Often Partisan

Riga and Blues

Former Charlton Athletic boss Jose Riga linked himself with the manager’s job at Birmingham on Sky Sports News yesterday evening during an interview about his departure from the Valley. The 56-year-old Belgian has formerly managed Standard Liege and RAEC Mons where he won the Belgian Second Division in 2005/6.

When asked if he had heard from any clubs with respect to vacant positions, Riga told SSN

“I have heard about Blackpool and also Birmingham, so we will see in the next weeks.”

Former Birmingham City midfielder Barry Ferguson left his role as player/caretaker manager at Bloomfield Road on 10 May and the seaside club have released 17 players in a clearout last week. Of course, Lee Clark is still very much in the hotseat at St Andrew’s and it can’t be good for him to hear that his job has potentially been bandied about to other people – particularly with the present tempestuous situation at the club.

I have to say from a personal point of view that although Riga kept Charlton up in the Championship, with the Addicks finishing 18th after taking 24 points from seventeen games under the Belgian that the idea Blues are interested in him does not inspire me with confidence at all. I’m of the belief that if Clark is to be replaced Blues would need to bring in someone who knows the division well and who can quickly bring a team together to compete a bit higher up than we have been – of course taking into consideration we need new owners too.

I’m also concerned as to who has contacted him; if the current board have spoken to him one must really fear for what is happening with bringing new people in and if I’m honest I can’t believe that is the case; things seem too far down the line for the club to be dicking around with stuff like this. That being said, Blues replaced Bruce with McLeish while Carson was looking to buy the club the first time and McLeish would have come in knowing that had Carson completed the deal he could have been back out on his ear.

Another possibility is that Riga has been sounded out by someone looking to buy the club. That isn’t beyond the realms of probability either; there were rumours around September 2012 when Gianni Paladini first appeared on the scene of another group from abroad coming in who were interested in the club and they allegedly were looking at Glenn Hoddle; I don’t know if they had spoken to him but it wouldn’t surprise me if people negotiating to buy the club have looked into who would manage it if they got it.

The third and most likely possibility is it’s come from his agent; his agent has told him he might be able to get him a job in the Championship and named two of the most likely candidates for somewhere he’d have sounded out. If that’s the case then the link means nothing at all; it’s just more idle speculation in a close season that is empty of news relatively speaking until the World Cup cranks up.

I suspect that when we finally do hear news of a new investor that things may well change in the management structure; but for now Lee Clark is the man in the hot seat and will be until the status quo changes. The unfortunate part for Clark seems to be that he’s not been given any indication of how he can do his job and he’s left in limbo like the rest of us.

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25 Responses to “Riga and Blues”

  • bluenose08 says:

    I am not a clark fan but I don’t agree with people putting forward names for his job while he is still in the seat. Interesting you mentioned hoddle as he did a great job at Swindon and loved the style of football he got them playing.

    • Raymondo says:

      I remember when we played Swindon, we were winning 4-1 early into the second half. Glen Hoddle brought on Mickey Hazard, uncle of Eden Hazard who took over the midfield and we ended up losing 6-4. Never been so shocked before or since until the last day at Bolton this season!

  • fingles says:

    Could it just be that he has linked ex Blackpool manager and former Birmingham player?

  • Hunter says:

    I’m with Dan on this..this is his agent talking. I do feel some sympathy for LC in as much as he cannot do any planning for the summer until he knows one way or another the outcome of the takeover. I can see him eventually getting fed up with it all and moving on, what are the chances he ends up in Blackpool? If indeed we are taken over by people with sound business sense and with some money I would imagine that they would want their own man who knows English football and this division well. We can second guess all we like who that will be and when but that will all it will be..a guess.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    I think Riga has been disrespectful if these comments are correct and in context. He is obviously saying “hey, look at me, I need a job”. Seems like the kind of person that would use the club as a stepping stone to a ‘bigger’ role.

  • Chris W says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Clark is ousted, whether we get new owners or not.
    He has worked with very limited resources, but with the players he had available you have to ask if he got the best out of them and playing them out of position regularly, even Lee Novak was surprised to play in certain roles he had never played before.
    If I had the choice between Riga or Powell, the man he replaced, I would opt for Powell. No I don’t think he is the man for Blues either.
    I agree with the need for an experienced manager at Championship level, he will have to know the market he has to deal in too.
    At the moment I am more worried regarding the possible takeover talks or rather lack of news on that front, we are almost at the end of May and we have already lost out on at least one player while other clubs are busy snapping up some decent players who could do a job for Blues, LC doesn’t even know who he will have when the players return around mid June start of July.
    KRO+DNM

  • Blue&White says:

    Just wondered if anyone has actually heard the comments on Sky Sports News yesterday or if people are just quoting what they have seen on other websites and in print.

