Often Partisan

Positive on the Pitch…

The first match of Gary Rowett’s reign as Birmingham City manager yesterday ended as a goalless draw in what was seen as a much more positive performance following the 8-0 humiliation the week before. It was the first clean sheet for Blues since the home win against Brighton in the middle of August and the first away clean sheet since the 2-0 win over Charlton at the Valley in February.

While it was a fourth game without a goal for Blues it represented a sea change in the way that Blues played. For the first time in a long time the players looked like they were playing to a plan, players knew their roles and while some of them did better than others no one had that bad a game. It could be argued that they’re all playing for their futures but is that such a bad thing? I do get the feeling some players were starting to coast under Clark because they knew they’d be picked while others just fell away because they knew they wouldn’t be.

Darren Randolph in particular looked a far superior keeper to the one I’ve seen in recent weeks; Stephen Gleeson played the holding role really well and gave lots of protection to the back four and I while I think Andrew Shinnie has no upper body strength at all his play was as positive as I’ve seen. Obviously there is still much room for improvement – but it looks like improvement could happen. Contrast that with Blackpool – slipping to another defeat in their first match of the Lee Clark era there – with accusations from the fans of a bizarre team selection. Where have we heard that before?

There’s been a bit of online froofraw about the minute’s silence that preceded the game being interrupted by idiots. I don’t want to get drawn into what would be an emotive debate but I would like to offer a couple of thoughts. Firstly – despite what anyone says, the first person to interrupt the silence was a Wolves fan (as per this instagram video) – that being said the Blues fans who shouted “Wolves *****” after the first lot had died down are just as bad. I also have to say that I think this comes about because of the dilution of impact of a minute’s silence these days. I know it was held before the game because it was Wolves’ last home game before Remembrance Sunday but I don’t think that matters. I honestly believe that silences should be held on the weekend of Remembrance Sunday and at no other time – if a club doesn’t have a home game then it’s down to the club to do something around that time to show their respect.

The sad thing is that while things are improving on the pitch, off the pitch in Hong Kong things aren’t going to plan. BIH have announced that they have called off the conversion bond they agreed back in August to pump new cash into the struggling company. As a move it’s unsurprising because there was no way the deal was going to happen with the share price so low – and if BIH are to bring in more money by the same avenue they will need to renegotiate something quickly.

What is concerning out there is that there STILL has been no move to remove Peter Pannu from the board of BCFC or BIH. To do the first requires a board meeting at BIH; to do the second requires shareholder approval. While I’ve heard that the situation is very delicate I have to say (as I have said before) that sometimes you have to do something and accept it’s going to be messy for a while. The only reasons I can see not to make the moves to remove Pannu would a) because it’s felt that the board meeting, the shareholder meeting or both couldn’t be won or b) because Pannu had enough ammo to cause severe issues if pushed – and in honesty both scenarios fill me with dread. There is still (despite what anyone else says) an outside possibility Pannu could come back to BCFC in some capacity at the moment and that would be disastrous.

In the legal world, there is a case at the Court of Final Appeal which could have a massive bearing on Carson’s current situation with top barristers trying to force a change in the money laundering law in HK from its current draconian state. The word on the street is that there is a confidence that change could well happen – and that would give Carson a massive boost in his chances of appealing his conviction as the fact remains there was no attempt to prove where the money Carson laundered had come from by the prosecution. Anyone who knows my co-author Will Giles will know he’s said that the Chinese play the long game – and that Carson isn’t out of the picture.

As much as things are already better here with Gary Rowett in the dugout until we are finally rid of the current ownership there will always be a dark cloud in the sky.

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68 Responses to “Positive on the Pitch…”

  • Raymondo says:

    Excellent post Dan! An encouraging and surprising result which cheered up my weekend. KRO

  • Chris W says:

    I said on Saturday that the minutes silence should take place on remembrance weekend, and though you can’t force people to respect those fallen heroes, the majority do and that should shame those who don’t.
    Footballing matters, it was refreshing to watch a team play like a team and work for each other, with some excellent performances by Randolph, Robbo and Gleason, all who came under a battering, by me included.
    The substitutions were intelligent and Morrison looks a very good signing, so on the pitch things are promising.
    We all know that we need change in Hong Kong and it is worrying that PP1 is still influential which does not bode well for the future and it seems that BIHL are here for the quite foreseeable future.

