Often Partisan

Even Better

Tuesday was the one year anniversary of Gary Rowett taking the helm at St Andrew’s – and the start of the glorious Rowett Revolution which has seen crowds, fun and most of all winning become synonymous with Blues again.

I think everyone (including myself) has rhapsodised continuously for a while now about our saviour in a v-neck jumper and what a fantastic job he is doing and I didn’t want to take the one year anniversary as another chance to do so. We’ve risen from being relegation certs to promotion possibles; from a club almost at war with itself at times within the fanbase to one that is much more harmonious behind our glorious leader.

But what next?

I’m not talking about promotion to the promised land here, or anything as tangible as that. The most important thing I think Rowett has done initially was to bring Blues talking points back to matters on the field rather than worrying what the hell was going to happen next in HK. The question for me is what happens next – regardless of promotion? How do we maintain this groundswell of good feelings and support?

I think part of this is already under way. Viv Solomon-Otabor’s rise to the first team has shown that there is still a chance for talented youngsters to make the step up; the signings of Alex Jones, Emmanuel Mbende and Noe Baba for three have shown Blues to be looking to not only bring in players for the “now” but also for the “future”. Sure – they might not come off – but there is very much a plan in place to be able to handle the end of the emergency transfer window next season.

We’ve heard in the news about the good stuff that Darren Robinson has done but I think part of the next step is to improve the whole scouting side of things. I think Rowett has shown that he can find talent that might not be well known in players like Maikel Kieftenbeld and Michael Morrison who have both become mainstays of the spine of the team.

I’d like to see him given more support in a proper scouting system that can go out and find more of these types of players. It’s not just about money; one of the key things we’ve seen is that players of the right ethos have been brought in too – something I think Lee Clark was also trying to do in the summer before he got sacked (and to be fair succeeded in doing in players like Jonathan Grounds, Stephen Gleeson and Clayton Donaldson). I want Blues be able to say that plans are in place to be able to look at more players in more places to be able to find the next bargain like Kieftenbeld.

I think there is part of it up to us as fans too. Gates have been up 3k since Rowett came into the club and while I’m not in a position to talk as a regular attendee due to living abroad I really would like to see more fans enjoy being a fan at the ground again with some of the great football Blues have been playing.

In short – it’s been a great year – but wouldn’t it be ace if next year was even better?


55 Responses to “Even Better”

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Credit where it’s due. Rowett and his team came in, took the club by the scruff of the neck and gave it a good shake. Now we’re seeing the benefits. Well done to everyone.

    On the scouting front, a little look in our own back yard might come in handy once in a while. When the likes of Troy Deeney, Callum Wilson and more recently Romaine Sawyers and Tom Bradshaw are picked up by lowly Walsall… it makes you wonder what we’re doing wrong to miss these kind of players.

    • John Ramsay says:

      StaffsBlue you make a really good point. As you quite rightly say if Walsall can spot these players why can’t we. There have got to be similar players out there do we have the infrastructure at the club to find them? Dan is quite right that is an area of the club that could be imoroved for a minimum outlay.

    • ChrisG says:

      Staffs, we have had players like that but we’ve let them go as they weren’t good enough for the championship & no disrespect to Walsall, but they’re not in our league.

  • WalmleySteve says:

    Great first 12 months for Gary Rowett but we need to remain realistic. Kitting out the gym at the training ground and increasing the number of scouts is all good, but to really go forward from where we are now will take proper ambition and investment along the lines of Derby, Middlesbro and Hull (and last Saturday at Hull was a good reality check in this regard). No doubt Panos will read this and point to Burnley and Swansea as examples of teams who got promoted without significant investment but they’re the exception rather than the rule, particularly with the massively increased parachute payments now available to teams relegated from the Premier League. And it’s not just investment in players that’s required – we need to further invest in the academy to obtain category 1 status and a new main stand would be nice before it falls down. In short, Gary Rowett has done as much as anyone could reasonably expect in the circumstances and it’s unfair on him to expect the upward curve to continue. It’s now over to E&Y and Panos to hurry up and sort the mess out in Hong Kong and sell the club.

