Often Partisan

Once The Ball Comes Out

Blues are only a couple of days into their pre-season camp out in Austria but the mood judging by the videos posted on bcfc.com seems good and morale is high. There seems to be a consistent line from the players that the good things from last year like the obvious bonding between the players and the attacking mentality are very much still in evidence and the new boys seem to have gelled into the squad well. I will admit, I’m getting very excited for the new season.

In fairness, throughout all the traumas of the summer I did harbour the personal belief that once the ball came out – even if it wasn’t the real one (© Steve Bruce) – a lot of the background stuff would be pushed to one side whilst people concentrated on the football itself. It’s been better than that though; we’ve seen some statement of intent in players brought in quickly and I think that in itself has helped to fuel the positivity we’re seeing resurge around St Andrews.

This time last year I talked about my aim for the season being consolidation and not sliding into a financial abyss and whilst things might not have improved massively in that respect I feel much more confident coming into this season – so much so I think Blues should be looking at pushing potentially for automatic promotion from the off. The bulk of the squad we had last year is still with the club (although the cynics amongst us will point out that only counts if it remains the same come September 1) and I think that will have an important bearing. The previous season the spine of the team had been ripped out and Blues were starting with an almost blank canvas; this year, we’re adding to pretty much what we had and thus hopefully we’ll have a much more cohesive unit from the off.

I think it’s uplifting that Clark has been so bullish with his thoughts on players potentially leaving the club. He’s been quick to reiterate the line from Pannu that it will take “eye-popping offers” for any player to be prised from the club , that no one needs to be sold. I also like the fact he’s quick to clamp down categorically on the Davies rumours – saying that Curtis hasn’t asked to go and that he’s not got to sell. Of course actions speak louder than words but I’m of the belief that a manager isn’t going to potentially hang himself out to dry by stating something like that if it isn’t true – I guess the proof will be in the pudding come the close of August.

Blues take on Borussia Mðnchengladbach on Saturday in what could be a very tough fixture. Die Fohlen have been active in the transfer window, with Dutch striker Luuk de Jong apparently set to join Gladbach for a fee in the region of €14million or so and Spanish international defender Alvaro Dominguez having already joined on a five year deal from Atletico Madrid a couple of weeks ago. Whilst it would be nice to win this game the result isn’t of the biggest importance – it’s all about how well Blues play. If we can turn up and give them a good game it all bodes well for the season ahead.

Pre Season 2012 sponsored by August Windows & Doors

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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46 Responses to “Once The Ball Comes Out”

  • Oldbluenose says:

    As with you, Almajir,!!. At the start of last season, I was praying that we MIGHT stay out of the relagation places, [ if we were lucky ],

    This seasons start though brings much more optomism of being in/around top 6, all season, As for automatic promotion,?. Lovely jubbly,!!. But I am still cautious for now,!!.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Curtis Davies deserves a bit of credit for not asking ofr a move as do the other players who people are showing interest in.

    Don’t think we’ll be anywhere near automatic promotion even if no-one leaves but think the play offs are within reach IF we keep the squad (which i don’t think there’s a cat in hells chance of)

  • Macc lad says:

    I think automatic promotion might be expecting too much as well. There’s a lot of quality, and money, that’s come into the division this season and although it doesn’t guarantee success for the teams concerned it’s not going to make it any easier for us!
    I’d be very happy with the play offs again. It’s plain that we have to cut our cloth accordingly these days. I was indignant when Mutch was sold. I feel a bit better with the names that have come in, and I’ve been pacified by the comments and subsequent actions of Peter Pannu in taking full control of the day to day running of the club.
    I won’t enjoy seeing players sold, but if it means that we get a couple more in, and we survive to start next season in the same optimistic mood then I’ll accept it.

    • nick wicky says:

      I think your being a bit pessimistic macc. the teams that have come down are wolves,blackburn,bolton. blues played wolves in the fa cup last year and everyone said blues were the better team,and we even gave chelsea a good game. Theres no reading,southampton,orwest ham, and you’ll probably find it’s similar teams to last year challenging with cardiff,blackpool,boro. blues are going to be stronger than last year and the teams that come down are going to lose some players,and they won’t be as strong as you think. people said blues would lose to leicester,and others cause they’d spent money last year but they didn’t. I don’t think any of the teams that have come up from division 1 will be doing what southampton did cause they don’t have a ricky lambert type!

      • KeeprightCroydON says:

        Couldn’t agree more. In fact couldn’t put it better myself. Would add that we’re in a better situation to last season. Bedding down a new team last yr meant were slow starters and spent the first half of the season playing catch up. I’d wager that our 2nd half points average was in automatic promotion range. Personally I think quite a few posters here are a tad pesdimistic. We have a squad that can challenge for top two, and that’s what they and LC should aim for.

  • alexjhurley says:

    Yeah on paper we are better. Well, should be. So IF we keep Davies Burke et al (big IF) I agree we should be co.tenders for top 2 – as we were for 40 games last season.

