Often Partisan

Pushing on for promotion

I think there was a certain amount of pride in the proclamation from the official Birmingham City twitter account that it was “highly unlikely” that there would be any further activity in the transfer window.

Blues had done their business early, Panos Pavlakis was no doubt having a relaxing day playing minesweeper in his office and even club secretary Julia Shelton – one of the hardest working people at the club – got go home on time. In contrast to our stricken foes from across the city, February 1 was a beacon of calm in B9.

I’ve already eaten humble pie once but now the window is over I’m going to repeat once again how glad I am that Blues got the transfer window right. I know some people find transfer deadline day exciting but I’ve got to be honest, I find it overhyped. It’s rather ironic that today is Groundhog Day because to me the main stories of transfer deadline day seem to be the same every year – and every year very few of them turn out to be true.

I was worried that Blues might end up selling another player – not so much because of needing money but because they had been offered a great deal. Jacques Maghoma had been attracting interest and I think the right sum offered might have twisted Blues’ collective arms – I’m glad it wasn’t forthcoming because I think the former Sheffield Wednesday man has become an integral part of the squad  and I think will be one of the lynchpins of further success this season.

Although I think we’re a little light defensively, I’m led to believe that the club have been prudent in holding back some money in case of an injury crisis; should they need to there is still a little bit left to get someone in the last ever emergency loan window to shore up the squad. That’s pleasing too – with Blues pushing for a top six place it would be a killer if we were hamstrung by an injury crisis and we fell just before the line.

I honestly believe that this is our best chance for some time to make an assault on promotion – as it was under Chris Hughton. We’ve got a decent squad, a superb manager and every chance of making it; should we fall short I fear we may lose some of our best players and/or our manager to teams above us leaving us once again to rebuild. This is why I think we really have to make a go of it this year – I know some talk of consolidation but I we’ve consolidated enough – it’s time to go for it.

Hopefully, the squad is now good enough and with that bit of luck ((c) Steve Bruce) we can make it into the playoffs. I always think that the playoffs are a bit of a lottery – any of the four teams can win it because the games are much more one-off and are higher stakes – but like any lottery we need to have a ticket to enter. With a bit of luck the next smug pronouncement from the club will be one about getting season tickets early for the Premier League.

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69 Responses to “Pushing on for promotion”

  • Strettonbluenose says:

    Gary Rowett’s Blue and White Army!
    I have a dream: Villa come down and we go up after a fantastic day at Wembley!
    Keep Right On!

  • Shirley Blue says:

    GR did exactly what he said he was going to do in the transfer window – bring three players in two of whom would be attackers and a defender and that’s what he did. Also makes sense to keep some funds back if we do get a run of injuries. The squad seems to have the right balance to me now and certainly feels like it has more depth than before xmas. I was a little concerned that someone would make us an offer we couldn’t refuse for the likes of Morrison or Donaldson so I am relieved that didn’t happen. Very much looking forward to another 6 pointer on Saturday.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I find all the transfer windows unexciting and uninspiring these days. In the past, you would be looking forward to seeing who would be signing for whom, but these days, with a large proportion of transfers being foreign players I’ve never heard of, it kind of make me feel meh towards it all. Even with our own signings, I’ve been very satisfied with the business Mr Rowett has done.. but excited? Nah, not really. Been a long time since that happened.

    But, the fact that we have a real chance of hitting that top 6 and staying there.. now that’s exciting.

  • Lich Blues says:

    The transfer window has been stressful since we had to start selling players just keep afloat. So this year has been nice, calm and pleasant. Made more enjoyable that our business was done early – i didn’t even look at what was going on yesterday because I felt we had made all our moves early on.

    On the promotion front I couldn’t agree more Dan. The time for consolidation is over. We need to try and stay in the top six and make those play offs. As we know from our chequered past the play offs are a lottery and let just hope we can make it our year. In reality Rowetts achievements are not going unnoticed and the longer we stay in the Championship the morel likely we may lose him.

    On another note: Great to see both Rotherham and QPR away are sold out following on from being sold out v Bristol City. Brilliant support as always. KRO .

  • ROBIN says:

    Yes the play off is a lottery,but i must admit i have been checking dates etc lately & goin to London for the weekend when we play QPR……We can dream #KRO

  • ChrisG says:

    All we need to do now imo is find a way of beating clubs around the bottom of the league & I think the play offs are a cert. I felt we sat back far too much against Bristol, I know GR has been working hard on finding a formula to beat these teams, but maybe the answer in not in the system, but to put pressure on them right from the kick off & try & get an early goal or get right in their faces, have a couple of long range shots, get the bluenose 12th man singing & unsettle them. We have a fantastic attacking force, why not put it to use from the off?.

