Often Partisan

What If?

Blues completed their league campaign with a 1-1 draw against Cardiff, giving them a 10th placed finish with 63 points – exactly the same as a season ago. David Cotterill’s fourth goal of the season was cancelled out by Anthony Pilkington as Blues couldn’t quite sign off with a victory.

I think the words I would use to describe this season would be “what if?” If you’d have told me at the start of the season we’d repeat last year’s 10th placed finish I’d have taken it; particularly with the takeover saga still dragging on. However, given how high Blues were flying at one point, I think it’s not unreasonable to wonder what if?

What if we’d have actually put the ball in the net at Wolves, or had managed to shut out Sheffield Wednesday having taken the lead. What if James Vaughan had scored that penalty against Bournemouth and built up his confidence; what if Gary Rowett had trusted Ryan Shotton in central defence sooner than he did?

It could have been so much better…

However, having looked around the leagues, I wonder how much worse we could have had things. In 2010-11 we got relegated from the Premier League with Blackpool, and then lost a playoff semi to them the next season (only for them to go down to West Ham United in the final). Today, a 5-1 defeat to Peterborough United ensured that Blackpool will play next season in League Two; one of the quickest descents from top to bottom in league history (three relegations in five seasons). We complain about our owners but Blackpool’s (British) owners seem far, far worse – and seem to be intent on taking Blackpool “all the way to the conference”.

Joining them in the bottom tier of League football will be Doncaster Rovers. If it wasn’t for Paul Caddis’ injury-time equaliser at Bolton Wanderers, it would have been us and not them who had dropped to League One.

I’m not saying we’d have gone that route ourselves, but I think I’m as guilty as anyone in maybe wanting too much. I will admit I am still worried that this might have been our best shot for a while to make the playoffs; I wonder how much longer Gary Rowett will stick around before a more tempting, more lucrative and maybe more stable job offer comes along. I’ve said before I’m not convinced that TTA will be more than caretaker owners, who will continue to stabilise the ship before selling it on for a profit.

All that being said – I’d take this season’s 10th placed finish over some of the crap we’ve had to put up with in the past few years– and it does look like things are looking up. I hope that TTA will be able to finally, finally put that deal to bed and bring at least some investment to the team – because it’s only going to get harder until they do.

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84 Responses to “What If?”

  • Teerev says:

    Just what i was thinking! I have lived in Cornwall for many years now. After hearing the Man city fans booing at full time today reminded me of watching them play Gillingham in the 3rd tier play off final back in 99 with a load of Mancs in my local. Oh how they forget!
    Also,i have good friend who is a Coventry city season ticket holder who used to take the piss out us Blue noses back in the day!
    We are a fickle lot,but i still do the nearly 600 mile round trip a few times a year just to see my team and sing keep right on.
    We are not special,deserving or should have a sense of entitlement,we are Blues and will fight till the end!

  • Bristol Bluenose says:

    As I have said before getting promoted this season would have been disaster for us , some say and I can see their point that it may show a slight lack of ambition but as you have said in your article look at Blackpool. I would rather GR build on this season just gone and GO FOR IT next season two or three good signings would I think see us go from also rans to contenders, anyhow that’s my view on the subject I will still be at the Blues next season whatever because thats what we bluenoses do best KRO,SOTV Enjoy the summer everyone.

    • RichardM says:

      Can’t agree. We might have had a “villa” season back in the Premier, but we’d have returned to the Championship £90 million richer with three seasons worth of parachute payments to look forward to. Not exactly a disaster, more a shot in the arm.

  • bluearmyfaction says:

    On the other hand…Southampton and Leicester both got rid of unpopular owners because they went into administration and dropped into the third tier. One is pushing for the Champions League on a regular basis, and the other, well…

  • Mitchell says:

    Agree with your comments about the season. However imo our squad,our style of play,our predicted line ups and the slight change of personnel in various positions has made us stale. Yes,we get by without flirting with danger and that is down to the manager. Fresh outlook now required with the new season without the dependency of the likes of Robbo,Spector and Grounds-closely followed by Caddis.If money is to be made available for a mini overhaul then we must recruit with pace within the team.Apart from the raw VSO we simply lack any form of speed.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Absolutely spot on Mitchell.

      We need height and strength at the back, a bit of guile in the midfield and plent of pace up front. If Rowett is going to persist with the laborious 4-2-3-1, then those are minimum requirements if we’re going to remain a top 10 team (at least.)

