Often Partisan

Moving On Up

So, another away game, another three goals and another three points. Blues seemingly brush another opposition team aside as they push on in the race for automatic promotion. With fifteen league games to go, can we do it?

Having only listened to last night’s game on Blues Player, I can’t comment on individual performances; however, overall it never sounded like it was in that much doubt after Chris Burke’s deflected opener. There seems to be a certain ruthlessness about Blues now; in the second half and 2-1 up Hughton brought on an attacking player in Redmond for Morgaro Gomis to push on and seal it. None of this shutting up shop and defending to the death, it’s all about attacking, holding on to the ball and keeping the ball as far away from the Blues goal as can be.

I think that’s the difference this season; McLeish saw defending from the front as forward players sitting deeper and deeper, and getting men behind the ball to stop anyone getting through. Hughton however sees it as retaining possession away from the Blues goal and stopping the opposition side getting the ball and attacking. It makes sense really – the Championship is more forgiving than the Premiership and you’re not going to get punished for every defensive lapse in the same way a team would in the top flight but it is the difference between a positive and a defensive minded manager.

I know some people are looking nervously around the top six and seeing that it’s still quite compact and quite tight after West Ham and Southampton; just seven points separate Blues in 3rd from Burnley in 11th. Thus a couple of defeats and Birmingham could in all feasibility fall right back into the mixer beneath the playoff spots. Throw in the nervousness with the complete lack of depth in the squad and the worry that tiredness is surely going to overtake the players as Blues look at the potential of a sixty plus game season and it’s easy to understand that despite all that’s gone on people are still anxious.

It’s an old cliché but Blues really are going to have to take it one game at a time. All they can do is keep trying win the games in front of them, and not let the games involving other teams affect them. The longer Blues can maintain the momentum they have, the more chance they have of pulling away from the teams below them and catching the two above them.

I think it’s imperative Blues bring in bodies into the squad to ensure that there is enough gas in the tank; however I wholeheartedly agree with Hughton that anyone who comes in has to fit the squad. Team spirit, morale and momentum are all too valuable to be disturbed for the sake of bringing in a couple of squad players. I trust Hughton enough to be able to make the judgement call on what players he can find that will supplement the squad we have and improve it; patience isn’t a virtue commonly found amongst football fans but we as Blues fans must keep believing that Hughton knows what he is doing and trust him to deliver.

Saturday sees the Tricky Trees come to us, who won their first game in eight attempts at the weekend and are looking over their shoulders at the relegation trap door. Let’s hope the Blues machine can continue to steamroller this division as they fight to get out of this division by the right exit.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials


31 Responses to “Moving On Up”

  • DoctorD says:

    Thanks for my daily diet of great insight and welcome reassurance mate. When you say the right exit, do you mean automatic or playoffs? If one thing’s certain now, at least we’re not getting relegated. Glad to see us getting a few goals under our belt again, especially away from home.

  • Bradley says:

    Any news on Robie Blake?

  • I’m checking the various sites several times a day regarding new players and all I’ve been able to find is Robbie Blake…….

    As you say we need to trust Hughton as he has done a simply sensational job considering the players at his disposal but the lack of bodies is a glaring problem and the the two teams above us right now have much more strength in depth, and surely that will begin to tell eventually. King and Zigic are injury-prone, Carr the same and we haven’t got a left-sided midfielder in the squad.

    We need a striker and a left-sided player ASAP, I really don’t think we will even make the play-offs without them. i know that sounds like a bleak prognosis but I’m worried that things could go horribly wrong and that would be a tragedy.

    • Cleggy says:

      I understand your concerns but I feel they are indeed a little bleak. A left sided player and a striker (assuming they’re of the quality Hughton really wants) I feel would give us the edge to finishing second this season. If we fail to bring them in then I believe our current squad (which just keeps adapting and coping and succeeding) is good enough to finish in the play off places.
      Chin up mate, come on!

  • b74 says:

    Thanks for your take on yet another great win but please liven up. I know as blue noses we get apprehensive and quite sceptical but let us just enjoy what we’ve got at the moment. Forget the Mcleish dire football days, leave him to ply his trade in Aston and let them suffer the consequences. The Hughton way suits me fine, we attack and score goals, he obviously knows we need to add to the squad and yes we will no doubt have a blip soon but let us rejoice in what we have done so far. Bliuenoses everywhere are smiling more than they have done for a decade.

