Often Partisan

GAMEDAY – Blues v Reading

Rejoice Blues fans because the football season hath returned. Blues take on Reading this afternoon in the Championship to kick off their campaign.


Steve Clarke has been busy in pre-season, bringing in Orlando Sa, Ali Al-Habsi, Jonathan Bond, Stephen Quinn and Paul McShane along with a season long loan for Wigan defender Andrew Taylor. Like Blues, Clarke faces a choice as to who is his number one keeper out of Habsi and Bond; unlike Blues Reading have injuries – Pogbrenyak, McCleary, Keown, Stacey and Cooper are all definitely out.

Hal Robson-Kanu could be fit for the game as could Tariqe Fosu.


Blues could have a few debutants of their own in the side. Rowett will probably go with Tomasz Kuszczak in goal ahead of Adam Legzdins; Maikel Kieftenbeld will probably start in the defensive midfield two along side Stephen Gleeson who signed a new deal yesterday. Jacques Maghoma and Jon Toral will probably have to be happy with places on the bench with Dimmi Gray, David Cotterill and Andrew Shinnie likely to be the forward three behind Clayton Donaldson.


Peter Bankes will be the man in the middle – he’s never taken charge of a game involving either side. Last season he showed 98 yellow cards and seven reds in 27 games; this will be only his third game at this level with his record being so far two games, ten yellows and one red.


Bordesley Labour Club, based ten minutes away from St Andrew’s on Whitmore Road in Small Heath has welcomed Blues fans over a number of years on match days and contrary to rumours of closure, are looking forward to doing so again in the coming season. Club is open form 11:00 Saturdays with everyone including families always welcome.

Often Partisan is going to be working in partnership with Bordesley Labour Club over the coming season; keeping readers abreast of what promotions and events are coming up before games with the aim of trying to help bring more fans together. I’m also hoping that I can do a signing session for “Haircuts and League Cups” there and maybe try to answer some fan’s questions about what on earth is going on in Hong Kong.

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84 Responses to “GAMEDAY – Blues v Reading”

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Had it in my head for a couple of days now… Blues 4-2-Reading. So it’s my fault if they lose. :))

    Kuszczak, Caddis, Morrison, Spector, Grounds; Gleeson, Kieftenbeld; Cotterill, Shinnie, Gray; Donaldson.

    I’d be extremely surprised if it were any different to that.

    • Dave Mann says:

      Exactly what I said staffs .. Similar to you mate but 3-1 for me but it’s all about 3 points not performance, that will come hopefully but if it’s not that team I will be massively supprised .. Enjoy the day mate . Kro

  • Adam True Blue says:

    Reading to score first after a mistake by Kuszczak, Blues to rally and final score 3-1 to Blue boys. Getting excited now, Give us your all and do us proud, that’s all we ask. Kro

  • Oldbluenose says:

    1st, game of the season, I would not argue with staffs, selection, but do not expect us to be ” free-scoring “, so hoping for a 2-1, home win, kro.

  • I think toral should start after scoring a hatrick in preseason as it would look like favouritism if he didn’t , which could cause problems , or if they come out like an express train in a all out attack we will need to go with them, goalwise …kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    And we’ve smashed the Aussies and got the ashes back. Kro

  • Blue Lizard says:

    2-1……………..and clean pants needed

  • Andrew says:

    i understand rowett not trying to upset the balance of the team he had success with last year but i cant say im not disapointed to see that gleeson will be in or near the reckoning for a starting place. he needs to have 3 central players in this team as we have players like cotteril who arent going to give you tracking back and effort when the team doesnt have the ball. I just think we have better players to play than this guy

    • Andrew says:

      only going off the games ive seen and when hes played in (i dont see him play much) i cant say hes impressed attacking defensive or work rate which is qualities you need all of in central

  • Nigel sale says:

    My dad was a member in the 40s good to see still going had great christmas parties for children in early 50s. K R O

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Only change is Toral instead of Shinnie.

  • AndyP says:

    Missing today but listening in from Sunny San Francisco,7am here and have PMT,
    Come on you Blue boys!!

  • 2-0 to blues time for Davis to replace gleeson to strengthen the back in case of a come back….kro

  • David L says:

    Don’t want to come over all Mystic Meg here, but the other day I did post that I was hoping for us to go 2-0 up and then show a bit of steel after they got one back to hold on to win 2-1

    A 96th min pen save needed a bit more steel than I was expecting!

