Often Partisan

Welcome To The Jungle

“Welcome to the jungle we’ve got fun and games”

It’s not quite official yet at the time of writing but all the signs point to Lee Clark becoming the 32nd manager of Birmingham City. The 39-year-old former Huddersfield boss is expected to be appointed to the St Andrews hotseat in the next 24 hours.

Whilst Clark was by no means my first choice he was definitely better than the remainder of the field as news of the frontrunners for the job broke. It continues the trend that started with Hughton; a highly thought of manager who has Newcastle connections who some felt lost his previous job unfairly.

Like Hughton, Clark knew Blues skipper Stephen Carr from a previous club and I suspect the Irishman might well have recommended Blues to the former midfielder. Reports indicate that despite all the stuff going on around Blues, Clark was keen to take the job – following in the footsteps of his predecessor in taking a dossier on players into the interview and impressing Peter Pannu with his desire for the post.

There has been a lot of criticism in some quarters with regards to Clark’s previous record. I have to say, I think it’s massively unfounded – the stats point to a manager who favours attacking football. In 116 league games with Huddersfield, Clark led his team to 62 wins, scoring 216 goals – almost 2 a game. Indeed, in both his complete seasons in League One Huddersfield won more league games than Blues did last season, with similar or better goalscoring records. Yes, it appears Clark went a little stale in his third season but Huddersfield still scored 57 in 30 league games and at that point in the season they’d only lost three times.

Of course, Blues is a completely different proposition to what he had at the Galpharm stadium. The sale of Jordon Mutch points to a situation where maybe any reasonable offer for a player will be accepted and with the embargo in place no one can be replaced as yet. I suspect Pannu will have had to assure Clark that the embargo will be lifted soon, and that there may be some latitude for bringing in players as replacements for any outgoings. I think Clark will have something to prove to the people who doubted him up in Huddersfield – which is a good thing, you can’t knock a bit of hunger to succeed and I suspect the home game against the Terriers at the start of October might well have a bit of needle to it.

Clark has a good record in the transfer market; he spotted Jordan Rhodes at Ipswich who at the time had only made 33 league appearances and brought him in – Rhodes has gone on to get 71 in 122 league appearances for the Terriers. He also brought in young talent such as former Blues defender Krystian Pearce and Lee Peltier (who has since moved onto Leicester for around £1mil). I hope he will continue the work of bringing through the youngsters and maybe give Blues fans some cheer by creating new hometown heroes.

Hopefully this is the first jigsaw piece in place to allow Blues to move on from the terrible past couple of weeks; with a bit of luck Clark will be allowed to sort out his backroom staff fairly quickly and by the time pre-season starts it’s just possible we might have an idea of how things will look in the new season. Whilst right now things might be a bit iffy what’s to say we won’t be in Paradise City come next May?


31 Responses to “Welcome To The Jungle”

  • KiwiJohn says:

    This can only be good news and we all need to get behind him. Unfortunately it’s a pretty big jigsaw and the manager is only one small piece and a few pieces are still missing! KRO

  • James Black says:

    Seems as im the first to comment here i will get my balls kicked again :) but he wasn’t my first choice either but my first choice didn’t wanna come so im delighted to welcome Lee Clarke to the Blues. i hope the ones who doubt his ability don’t rush to judgement just yet as not a ball has been kicked (only mine) yet and i think the talk of being over defensive is somewhat overstated and has been said mainly in a copycat manner. Most of those that say it don’t really know that and they see someone say his too defensive and before you know it they all saying it but i doubt many actually saw Huddersfield play. Good luck Lee assuming your appointed and i personally think he is a good choice and give him time and by that i don’t mean till Christmas. Im sure there will be some comings and goings soon but lets just let the man do his job. Good luck Lee im sure the right man has been chosen..

  • Barry says:

    Some good news for a change, if it comes off. Given the names that have been bandied around since Chris moved on I’d say that it is a good selection and hopefully he will be able to display similar motivational skills towards the players as his predecessor. If he turns out to be the next manager we all must get behind him and give him our full support in order to give him the best chance to succeed with the limited resources that, no doubt, will be available to him.

  • Julian Glass says:

    In Paradise City? More like in Paradise Circus!

  • Sean Thomas says:

    Good luck to Lee Clark, I would like the board to explain to us what is the plan for the new manager. What percentage of funds raised from sales will he retain to rebuild?

    Come on you guys at the top give us a bit of reassurance, it is in everyones interest.

  • will says:

    ” I suspect Pannu will have had to assure Clark that the embargo will be lifted soon, and that there may be some latitude for bringing in players as replacements for any outgoings.”

    I wonder if Mr Clark heard and/or understood that word “may”.

    Because if he did, then he’s either desperate, naive or both.

    • almajir says:

      Because you know for a fact that it won’t be lifted Will?

      Like you knew for a fact that Zigic wouldn’t get 10 goals last season…

      • Blueboy 88 says:

        Almajir – Do we take it from that you are expecting some shabby deal to be done between BCFC & the FL to lift the embargo regardless of the fact none of the original financial concerns raised at the time of the embargo have reached satisactory closure.

        The Mail is suggesting it will be August 2012 before the BIHL accounts to June 2011 are filed , or as you pointed out the 5th of Never…!!

        It also raises the prospect that Birmingham International Holdings could be kicked off the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and forced back into private ownership…what are the implications of that ?

        • Julian Glass says:

          Going private is perfectly legitimate if not all that common. For us fans it means that because they then are not available to the public we won’t be able to see the accounts, so no change really!!!!