  • Art says:

    Share price down by a further 4% this morning Dan and your assessment of the goings on in HK just fills me with dread.Ive also thought for a long while that PP has some form of hold on the board and I have little doubt that he doesn’t intend to go quietlry.

    What’s happened to action plane to get rid of these morons?

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    What a good weekend. Saturday lunchtime obviously then Blackpool starting in Clark default mode and B6 suffering from there own eight nil – minutes that is – when it all started to go pear-shaped.

    More intelligent post match comments from GR including the confidence to explain himself to the Sky pundits pitch-side straight after the game.

    Re: Shinnie. If he hasn’t been trying to better himself by going to the Wast Hills gym after training more fool him. Any player who isn’t putting in that extra effort and is just happy to coast along doesn’t have a future under GR.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Although Saturday’s draw was a good result and an equally good performance, it’s still only one game. We’ll have a better idea by the end of this week, then at the end of the month. Then an even better idea by the end of the year. At the moment, we’re not cut adrift, but that can change very quickly if you’re not picking up 3 points. If we can get 2 wins this week, things will look a whole lot healthier. Lose them and the teams above us may start to put some points between us. We can’t afford to let that happen going into the Xmas period.

    The defence looked 100% better on Saturday, but for me, the midfield still looks far too lightweight and unlikely to create too much going forward. A proper defensive midfielder is a must, as is a striker that actually remembers how to shoot straight. All in all, a decent start.

  • Bham Terrier says:

    Think you’ll be fine now, and you can look from afar with that ‘ I told you so’ look, as Blackpool fans start having a mental when realising LC is just guessing, turning wins into draws (late goals a speciality) and basically turning out to be a tactically inept manager. For those that always used the ‘he had no money’ excuse, please dig a little deeper. Ask Dean Hoyle Towns chairman. Good luck for rest of season, GR looks and sounds like a proper manager with a plan. It can turn round definitely.

    • Chas says:

      Clark has gone and doesn’t matter to us very much now, but I had to laugh at this Post from a Blackpool Fan , posted on Saturday evening.

      One of the Brun fans posted on here that Clark made some really odd team choices.
      Today we had two full backs playing in midfield. This, in turn, meant a centre half playing right back and a totally untried left back who previous managers haven’t rated at all.
      Didn’t work did it?

  • Neil says:

    Hi dan or any body else asked allready did not see any protest from the trust at the wolves game to get rid of these owners was there any Protest ??.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    With the minutes silence perhaps not appropriate for that game

  • mark says:

    acid test for GR is the next three home games, otherwise we start to get dragged into a dog fight…..if he win any then the smiles might start coming back….

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I’m not going to get too excited after one game, but it’s a solid start, no more. The home form is the important yardstick. Get that motoring and we’ll have a decent chance.

      • mark says:

        watford will be no pushovers, and troy deeney whether he loves blues or not appears to score against us…………

        I had a chuckle of the week Roger Johnson said he wouldn’t leave wolves because the money he on is to good……. good old Roger

        • bluenoserob says:

          At least he was being honest , why would he leave , wolves are at the right end of the table with a chance therefore of getting back into the prem and hes earning 3 or 4 times what he would get if he moved.

      • DoctorD says:

        Ah come on Staffs, show some excitement. You were great at being on an even keel when things looked bleak and everyone else wanted to tear their hair out, but now that there’s a glimmer of hope I want to feel positive noises.

  • mark says:

    Daniel surely you knew PP was not going no where……..

    First who installed GR PANOS part of BLH,……..WHO OWN bcfc….

    YEP Looks like a opening for Carson to appeal……..

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I fully expect Yeung and Pannu to stay around for a long time. There’s absolutely no reason to think otherwise from what I’ve read.

