Often Partisan

Going Up?

Chris Hughton has confirmed once again today in the newspapers that the target for Birmingham City is promotion from the Championship – which doesn’t look unattainable and has to be said is a remarkable goal for Blues bearing in mind how much crap it seemed we were in over the summer. Is it wrong for me to think however that promotion might not be what BCFC needs right now?

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely without question admire Chris Hughton’s drive and ambition. I’m of the belief that right now there couldn’t be a better manager in the Blues hotseat and I think his passion (not to mention his more attacking tactics) has reignited the passion and excitement for the club for many Blues fans. If Hughton believes we can get promoted, I do not doubt him one iota – I think he is the man to deliver it.

And of course, top flight football should be what we all aspire to – after all, we play the game to win, don’t we? We should want the best for our club, to see the best players play for the club and for the club to do as well as it possibly can. I don’t buy into the drudge mindset that promotion isn’t worth it because “the Premier League is crap” in the same way I think it’s awful that for many teams finishing above 17th in the top flight is achievement enough. That’s not the point.

However, they are both effects of what the problem is – and that is money. People say that they don’t like the Premier League because of the way money has affected it – it costs millions a year to effectively stand still and the only way to achieve anything of real note in the Premiership is to be a slave to sponsorship or the whore of a sugar daddy – something I thought Andi Thomas (of Twisted Blood fame) nailed in this piece for Surreal Football. Money is what makes the Premiership go round, and it’s something Blues don’t have much of (or any of, depending on who you’re listening to).

If we got promoted, could you see Blues spending any money on players to stay up? Having been stung so hard by players earning massive amounts of cash and not performing could you see the board shelling out again for “experienced Premiership players”? How many of our current crop would be able to cut it, week in, week out in the top flight? This is the thing – I don’t want us to go up to immediately yo-yo back down, it’s just not worth it. Another campaign of trying to scrape points on a game by game basis to get to a point where we get another season in the top flight to scrape points on a game by game basis… well, you get the message. I’d rather we consolidated for a season in this division so that the next time we go up we’re in a position to stay up.

I think a high bar is a good thing to aim for. I think Hughton is right to aim for a top six or even top two slot – this division seems much of a muchness this year and we’re easily good enough to be at or near the top come the end of the season. However, I won’t be shedding any tears should we fail to hit that mark – after all, all I wanted this season was stability, a bit of fun and a European adventure – something Hughton has delivered on all counts.

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29 Responses to “Going Up?”

  • Kaje says:

    Whilst I can appreciate your fear for Blues should we be promoted, in terms of the level of investment we may or may not make – for me, non-promotion would be far, far, far worse.

    With promotion comes a higher level of prize money, more TV money, a higher chance of quality sponsorship which in turn brings more money into the club and higher asking prices for any of our players.

    If we don’t go up, we could be in financial dire straits – more-so than currently.

    We’d be forced to sell yet more players, forced to condense the squad further, TV money would stay at the lower level, sponsorships might be a little harder to come by and – as a result – asking prices for players would be whatever buying teams want to spend as opposed to whatever we want to wait for.

    Promotion is an absolute must – failure may mean we don’t see the top flight for quite a few years.

    • almajir says:

      Actually, I’d say you were wrong.

      Not getting promoted wouldn’t kill us at all. We wouldn’t have the drop in income that we had over the last year; wages are at a much more sustainable level and whilst I don’t think we’d be free-spending we’d certainly be in much better shape than last summer.

      • Kaje says:

        Do you not worry that non-promotion would see us lose a large portion of our squad with little to no money available to replace them? We’d be left with freebies – which are fine in small amounts, but I doubt the availability of 6-7 quality free signings next summer.

        I genuinely feel that not going up would be far more damaging to us than people think.

  • JohnR says:

    Blues are a professional football club and you have to set targets for the team to aim for. Hughton is targeting promotion which is absolutely right. Like you I think this is achievable but so much is going to depend on what happens in the transfer window.
    I’m not sure that we will have to spend millions if we get promotion. I don’t see Norwich or Swansea going mad splashing out on million pound transfers. They’re both doing OK for now and having fun as well. That is down to having two talented managers and committed players, very few of whom had played in the PL before. I would like to think that with Chris Hughton and one or two additions we could achieve the same.