  • BluePenguin 76 says:

    Another great result for the Blues ,we continue to march on against the odds!!. Im actually loving this season more than any other for a long long time. I had very low expectations of what a patched up side could do and to say i’ve been pleasantly suprised would be an understatement.

    I’m still trying to rain in my excitement as obviously the squad is thin and i know the injuries could well take its toll ,but im starting to believe we can do it (automatic)!.

    I’m convinced CH is the second coming!!.


  • skareggae72 says:

    Im beginning to think that player fitness/tiredness issues are overblown.
    Thinking back to our unbeaten run with`the ginger one`we were unchanged for virtually all of that run & we became stronger & stronger.
    With players now surrounded by Physiotherapists,massage experts & dieticians,i beleive these people can prepare players to play every 3 or 4 days.

    • Stevie Blue says:

      I agree skareggae – a lot (if not most of it) is psychological. If you look down our squad remiaing fresh should only be issue for a few players. Correct me if i’m wrong but there’s only really Davies, Burke and possibly Fahey that haven’t had a prolonged rest either due to rotation or injury. The likes of Gomis and Mutch have had lenghty injuries so should be pretty fresh. King/Zigic/Carr are almost in the same boat. Murphy didn’t play regularly until November. Same as N’Daw (who is being further recharged by injury), Elliott has played that much neither and the same could be said for Rooney and even Redmond. So although the squad is thin, I think either by accident or design most should still be pretty fresh. The main benefit as I see it of a couple of load sigings would be further competition for places.

      • Stevie Blue says:

        Sorry – Elliott hasn’t played that much either…

      • almajir says:

        This is where I believe Europe has really benefitted us. It’s got blues to the position where there are about 16-18 players (when all are fit) who can all be called into the team to do a job. Instead of having a set first eleven CH has got a proper squad he can select the best eleven for that game from.

  • Spotlight Kid says:

    Whether Blues can do it or not depends largely on the teams around them, so being a stats anorak and having a spare half an hour I produced the following final table based on current form taken over the last 10 games being extrapolated over the remainig number of fixtures for each of the top teams….. It’s an interesting outcome, and one not immediately apparent in the present tightly grouped bunch at the top:

    WHU – 46/90
    BLUES – 46/90
    READING – 46/90
    B’POOL – 46/80
    S’HAMPTON – 46/78
    HULL – 46/78
    BORO – 46/76
    CARDIFF – 46/73

    Disclaimer – a team’s form can go up or down and this will of course impact on the predicted final table at any givem time. This extrapolation is accurate at 12 midday Wed 22nd Feb 2012

  • Oldbluenose says:

    BluePenguine, [ I loved that shirt ], But back to your comments,!!. As you know, Blues have a few thousand Managers,!!. but thank God, The one that matters is C,H.!!. Whilst I agree with your comments mate, I have faith in C,H. to obtain the players we need if he retains a free hand to choose the guys that fit his system of sqaud players for our club,!!.
    Time will tell as to whether he can get the right guys to bolster us with the right spirit and will to put the clubs ambition befors ” self-glory “,!!!.

    • BluePenguin 76 says:

      OIdbluenose I agree…It’s all about keeping the right blend and right quality in a squad that has already bonded excellently. I’m not one to think it CANT be done if we kept the same squad (without additions) I’m just dubious we can avoid the injuries and think we have looked a bit lopped sided since Jean departed to Wigan,?? .

      Still our neighbours from Aston last won the league fielding (only 16 players all season, i think) has the human body really downgraded since the early 80’s and Villa’s one season wonder???.Granted we have played a good few games more.

      We’ll see, whatever happens CH has been a sensational appointment, the one great move from the Yeung era that (Yeung, Pannu ) have been a part of implementing!

  • Euston 9.18 says:

    Think its about time,Pannu came back from Hong Kong and sorted a long term contract out for CHRIS HUGHTON.
    Don’t really care if we go up or not,if we went up would there be any funds available for the manager ??
    Also if we went up,knowing the back ground of how the club is run and it’s finances would CHRIS HUGHTON want to be here ??
    Because i’m sure where ever BLUES finish this year the vultures will be out come the end of this season.
    I would not be surprised if CHRIS HUGHTON hasn’t already being asked on the quiet if he wanted to leave BLUES already,but listening to CHRIS HUGHTON I think he’s the sort of bloke who wants to see his plan for this season through.Knowing that he’s in a no lose situation come the end of this season.
    The results so far this season are “dream land” results,the football is attractive and exciting.
    CHRIS HUGHTON is by far the best manager I have known at BLUES,my memory’s of BLUES go back to the Willie Bell times from the 70’s.
    So a 5 year contract with a BIG compo should be on the table now for CHRIS HUGHTON to think over and hopefully sign.


