Often Partisan

Stuck In The Middle With You

Have you ever seen Reservoir Dogs? Specifically the scene where Mr Blonde (played by Michael Madsen) tortures a bound police officer, cutting off his ear with a cut-throat razor? Whilst Saturday might have been torture to some of us, I think the song that Madsen was singing along to – “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel – resonates more with our situation.

There was much ado on twitter on Monday morning that Lee Clark was seen leaving the Wast Hills training ground after a meeting with Acting Chairman Peter Pannu and that the Geordie had received his marching orders. Of course, as with most rumours on twitter it wasn’t true, but the amount of people who believed and wished it to be true startled me.

The bald fact is as I stated on Sunday Blues just cannot afford to be changing their managerial staff. As much as a seemingly large section of the fanbase want him out the finances just are not there. Blues are struggling to sort cover for the defensive injury crisis that they are in the middle of because there is no latitude for movement in wages right now – to fork out a massive six or seven figure sum to have the luxury of changing managers again isn’t going to happen unless someone pulls the proverbial rabbit out of the hat.

I can accept that people think it could cost us more in the long run – and they’re right, in that another season in this division will cost us a minimum eight million quid in lower parachute payments – but if you don’t have the readies, the bank account is empty and even the loan sharks won’t lend you money what can you do?

For me, the worst thing that we could do is go all Villa. For all their faults and knockers Block 11 impressed me on Saturday because even though we were five down they were still singing – and they weren’t getting on the team’s backs (even though they probably deserved it). Whilst people might be unhappy I think at the moment as an example bedsheets painted “Clark Out” hung on the gates at St Andrews is probably going to earn us nothing more than ridicule. Blues fans have a remarkable amount of patience towards their managers over recent years – I can’t remember any real vitriolic “McLeish Out” chanting even in the last few games of his reign and I can only remember “Bruce Out” once when we lost 1-0 to Norwich and looked doomed to staying in the Championship.

It feels like most of last season I talked about the feeling of having to wait and see what happens and I think right now November cannot come soon enough. I have the impression that any takeover of the club won’t happen until Carson’s criminal trial has concluded one way or another and until then the whole club is stuck in a rut of not being able to invest any money in players or anything else. As Gerry Rafferty (and Michael Madsen) sang,

Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the Right
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you

 

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54 Responses to “Stuck In The Middle With You”

  • DoctorD says:

    So that’s a 1-0 defeat away to Brighton next match then?

    When I’m feeling particularly perverse, in a way it’s good to know we are crap — the hope has gone and expectations are so low that I’ll take anything now.

    • AL- LAD says:

      If we lose 4-0 against Brighton it’ll be an improvement, god forbid that we could possibly score.

      • NooBloo says:

        Sadly due to my job i do not always get chance to watch Birmingham every week but i do end up at a Championship match every week but it can be any matche, dependent on where i get deployed.

        Having seen Brighton twice already this year, they look a very solid side but you will get chances against them; however, i watched birmingham on TV right after I had watched Brighton in a live match and to be honest, I am really fearful of another heavy defeat to them. They have brilliant attacking full backs and should have been 4 – 0 up by half time on saturday and that was against a fairly decent looking Millwall side.

        i then watched the second half capitulation of Blues and thought to myself, I really cannot see anything promising about us at all.

        The same players last year were performing so differently and i agree that you cannot sack a Manager so close to the start or the season. You need to give him a chance but i cannot see that he has got the players motivated.

        I know CH got the best out of the lads last year but LC seems to be getting nothing from them. My question has to be. How much time is he spending at the club. Is he putting in the hours to bond with the lads in the same way that CH did.

        Is LC doing the coaching or is he leaving that to his staff. We all know that a lot of football managers do very little coaching and managing and that CH was the exception to that rule.

        If lee Clark is not doing much of the coaching then that needs to change, otherwise, my stance on him keeping the job will alter very quickly in line with the others already calling for his head

    • almajir says:

      That perverse sense of humour is exactly us, exactly Blues.

  • BluenoseDownunder says:

    Almajir, Does LC have a ‘get out’ clause in his contract do you know? If so why doesn’t he just quit? Clearly there are issues with him, the players and whoever else there, most notably PP now i guess? Wherever the issues are something just ain’t working & a change (changes) need to be made. So the club cant afford to sack him but why doesn’t he do the right thing by everyone and just go? Do the same financial constraints apply to the club? Surely he cant be happy right now either so why not just go and as someone else stated here, put Steve Carr in as caretaker, at least he will have the confidence of the players?