        • almajir says:


          Personally, I’m expecting nothing. I’ve heard rumours that the club think it can be lifted but like the accounts, I’ll believe it when I see it. That’s just my scepticism.

          As for BIH being booted off the HKSE – I should point out that Sing Pao have had their shares suspended for seven years and are still clinging on.

  • pierre says:

    glad we are hopefully appointing a manager with something to prove than the usual names bandied about.knowing blues luck we will probably have another relatively successful season only 12 months down the line looking for lee clarkes replacment.

  • Pete says:

    Manager- will give support but he is not the mnaager that anyone wanted. What frustrates is that it does not seem we even tried to look at any mnaagers in work, despite £2m for Hughton. But good luck to Clark, and for taking on the worst managerial job in football. It has to be said it is….embargo, people dealing with, owners uncertainty, no money, smallest squad in league.

    As for Mail- a disgrace! They are now doing a PR job as they have done nothing in months. Should these questions have been asked a long long time ago. Now they are getting complaints, they are trying to be seen to do something.

    Anyway the king is dead, long live the king (not Marlon)

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Good luck to him and anybody else who gets the job

  • andy says:

    Reports suggest that both Curbishley and Keane rejected Blues due to lack of assurances from the board so it shows the tough task Lee Clark has ahead. We should all now get right behind him. Good to see the mail take vital questions to the board, lets hope we get some true answers.

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    Ironic really Huddersfield & Clark make it into the Championship , just not together.

    Not my first choice , but he wants to come despite all the problems , so respect for that.
    Hope he finds what he is looking for

  • Gwynfor says:

    I also disagree with Pete.
    I think he will do a good job given the chance,I would rather have Lee Clarke as Manager than Keane or Curbishley who don’t seem to want any job thats offered to him.

  • Gareth says:

    No matter what you say, there will always be fans that have made up their mind about what they want to believe, and it won’t be changed.

    We could win every game 4-0, and they’d still moan he played negatively. Always baffles me how people can go and watch so much football, yet know so little.

    For the record, I’ve wanted Clark from the beginning. I’m friends with Leeds fans and Wolves fans, and we’ve talked about how he’d be a good manager to sign.

  • mitchell says:

    Good appointment.

    If Pannu has assured him the transfer embargo then we could be in a position to challenge for the play offs. Either way he has my backing and I’m confident he’ll be a success for us.

    My glass is starting to look half full again……….


  • Chippy Blue says:

    Very happy with this if it happens. Some important parallels with CH circumstances and a similar outlook on how to play the game. Unproven but hungry – often the best combination. Now back to hassling the good people of Hong Kong!

  • Graham H says:

    Lee will work very hard, bring in some good young players an do his very best. He will have had chance to reflect on the job he did at Town and will I’m sure have learned from it. He has a total change of scenario though. He failed to get Town promoted with a great budget and Chairman.

  • KRO21 says:

    I’m neither under/overwhelmed by the appointment, especially in comparison to when CH was appointed, but in all honesty i think given the current state of the club, anyone who is willing to step into the fire deserves the backing of the fans.

    I do think its a win/win situation for the manager though. Failure can be glossed over with ‘my hands were tied etc’, success & the premier league vultures will want them to weave there magic with a transfer budget.

    The main thing for me though is that this potential appointment is one tick off the long list of things that need sorting at Blues. One step at a time, with a number of steps back along the way but we’ll get there! KRO.

  • evesham blue says:

    Best candidate available at the time. By now you would have read Pannu’s statement. Some fans will never be happy or realistic. For me the Gloom seems to be lifting :)

  • RoryD says:

    We can all speculet, whats going to be, will be. Whoever we get we must support him until a fuller appraisal can be made. I’d feel a whole lot better with accounts being produced and transfers operating. Most of all we need a PLAN.

  • Wingman Blue says:

    We have to live with how things are, not how we’d’ve wanted them to turn out. I’d’ve wanted to keep CH and have a £20m spending spree, but it hasn’t happened and we have to move on. Until we get owners with money and ambition it’ll always be a case of cutting our suit to match our cloth. We are not in the Rangers situation yet, and it would appear there’s still some cash in the till.
    Our loyalty and support in these difficult times will impress any potential buyer, in the same way the die-hards impressed the porn barons when we were flailing around before. We must keep our nerve and show our commitment. KRO says it all.

  • Leigh says:

    A Good appointment, young, hungry, and above all he wanted the job. We need to get behind him and pull together. KRO

  • NooBloo says:

    I really dont know if lee Clark has the ‘man management’ skills or not. I certainly hope so.

    if he does then he certainly has enough contacts within the game to wheel and deal and produce a squad capable of the play offs.

    if he does not then they will be fighting relegation because the current squad is very average in terms of ability. CH had the ability to get the best out of them

    Whatever his ability i sincerely, sincerely hope he has the same skills in that department as CH did

  • pedantic_pete says:

    Dialogue with colleague who is a Huddersfield fan:
    Q. So what’s your opinion on Lee Clark?
    A. I saw some great performances.
    I saw some terrible performances.
    I can’t remember a time when we had as many games where we scored 6 goals.
    But I also know that many fans thought he never got a grip on midfield, lacked a plan B.
    He is certainly a manager who likes to bring in lots of players, some turn out great (Jordan Rhodes) some just disappear and never get a game.
    Q. Do you think he can hack it in the Championship?
    A. It will be very interesting to see.
    Q. So that’s an unqualified thumbs up? :)
    A. That’s an “I have no idea which way it will go”. In league one he did well, but he had more backing than the majority of the clubs in that division so the expectation is that he should do well. The Championship is more competitive, with many other clubs with good resources….
    You’ll see more attractive football than under Alex McLeish.

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