    • almajir says:

      It’s a subject that’s been done to death – but why do we need to tie CH down to a 5 year deal?

      CH is happy with his deal. Blues are happy with the deal that they have with him.

      We gave Bruce a 5 year deal, look how that one ended. Ditto McLeish.

      The most I would ever, ever give a manager is a 2 year rolling deal.

      • Euston 9.18 says:

        “Subject done to death” ….. Really ??

        Didn’t BLUES get decent compo for mcleish because he was still under contract.
        What would BLUES get if CHRIS HUGHTON left at the end of this season ??
        Plz explain to me the “rolling contract”.
        I remember ron saunders being on a 12 month rolling contract and he got a decent pay off from BLUES when we gave him the red card.
        And to put bruce and mcleish as a reason not to rock the boat I think is well off the mark,perhaps giving them a 5 year contract was wrong,a 5 year contract for CHRIS HUGHTON would be fully justified,given the results and style of play so far this season.
        If we don’t go up and CHRIS HUGHTON leaves,do you really think the way the club is run we would be any where near where we are now.


        • almajir says:

          As I say, it’s been done to death – I feel like I’ve explained this five dozen times already.

          A rolling contract – basically, today, Chris Hughton has one year left on his deal. Tomorrow, he will have one year left on his deal. Next week, he will have one year left on his deal. Thus at any point in his career with us, he has a year left on his deal. It’s a good safety net for him and a decent security for blues.

          I would offer (and I sincerely mean this) NOBODY at all more than a 2 year rolling deal. It’s not worth it.

      • NooBloo says:

        Your statement that CH is happy with his deal at the club has no credence to it. B/ham started to negotiate a new deal with him then retracted it.

        Only the fact that CH is a gentleman has kept the other vulture clubs away because when he starts a job he likes to see it through.

        Come the end of the season, if a new deal is not on the table then a new manager will need to be in the chair because there will be other clubs throwing money and contracts at him and whilst the honourable Mr H is not money orientated. Neither is he someone who will let the club take him for granted

        • almajir says:

          I’d like to see a link as evidence of your statement of a contract being offered to CH and retracted.

          My statement is based on CH telling the press he’s happy with his deal.

          • NooBloo says:

            Players and managers contracts dont get posted on You tube. You can read as many websites and web links as you like.
            but never find the true facts.

            CH is a gentleman. He is an absolute brilliant manager and a wonderful coach but most of all he would never speak ill of anyone publicly and is an absolute expert at keeping everything under wraps. Thats why you have no evidence of any withdrawn contract

            To see how wonderful he is at not giving anything away. Try and find the interview that a journalist tried to extract information from him when stephen taylor asked for a transfer away from newcastle united. He was absolutely brilliant and gave the journalist nothing despite being pressed and pressed on the subject.

            Dont worry, MrH will be at B/ham when they get promoted come May but after that, thats when I would start to worry about losing him because if all us b/ham fans can see how good he is. Rest assured it is not going unnoticed elsewhere

          • almajir says:

            In other words, you have no evidence whatsoever to back up your statement. That’s fine.

          • NooBloo says:

            One more thing. It is actually cost effective to give a large contract for 3 reasons

            1. That restricts the level of salary that is paid for the duration of the contract and

            2. You get larger compensation if the manager is poached by another club

            3. When clubs terminate a Manager’s contract they very rarely get paid more than one year’s annual salary, even if there was 3 years still to go on it

          • NooBloo says:

            Actually I do have the evidence.it is just that you dont

      • Spotlight Kid says:

        It’s an interesting subject. Guardiola (at Barca) was in a similar situation (although not by choice according to reports) and the legendary Jackie Charlton (like others) when in management always refused to sign a long term contract. If a manager is unhappy or unpopular his position becomes untenable anyway, and any contract does not prevent this. A long term contract is simply to ensure an adequate compensatory payment either way – but this in turn can be written into a rolling contract. It doesn’t automatically generate stability of itself.

        I see nothing to suggest CH is unhappy, and no matter what he says we all know he still has a point to prove (if only to himself) after the NUFC debacle. He’s been dealt a very meagre hand, but he’s making a real fist of it so far. This is not the right time to negotiate contracts or terms, but neither is 6 weeks into a new season. If Blues do make the cut, then all Prem contracts (manager, players and coaching staff) should be sorted out before July so they do not become a simmering bone of contention (as happened at NUFC with bonus payments following promotion).