  • Dave mann says:

    Great test against Watford Tuesday, top of the league and looking good but if we can play with the same team spirit as Saturday and be a bit more adventurous going forward then maybe a shocks on the cards ….I’ve said many times I missed Brighton along with my wife and son so it’s 24 games and counting since I saw a blues home win in the league so fingers crossed and let’s have a go.kro.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I’m kind of looking forward to it, but kind of dreading it too. Will it be another building block, or a set back? Watford aren’t unbeatable. I’m hoping for a win, but not expecting one. We have to start picking up 3 points and tomorrow at home is as good a time as any to start. I think everyone’s waiting to see if the home hoodoo will be banished.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    Assume that PP1 is not being paid? If not then there are other reasons why he is lingering like a bad fart. I suspect there may be many skeletons in the BIHL cupboard. I also suspect other reasons why BIHL are not selling as I still believe that maintaining the BIHL share listing is a red herring. It’ll all come out in the laundry.

  • Dave mann says:

    Lets lift the hoodoo staffs because ime hopeing that where Clark was an unlucky and I confident manager Gary rowett looks the opposite so that’s something to grasp hold on to I think.kro.

  • RichardM says:

    For me, Tuesday is all about the performance. I fully expect Watford to romp home in the Championship this season, much like Leicester did last year, so think we should be not be surprised (or unduly alarmed) by a 5th straight home defeat. Even with GR in charge, Watford are easily two goals better than Blues, and that’s hard ground to cover, unless we get an enormous slice of luck of referreing decision in our favour.

    Like most people on here, I can accept defeat if I know the team has given their all, and that’s all I’m hoping for tomorrow. I think the home game v a rapidly declining Forest side will be the best test of GR’s ability to turn the home tide.

  • Tony says:

    Staffs it will not be a set back if we lose, they are top of the league we are close to bottom, on form we should lose. There does seem a noticable change in your attitude since Clarks dismissal, whereas you were always quite optimistic and supportive of Clark you seem somewhat reticent to praise Rowett, and Saturdays performance.
    Perhaps now you could tell us why you supported the previous manager in spite of the weird selections, fitness problems, horrendous media performances, man management issues and disgusting performances. A few peple including yourself say he was an unlucky manager well over a period of two and a half years luck evens itself out . In fact to my mind he was one of the luckiest managers I ever heard of..
    He manged to con the board into giving him the job, survived when any other manager at any other club would have been sacked, and now hes done it again Oyston has a strange agenda we all know that but giving him a job is akin to a death wish.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I supported the previous manager simply because he was the manager…. exactly the same as I’ll support the present manager because he’s the manager. Nothing more, nothing less. I just think it’s a bit daft to get too excited after one game…. the same as, I wouldn’t turn against him now if he lost 6 on the trot. Surely that’s not too difficult to understand is it Tony? It seems that who the manager is, is far more important to you than it is to me. I support the bloke in the job. It really is that simple.

      What I meant by a set back, is in trying to get points on the board. We can’t afford to lose too many now, or we’ll lose touch with the sides above us.

    • Agent McLeish says:

      Tony, you need to get over your hatred for LC. He has gone so move on.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        Hear hear!

        • Blueboy88 says:

          Tony , A fair question to ask of the Clark apologists.

          They have had there blind faith shattered, sadly two years to late.
          Most of us knew after the Barnsley 0-5 two years ago he was no Championship Manager.

          Now they mourn his loss as they struggle to come to terms with his departure..well get yourselves off to Bloomfield Road if you want to continue supporting that madness.

          BCFC has now moved on with GR, a fine young manager who has been a breath of fresh air after two & half years of the Clark nonsense.
          On the pitch we can look forward with hope where previously there was none.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            Mourning the loss? Ha, that made me laugh. :-D In the 45 years I’ve supported Blues, I’ve only ever had any kind of affection for 4 managers… Freddie Goodwin, Jim Smith, Barry Fry and TF. The rest I couldn’t give a monkeys about… including Clark. He’s gone and, unlike some, who can’t let go, I don’t need to have a post mortem about it every day.