    However, this is the blues were talking about and the most likely outcomein practice is always the least likely in the theory. So I think well finish 9th !!!

    • nick wicky says:

      alex why are you always so negative. blues are easily good enough to play in the premiership. everyone said how well they played last year even against chelsea. they got to 4rth last year despite having a lot of injuries,and were unlucky not to get to the play-off final. They arebuilding a stronger squad this year. theres not going to be anyone like west ham,Southampton or reading so blues should be in the top 6 again and thers no reason why they can’t be in the top 3. it will be the same teams again blackpool,boro,cardiff.the teams coming down are not as good as you seem to think,and the teams coming up are not of the calibre of the Southampton or Norwich type where they can go straight up.

      • Pete says:

        Easily good enough for the prem? Come on get a reality check. We need at least 3 more players to feel confident of having a squad challenging for top 2. Also, we are hoping Burke has a season like last again where in the past he had never scored anywhere near the number he had. We have some potential, but we also need new players to ensure if we do not have luck with injuries (which for the most part we did have last season considering the games played) we have got cover. We do have names there at the moment, but Lovenkrands is a player who has not played much in a year and at 32 who knows, Mullins is 33 and may not be able to play all the time, etc- so lets be positive but cautious as to where our expectations are. If we get more in and some good quality loans then who knows….

        • nick wicky says:

          Thats because CH did work on finishing got him shooting with his left foot. blues still haven’t signed any loans yet. last year blues were as good as the west ham,reading and southampton. only southampton really gave them a hammering at home,but blues had the best home record,but those tteams are not here this year and the teams coming down are not that great. look how they struggled at the end of the season against relegation.blues beat wolves in the fa cup easily!

      • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

        ‘blues are easily good enough to play in the premiership’

        Drugs? Another planet? Or a 16 yr old?

        • alexjhurley says:

          agreed PCVOR.

          A more realistic statement is “Blues might get away with it in the Prem with our current squad, but on balance would be highly likely to get relegated”

      • alexjhurley says:

        I’m not negative – I actually think we should finish top 6 and should challenge for top 2. I’ve said on here before that the squad is better on paper, more settled and has no European distractions and therefore SHOULD do better. In theory.

        My point is that, to coin a phrase(well 2 actually), football isn’t played on paper and it’s a funny old game. So let’s not all get carried away with unduly high expectations. That’s all I’m saying.

        • nick wicky says:

          alex lets look at the facts. blues finished 4rth last year behind 3 teams who had each spent £15 million or more to get promotion. none of them beat blues at st andrews reading lost and blues also drew with west ham away as well. blues had the best home record. theres no team come into the division this year thats as strong as southampton and west ham,and i’ll be surprised if any team does what reading did. blues have and are strengthening their team this year so they will have to play really badly not to get into the top 6 and with a better away record should improve on last years 4th. i remember people saying that leicester were going to be challenging because they’d spent money,but they finished mid table!

  • Mickey07 says:

    I imagine blues will finish in the top six at the moment with the squad we have….let’s wait and see….also I ain’t going too put butland up there with the gods just yet as i am expecting a few learning mistakes to come from jack this season….we will have to be patient with him…

    • nick wicky says:

      won’t make as many as myhill did!

      • Mickey07 says:

        Myhill made a few clangers at the start of the season but dave Watson done some great work on him and he got better and better as the season went on and too the point we actually missed him at the tail end of the season….just don’t expect that much from jack this season it’s a learning curve for the lad….

        • nick wicky says:

          I don’t expectJack will play all the games. he’ll probaly have to be rested because of his inexperience,but he’ll do a better job than Myhill.Thats why LC has brought in another goalie. Myhill did improve at home,but his away form was inconsistent, he used to have spells where he would have clangers like david james that would cost blues away points just look at blues away record.

          • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

            Why didnt we play Butland last year if he’s worth so much?

            Bad move CH,

          • Pete says:

            We did miss him, although an okay back up the playing of Nicky’s love child was a poor replacement and it did cost us.

  • motozulu says:

    Myhill was good for us – anyone that saw Doyle in the play-offs should know that, I’d go as far as to say that with Myhill in goals, we’d have got to the Final at least.
    Right now the squad aint bad – top 6 possibles-lose Burke or Davies though (especially Davies) and the whole team dynamic is changed for the worse. We’ll have to wait and see….quietly hopeful.

    • nick wicky says:

      moto you seem to forget that on the day of the match it was tipping down with rain and the players could hardly stand on their feet. I saw doyle slip before dobie scored thats why he dropped the ball. the other goal was just a lucky shot the blackpool guy saw doyle coming as he was falling and tried a lob, and it hit the post and went in. usually they miss. it was nothing to do with doyles goalkeeping ability.myhill would have had the same problems. the match should have been called off! LC has said several times that he is under no pressure to sell his stars,and norwich probably can’t afford davies. blues would probably want a big fee so they had money to replace him,and make a profit. If blues fans don’t go to matches and buy merchandise,etc they might have to sell though especially if they don’t get promotion.