  • Tony says:

    In all honesty Don’t think promotion is a realistic or indeed desirable prospect, until the club is sold and investment put in.
    The present side is performing above themselves but are no where near the quality required to prosper in the premiership, we would have to spend heavily just to survive, better to consolidate and finish say top 8.As Dan says what Rowett has achieved in the last year is truly remarkable, we were certs for relegation under a hapless truly useless manager but we are now going in the right direction. His contribution cant not be over stated.
    Staffs makes an excellent point, he players he mentions could have been and indeed should have been snapped up by ourselves,Troy Deeney is a very good player and a blues fan, Bradshaw too is I think destined for the top.

    • nickywicky says:

      of course its realistic toexpect promotion and of copurse there would be investment in the team. Better to go up and get relegated because of the massive parachute payments you get!

  • ChrisG says:

    I wonder who did the scouting for Clark, or did he do his own?, if it was the latter then maybe we should offer him a scouting position as he found quite a few gems.

  • KC says:

    Walmley Steve and Tony-Very sound keep our feet on the ground comments.

  • Waycoolblue says:

    Point 1 When you buy as many players as Clark did some of them are always going to payoff . IE 33 player in 6 of witch are in and arrowed the first team 27 of them are gone. Point 2 Bradshaw was actually a product of Aberystwyth Town Welsh Premier League Shrewsbury Town found him not Walsall. Walsall paid £50,000, following the relegation of Shrewsbury Town to League Two.

    We need more money within the youth setup and some of that needs to be spent on a youth recruitment network of scout we could then scout other country’s.

    I don’t think we need a large scouting team when looking for first team player.


  • Dave Mann says:

    After the Hull defeat this game against the dingles will see if we can keep up with pacemakers along with the Blackburn game .. We bounced back after Rotherham and won four in a row so it can be done .. Yes we have a small squad and injuries to key players could be costly to our top six ambitions but let’s keep hanging on and punching above our weight and you never know .. We have some good young players coming through but are not ready for the here and now and unfortunetly due to a managers job to get results yesterday there not willing to push them in the first team and that applys to Gary Rowett also… If there good enough then age should not be an issue .. Ours has I’ve said are not quite ready yet but new owners and new investment down the line and we should be in a very strong position in a couple of years time . Kro

  • ChrisG says:

    A lot of commenters seem to be forgetting that if we did get promoted we get a s**t load of money to play with & i’m pretty sure we could bring in new players of all ages to build a half decent 1st team squad & bigger youth acadamy. As the championship seems to get harder every year, I would rather us get promoted sooner rather than later. It was bad enough before when we spent 17 years outside the top division & i’d hate for that to happen again.

    • zxcv says:

      Well said chris, The Albion and others have done the same over the years. I remember Sunderland going back down with the lowest point tally ever but they and Albion built with the proceeds and altho still not the finished product are holding their own. Your right people should stop and think about the 100 million that’s about 4 times what the whole bloody club is worth fgs and would take most investors maybe 10 ruddy seasons to invest that much, not saying that all of it would get reinvested but it would be a whole lot sooner by going up.. Everyone in football knows what we have been through with these owners so no disgrace in coming back down with a few hidings who cares plus who knows, if we could invest in a few decent signings on the back of going up and add a few more the following window. Then if we did come down buy even better players in and a realistic chance of going straight back up again, Brucie did it didn`t he.

      • zxcv says:

        By the way I am not saying we are good enough to go up, just that if we did have a sniff of doing it we should go hell bent for it and take the money whatever. IMO this season is about the weakest I have seen in many a year so tbh anything is a possibility and certainly the playoffs are.

  • Dave Mann says:

    zxcv & ChrisG , I couldn’t agree more .. How can fans say we don’t want to go up this season because we’re not ready or good enough .. There’s £120 million up for grabs with promotion and we don’t really want any of that money do we .. REALLY .. It would solve ALL our financial problems in one swoop and strengthen the team with better quality players .. Relegation and we get parachute payments .. Bring on the premiership to the championship any day of the week .. The sooner we get out of this league the better no danger . Kro

    • ChrisG says:

      Thanks for your support Dave & zxcv. The thing is as well if we were to be in the prem next year, hopefully at some point during the season TTA will complete their takeover of the club & hopefully they’ll turn out to be decent owners (well they couldn’t be any worse than what we’ve already had I suppose!!). Ok it’s all ifs & buts but whats life without a little dream. KRO

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I agree Dave. If, by the new year, we are in a position where we have a chance of cementing a top 6 place, we have to go for it. We can worry about the premier if/when we get there.