  • swissjonny says:

    Im not so sure that GR will go if we dont make it.Hes a shrewd cookie who likes to be the Captain of the ship.Im not sure that he would be interested in another championship side.If he went to the Prem it would only be to fight a relegation battle or achieve mid table mediocrity.He appears to look at the mid term.On that basis I reckon he will really stick with us for a couple of years and prove himself.Then who knows.Theres no point in going from a sleeping giant to a jumped up pretender.I think GR is shrewder than that.We are also conveniently placed for his family life.Why put stress on that to manage a club of similar magnitude probably with a Director of football-which is something he has said that he doesnt like.The more I see GR evolve the more I admire him.Lets just hope that he continues to get the financial support from HK.If that dries up then I would begin to worry and to be frank you couldnt lame him for walking.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I agree. This is a building job and so far he’s done amazingly well. If we finish in the play-offs and even get promotion, it will have been an incredible performance by all, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if we didn’t. I would think that Rowett had a 2 or 3 year plan to build and get to the premier and, at the moment, we’re probably, after just over a year, ahead of schedule. I would be very surprised if he left before achieving his target.

    • Birkoblue says:

      I reckon a big factor in GRs success is his back room team. He won’t want to jump ship without taking them with him and most prem teams won’t want that. Also they are ex bluenoses and there is extra reason to keep the structure in place and keep progressing.

      • Tony says:

        You mention his background team cast your mind back to Clarks equivalent, Terry Mac and that guy Fazakerly, Christ I still shudder.
        Perhaps its a measure of how far we have come, Terry Mac was an amateur comedian who used to run around with a cone on his head, in between going to Tescos for the sarnies, the other guy god knows what he did.

    • almajir says:

      I dunno Swiss… I think he is going to get picked off sooner rather than later the way he is going.

      • ChrisG says:

        Just reading what GR was saying about the support he’s recieved from Pannos not just with the 1st team but with the development squad, he seems very happy at blues & even talked about long term policies. I know things can change very quickly in football, but GR doesn’t sound like he’ll be going anywhere soon.

        • Shirley Blue says:

          We finished 5th on 76 points after beating Sheff Utd at home 2-0 and Burnley finished 7th on 75 points so it must have gone to the last game of the season. I must have been at the Sheff Utd game but I don’t remember it. I do remember watching the Millwall play off away game on the big screen at St Andrews and Stern John’s late winning goal to get us to the final.

      • Bluey says:

        Agree entirely. One way or another i doubt GR will be with us at the end of next season (at the latest).

  • swissjonny says:

    Blame him.Fat fingers!

  • macclad says:

    There’s been some serious money spent in the championship. You can’t see past Hull and Middlesborough for the two promotion spots given who they’ve brought in. Its going to be a scramble to make one of those play off places now … we could finish 4th or 14th with just a couple of wins difference. Really tight and really exciting!

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Remember when some of us were disappointed when we lost out to QPR for Jay Emmanuel-Thomas?
    Well I see he has been farmed out to MK Dons as a reject.

  • DoctorD says:

    At least we are looking up the table, not down as in the last three or four seasons. I still don’t think we’ll quite make top six, but it’s a possibility. Even if we don’t, we have more of a chance hanging on to our best players and attracting others of a better standard.

  • I think GR has got blues set up for a good playoff push at the end , you don’t get second chances , so if the opposition come out none stop attacking at goal we will have to do same , and with Donaldson ,Vaughan and fabbrini and hopefully toral we should have a good shout at the final ,. KRO

  • Womble Joe says:

    Could go either way for us re play offs. Consistency is the key. Many more performances like Bristol and we can forget it. More performances like Derby away and its nailed on.

    IF we qualify for the play offs I do think we’ll go up

    In Rowett we trust KRO

  • Jaffa says:

    Stay injury free and with a bit of luck we will definitly make the playoffs.

  • Big Al says:

    Maghoma – Sheffield Wednesday fans told us he was a lazy waste of space. Surely Rowett’s greatest gift as a manager is that he seems to get the best out of players. Look what he did with Clark’s band of useless miss-fits.

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Making the play-offs is all about timing and hitting form at the right time.
    Over the years I can think of lots of sides that have dropped off and slipped out of the play-off zone when they had been there all season and teams that have made late charges and hit the play-off games in great form.The most recent example of that was when Bobby Zamora scored in injury time in the play-off final. QPR just about got into a playoff spot and the points differential between them and Derby was something like 10 points from memory.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Yes you are right. Great example was when we played Blackpool in the play-offs a few years ago when they were bang on form and we were suffering from injuries to key players and fatigue from playing the extra matches in the Europa Cup and having a decent FA Cup run. Timing and form is everything. I would say our chances of making the play-offs are no better than 50:50 and to get there is just a case of keeping the points total ticking along. There may be some matches that if we cant win them we have got to make sure we don’t lose them ie keeping the number of defeats to a minimum especially against the teams around us.

      • Hillfield Blues says:

        An interesting stat for me is that every club in the top eight we have played away.Good home form is going to be key.The Fabrini signing was crucial in that respect.

    • OneEyedChas says:

      You say QPR a few seasons back snook in and the top 6 and went up, we did the same when we went up in 2001 didn’t we? got in the top 6 the last game? Stern downed Millwall then the Carter Cardiff final… or am I mistaken?