      • alexjhurley says:

        nicky – sorry mate, you’re like a broekn record in defence of Doyle and the first goal V blackpool.

        Whislt I think it’s fair to say there’s not much between Doyle and Myhill overall, there’s no way on God’s earth you can excuse Doyle’s error. Yes, the conditions weren’t great but I’m sorry, thier first goal should have been nothing more than a routine save. I’m convinced that if you asked Doyle himself he would quickly admit he should be saving that 99 times out of a hundred.

        • nick wicky says:

          Alex I am sure if the pitch hadn’t been a mudbath and very slippery he would have saved it,but i don’t think you are being fair to the guy. he had a towel which he was using to keep try and keep his gloves dry. I saw several blues players fall over in the mud trying to pick up passes and the blackpool players were doing the same. the rain was heavier in the tilton end where doyle was in the first half. If the pitch had been dry and there was no rain then i could understand,but blaming the guy for dropping the ball after slipping on mud is expecting miracles!

          • alexjhurley says:

            let’s agree to differ on this one mate !

            I say he should have saved it. I say he’d say he should have asved it.

            You think it was a difficult save – your opinion, i respect that

            Unless he comes on here and tells us we’ll never know !!!!

          • nick wicky says:

            alex iwas as surprised as you when he didn’t save it he’s normally very competent,but when i looked at a replay on tv it clearly shows him slipping in the mud as the shot comes in which made him drop the ball. alot of players fell over in the mud.

    • nick wicky says:

      moto if you think myhill was good then you should check blues away record.look at the goals against. there are more than at home. he used to average 2 goals against away from home.you can’t blame that all on the defence. He’s also an american,but plays international football as the second chioce welsh goalie. if he was any good he’d play for the country of his birth,and albion wouldn’t want to get rid of him!

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    At the risk of sounding like Victor Meldrew I’ll reserve judgement on LC until I’ve seen a few games. Our history is littered with many average managers and he failed to get Huddersfield up at three attempts with a relatively large amount of cash spent.

    At the moment only those witnessing training and spending time with the players in their hotel can gauge if the players have bought into his methods and playing style and respect him and his coaching team. Andy Walker will stay schtum but we may be able to read something in Colin Tattum’s words

    • nick wicky says:

      well it’s the same players as last year plus hes brought in some extra qualtiy and goals. Only Southampton gave blues any problemms last year,and there not here this year neither are reading or west ham,and i’ve a feeling we’ll do better away from home this season. don’t think the teams that have come into the division are that much of a threat!

      • BhamCityJulian says:

        Yes the same players plus new ones, but team selection, tactics and style can’t be assumed to be carried out with the same competency as CH. We just don’t know yet.

        • nick wicky says:

          valid point,but usually you find if you’ve got good players they can gell into a unit. LC didn’t do too bad at huddersfield with players of lesser ability. from what i’ve seen he seems to know what he’s doing! We can make a judgment when the pre season friendly comes to st andrews!

          • BhamCityJulian says:

            Au contraire. I wouldn’t hold more store in them unless both teams played at full pelt which they won’t.

          • almajir says:


            The result might not mean much but you can generally pick up a bit from the way a team perform in a friendly as to how well they are progressing.

          • BhamCityJulian says:

            Remember how cr*p we were in pre-season 2009/10 and I can remember some great pre seasons with Freddie Goodwin that turned into annual relegation battles. Misleading more than helpful for form

  • mitchell says:

    I’ll be happy with the play offs. The teams that are coming down are keeping their squads together by and large; either way I’m a lot more confident now than I was 4 weeks ago!


    • nick wicky says:

      I’m not too worried by the teams that are coming down. I took a keen interest in the relegation battle, and all 3 of the relegated teams were really poor and struggled to get points. they were not like blues and west ham who put up a fight. west ham kept their team together, but blues had to rebuild but they nearly got promoted even after that

  • skareggae72 says:

    Looks like Nzonzi has slapped in a transfer request this morning and Scott Dann is also on his way out of Blackburn.
    The more turmoil at these clubs the better in my view,if we can keep our house in order/current squad we should be no lower than 6th,although the turmoil of the upcoming Yeung court case concerns me.

    • nick wicky says:

      6th we got to 4th last year without spending any money having a new team. we have been strengthening so should be aiming to match or better it as theres not gonna be any team like west ham or southampton this year!

  • J.jennings says:

    I believe we benefitted from the extra games last season, gave ch more time to see his best 11 & other 2nd teams, but I believe we’re stronger this season already, but I also believe we will finish 2nd or 3rd, I recon Bolton are good enough for prem return, not sure about the other 2 relegated,

  • jeff says:

    i said we,d do top 6 last year and i,m saying the same this year.auto,s are not impossible.looking forward to it

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