  • Steve says:

    Hit the nail bang on the head!! Life could be a lot worse K.R.O

  • Lichblue says:

    I also would have settled for our final position at the start of the season. Looking forward we desperately need the Pannu agreement sorted and TTA to get their buyer in place. If not i’m afraid we’ll start slipping backwards. Forward looking, ambitious owners – is that too much to ask? We’ll see. I live in hope.

  • andy says:

    Birmingham were never good enough to make the play offs, the top 6 teams have all spent money and had quality that Blues never possessed. Sheer hard work and determination has seen Blues finish in the same position league wise and points wise as last season. We don’t know what the true intentions are of TTA or the secretive man behind I,t but only their investment can improve Birmingham in what will be an even tougher Championship next season.

    • RichardM says:

      Let’s hope the man behind TTA is looking at Leicester City and thinking “maybe….”!!

      • AdamTrueBlue says:

        Exactly what I was thinking, especially as Leicester are owned by people from Thailand, others might be thinking we could do that, where can we invest our millions? Oh look BCFC is for sale and already listed on the HKSE and has a loyal fan base waiting to buy the merchandise, what an opportunity. Kro

    • Tony says:

      Spot on, all these what ifs Dan speaks about are meaningless, the only what if that matters is if we had better players .
      We finished where we were always going to finish and where I told you we would, those who expected higher were dilusional

  • Graham says:

    Of course blues could already be sold on a precontracted type of thing , depending on the jigsaw, all worked approx to the 2 year agreement with TTA which is vaguely following and fitting with their 2 year plan.Expect final problems before egm and relisting to be sorted this month !
    Ever the optimist however I practical things appear.J

  • Graham says:

    Impractical things appear

  • Bluehobba says:

    I’m wondering if we have Rowett in charge next season, where realistically a good finish for Blues will be. I bet most won’t accept nothing less than top 6…kro

    • Mitchell says:

      Sorry but imo to finish around 12th with our current squad and threadbare funds for additions would be a triumph. HK and all that dictates our fate in what will be a mini ex Prem.league.

      • RichardM says:

        I’m of the same opinion Mitchell, I have a feeling next season is going to be a tough one for Blues. My question to Dan (and everyone else) would be would you take 10th place now for next season? Hate being a pessimist, but without a major injection of cash I can’t see how Rowett or anyone else can push on from 10th.

        • Dave Mann says:

          I’ve said many times that we will struggle for top ten next season if this ownership is not sorted by September . KRO

          • StaffsBlue says:

            One thing I’m fairly certain of.. it’s going to take more than the 3 or 4 players Rowett wants to keep us in the top 10 next season. We need at least 2 new defenders, 2 in midfield and 1 up front. That’s the bare minimum if we’re going to be, at least, competitive.

          • Bluey says:

            So have the rest of us.

  • Teerev says:

    Remember Peter Ndlovu and where he came from? At the time,if my memory is correct,Coventry where the 2nd longest team in the top flight,behind Arsenal! From 67-68 until 00-01.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      That season when Coventry came up was one of the best seasons I’ve ever seen in the 2nd Division (Championship.) Their season-long battle with Wolves was brilliant.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    There are reports that Stoke City are ready to bid for Nathan Redmond should Norwich go down.
    If it comes to pass then Blues are in line for a cash windfall.

  • KC says:

    The Good- Great start to the season and staying in the top 6 for so long , league position and points,thank you GR ,games to remember eg Fulham and Derby away , amazing away support, some decent individual performances but no consistency. The development structure that is taking shape as long as the youngsters get a chance and take it- please Brown go for it. The emergence of The Tilton Alliance. Off the field saga coming to an end but still full of the unknown. This site,Thanks Dan.
    The not so good- Losing to the Vile, poor last quarter, Gray leaving, games to forget eg Sheff Wed away and losing to lower teams at home. not enough quality including left back, centre back, midfield dynamo and striker. loan signings offering no improvement and no better than those that left on loan. Strange deal to acquire Vaughan. KRO

  • steve says:

    IF we hadn’t been beaten by so many teams that were bottom 3 when we played them,then we’d be in the play offs now or even better.

  • atko says:

    The club that does have the unfortunate quickest descent was Stockport County who finished 8th in the Championship in 1997/98. They eventually got relegated in 2001/2002 and now lie in the Conference North which is two divisions below League 2. That’s quite a fall in just 14 years. The club is now owned by the Supporters Trust after a previous bad takeover. There have been many clubs taking a rapid nosedive, some due to bad running of the club, some awaiting takeover, some just plain bad. We are fortunate, it could be a lot worse but for the fact we do have members of the board and the clubs management that do care and do put everything in to this club. Whilst some people asked the question last week, does TTA know what this club means to us fans, there can be no question the management and our club board do!