  • I Roth says:

    Whilst I agree with a lot that has been said promotion should be the way forward. If as reported Carson has no or little money he will be able to offload the club with it in the premier better than one in the championship. I feel with the players at the present they seem very enthusiastic and would give a good account of themselves in the prem. We dont need too many millions to keep up, then consolidate.
    Chris is a revelation and should be given a long term contract A.S.A.P.
    There is no guaratee if we were in the Champoinship that we would get out the year after or at any time. I feel a trip to Wembley this year.

  • glyn rees says:

    The only way we will get promotion, is to scrape into play off’s and then play out of our skin for 3 matches. So i would not worry IMO we won’t get promoted, but you have to try don’t you Kro4ever

  • Pete says:

    Scrapping for draws with a team that should be mid table isn’t fun to watch. We’ve watched horrible negative football for years and in the Premiership, it’s been even worse.

    With Hughton, everything is different. We will struggle if we go up but it will be a completly different prospect as we’ll be the underdogs trying to win. I’m sure Blackpool and now Swansea are enjoying their seasons and that is what we need to do.

    I hope we get promoted as the Premiership is the way to be – to say we prefer playing at a lower level because it is easier and we win more is a disappointing argument. We may come straight back down but in terms of finances, we may get new owners out of it and as a business, we’ll be back in shape.

  • mickey07 says:

    all we have ever been is a yo yo club mate,history tells you/us that….and thats all we will ever be unless the white knight comes charging in….(and thats never going to happen really is it)…..being a blues fan in the prem is really really shite if you ask me treading water season after season after season…….as for c.h. what a top draw bloke he is…

  • DoctorD says:

    I honestly think the Championship is the purest league there is: it’s what the top division used to be like. Anyone can win it. It’s not ruled exclusively by money. It’s competitive and unexpected. It’s largely British-based with the odd foreign import. It’s watched by knowledgeable, passionate crowds who don’t always expect to win.

    Of course, everyone wants to get out of it, but then what? The reality of the Premiership is, for most teams, painful seasons of struggle or, at best, mid-table mediocrity. It’s about grim matches aginst clubs that are so scared of losing that the football is terrible to watch, with some exceptions. It’s about fading stars joining your club to restart their careers or just for a quick payday. It’s about potential owners circling to make a buck.

    Unfortuantely, all of us want to be in the limelight that comes with being in the top division and have our club lauded and loved. As Oscar Wilde once said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

    • Pete says:

      “It’s about fading stars joining your club to restart their careers or just for a quick payday”

      That is exactly what we have done wrong before and why the Premiership hasn’t be fun. I don’t want to get promoted and sign the Marlon Harewood, Jimmy Bullard and David Bentleys of the world – I want to get promoted and give it a go with Mutch, King, Davies, Redmond, Burke etc… I want to have a go as a young team who are the underdogs instead of washed up players underperforming week after week.

      If we give it a real go and ultimately aren’t good enough, you can’t argue and it’ll be exciting to watch. With the team we have now and Hughton in charge, we’ll certainly surprise a few teams in the Premiership.

  • Oldburyblue says:

    Until we change owners of this Club we stand no chance of surviving in The Premiership. Chris Hughton has already shown that he can work miracles by assembling a squad which not only can hold their own in this Division, but can do well in it. However, without massive investment it would be impossible to remain in The Premiership should we manage to get there.

    The simple fact is that I do not trust this Board. Until we see the books we won’t know if our financial plight has been caused by incompetent money management or something far worse. What I do know is that we have been relegated many times, but we have always been able to balance the books and then gone forward. This time we appear to have cut to the bone and still seem to be going backwards. Why?

  • zublue says:

    Whatever will be will be. I love hughton, love finally seeing 11 blue shirts actually attacking and playing to win games. The rest of it is all out of our hands, just keep backing the players, if its in the prem then great, if not then so be it. Some of the best laughs and enjoyment I’ve had watching blues have been in the lower divisions. As the old harvey andrews song goes “if the blues are playing I’ll be there”..whatever division we are in.

  • BowThai says:

    I think we can go up maybe via the play offs.The only way we are going to get a change of owners is if we go bust and then picked up for pennies or we get into(back into!)the Prem and someone sees us worthwhile for a serious punt.I think it will be a lot more clear come January as to which way the Board goes,flog or add a player or two,even on the cheap.KRO WHATEVER.