        • tttpaule says:

          Clark dragged our Club to it’s knees football wise & would undoubtedly have taken us through the lower leagues if left to it!! We came away from home games almost suicidal having had that shit thrown at us by his inept management!! So Tony if you want to moan about Clark fair play to you, if this bothers anyone else that’s just tough because having to deal with the absolute rubbish we have on the pitch for over 2 years can’t be just erased from our memories. Also i hope Clark fails big time at Blackpool its what he deserves & it will take one of the relegation spots.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            People moaning about it doesn’t bother me in the slightest…. dragging me into it every day does. At the risk of repeating myself, (ad nauseam) I’ll say it again, Clark is gone, I’m over it… well over it. Feel free to carry on discussing it, but leave me out of it. Thanks guys.

          • Agent McLeish says:

            Pauline, LC has gone – you really need to move on.

      • Tony says:

        Fair point agent your right, my dislike of the man is bordering on hatred, but its hatred of what hes done to my club and my team. I kid you not I was there that day against Barnsley and I will never ever forget it, I have witnessed bigger defeats but never one so hopeless and pathetic there was clearly something wrong that day very wrong.There have been countless occasions since just as bad regarding tactics team formation etc etc, its not just that he was inept, its that he knew he was inept but still hung in there for the dosh.
        Hatred is a futile emotion I realise that, but I find myself agreeing with Pauls sentiments.

        • Chris W says:

          That hatred should be aimed at BIHL Tony, they employed him, had every chance to sack him but just buried their heads in the sand, they are the main reason we are where we are.
          Look at the positive, there is one relegation place guaranteed now.
          Time to move on and support the team and the new manager, bury the past.

        • Shirley Blue says:

          I’m with you 100% on this and I will never understand the small minority who kept supporting him despite the clear evidence in front of them every bloody week. Two years and lots of people’s hard earned money down the drain on him. With all the managers that got sacked over that period and nobody came in for him unfortunately for us. I hate the thought he would have got a six figure pay off from Blues and gets another rolling contract at Blackpool he doesn’t deserve. What the Oyston’s agenda is in taking him is hard to work but roll on December 6th.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      I will happily take a point tomorrow. Rowett couldn’t have had a tougher start than Wolves away and the top team in the division first up at home. I will be interested to see how he sets us up. Much as I think Robinson is past his best I don’t think he will break up the back four. Edgar could come in to sit in front of them to provide some protection and height at set pieces. I would then have Cotterill, Gleeson, Davis and Gray in midfield. Donaldson up front. Much as I like two up front at home I don’t think he can risk it tomorrow. Tell Donaldson he will get an hour then bring Thomas on.

      • Chris W says:

        Personally if we are going with one up front I would start with Thomas as he can hold the ball better until support arrives.
        If Edgar takes on the defensive midfield then why not link Reilly with Davis giving Cotterill and Gray a free run at the Watford defence.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          That’s close to the selection I suggested last night. A three of Davis, Edgar and Reilly, with Cotterill and Gray supporting Thomas when we attack. The defence will probably stay the same I would think.

          • Chris W says:

            I’ll apologise or rather should I say great minds think alike, but in reality there is not much to chose from unless you start looking at Hancox, Packwood, Hall, not sure about Shinnie.
            From what I saw when in Scotland he seemed a decent player but I think someone mixed him up with his brother, he has had time to settle so it is down to him to prove he has what it takes.
            Up front we only have Thomas and Donaldson fit or the rookie Johnstone.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            If he plays the same personnel, he’ll probably play the same formation too, as that seemed to suit on Saturday. I can’t see us doing much going forward though if he does. Watford seem to play a narrower game these days, 4-2-3-1/4-3-2-1, so I think Davis, Edgar and Reilly would provide a decent barrier in front of the back four, with Cotterill and Gray using the space down the flanks. Just a thought.

          • Shirley Blue says:

            Gleeson had his best game for us Saturday. I think he is more likely to score or create a goal than Reilly. We are desperate for goals so Edgar, Davis and Reilly is a wee bit too defensive for me. We havnt had a midfield player make a run behind the forwards since Adeyemi departed not that he could finish to save his life. Gleeson in there just gives us a bit better balance IMO.

          • Chris W says:

            Jury’s out for me on Gleason, ljke Shinnie he seems lightweight, on saying that he may have found his niche and given a run of games might prove a lot wrong. Reilly’s passing lets him down, but can’t fault his spirit.