    I was watching SSN last night when Riga was being interviewed and what is quoted isn’t quite what he said. What he actually said was that he had heard about the Blackpool job as they didn’t have a manager and then he mentioned some sort of bulletin that had been sent around from or by the clubs and that mentioned the Birmingham job.

    It was really confusing at first as it didn’t make a lot of sense (I rewound to listen again, as at first I thought he just said he heard about Blackburn). His English wasn’t great either so this might have been an issue for him explaining what he meant.

    I know this doesn’t really help with understanding what is going on – but it might help if everyone actually reported what he said in person and not the paraphrased quote that a lot of sites have reported.

    Either way it does’t sound good for Lee Clark. Keep up the good work though OP!

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I would like to put on record that I hope Lee Clark remains our manager for next season. He, as he has said himself, has had to “Fight Fires” all season being unable to buy players and having to rely on Free Transfers and Loan signings.
    He must only be judged on how good or otherwise he is as a manager after he has spent money in the transfer market on decent players. Then at the end of next season an informed judgement can be made.
    I recall Mick Mills (Trevor’s assistant) when they were sacked in 2001, saying that his great regret would be not sharing in Blues’ promotion to the Premier League, which of course was achieved at the end of that season (2001/2).
    How ironic it would be that having worked so hard with so little, that Clark should be denied the luxury of a transfer budget with new owners.

    • mortonsblue says:

      Management is not all about buying players, its about getting the best from what you have, playing players in the right positions, right formations, right tactics and motivating your charges. LC has rarely achieved this IMO.

      • Richard Granfield says:

        Good players make good managers…..Ask Manuel Pellegrini.

        • paule says:

          Not if those good players are not in their correct positions, that could make good players look bad.

        • mark says:

          richard like you if you say you like clark out comes the ones who dislike him, gosh it dont take them long..lol

  • Dare says:

    Clark is a awful manager we survived with a miracle and goal difference I bet it would be a different story if we went down we need a new manager and new owners

    • Agent McLeish says:

      Any managers performance would be awful given the resources and support from the joke that is BIHL. Keeping us in the division was a miracle considering.

  • Trev Abdul says:

    Do you think the current regime are purposely keeping elsie in the dark hoping he quits because he cant do the job wothout vial info etc. thus ending the predicament about severance pay and who pays it? New or old regime! If that is a sticking point as i have heard might be?

  • Blooflame says:

    Personally I don’t feel he’s up to the role. Some of his decisions were mind boggling to say the least. He was the one who put himself in that position for the final game. that said, I did feel some empathy with his reaction to that final win. For me he must have an underlying season long strategy from which to build. In reality he’s failed to please. Really it’s a good footballing coach who is understood and respected that is needed & I think he’s failed to meet the mark.

    • paule says:

      Don’t criticise Clark otherwise Mark will be annoyed, personally i think your spot on.

      • Blooflame says:

        Frankly Mark is behaving very badly when someone disagrees. It’s stupid to attack those who wear your colours. We’re all on the same side and “from differing opinions plans can be drawn. One only needs the capacity to allow those opinions”

  • mark says:

    clark wont be worried not a all, his job is safe as houses, how many managers sacked and still top of the pile, i just lol

  • Dave Partridge says:

    Neil Lennon is looking for a new challenge…… :-P

  • Art says:

    I will never be a Clark fan but assuming Dans article has some substance he should sue the board for constructive dismissal.The speculation and constraints he is working under would see a lesser man walk out.He is not the right man for the job but the board should treat him with the repect that any employee deserves.

    • Andy W says:

      I agree Art. I think it’s a purely speculative comment, and indeed hope so, because if it isn’t it would be a shocking way to treat the manager regardless of what you feel about his abilities.

  • mark says:

    What ever little information regarding the supposed takeover, blues have definately got their house in order regarding pre-season friendlies and tour announcement …….

  • mark says:

    returning to the question about jose imo where will be continual speculation, and maybe further managers touted while BHL continue with their dialogue…………..

  • Chris W says:

    Neil Lennon has said he would like his next post to be with a Championship club.
    I wonder if he has been sounded out by potential buyers and maybe knows something.
    With BIHL not giving LC any information or money and embroiled in discussions, could it be that details are even further advanced and an announcement is imminent.
    Just a thought or maybe just wishful thinking.
    KRO+DNM


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