  • Bluefire says:

    There’s a feel good factor about the place that hasn’t been around since the Chris Hughton season in 2011-12. Like you Dan, I still think we’re light defensively, but I’m going to assume Mitch Hancox is now back in first team favour. The attacking options with a fit Cotterill and a fit Toral to pick from are really exciting. With so many of the top sides to come to come to Stans and with us to play more of the struggling sides away I think this will suit us and for the first time I’m tipping us to finish in the top six. It’s not going to be easy but it’s sure to be exciting. I’m also sure home crowds will go up if we stay in and around the top six as well. What odds on our last game away to Cardiff having something riding on it for both clubs?

  • Bluenosesol says:

    I too dream that Vile are relegated and We are promoted. Then my dream becomes a nightmare when the recently pardoned Carson Yeung arrives to take his seat in the Director’s box. GULP!!!

  • And then you woke up bluenosesol and found blues beating villa in the prem and peter pannu sharing a cardboard box with Carson yeung over looking Victoria harbour…

  • Tony E says:

    If we were able to achieve promotion this season it will be a testament to the organisational ability of the manager. Most of the teams in this division have spent significantly more in fees and wages than we have. Should we reach the play offs no team will want to play against us because of our excellent away form.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I will second that Bluenosesol , and yes Tony E our away form as been excellent this season but one small fact to remind you off , if we draw at home to Sheffield Wednesday we equal the points tally Home and away after the same amount of games , win and we have more home points than away points after equal games … Strange concidering as you said that away form as been much better than home form but the stats don’t prove that , it’s a funny old game . KRO

  • TBone says:

    Other than Middlesboro or Hull, which are probably favourites for automatic promotion anyhow, I’d fancy our chances over two legs against any team. On current form and fitness of course.

  • Dave Mann says:

    As wound I TBone with our excellent away form and ever improving home form , playing the first leg home or away would not bother me in the least so finishing sixth or third makes no difference to me what so ever . KRO

  • Texas Pete says:

    Being in the playoffs would be a fantastic achievement. Beyond that a promotion place is anyone’s guess. If blues did go up it would be incredible but I would expect us to drop straight down again. I can see GR sticking with it through that and going for a second promotion and that time to stay long term in the prem. Of course GR probably has already been planning a different story.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I agree. As I said earlier, I think Rowett might have a 2 or 3 year plan, putting the building blocks in place ready to go up and, hopefully, stay up. Of course, if we could get promotion this year, he’d grasp that with both hands.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Can someone explain to my missus why I cant go away for my 60th Birthday celebration holiday in May. She tells me I have to draw the line somewhere. Sh’es right there!!

  • Dave Mann says:

    As long as it does not clash with the playoff final, that would be unforgiveable otherwise why not . Me and my misses are going to Venice for her 50th . KRO

  • David L says:

    Another thing I’m proud of is the canny financial nature of our purchases.
    Some daft money splashed around yesterday : Rhodes is a good player – but 6x as valuable as our Diego? 20 times as valuable as MK?

  • Dave Mann says:

    Latest sky sports poll …. Vile have a 1per cent chance of premiership football next season , Blues have a 5 per cent chance .. Just loving that , KRO

    • ChrisG says:

      Only 5%, I feel insulted lol!!!. KRO

      • Graham says:

        My stats are different if we get to the play offswhich on current form we should, then 4 teams evenly split means 4 to 1 chance or 25%

        • Shirley Blue says:

          I reckon they have calculated the 5% chance of being in the Premier League something like this. 30% chance of making the playoffs as we are not currently in the top 6. Then a 40% chance of getting through the play-off semi-finals as if we do make the play-offs we are likely to finish 5th or 6th and playing a team that finished higher and again 40% chance of winning the final based on the same logic. Multiply 30%*40%*40% gives 4.8%.

        • Dave Mann says:

          They will be different if we get to the playoffs Graham !!!., but we’re not there yet are we !! KRO

  • .KC says:

    Garde looked rather pale when talking about the Villa’s failure in the transfer window. He does seem a decent bloke but even Guardiola would have no chance with their hierarchy. Yes we are in a great position to push on, or indeed hold on. Long way to go but it is at least a possibility. Well done GR for getting us in to the current position.

    • Mitchell says:

      Don’t feel too sympathetic for Garde- I have a nasty feeling about tonight’s game. Wish I didn’t but it’s just there niggling away. Maybe Staffs.has it too.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        Well, Wet Spam aren’t the most reliable team this season… but really, with the players they have, they should wipe the floor with the bottom team at home. But as someone once said.. football’s a funny old game. I still won’t believe aston are down though until it’s mathematically certain. There’s just something about that club.. something vile. :)

  • StaffsBlue says:

    There’s an article on Kobi Arthur in the BM. The lad’s got a great attitude.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Yes seems to have a good attitude but we have a lot of attacking options and he is going to have to do very well to even get on the bench. It would appear that they don’t think Toral’s injury isn’t too bad – he hasn’t even gone for a scan. Can’t see him being ready in time for Saturday though.

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