Often Partisan

Silver Linings

As the league season reaches its penultimate week, I’ve been thinking back about things that have happened and how I’ve felt about this season. It’s almost passé now to talk about the “trials and tribulations” that Blues have suffered in the summer of 2011 these days because its been gone over so often. A lot of the good that has happened this season has been seen to happen despite the stuff that Blues suffered last year. I want to offer the contentious opinion that relegation, the McLeish saga and the Yeung arrest were all blessings in disguise for Blues.

I think most people will agree that McLeish bailing on Blues by email was a blessing, in disguise or not. Whilst I was ambivalent about him staying on there was a lot of ill-feeling towards Alex and I think there was almost anger that he wasn’t given the Spanish archer. Of course, it was all down to money – Blues didn’t bin McLeish because they couldn’t afford to so for the fact that we got money for him (and foisted his unpopularity on our brethren from across the expressway) was just incredible.

Getting rid of McLeish allowed Blues to bring in Chris Hughton who has been a breath of fresh air this season – and all of a sudden, people are happier at the games despite being a division lower and having players who weren’t considered to be as good as their previous counterparts.

I think the Carson arrest signified the beginning of some incredibly “interesting times” for Blues; it completely stopped the flow of money from him to the club – whether there would have been any had not happened is another story – and it made a lot of Blues fans worry; worry that the club was going to go into administration, that everyone would be sold or moved on and that we were going to go into free fall down the divisions.

Now, of course that hasn’t happened – Blues are now in the happy position of being almost guaranteed a play-off place – but what that arrest did do I think was to lower expectations. I remember writing at the start of the season I would take a year of consolidation and for Blues to remain in the black by the end of the year; to be where we are for me is a good result for Blues and I think the whole not worrying about promotion for long parts of the season has allowed me to enjoy it more. Colin Tattum of the Birmingham Mail has referred to the team as being like “a band of brothers” on several occasions recently and I have to agree – you can see the team spirit within the players and it’s a joy to behold.

I think the most contentious thing to offer is that relegation has been a blessing in disguise; after all, it’s cost the club a lot of money and the whole point of playing is to play at the highest level possible; defeat isn’t something you’re supposed to want. However, I think relegation was a blessing in disguise for Blues for a few reasons.

Whilst McLeish didn’t get the sack from Blues because of relegation, I think the idea of having to come back up first time without a wad of cash forced him to jump. As previously mentioned, McLeish wasn’t popular and I don’t this season would have been anywhere near as enjoyable with the ginger Scot at the helm.

Furthermore, I think if Blues hadn’t got relegated we wouldn’t have had the fun we did in Europe. When Blues were in the Premiership the league was paramount; wins in the league were king over anything in the cup. Do you think McLeish would have tried to win the playoff round in the manner Hughton did, or put the effort in the group stages? Could you have seen a McLeish team push for and score a 100th minute winner away from home in Europe?

I also think that Blues would have been struggling for cash even if they’d have stayed up; maybe not as badly as they have this season but there wouldn’t have been the money to bring in players and we’d still have had our best players cherry-picked from us. I look at Wolves this season, languishing bottom and looking dead and buried and I do believe if Blues had have stayed up, we’d have been in similar trouble. Ask Wolves fans if they’re enjoying their season.

So there you go. Whilst going down was heartbreaking, the McLeish thing annoying because it made us look a bit silly at the time and the Carson arrest worrying, for various reasons they’ve all had upsides. I do talk about positivity a lot and I think it’s something people should take on board – even the darkest clouds have silver linings.

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22 Responses to “Silver Linings”

  • Rich says:

    I could not agree more. It’s been a great season no matter what.

  • John says:

    Good article and accurate. It has been a most enjoyable season,which could never have happened with McLeish in charge. The only downside,is the lack of support at St.Andrews. All the stay away fans have missed a treat,not only with the standard of football Blues have played but also the number of goals scored. The ball being passed forward, as opposed to sideways and backwards,when the McLeish was in charge,has been a revelation. If we do make the play off final at Wembley,I would fancy our chances against any team we play,regardless of our present injury situation. I am quite sure,all the stay away fans will be clamouring for tickets,if and when,we get there. KRO

  • skareggae72 says:

    Lets not forget that McLeish did sign Burke,Davies & King,some of our better players this season,so he has had an input in our success,although some of his signings/tactics across the city indicate that he also gets it very wrong.
    I knew that time was running out for McLeish when i noticed “the clearly cold relationship” between him and Mr Yeung when the League Cup was collected at Wembley.
    Am i right in thinking that Chris Hughton has never met Mr Yeung?