  • What if we had beaten (as we should have) teams that were in the bottom 3 when we played them….
    The answer is we would be in the playoffs……….poor form at home at the wrong time has cost us dearly with that one. But remember the bookies had us in the bottom 3 at the start of the season, and with the current situation with the ownership, mid table safely is the first target next year too…………..
    Roll on the fixture list…………..

  • Blue Eyed Boy says:

    In full agreement with Mitchell. There has to be an massive overhaul of the playing staff between a) close season and b) again in January,simply the majority of players are not good enough for the top half of the Championship again,and if we continue to go down the route of signing lower league players then I’m afraid we will end up in Division 1 – Whilst we await the continued long drawn out ownership saga(which is now getting beyond a joke and becoming very boring) lets hope Rowett has learned from his own mistakes this season and ensure quality over quantity is his priority,whilst letting the quaity younger players come to fruition and not persuing with “the old brigade” again..over to you GR,give us some excitement please

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t go down the route of signing lower league players if he had a choice and more funds available to him.

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Everybody on here pre-season was saying top 10 would be an achievement so it’s job done for me.We were given a bit of false hope by our league position earlier in the season but no way were we good enough for the playoffs no matter how many “what ifs”we ask.Its same again next season until this crap gets sorted out but as you say it could be an awful lot worse.

  • ‘WHAT IF’ is just another phrase for being disappointingly left wanting , when we all needed and wanted what others thought that what was needed was for us to stop wanting ….KRO

  • smudge says:

    I think that finishing tenth again is an achievement, the top six have all spent good money or in Burnley’s case promoted at the first attempt. Next season will be even harder to maintain a top ten finish as there are always teams willing to spend and gamble, we cant. As for looking a better quality again difficult for us as the money is just not there, I do believe that Fabbrini was brought because he was available and he will replace Toral as we wont have him next season. People are saying that we need a complete overhaul and whilst I agree to a certain extent, I just cant see how that is going to happen until the finances are in place to cope. I am looking forward to next season but for now will enjoy the entertainment of the Euro’s and Copa America. Thanks OP for an informative season KRO.

  • Bluenose downunder says:

    If i had to sum up the season in a word i would say ‘inconsistent’. As others already pointed out had we taken the points on offer against some of the struggling clubs especially at home we would be right up there, Yet some really good efforts against the better clubs – go figure?

    Look on the positive side, had we been promoted we wouldn’t have the vile games to look forward to would we? KRO!

  • StaffsBlue says:

    We spent the whole season in the top 10, was in 2nd place at one point and clung to 6th place for weeks before finally before the team finally succumbed to the pressure. I think we’d all have taken that at the start of the season. For me, there’s not much point now in wondering what if… it’s gone.

    Come the 6th August, we won’t give a toss about this season, we’ll be looking forward to a new season, with (hopefully) good new players…… and two derbies against the pond dwellers on the other side of the city. What’s not to love? :)

  • RichardM says:

    We took 32 points at home this season, and 31 away. That’s an indication of where the problem lies, the 4-4-1-1 works a treat away from home when teams attack us, but is generally ineffective at home when the onus is on us, particularly against the lower teams who will sit back. A lone attacker system doesn’t work (IMO) at home. The dilemma for GR is that when he has tried to play 4-4-2 at home it’s backfired – eg Huddersfield.

    If GR’s to earn hs corn next season, he’s got to work out a system (and recruit accordingly) that allows us to play a more expanisive, attacking 4-4-2 (or similar) at home without being exposed or overrun in the middle. We need a new centre-back at a minimum, but more importantly we need someone in the role of a Lee Tomlin (Robert Tesche) who could govern the midfield. Could Reece Brown take that role? Gleeson will never be that player, neither will Davis unfortunately.

    Cotteriill and Maghoma / Soloman-Ottobar on the wings with Fabbrini playing up front in a more recognised striker role alongside Donaldson? Again, I’m working on the assumption that funding will be similar to what we’ve hd this season (and that we don’t lose Morrison or anyone else this summer!)

  • Your right staffs , and all we need is one good player and the optimism will be back , my worst fear is that some might think that by giving the present staff a little better competition on the bench that thiis is going to be a cure all ,

    • mark says:

      bring me a martin Grainger back any day………

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Every summer, the excitement for me is seeing new players coming in and seeing how they integrate into the team. Personally, I think we need 6 or 7 players, but, if, as Rowett himself has said, we only bring in 3 or 4 new players… then they’re going to have to be bl00dy good ones to make any difference. They need to be better than what we have atm.