    • almajir says:

      That would be Stephen Carr who doesn’t have any coaching badges, as far as I know isn’t interested in taking his coaching badges and is on crutches?

      • NooBloo says:

        I have a feeling that your synopsis on Stephen Carr concerning coaching may be incorrect.

        • almajir says:

          You can have a feeling that way mate but the truth is he is on crutches and that he hasn’t got any coaching badges.

          • NooBloo says:

            My contention was with your statement that you thought he was not interested in taking them

          • almajir says:

            As far as I know that is the case – it may have changed but I’ve been told previously that he wasn’t interested

          • NooBloo says:

            I know Stevie carr and although he does have other financial interests outside of football his intention is to stay within the footballing side of the game

  • Texas Pete says:

    Pleas e tell me that we aren’t going after the saints full back. He’s 32 for dogs sake. We must insert more youth and enthusiasm. If these old won’t play otherwise lead, the young ones will.
    Play the side that best Bolton and put in the youth wherever there are injuries.

  • Jaffa says:

    Is it me or is the silence from the Italian take over deafening.

  • Art Watson says:

    Almajir,

    Again I have to disagree with your argument that Blues do not have the finances to pay off Clark and his staff.PP could easily negotiate a deal which would include a deferred compensation payment payable at the end of the Jan transfer window.If neccessary the sale of one quality player would cover this payment.In the meantime the club will continue to lose substantial sums of money and our financial position deteriates daily..

    I agree with Bluenose Downunder-Clark must feel very uncomfortable at the moment and should resign before he has a nervous breakdown.

    • almajir says:

      Art

      Let’s get this straight.

      So, you’d sack Clark, and to do so you’d sell one of our better players – let’s say for argument’s sake Curtis Davies. So that would leave us in a position where we’re another player down – and we can’t afford to replace them because you’re using the money to sack one manager and bring another manager in. This manager is going to want to come in to a poisoned chalice where the last boss lasted seven games, where the squad is paper thin and one of the last remaining “good quality” players has been sold from underneath him?

      Does that sound logical?

      • bluemaximus says:

        here here

      • bluenoseb says:

        Al, There would be no logic in doing this at all your rite but is curtis davies one of the better players under clark tho? In fact im struggling to pick out ‘a bette r player’ this season that so far would obtain a good price, burke no, davies just about, youngsters only on potential not got it yet. And as 4 managers that wouldnt want ‘the poison chalice’, now we all now we aint gonna get the pick of the best managers, but those that are out of work and affordable would take it, cus agen it comes dwn to money, which footballers ex footballers in this case thrive on! I think ur mcartys,dyce,cotterill and that kind of standard of manager would take the job, are they better than clark i dont no but i do no they have championship experience andcouldnt be any worse than saturday absymal gutless performance.

  • ChrisG says:

    Do people really believe Clark would or should resign?, He is a proud geordie who will be hurting badly now i’m sure of it & I think he will feel that HE needs to put the wrongs of last saturday to right & even if he did resign, who is out there to replace him?, out of touch Curbishley? god forbid…McLeish returning? I don’t think so. Clark was probably the cheapest option open to us at the time & if anything, finances are probably a little worse than when he came in. LC has only been here 5 minutes & I hope he’s a fast learner & learns from the mistakes of saturday, it doesn’t help him he has inherited a squad of players that are feeling sorry for themselves about missing out on promotion last season & are just not playing to their potential, also the injuries to all our experienced full backs isn’t helping & he’s having to play players out of position. Before we all become “football manager” experts lets just look at the bigger picture here, i’m hurting as much as anyone but unless we get behind the team things will only go from bad to worse. KEEP RIGHT ON & ON & ON

  • Robp says:

    No mention of Clarkes horrendous bad luck with injurys. Caddis was being a lauded as a great and then breaks his shoulder and is out for a long time, probably the season. Carr, Murphy etc.

    On top of this, he hasnt seen his boss for weeks, and he has an owner who is about to go to prison.

    I think Blues should get behind the bloke instead of vilifying him.

    Forget going up, that wont happen, things will get worse before they get better.

    Its easy to moan, easy to shout and write rubbish, but live in the realk world, its a season of consolidation for Blues where financial and league survival is paramount, and the best way to achieve this, is to stick together.