    That save ensuring the win will be such a confidence boost.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Blues were fortunate to say the least.
    My player ratings:-
    Kuszczak….No mistakes although he could have held on to the shot just before the Reading goal.
    Good penalty save.
    Caddis….Defensively fragile. Rarely supported his winger going forward.
    Grounds….I still think his best position is central defence.
    Morrison….Commanding performance.
    Spector…..Not strong enough to be a central defender.
    Cotterill…One free kick one goal. Still hasn’t learned to tackle.
    Kieftenbeld…..Promising debut. Put himself about with aggression.
    Gleeson….Looked tentative in possession, but did a lot of work off the ball.
    Gray….Largely anonymous in the game failed to find space for himself.
    Toral…..Tried to create space for himself, but was crowded out most times. Great header for the goal.
    Donaldson….Made Toral’s goal, fought manfully as always ploughing a lone furrow up front.

    • Trevor Honnor says:

      This about sums up what I thought.

      The gap between Donaldson and the next Blues player was huge at times. The ball was being lumped up to him time and time again with no support. Blues were unable to play the ball out of the back because everyone was so deep and to me… didn’t look as though they wanted the ball (not enough anyway).
      More graft required from from midfield off the ball and a little more support for CD up front, including from the wingers.


      Reading were a very physical side and bullied the life out of Blues and it started to pay off in the second half when they had a lot more possession. Tackles flew in and they wanted the ball more than we did.

      Morrison is an absolute beast of a player though and for me, he will be the difference in a lot of games this season. He wants the ball, he wants to tackle, he wants to head the ball. He works his socks off. He seems to have/make a lot of space to be an option for a ball backwards from midfield and he never gave the ball away once. His positioning is spot on and he reads the game so well.

  • paule says:

    We were very fortunate to beat in my opinion a poor Reading side!! Good thing is we got 3 points after a poor performance, i think unless Gary Rowett brings a couple of additions to the squad soon it will be a long season, today our midfield got over run & looked weak, my man of the match was Donaldson & i thought Robinson looked solid when he came on. Can’t moan to much though 3 points is 3 points.kro

  • Andrew says:

    Same old blues performance hanging on in there making it harder for themselves. good win but may have gone differently and will do in some games to come this season. we will conceed a lot of goals this is why i just dont see us topping the same as what we did last year if we even get near that. but good work from the players cant grumble.

  • swissjonny says:

    A rather inebriated contributor from Mauritius.3 points fantastic.But looking at comments around the place and GR,S interview we were fortunate.It seems we need to invest in the defence now.Come on Pannos you can talk it biut can you walk it? If you want us to compete it appears that its now or never.A good three points.KRO

  • StaffsBlue says:

    As I said the other day, we’re gonna need to score a lot of goals, because we’re going to leak them like a sieve the other end. Defensively, I still don’t think Rowett sees what everyone else can see.. that we need a commanding partner for Morrison. I just hope the scales fall from his eyes before we lose too many games.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Of course he can see it. Have you considered that there may not be anyone available who is better than what we have already got for the kind of wages we can afford. Get off GR’s back. He has done a fantastic job since he came in. I notice LC doesn’t appear to have found another job yet.

  • steve says:

    I don’t think you like Rowett.We weren’t at our best but the defence didn’t struggle. There is still 3 weeks before the window closes and then the loan window opens.I suggest you get down there a bit more often. One game one win. You’re doing GR a disservice saying he can’t see what everybody else can see.He’s doing a good job under difficult circumstances. you didn’t give elsie this much criticism,even after 2 home wins in nearly 2 seasons.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I don’t like or dislike him. Managers come and go.. as long as he does a good job while he’s here, which he is doing, then he has my support. That doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion. Like it or lump it.

      • Shirley Blue says:

        At least you could be consistent. You made every excuse possible for LC however bad things got but you are incredibly quick to have a go at GR despite the fact he has turned us from relegation certainties to a team with an outside chance of the play-offs in a very short time and with no more resources available to him than LC had.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Just like the previous manager, he has my full support. I’m not having a go. It was just an observation. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

          • Tony says:

            To be honest Staffs, you do seem to have a bias against GR waiting for any mistake he makes whilst Shirley is right you did seem to support the horror that was Clark.
            If I remember correctly there was only you and Mad Mark supporting him in the end, you have never actually said Clark was a disgrace as a manager.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            He turned out to be a poor manager, there’s no doubt about that.. but whilst he was the manager, I supported him, as I do all Blues managers. Since he’s been gone, I haven’t given him a minute’s thought. I’m certainly not going to be banging on about him 10 months after he’s left. I have better things to waste my time on.