        Meanwhile 15 games left and 11 wins (minimum) needed, let’s not get the distracted from the task in hand, chaps! Instead keep an eye on Reading coming up on the rails…..

        • NooBloo says:

          you will not see me disagree with anything positive written about CH. In fact i am so pro CH, I could be him :-) but of course I am not

          B/ham are actually the one coming up on the rails. ye will all recall under mc Leish when we went behind, you always thought you could never see where the equiliser ws coming from. Now when we go behind, I always think. Nothing to worry about, we will still win and thats a great feeling.

          11 wins you say we need. I really cant see 4 teams taking points from us the way we are playing, so best get Premier league season tickets sorted out now then

  • the urbane guerilla says:

    The likelihood is that we will not get any more players in before March when the transfer window closes, but I’m not so sure we should panic about that.
    Before the season we bemoaned our lack of cash, the exodus of players and cruel timing of the Ginger Mourinho’s departure to Ladywood Casuals.
    Yet here we are wondering whether we will make an auto promotion slot or end up in the play-offs, whilst also considering the not improbable notion we could be having another trip to Wembley in the FA Cup semis.
    Personally, at the start of August, I was happy imagining a comfortable mid-table slot, a nice sojourn in Europe, maybe a couple of exciting cup games and solvency. But Chris Hughton has ruined all that.
    Now I have to contend with the twin demons of hope and expectancy. In these dire times of anticipation I like to take my mind back to those happy days of August, when hope was futile and expectancy was of a hard slog with a final push for survival.
    We’ve made a team (Chelsea) whose tea lady cost more than our centre forward look second best on their own patch, we almost buggered up Uefa’s plans by qualifying for the Europa League knockout stages and mystifyingly forgotten how to lose at home.
    This is not how it’s supposed to be!
    No longer do we need numbers on the front of our shirts in order to look like we’re attacking most of the time. No more is the arrival of the balti pie cheered louder than the arrival of the team.
    No longer do we have to endure badge kissing no marks, whose loyalty deserts faster than a ginger Scot with two relegations on his CV.
    Instead I am subjected to forward thinking tactics and sensible team management by a cool headed man who treats those twin imposters of triumph and disaster as healthy bedfellows, not an excuse to crow prematurely or whinge about the referee.
    I watch committed professionals who try and win, even when not having a particularly enjoyable day at the office, and who appreciate my presence when cheering them on.
    No stars, no prima donnas, nothing to have regrets about.
    So as all the side issues about CH’s contract and our lack of a left sided superstar or striker rumble on, I sit here quietly content with my lot, happy in the knowledge that, win lose or draw, I support a team of which I can be justly proud. A team that shares my values of hard work, togetherness, respect, and more importantly, appreciation of the fortunate position we are all in. In short, a team that EXCEEDS expectations.
    Out went Phillips, Gardner, Beasejour, Dann, Ferguson, Bowyer, Ridgewell, Johnson, Parnaby, Larsson, Jiranek, Jerome, Foster and the Ginger Mourinho. In return we got a real manager and a team.
    So look forward and enjoy the finale. Whether we go up or not, this has been one of the most exciting seasons I can remember.
    Thanks to Chris Hughton, thank you to the Blues players and good luck for the run in.
    Oh and well done Pannu for signing Hughton up – a masterstroke that might yet be our salvation.

  • parkp says:

    All this talk and worry over the contract CH has is nonsense. Its a rolling deal which suits both parties and if CH decides to quit then he will do just that. CH is like every other manager, ambitious, and if the board match the ambition of the manager then all is well. If not, then start to worry!

  • bluenose08 says:

    I think if ch gets us promotion it will be the biggest achievment by any blues manager ever considering the circumstances. If he decides to leave at the end of the season for whatever reason then i would wish him well and thank him for a truly remarkable season. k.r.o

    • Dirty Bertie says:

      Fully agree with your last sentence. Unfortunately so many consider CH the messiah it’s bound to end in a lot of tears when he leaves. CH is a gentleman but, more importantly, he’s a professional with a career to pursue. Hope they’ll let him do the England job part-time.

      • NooBloo says:

        CH will never be England manager. He indicated thet the England manager should be English and despite being born in England, I have a feeling he does not see himself as being English and is very proud of his Gahnahan / Irish origins.

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