  • Mineheadblue says:

    On the pitch…….I was very impressed with the structure and application of the team and whilst I know it’s early days, I am encouraged.

    Off the pitch……..I was absolutely appalled by the behaviour and disrespect showed by fans. I don’t care who started it, it’s unacceptable and those responsible should be ashamed. I take the point that it wasn’t actually Remembrance Sunday but that shouldn’t matter. Service men and women fought and died so that we might live in a society that respects (or should) individual rights and freedom of speech.
    (I speak as an ex service man ex serviceman who and has supported Blues for many years now).

    • Chris W says:

      I agree wholeheartedly, our servicemen and women allow us the freedom we enjoy today and live in relatively safety.
      They do this 7 days a week and in terrible hostile conditions it doesn’t matter what day it is we should always show our appreciation to those serving, have served and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

      Lest We Forget

      We Will Remember Them

  • Dave mann says:

    With £10 adult and kids for a £ then the game choosers should pick Watford as one of those games for obvious reasons ( cheap tickets,new manager) and lets artlessly try and break 17,000 but I suppose ime clutching at straws again with those” ime not going down under these owners” brigade but if you don’t want to support a manager, assistant manager,first team coach and goalkeeping coach who all wore the shirt then there’s not much else anyone can do but do what you thinks right.kro.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Sod the owners I say. It doesn’t matter who owns us, there’s a new manager taking charge of his first home game and he and the players deserve all the support we can muster. People have been calling for change for a long time, we’ll we’ve got it now, so let’s support the change. It might not be enough with BIHL still in charge, but it’s a start. As the manager alluded to… small steps.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      The attendance tomorrow night will be interesting. IMO many people’s dislike of Clark and the utter sh*te served up at home for so long has kept at least as many away from St Andrews as BIHL ever have if not more.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I hope you’re right. It would be nice to sit amongst a decent crowd with an atmosphere again.

        • Chris W says:

          I’ll second that staffs, get more atmosphere in a morgue lately.
          As it is a mid-week match don’t expect that many more but \i do expect some vocal support.
          Saturday will see a much bigger crowd I fancy, especially if we get a result tomorrow.

          • Shirley Blue says:

            I think we will get more tomorrow night because of the ticket pricing and Rowetts first game.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            The BM reckon that Rowett is hopeful that a crowd topping 20,000 can do their bit, as long as his players do theirs. “There’s part of me that can’t wait to walk out and sample that atmosphere.”

            I do hope he’s not disappointed on both counts.

  • Dave mann says:

    Hear,hear staffs.kro.

  • The Flying Pig says:

    Was it just an illusion, or did that team actually look like they believed in the plan? They certainly executed that plan to the best of their ability – that is all we can ask of this group of players and we just need a bit more luck [like the penalty call against Grounds]; we are owed a bit of luck after some of the diabolical decisions we’ve suffered from – including the 8 game.
    I still think Donaldson can get us some goals. Tellingly, Rowett said he has to play smarter and conserve some energy, that is quite hard when up top on your own. Moreover, we have to get more support in to him quickly if we are to have an attacking threat.
    I agree with other comments that we need a defensive midfielder. I also think we need a decent RB, although Caddis wasn’t too bad on Saturday.
    Tomorrow’s going to be difficult, but if we can just get the first goal…

    • Shirley Blue says:

      A big concern is that we didnt look like scoring in open play again. Grounds was unlucky with the header and someone like Kevin Phillips would have followed that up. Rowett didn’t have much choice than set up to defend after the previous weekend. I hope he has them practicing set pieces because that is our best chance of getting goals with our strikers. That has got to be absolute priority for January because I’m not sure any of the ones we have now are good enough for this level. Please don’t anyone say Novak!!!

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Guy Moussi will play for the development team tonight.

  • Mickey07 says:

    or b) because Pannu had enough ammo to cause severe issues if pushed???

    Unbelievable mate if that’s the case what a way too run a football club,I can honestly say after speaking too other fans that I don’t think they would be responsible for there actions f they even thought of setting foot in birmingham again……

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