            And for the record, I think Rowett has done a great job since he came in… that doesn’t mean I have to like everything he does, no more than I did the previous managers. If that’s not to other people’s liking, fine. I can live with that.

  • steve says:

    Morrison is the commanding CB you’re talking about. Maybe it’s more of a Scott Dann type CB we need.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Yes. Left sided centre back who could sweep up behind Morrison attacking the ball would be the ideal. Hard to come by though. Spector did well yesterday though playing that role. Caddis was the weak link in the defence yesterday. He bombed forward unnecessarily at 2-0 up which pulled Morrison.out of position to cover for him leaving their player with a free header in the middle when the cross came in. There is a time to bomb forward but it wasn’t then. Other than that we kept our shape well despite them having a lot possession.

  • Dave Mann says:

    2-1, 3 points , kuszczak saves a penalty and blues not at there best and our defence not to troubled , what the hell is the friging problem boys for crying out loud !!! Kro

  • Dave S says:

    does any one else feel the new C5 highlights programme was totally naff ?
    All over the place and no HD, what a complete waste of time :(

    • raymondp says:

      I agree Dave, they didn’t cover all the matches, whereas the BBC programme used to. Didn’t see our game, was it on? Fortunately I watched the Sk programmey “Today’s Goals ” on Sky channel 402 at 8.00p.m. which did show our game and that’s what I shall be watching in future.

      • blue says:

        They split the championship highlights into two,some at the start,then the other leagues,then the rest of the championship right at the end,as per usual we had very short highlights right near the end
        got to agree how poor the program was.

    • atko says:

      Just finished watching. Appalling in every way. I have never seen football presented so badly! Awful Presenters, highlights all over the place. How did such a poor excuse for a tv channel get the football league highlights? Shocking!

      • David L says:

        Agree totally re C5 highlights. Cringeworthy in every way.

        Attempts to make it like Top Gear with a crowd background were laughable.

        Token (?) female presenter not up to it. George Reilly (who is a knowledgeable radio sports bloke) clearly not suited to being in front of a camera. Presentation disjointed. Repetitive harking to betting to please the sponsors was embarrassing. Seemingly hours of ads between highlight sections.

        But still, money talks and it’s more important that the gig goes to the company that pays the most rather than one with a record of quality coverage.

        • Blue lizard says:

          Channel 5 ??? what a load of utter crap that was.it even made BT look decent which shows how bad it was!!!…disjointed and amateurish

          • paule says:

            I’ve just watched the football league show on C5 after recording it last night, I can’t believe i had to sit through such garbage to wait for 30 seconds of Blues highlights & i use the word highlights loosely which was the very last game shown, what a poor unorganised & very unprofessional program but that’s channel 5 for you, won’t bother again I’m sure Casualty is on at the same time!!

          • Tony says:

            I Recorded the programme and I wished I had not, its been a long time since I saw such amateurish rubbish the point about the token woman presenter is correct she was appalling.
            Why do they feel compelled to employ her?, political correct is one thing but surely she has to be competent to do the job.

  • atko says:

    Today was always going to be a tight, scrappy game. Many opening day games are like that with teams not wanting to lose their first game so I certainly didn’t see the 3-1 kind of scoreline people were predicting. I think once the season gets going properly & players are up to speed with proper game time under their belts together as a unit, we will then see where we are at. It’s too early to say after one game & a few players still a bit rusty. I’m looking forward to the link up player between Gray, Toral, Donaldson & Cotterill. I think Toral is going to play a big part once he gets to grip with the system & players movements. There were times today & he took his goal really well.

  • Dave Mann says:

    That forward four for me could be as good as anything in this division.. We go on about another striker but if cotterill , gray & Toral chip in alongside Donaldson with goals like yesterday then that to me is not going to be a problem though I do acknowledge that injuries could take its toll.. For me like everyone else bangs on about its that centre half role alongside Morrison and if we can put right then there’s a decent team there that could supprise everyone including us but we’ve got to stop sitting back on leads and inviting pressure .. For me 7/10 yesterday. Kro

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Yes but the point you are missing is if Donaldson gets injured which is highly likely given the amount he has to do and the number of times he gets kicked and his age then we don’t have anyone in the squad who can play that role. Novak and Thomas are not good enough.or suited to playing that lone front man role.