  • Macca Salop Blue says:

    Sooner or later there will be a managerial casulty in the Premiership, my concern is that Hughton doing the fantastic job that he is will walk, and furthermore he’ll walk for little or no compensation as we’ve only got him on a rolling 12 month contract which probably only has about 7 months to run.
    The board should wise up and secure him longer term NOW.

    • Dan says:

      hughton’s contract is exactly what it says – a rolling 12 month contract so at any given point, it has 12 months remaining on it so it’s impossible for it to only have 7 months left on it – just saying

  • PannuMannu says:

    Love it a 12 month rolling contract with seven months left on it lol

  • Letsby Avenue says:

    A 12 month ‘rolling contract’ means that the manager has 12 months from today.
    And on December 31st he has 12 months.
    On January 23rd 2012 he has another 12 months etc etc.
    He has 12 months from whatever day you consider.
    A potential employer would have to buy that 12 months to get him.
    Blues would have to pay that 12 months if they move him out.

    AJ – whether we consolidate or get promoted too soon (as you fear) – we will still be paying Championship wages and would still require a bigger spend on promotion.
    Whether it is this year, next year, five years time.
    That problem will still exist. An upgrade in player and wages.

    Thing is, I’d rather Chris Hughton was still here to spend that £x millions on promotion.
    So let’s go for it.


    • Dirty Bertie says:

      A rolling contract is “a contract that continues automatically unless someone decides to end it”. So, at the end of the contract period (12 months) either party to it can end it, amend it, or allow it to continue. So there can be only 7 months till the end of the contract if one of the parties has decided that’s what they intend to do. It only automatically continues if both parties forget to get up until the next day. In the meantime, we have 7 months, and reducing, of uncertainty – comforting!

      Hope we do get promoted because our chinese friends will then have to decide whether to put up or sell up. While we’re where we are they can just trundle along for ages.

      • almajir says:

        No, it’s not. A 12 month rolling contract always has 12 months on it.

        • Dirty Bertie says:

          Probably semantics but: The contract will only effectively have 12 months on it at all times if each party has to give the other 12 months notice to end it. CH’s contracted period is for 12 months unless terminated by the required notice. But, what notice period is required to end it? 3, 6, 9 or 12 months? Or, to put it another way, what payment in lieu of notice has Pannu committed himself (or another club) to?

          • Letsby_avenue says:

            Dirty B :-)

            I think you have confused yourself.

            An ordinary 12 month contract will carry riders such as ‘period of notice’, options for either party etc etc. Be that a 12 month or 24 month or 36 month contract.

            A ROLLING contract always has 12 months left. If Chris stayed on this contract – on April 1st 2015 he would still have ANOTHER 12 months to go.

            Blues have specifically said that Chris is on a Rolling Contract.

            NOT a FIXED contract as you seem to be confused about.


  • Rich says:

    Almajir, I agree 100%, to the extent that I put that comment on the Birmingham Mail site a couple of weeks ago. Blues are in a transitional period where, at present, they’re doing ok. We are not going to storm this Championship, in fact I feel we may peter away towards the end of the season. But if we did go up, we would be in the same position as we were the start of this season, but the reverse in terms of needing to get another squad together for the EPL. We wouldnt have the money to creat what we would need to stay up. Now, if we could consolidate, ok we may lose a couple more faces , but we could also recruit a couple more newer, fresher, younger, something to prove players to go with a pretty good nucleus of a squad that we have. Slowly slowly catchee monkey?

  • tony says:

    I just hope in January that if we sell certain players we dont sell on the cheap. The young goalkeeper Butler either keep or sell for more than the reported 1 million in the papers. If he is that good get at least 3 million for him.

  • jeff says:

    good stuff zublue.would add that the extra income would enable us to buy a bit better than we have.the one thing the summer has done is clear out a load of overpaid players who wern,t as good as people or they themselves thought.hence the clubs they went to.i doubt norwich are paying more than 15k pw and they seem to be making a fist of it.even going up to come down ain,t a disaster as under c.h we,d go out fighting to the end like b,pool did.unlike our tame surrender.if we go up c.h would keep us up in my view and without breaking the bank.we really have one top bloke in charge of us.we are a lucky club to have c.h.see you sat dan.

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