  • Waycoolblue says:

    10th not bad but I did have money on a bet that we would finish 8th at the start of the season I lost a tenner lol. But I also had £20 on the vile to go down on les than 24 points also from the start of the season and I won £360 so I am Happy. I am also Happy with the way thing are going at Blues. I think GR will strengthen the squad CB LB ST LW CM. KRO. SOTV

  • BlackCountryBlue says:

    Which of our squad would the teams who made the play offs want, that is the benchmark? We have ended up where we really should be – 10-12. We lack pace and real creativity where it matters and a goal scorer. An overhaul is needed but that takes money which we haven’t got. GR has done a fantastic job, however when you have the restrictions he works under you can only do so much.
    Next season the division will be even tougher and without a change of ownership or an injection of cash to spend it is hard to see how enough improvement can be made to break the top 6, let alone the top 2.
    Negative but realistic.

  • Dave Mann says:

    They had better be staffs because it will be a waste of money otherwise and the fact that what we have will dictate what we can get is paramount .. A striker who scores goals, attacking midfielders who can chip in and get a few , holding midfielders who can pass the ball and put a tackle in , wide backs who can defend , centre halves working together and a goalkeeper who as concistency… Not a lot to worry about then so over to you Mr Rowett .. If he’s still with us !! KRO

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I honestly believe that this squad, as it is now, have taken us as far as they’re likely to. In all fairness, with where a lot of them have come from (league 1, bosmans etc,) successive 10th place finishes is a pretty good achievement. But, if we’re to progress, then we have to have better quality in the team. From what Rowett says, he’s well-aware of that, but the fact that he believes we only need 3 or 4 players worries me a bit.

  • ChrisG says:

    For my biggest “what if” there would actually have to be 2, what if GR could have come up with a way to beat all the teams in the bottom half of the table & what if we hadn’t thrown away so many points from winning positions? the answer is simple….promotion or at the very least a play off place.
    I honestly believe the jury will be out on GR next season & we’re all gonna have to hope we get off to a good start again cos these last couple of months have been relegation form

    • mark says:

      from the 2 apr 2016 lost 4 drawn 3 win 1 last 8 matches…….

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I have to agree Chris. I think this window, more than any other before, will show us what Mr Rowett is really made of. He has the chance to make this team his own, finally put his stamp on the team. He’s had to manage so far with a lot of the players that were already here, but he has the chance to clear the decks somewhat and mould the side in his own image.

      He doesn’t need millions, there are players out there who can do a good job for us. It’s up to those behind the scene to get out there and try to get our business done early. Give them a chance with a full pre-season under their belts. If, as has often been the case, we leave it until the end of the window, we’ll be playing catch up for the first half of the season.

      • ChrisG says:

        Spot on staffs, I think we both said a few weeks ago that he needs a good clear out & bring in his “type” of player that is gonna fit into his system but above all else be consistant cos that’s what’s cost us this season, then & only then can GR be judged on how good a manager he really is

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Once he’s brought in his own players, he can’t fall back on the old “I’ve had to make do with what I’ve got” excuse. He knows what’s needed (or should do.) He’s not going to do very much on his phone on a tropical beach somewhere. Get all his business done as early as possible, then go away for a couple of weeks and enjoy his summer break, safe in the knowledge that he’s got the squad he wants to work with when he comes back.

      • AdamTrueBlue says:

        I too think that GR has fallen short in a few places, but there is no way he can make the team his own until he has the finances to buy the players HE wants to buy, and not the players he is forced to buy because of fan pressure to get some one in (Fabbrini) when he didn’t want to and with the limited funds he has to squander. Until we have new owners then I think we are unjustified to criticise the manager that has kept us safe and interested for half a season. Kro

        • bhamcityjulian says:

          Fan power wasn’t the reason to sign Fabbrini. Attacking midfielder with decent pace and vision and worthy replacement for Toral

  • mark says:

    Daniel like the title what if…………we had a reasonable defense, or good pair of strikers…….

  • Gerard says:

    We ended were we are supposed to be for all the varying reasons in the different comments you have all made some truth in all of them, looking forward GR cannot progress without some money possibly 3-5 million will be enough we all know which positions need strengthening most but looking forward not backwards if he gets a decent sum of money as I said previously possibly enough to keep him at the club if not I have my do doubts as expressed by myself last month on this site whether he will stay an approach from a more ambitious richer club not really a bigger club may tempt him all depends purely on the finance he is offered by Pavlos , he is intelligent bright enough to know in his own mind that unless given the tools to do a better job next season why stay he will do in the end what is right for him hopefully the club will do the same.I see the Vile are in advanced talks with Chinese buyers (welcome to Vile Park Mr. Pannu ) now that we be a result .