      • Dave Mann says:

        Fair point Shirley Blue and I agree that we need another striker of Donaldsons stature and Petes point about annichabe would be ideal for that role but I was just making the centre half issue of major importance also but yes we do need at least two more players but generally very happy with our first opening day win in seven years but as I said earlier we can’t keep inviting teams on to us and thank god for kuszczak penalty save . Kro

        • Shirley Blue says:

          I agree Antichebe would be ideal. I would be surprised if we could afford his wages unless we just pay a portion of them. That’s if there is anything in it all. What concerns me is we have a very small squad in terms of numbers and we have players in that squad unlikely to contribute much unless we have an injury crisis. What we had on the bench yesterday didn’t look particularly strong.

          • atko says:

            I have a genuine question re Novak & Thomas, the latter in particular. People say they are not up to replacing Donaldson & to be honest I don’t think Novak is at all. However, do people genuinely think that Thomas is not up to it if he was given a chance? I agree, he is no Donaldson but if he had a run of games does he look like he could fit in to you? My only problem with the way GR plays his teams is whilst a settled team is a good thing that sort of thing is fine if you are an Arsenal, Man U or Man C, Chelsea or Liverpool. A player can slip in to a role when someone gets injured & they can afford the best to do that. With us we can’t so anyone coming in has to hit the ground running which is a tough ask, especially in such a crucial position to Blues when they have had very little match practice. To be fair to Thomas, he gets about 10 minutes every 6 games or so. Should GR be rotating his strikers more to give them game time & therefore match sharpness? At the end of last season Donaldson was ineffective because he was probably burned out. I’m interested in others opinions on this.

        • atko says:

          Agree Dave, we don’t learn & as GR was a defender he should be drilling this in to the players. We get deeper & deeper & invite pressure. Kieftenbeld is going to be a key player & he will be a favourite amongst fans. It was interesting to see once he was taken off we got deeper & deeper. Davis came on & went walkabout & probably put in one of his worst performances for Blues. He should spend his time on the bench watching Kieftenbeld & carry on where he left off if he is to replace him. For me Davis & Gleeson don’t work well together.

          Cotterill & Gray need to get involved in the game more defensively, especially Cotterill as he has no defensive abilities at all & he needs to work on that a lot. The top teams who are successful all defend from the front. Teams need to go through 6 players to reach our back 4 & then through them to reach the keeper & goal like any other team but it’s too easy at times. If we continue to back off like we do, then they reach the back four & goal a damn sight quicker. We need to protect the back four better & not put every goal we concede down to the back four, the team is eleven players not four & the keeper when we aren’t in possession. This is one area that Blues do need to work on & surprisingly as GR was a defender, you would expect us to be tackling from the front & each player protecting the one behind them.

  • Pete says:

    Wish we were looking with some slightly less biased eyes…..

    Spector got MoM but still people are slating him. Cotterlll scored one was involved in the other and the moments we were on top he was involved with the crosses. Grey does nothing until 90th minute attacking wise and not a murmur.

    • atko says:

      Agreed re Spector, I actually rate him provided he can keep fit which is my only concern about him. Robbo can keep himself more fit than Spector & he’s a lot older. I said on another post that this could be a big season for Spector because I think he needs to step up & be available for games otherwise he can find himself on the way out at the end of the season whilst we can still cash in. When he plays, he does well but it’s keeping him fit to play!

    • steve says:

      I would have sold Gray when we had the chance Pete. I don’t think he will be the player some think he will be.

  • Pete says:

    I see teache is likely to be out for a few months….

    Also heard a rumour from a friend that we are after annichabe on loan from baggies. I think he would be perfect and allow rotation for Donaldson. It is purely rumour but has anyone else heard this. Also hoping we might have been able to look at Michael Frey on loan who Forrest are in for..

  • Blue lizard says:

    Like I said….2-1 and clean pants needed (I’m going to buy a bumper pack ..I think I will need them )

  • Dave Mann says:

    I would take 2-1 every game Blue lizard but some fans still criticise and it’s our first win on the opening day since 2008 .. That score in our favour next week at Burnley will be a fantastic feat and I for one am happy with our Start .. I am waiting with bated breath for fans reaction when we do not win or dare I say it loose .., 1 game 2 goals 3 points and job done , end off!! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I think when we lose, we’ll do what we always do.. analyse why we lost and where we could put things right. Same as the manager I would think. A defeat isn’t the end of the world, but you always look to improve on weak points.