      • BhamCityJulian says:

        Cementing our place in the playoffs is not the right reward for risky capital. It becomes a cup competition once the 46th game has been played. Best waiting until the top two is realistic with added money. Might only be next season.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Nothing wrong with dreaming Chris , better than having nightmares .. Less sressfull and more enjoyable .. Makes life a lot easier to deal with I think .. :-) kro

  • Bluehobba says:

    I think Rowett has done a tremendous job in the 12 months at the helm. Us fans seem to be enjoying going down the match and i think both us and the club can encourage some more missing fans back to what seems to be a cracking season …kro

  • Shirley Blue says:

    Getting promoted would be very desirable with a place in the top flight worth £100m and the parachute money £90m+ over 4 years even if we went down. Can’t believe anyone thinks otherwise especially if a certain local rival club was to come in the opposite direction. If we got up we wouldn’t have to go crazy financially in an effort to stay up. Just no more stupid mistakes like not having relegation clauses in contracts.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Bluehobba, I would love to know what happened to all those who said we won’t go down as long as Bihl were in charge .. Well there not now so where’s the lost 10,000 gone .. All talk mate no support that’s the real reason , if they won’t support our manager and team now they never will .. Excuse after excuse .. If they can’t afford it or because of work commitments fair enough but to get the support at home we’re getting as far as numbers go is not good enough , sorry but my opinion , away from home is totally different , great , proud & justified .. We’re not a big club compared to the support of other championship clubs and that’s very very sad and fustrating but hey we get one with it and let’s hope things do change but Ime not so sure , we’re see! Kro

  • Mitchell says:

    Totally agree with most commenters views today regarding Promotion. If you consider that nobody has run away so far and nobody is a better team than ourselves. However the point that heartens me the most is the fact that I genuinely feel that there isn’t any player in our division that I would want as of now- to replace one of our starting eleven.Perhaps this may alter as the winter bites but come the Wolves game our current squad more than capable of getting us back to No. 2. Just make sure Davis starts and Robbo. keeps a cool head-no silly sending off please.

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      I wouldn’t replace anybody either except if it were to be forced through injury. Not that I necessarily believe that there are not better individuals out there,it’s just that our whole is greater than the sum of our parts.If some Billy big time came through the door now it could ruin the whole dynamic of what GR is doing.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        It will be interesting to see how we get on without Donaldson if he plays for Jamaica.

        • Hillfield Blues says:

          It may well be a blessing in disguise.At least then GR will have to address our over reliance on him.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            Trouble is, untried Brock-Madsen is the only other striker option. Still, at least we’ll know if he can carry the attack for a whole game. Apparently, it’s the Charlton game Donaldson would miss.. could be worse I suppose.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Well said pal!! Kro

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    I can understand a few saying we’re not ready for promotion and they’re probably right. But crikey…don’t knock it back if it’s on offer!! The money wouldn’t exactly go a miss and you’ve got to consider the fact that there’s an awful lot of championship clubs that have been ready for ages and spent lots and can’t get to the promised land.It took us years originally let’s not forget.Blues are still a long shot but stranger things have happened.

  • zxcv says:

    One thing worth thinking about promotion also is like someone above said it could coincide with the take over next season if not before, and who in their right mind would not want to speed the process up as there would be a massive incentive to get some real investment in with the huge increase in a return.at stake. Remember as well Panos said he talks to them during games to keep them in touch with how the game is going so they must be thinking about how they can improve our chances I would have thought. The “p” word for us fans = a massive carrot for prospective new owners for sure.

  • We could do with Bluenoses like you Dan ,doing a bit of homework for us with the aid of stats , and media talk, , or we need you to call on all bluenose fans around the world to be scouts for the cause , way to go Dan , kro

  • Steve-0 says:

    The reality and gravity of Rowett’s stats after year one is simple: If Sir Alex Fergson had taken over from Lee Clark the football world would be claiming he’s reasserting his managerial brilliance.

    Nobody could have done a better job than Rowett and if he continues on this trajectory he probably won’t be Blues Manager for too long. I can picture him at Everton one day.