  • Trevorandkennyaremagic says:

    It has got to be one of the best seasons for me, especially Bruges. I cannot see the point of being in the premier league just to stay up, cup runs are much more exciting! I have followed the blues for more than 40 years and to see an empty ground is quite depressing. I am glad I was at St Andrews through the seventies when there was a great atmosphere. We now have some of the most apathetic fans in the country, just look how Norwich fans have stuck with their team.

  • kentucky blue says:

    Agree 100% but i cant understand all the stayaway fans, its been a good season with lots of goals, i was trying to think of when we last scored as many, maybe under B fry, anyway could be a great season if we go up

    • Carl says:

      re, stay away fans: it is a shame that we haven’t supported CH in numbers this season.

      Whilst it is expensive to go to the games but it’s been one excuse after another for a few years: style of play, manager, owners. Going to the match is a habit that many no longer have and so it may take a while to get them back week in, week out.

  • Carl says:

    Yes, it has been a fun season – and getting our best manager in years was a big bonus, however… we’re more likely to have someone invest in the club if we’re a top flight asset so we need to get back there.

    It’s a shame we need to go down a level to have fun. Maybe next time round playing the likes of Bolton at home in the Prem’ won’t be so dull with a more adventurous manager.

  • RoyC says:

    The best thing that happened was that McLeish brought in some excellent signing for us before he went – for next to nothing. I know we like to have selective memories but let’s not insult intelligence.

    Following your logic of our good fortune this season, won’t it be incredibly fortunate too when we finally publish our accounts in June and go into Administration….I just can’t believe my luck lately

    • almajir says:

      I accept (hope) that you are being facetious, but even if we don’t go up I’m not 100% convinced administration is on the cards as early as that.

      Administration would also mean a change of owners – which would make many people happy.

  • RoyC says:

    I’ve got to applaud your optimism mate, and CH is certainly a great asset, let’s hope we can keep hold of him. If the dreaded insolvency did arise I’m not sure how that might affect our status re promotion or points deduction. To me this will remain a black cloud until it is sorted out, so my champagne will be staying on ice for the time being.

  • Peter says:

    I generally agree with most of what has been said. Last season ended in massive disappointment and I’m just hoping that this one won’t finish the same with defeat in the play-offs. Maybe, though, there would even be a silver lining in that – what do you think, Almajir? Few of us probably expected last August that we would be looking at a top six finish but now we are so close to promotion, I wonder whether it really would be so bad if we fell at the last fence.

  • DoctorD says:

    Good article mate — if we had stayed up last year, McLeish would still be there, our wage bill would be horrific, and we’d almost certainly be facing relegation. The good news is that, even if we don’t go up, I can’t see the teams dropping down being as strong as those that did last year (ie us, Blackpool and West Ham).

  • bluenose08 says:

    Whatever happens now i have really enjoyed this season, the football and all those goals have really cheered me up, compare that to our neighbours who cant remember the last time they saw their team win at home! There is not a manager anywhere that i would swap for chris hughton.
    k.r.o. to wembley !!

  • Dirty Bertie says:

    Considering all that’s happened, it’s been a very good year for the team, the manager and the core fans who’ll always be there. Whichever way it goes there are positives and if we continue to cut our cloth to suit our situation it won’t be long before the club will be back where it belongs competing with the big girls. The casual fans will return and those that can’t, for whatever reason, will still be supporters of the club and should not be derided. KRO.

  • andy says:

    We are in the play offs and its a tremendous achievement by CH and his team. Its been a fantastic season and the iceing on the cake has yet to come.

  • Alan Watton says:

    Why do you assume that the only manager who has won us a genuine trophy and got our highest league position for 55 years is ‘universally’ unpopular.

    • almajir says:

      I don’t believe I used the words “universally unpopular”

      I believe I said that I wasn’t that bothered myself but that there was a lot of ill feeling towards him – and that cannot be denied; there were some very unhappy people around with regards to Eck.

    • Paulo says:

      erm ..hello??? The ginger was in charge when Hibernian were relegated and Birmingham City relegated ‘twice’, did a bit for Rangers, not much for Scotland, then did the ultimate JUDAS ..so no, I’m kinda guessing why he is so unpopular as well …I just cant see it.

  • Paulo says:

    I think you’ve said it all in one statement almajir …’Interesting times’

  • Oby says:

    I never thought I would be saying this at the start of the season but, this season has been fantastic, loved the Euro games, especially Braga away, and loved the weekend we have just had in Brighton.

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