    • Smudge says:

      will 3-5 million really be enough, with all the new money sloshing around the PL next season the price demanded for players will be even higher. I think we are going to be looking at the released players or league one/two players. Lets just hope that we can find one or two diamonds that only need a small amount of polishing.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        We’ve had 3 half decent seasons in the last 4, (12th, 10th, 10th) with only one really bad season in between.. and that has been achieved on next to nothing financially. It’s not exactly a war chest, but £3-5m would go a long way to bringing in the bit of extra quality we need. Basically, £3-5m is better than nowt.

        • Smudge says:

          Totally agree but the extra money that the PL has to throw around will mean players agents and clubs holding out for the best offer, and however optimistic I try to be I feel that we may not cope to well. Fingers crossed we can get our business done early and get a settled capable squad. what ever happens life is never dull following blues.

    • bhamcityjulian says:

      Gary knows the end game in the takeover saga

  • edd77 says:

    Soz if I’m repeating someone else already but I’m sure I read Burn been released from Fulham ,he was ok and left footed if I remember

    • Mitchell says:

      Not an improvement to what we already have Ed. This is the errors that GR has been continually making with incoming players-apart from Morrison.

      • RichardM says:

        I don’t think that’s a bad shout actually. I think both of the Center-Backs we had that season looked decent (who was the fella from Swansea?). We certainly suffered after they left. I’d say either alongside Morrison would be an imporvement on either Robinson or Spector – and at least the equal of Shotton.

        • ChrisG says:

          Kyle Bartley was the defender we had from Swansea, I thought he did really well & he scored a few as well. I would have loved to have him back, also Tyler Blackett from man u did well & was in their first team at the start of the season due to the injuries they had

          • StaffsBlue says:

            I would take Bartley back, but not Burn. He’s always one kick away from a disaster. I’d have Shotton before him tbh.

  • peter bates says:

    Well season over and who knows what happens now new owners means renewed optimism and whoever is in charge of team affairs lets hope they have funds to compete next season as for this too many defeats at home and we all knew that enough goals were not going to be scored to win games anyway onward and upward hope we all have a great summer with England winning the European championship thanks Daniel kro

  • Captain Blues says:

    I think in truth we were not good enough for the play offs so although you can say what if’s for the last couple of months, there were other occasions earlier in the season where we won matches with a bit of good fortune and over the course of the season these things even out.
    I do agree 10th is still quite an achievement, personally I feared we may struggle this season so more than happy with our final league position just a shame that we end the season with just a single win in the past 2 months but already looking forward to next season now.

  • RichardM says:

    I know I’ve said this a million times before, but for me, Matt Smith at Fulham could be a good aquisition, if he’s available. Offers the strength of Donaldson with a better goals record, very dangerous in the air. A Brummie, and not first choice at Fulham.

  • What if……… blues had gone on to win promotion , the value of the club would have skyed ,,would TTA have still bought the club ..,,I think if the transfer kitty is to small this summer , the great reapers finger might rise again as it could be deemed at the proposed 2 years take over period as unfair sportsmanship ….KRO

    • bhamcityjulian says:

      If the plan was to fall short of promotion this season to make it easier for the restructure in place then the Jan transfer moves were just window dressing to keep the fans happy and to prevent CY and U-Continent from suggesting up the court that BIH/TTA were running BCFC for their own gain

  • Well spotted Richard M KRO

  • Mitchell says:

    I feel this summer we have to keep a positive spin on a number of things. Our ‘takeover’ saga will imo rumble on slowly even after the CY final court date. Our rivals Villa will probably have a new owner with new manager impetus etc.which could throw a depressing shadow over our situation. My wishes are that we as fans get the upbeat messages out of Stans.whether it be from GR and funding or Panos on reassurances of better things to come. Not a lot to ask really-but in our case info.has become tortuous. New players coming in soon should show a GR commitment whereas a laboured summer of sterile action would throw up the usual doubts as to where we are heading.

  • Your right of course Mitchell , I personally are finding it hard to trust people who do not want to be known , I need another show of faith on their part that TTA are taking the club seriously ….KRO

    • Mitchell says:

      William.this life of ours should not be veiled in total secrecy that appears to be spreading at an alarming rate throughout the world at the moment-with only a handful enjoying total supremacy knowing they know more than the average you and me. Same goes within TTA and EY to a lesser degree,with zilch info-no matter how small that would placate us somewhat. Delicate negotiations, ongoing due diligence etc.etc. just useful fob offs that after a time wear very thin as you can imagine this particular commenter feels.

  • Yes it seems the attitude is if they don’t let you no who they are then you can’t wrongly label them .,

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