    I think the point of this is that we can’t – and shouldn’t – expect a sustainment of this upward trend. But rather hope for sustainment of where we are today. Top 6 championship looking at promotion. If we can maintain that level for the next few seasons then that would represent success (maybe where it wouldn’t for SAF)

    Most fans like to have a little opinion about the business side of football but the reality is all we really care about -truly care about- is the football itself.

    GR and his staff (important point to make) have given us improvement where it really matters to us. It’s now up to EY Panos and TTA to shore up the structure behind the scenes of what this brilliant manager is doing. If that can be done while we’re enjoying our football again then THAT would be the key piece of progression we need. Asking more of GR whilst the background remains a mess isn’t right. Particularly when he’s done in 1 year that most would do in five.


  • Mitchell says:

    Has anyone seen Brock-M.recently in any reserve or similar games?. Bit perplexed regarding the possibility of GR getting loan striker in for Charlton game. Brock signed in a blaze of glory as a direct replacement should Don.become unavailable.

  • Dave Mann says:

    He spent £500,000 on Brock – madsen , getting a loane in for Charlton would be truly embarrassing for both player and msnager .. He has to play . Kro

  • oldburyblue says:

    Have I missed something? I know it is a long journey back from Haiti for Donaldson but will he be doing anything more strenuous than sitting on planes then having a couple of days to recover before the Charlton game? I think he could return a few hours before a game and still run through brick walls for us because that is his character. Does anyone know how many stop-offs are required before getting home and how long it takes?

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    When we beat Norwich Brucie turned to Mark Bowen and said ‘we’re in the ‘s%%t now. That’s the measure of the task but of course I’d take it. Just can’t see there next season with the current squad. Is asking a lot to maintain and improve on the 12 month for seven months more

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    When we beat Norwich Brucie turned to Mark Bowen and said “we’re in the ‘s%%t now”. That’s the measure of the task, but of course I’d take it. Just can’t see us being there next season with the current squad. It is asking a lot to maintain and improve on the last 12 months for seven more.

  • Mitchell says:

    Big test tomorrow against Wolves with points the only issue. No bragging rights for me. As previously posted my main concern is keeping eleven on the pitch- especially Robbo. These Wolves games are not nice and patience must be key. Get Gray in the box as much as possible with Cotterill or Maghoma putting in the crosses. Davis must get the start and Don. surely too good for the sulky unwanted Williamson. Point good enough? Maybe.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I’ve thought draw all week but beating the dingles will get us back on track for top three and then a tough game Tuesday against an ever improving Blackburn team .. Six points fantastic , four very good, three ok , two draws not bad , one point and a drop down the table inevitable , no points gained then the rot might have set in .. Let’s wait and see . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I see no reason why we can’t win this game Dave. Our form is good, Wolves have only won 2 games in the whole of September and October. Now Blackburn away, as you pointed out, might be tougher. A draw would be acceptable. Hoping for a Reading v Brighton draw tomorrow too.

  • Trevor Honnor says:

    A brilliant write up about GR on the BBC website

    Rowett Write up

  • Will says:

    And for those who can’t sleep, the annual report is now online on HKSE advise reading with a dvd of Vill’as premier league wins for 2015-16 season, bound to nod you off

  • Mitchell says:

    Waking up up today looking forward to the game. Just wish I could get this Robbo. Issue out of my head. Not wise I feel to play him and prefer to have Spector or even Lowry there alongside Morrison. Keep eleven on the pitch and I fancy a 2-1.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Keeping eleven on the pitch will be important for us to get a result today Mitchell I agree , Robinson could be an issue but Davis also against is old club could be over enthusiastic so they heed to be on there game and timing there tackles well.. Same team and formation for me 4-3-3 and a win is there for the taking but I’ve also had this nagging feeling all week about a draw though a loss as also crossed my mind .. There you go , I’ve covered all areas with my predictions 3-1, 1-1or 1-2 . Kro

    • Mitchell says:

      Don’t tell anyone Dave ! but I would settle now for a draw-even 0-0. Just no defeat.

      • Dave Mann says:

        I would be happy with a point also , it would take us third on goal difference having played the extra game but well in the pack and after loosing at Hull would keep the ball rolling .. Though a win would take us second putting the pressure on those below us .. Who would have thought it !! Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    Same here mate though a win takes us second and puts pressure on those below us .. Who would have thought it !!!kro

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