, as we have in many games of late, but once again left it too late.
    We were not overrun as some thought we would be and we can take some comfort from that. Hopefully the doom and gloom will begin to lift and Mr Blue Skies will shine through to the end of the season.

  • kimberley blue says:

    Rest Robinson as only 1 yellow card away from suspension and bring in Packwood to play with Mullins in centre for cup game.

  • I went to the game on Saturday and given that it was a patched up team Blues played well in the circumstances and could have snatched a point though it has to be said Brighton were the better side and deserved to win but they sat back in the final quarter of the game and nearly paid the price as my report on the game states: http://www.joysandsorrows.co.uk/2014/01/view-from-the-south-brighton-hove-albion-v-birmingham-city/?

  • StaffsBlue says:

    We all know that Robbo’s going to be out for a couple of games very soon. If he got booked tomorrow night, would that count, or is it only in the league? If it does, it might be worth him taking one for the team and get it over with sooner, rather than later. That means he would miss Yeovil and Watford, but be back for Leicester and Derby.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    The youth team play Everton away tomorrow at Goodison Park in the 4th Round od the FA Youth Cup.
    We have a strong under 18 squad this season with the likes of Arthur, Gray, Brown and Truslove the stars. Therefore I disagree with you when you suggest Reece Brown should be involved with the 1st team tomorrow, I would much prefer him to be at Goodison.

  • ZarateImissyou says:

    Did anyone see the five backheel centres from Forssell in Finland leading to goals on 101Greatgoals?
    He is “only” 32…. Would love to see him on loan playing just behind Zigic….
    Only dreaming…

  • dave mann says:

    doyle, brown, packwood, bell, gray,lovenkrands, arthur, elliott, mullins, lee should all play
    tommorow, lets make big changes against bristol rovers and give the whole squad some
    game time if possible because they might be called on for bigger league games to come,
    nothing to loose really though i must admit i do like a good cup run, it generates exitement
    and valuable revinue and i still will be hopeing that we get through to start winning at home
    again because its 5 home games on the spin with and including tommorows game.KRO.

    • almajir says:

      a) Lovenkrands is injured and Bell cuptied
      b) Clark is insistent on playing his strongest possible team. Could be interesting though who will come in on the bench for Bell.

  • Ron jones says:

    The business world often talks about SWOT. I agree that to apply that to Blues at present fits appropriately. S= strength . The togetherness of the management of the team. W= weakness. Lack of quality in most areas. O= opportunities. You are right as stated in your article. T= threat. If things go badly wrong relegation. There you have it. Let’s look on the positive side.

  • dave mann says:

    i should have said dan injuries permmiting, lee will propably play a strongish team but ide like
    to see wholesale changes but i know deep down that he wont do that but he must rotate
    wisely cuz yeovil, swansea( if we ger through), leicester and derby to come are a lot more
    difficult and more inportant and we cant afford many more injuries in our current situation but
    its good news abour burn comming back,lets see if we can get lingard too. KRO.

    • Chris W says:

      I think Packwood should start with Robbo in defence, if he wants to persist with Mullins then play him and Ferguson in place of Reilly and Lee in midfield, up front play Reece Hales and see what he can offer, either behind Ziggy or with Novak.
      A cup run would be nice but can we sustain a cup run with a tough league run in combined with heavy pitches and such a small frail squad.
      Bristol Rovers is an ideal game to experiment in a competitive match, I still think we can win.

  • Tony says:

    We are supposed to be in talks with Howard whoever he is , hes another midfielder, need that like a hole in the head we need strikers and central defenders..

    • Richard Granfield says:

      Brian Howard is a skilful left-sided midfield player who I have admired for a long time. I would have liked Blues to sign him when he left Barnsley in Oct.08. He has leadership skills and he will be 31 later this month.
      I agree that midfield is not as much a priority as central defence and strikers, but Howard is a class act.