    • atko says:

      2008 eh? I was listening to Tom Ross show last night & someone said the last 2 times we won on the opening day we got promoted both times. Is that an omen? Time will tell :)

  • Dave Mann says:

    Kuszczak saved the penalty and he’s a hero , but he was responsible in my opinion for there goal by not putting the initial shot out for a corner or holding it and instead saving it to one of there players in the box and him passing it for them to score.. Harsh I know but if we’re gonna get picky thats what happened , Demari Gray was a spectator and even the much rediculed maghoma by yours truly would have done a better job…Even when we win we still find negatives so when draws and defeats come those fans who love to have a dig will have a field day , we can have opinions on whatever went wrong but it changes nothing because it will happen over & over & over & over again always so I don’t see the point of to much detail win loose or draw , Shite happens and we ain’t gonna change it or neither is the manager , we all make mistakes and it’s human nature .. You try to limit them but it will still happen in another game further down the line . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Good analysis.

    • jonno11blue says:

      For me Kusczak is a big concern. Yes he saved the penalty but he doesn’t command his area, he flaps at balls rarely cleanly catching one and was definitely at fault for their goal. Also not impressed with his kicking and the players also seem reluctant to pass the ball back to him. This is not just based on yesterday, I went to all the friendlies. You need a big commanding goal keeper.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Cheers staffs , now I’ve got that off my chest ime just chilling and reflecting on a good win though a lucky win and I think we would all agree with that , wouldn’t we? .. It’s just nice to see us in the top six mate and though there’s 45 more games left it’s something to he on to .. Burnley here we come !! .. But let’s get past Bristol Rovers first and have a little cup run to give the rest of the squad a work out . Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    Couldn’t agree more though I thought we didn’t win well or ugly yesterday .. We won luckily !! Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    Right ok, just watched my favourites for promotion middlesboro , utter rubbish as we’re Derby yesterday , are we that far way guys?? Kro

    • atko says:

      Didn’t see it myself but I’ll let you know after half a dozen games or so. Like I said earlier, I think it’s too early to tell off the back of one performance no matter who should be beating who on the opening day. Teams raise their game on the opening day as they don’t want to lose, especially in front of their own fans. Sustaining it throughout 46 games is the test & every team has some kind of blip. At this stage of the season, clubs have only played their first team for the first time this weekend. With players still a bit rusty & new players coming in then they have to jell as a unit. This goes for Blues as well as other teams.

      Pre-season games usually result in first teams being split up & opposition not up to the level you would find week in week out so they cannot really be looked upon as a preparation for the season. I think six games or more & we’ll know more & we all know that you have to be there or thereabouts at the turn of the year & that’s certainly a long way off.

  • Dave Mann says:

    A wins a win ,total Tony total , atko , stop analysing games to deeply mate , it does your head in and it don’t matter !!! Kro

  • Pete says:

    For me this game means 14 left to know you are safe. After that everything is a bonus. On spending we should not even be competing for 20th, so over analysis and slagging off the same players (e.g. Cotterill, grounds, Gleason, Spector) seems unfair and unsupportive to me. I am just glad there was some chanting yesterday. Let’s hope fans can improve even more as we want the players to- as we could play a big part.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Fantastic crowd at 19,000 when JLR are all on holidays. Couldnt quite understand why Kief was subbed as at the time he was my man of the match. We really rode our luck today. Penalty saved and the follower up missed a sitter, our free kick was deflected and they had a “goal” turned down as the power shot that hit the bar and bounced out was a foot behind the line. That said, we need a run of luck as do most achievers. Sick of our forward play breaking down all the time at the 3/4 mark. We definitely still have 3 or 4 Uber Ordinary players that need shipping. Got to the ground at 5 to 3 and was told my new season ticket is faulty and I had to go to the ticket office, so told them to operate the turnstile or I wasnt budging. Typical Blues and their never ending piss up in a brewery syndrome.
    Keep Right On!

  • AussieBlue says:

    Sounds like we were arsey but heck, fortune favours the brave. 3pts in the bank will do wonders for morale…let’s look forwards not back and learn from mistakes.
    Cheers all

  • Mark H says:

    Fantastic win for us. Like others have said, it’s too early to judge. I think GR will be watching closely, to see where he needs to strengthen the team. Inuries are inevitable, and then he will bring in coverage. We rode our luck, but even the best teams in the world need a bit of luck. KRO.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I see Edgar’s gone to Sheff Utd for the season. The rift between him and Rowett never healed then. Shame, but it leaves a space in the squad now.

  • mark says:

    Good to see the stans full to the rafters, still empty seats?? 3 points is 3 points……me thinks the rams will be a different game when they come…. i hate winning lucky, i would rather win because we were the better team, but sorry to say reading will feel they did not get the rub of the green, reading penalty was poorly taken rather than a good save. The one of reading that hit the bar looked at first glance it was over the line…..If blues dont sort out that defense before the rams game i can honestly see hiding coming………only another 43 points from safety lol …….

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