      • Chris W says:

        He has plenty of experience in the championship and is a left sided player, does this mean that we will not be keeping Ferguson as I can’t think of any other logical reason to another midfield player and it is blatantly obvious we need a central defender and/or a striker.
        In LC we trust and he must have his reasons.

      • Tony says:

        Richard you obviously know the player, and I will of course take you word for him being a class act.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Lee Clark is probably looking at Howard because he’s good at something most of our midfielders aren’t… passing the ball to a team mate. He’s scored a few crackers in his time too. Only thing is, we’re looking at another over 30 player.

  • Eddie says:

    Leon Clarke has put in a transfer request at Coventry, what are the odds of him having Ambrose’ shirt?

  • dave mann says:

    at this rate with talks ongoing with brian howard, lee might after change is formation to
    3-6-1 to acommadate all the midfield players and so solve the problem of 2 centre halfes
    and more strikers……just a thought…and by the way, i am only joking. KRO.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I think that with the 4-2-3-1, Ferguson will rarely get a game, because Novak is playing on the left of the 3. We should maybe switch to 4-4-2 tomorrow and be positive. Yes, I know we’ve not been brilliant with that formation, but needs must. Bring in Ferguson with Hancox on the left and push Novak up with Zigic. It’s stating the obvious I know, but we need goals if we’re going to win the game. Only way fergie will fit into a 4-2-3-1, is if Novak plays in the middle of the 3, as Lingard was before he left.

    • Chris W says:

      With our weakness in defence why not incorporate Ferguson with a 3-5-2, giving us more impetus to attack down the flanks and allowing Novak to float across the park behind Ziggy. When defending we can condense the oppositions attacks higher up the field thus always being on the front foot and playing high-tempo, as LC often quotes.

    • RichardM says:

      I agree – go for bust, it doesn’t matter if we lose this game – and we certainly don’t need a replay

  • dave mann says:

    as mike bassett once said if everything else fails its 4-4-f…… 2, aand if we cant beat rovers
    at home with any 11 even on current home form then the old rots set in ime afraid.KRO.

    • Chris W says:

      Wasn’t that Dave Basset of the old Wimbledon?
      Even the academy players should have enough to beat Bristol Rovers and I take nothing away from them but they are at the wrong end of league two and only out of the relegation spots on goal difference. They like to concede goals on a regular basis so this should give our forwards a confidence boost, they average scoring a goal a game and did beat league one Crawley away in the last round.
      I’m optimistic and feel a 3-1 win for the Blues regardless the eleven we put out.

  • sappy dsd says:

    with lc and co getting blues to go 10 games without defeat
    means blues can win the cups going..and lets face it who but
    the top four are going to win the prem ..so the other money spinners
    the cups need to go a distance without losing to win cups
    well done l.c ….so lets get this show on the road ….super blues

  • mark says:

    tbh i am in agreement with mullins staying in defence as imo he did really well at the brighton game……..
    I am quietly confident of maybe 4-0 win to blues…………………..in the cup…………..
    love to see the swans again imo we got the licking of them…………….

  • mark says:

    as i mentioned before it would not hurt clark to blood maybe 3 or 4 young players to continue giving game time and experience…………….good luck to ambrosa oh well it did not work out for ya with us……maybe playing in the sun will help…………….kro

  • Richard Granfield says:

    It shows how short we are with fit players if we put out our strongest youth team tomorrow night in the FA Youth Cup versus Everton we can only muster 5 subs for the 1st team……
    Caddis, Packwood, Robinson, Hancox,
    Mullins, Lee,
    Burke, Novak, Ferguson,

    Subs, Townsend, Reilly, Shinnie, Allan and Elliott.

  • mark says:

    got the mrs and aston villa bra, f**king useless! The support is shit so she was out of both cups straight away……………………….come on your blue boys……………….

  • BigmanSteve0 says:


  • Mo Jamz says:

    I think LC should go 4-4-1-1 so we can accomodate Shane Fergusan to play on the left hand side of midfield so we can get more fringe players on the team playing more game time… it would be to experiment rather than just play them in the league as it is more risky to play them in the league instead of the FA cup

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