  • Bluebird says:

    Now everyone is beginning to ‘reflect on’ rather than ‘react to’ Saturday evening –
    Just take a look at the previous three games –
    If we had held onto our 2-0 lead against Forest for the last 15mins of that game instead of collapsing then we would have 3 wins in a row and an extra 2pts in the bag!
    No-one was or seemed over concerned at that point –
    CH got beat 5-0 in his first game of this Season; so did Mark Hughes….
    And neither are doing brilliantly since then either –
    Any calls for them to resign?

    Two points that I am considering right now:
    (1)-Do we as fans over react?
    (2)-In considering that we almost gave up during the final 15mins at Forest and that Saturday’s game was our third in a week –
    Have we got a fitness issue going on at the Club?
    Because when I look at the two old codgers that Clark has as his Assistants, and take into consideration that the leading GK Coach in the Country Dave Watson initially chose to stay at Blues, I don’t exactly get the feeling that they are up to speed on anything, including modern training and coaching techniques!

  • PCTVOR says:

    I’m still right behind Leek Lark purely because he’s all we’ve got and I’m Blues. I don’t care what anybody says the players let him and us down on Saturday. I know he picks the side so to a certain extent the buck stops with him but the couldn’t-care-less attitude of the players was there for all to see. I said when Hughton left that we need a manager or assistant manager that the players would be afraid of letting down. Someone like Harford/Daish/Blake waiting for em on the touchline at half time on Saturday would have certainly seen a different outcome 2nd half.

    I go against the zeitgeist where lynch mobs down the Blues are concerned. We all saw how passionate our fans were when it came to booing. It’s just a shame they can’t show the same levels of volume in supporting the team. Apart from a select view they were all at it. Pannu in his new role as potentate has an augean task ahead of him which frankly I don’t think he’s capable of doing. My message to you all is KRO, love Blues and keep smiling as God has blessed you with blue blood.

    • dcp says:

      what does PCTVOR stand for?

      • PCTVOR says:

        I am Paul Carter – The Voice Of Reason (PCTVOR)

        One of Dans very favourite posters

        • dcp says:

          don’t you feel a bit daft giving yourself a title?
          were you elected ‘the voice of reason’ or is it a self styled prophecy like kim jong-il bestowed upon himself?
          not that i’m comparing you to kim jong-il
          just saying

          • PCTVOR says:

            Don’t dwell on it DCP

            Strange how you make no comment on the subject in hand but prefer to wonder about my title?

            It’s an internet user name and as such should give you zero concern

    • SirHarry1875 says:

      A damn sight more passionate than the 20,000+ that stayed at home and only show interest when a possible trip to Wembley is on the horizon.

      “the couldn’t-care-less attitude of the players was there for all to see”

      And you think people should just sit quietly whilst the “could’nt care-less players” allow a 23 minute, 5 goal humiliation? It shows more passion to get off your seat and let those could’nt case less players what you think when they cant even do the basics for the Royal Blue shirt that i’d die for.

  • alexjhurley says:

    Who bought PCTVOR a thesaurus?

    Joking aside, I agree. Clarks going nowhere, so hard as it is we have to get behind the team. We are blues not villa.

  • Blue Steve says:

    Clarke is going nowhere. Almajirs logic is very sound. I think he has had a bit of bad luck with injuries to. BUT his buys have been woeful IMO. Lovenkrands, Gordon, Ambrose, Mullins, Morrison. There is a fair amount of cash there. If that cash had been utilised by a better manager we would be far better off in the league than we are. KRO..

  • RichardW says:

    All we can do is get off Clark’s back and give him some time – a fuller St Andrews would help and a crowd committed to encouraging the team.

  • Kev Jones says:

    Not to sure if players brought in and injuries is the sole reflection of our poor start. Maybe its a bit more deep than that. Last seasons philosophy of play was the best i have ever seen in my 25yrs as a blues fan and maybe the two contrasts from this to last season is conflicting with the players. Without additions on paper how different is the squad? I really hope LC finds the solution. We don’t mind losing clark but please get us playing football again.

    • Bluebird says:

      Changes from last time we played Barnsley –
      Courtesy of Gaz on bcfc.freeforums.org:

      Barnsley 1 Blues 3 – February 21st 2012

      Team line-up then under Hughton:

      Myhill
      Spector Davies Caldwell Murphy
      Burke Fahey Mutch Gomis
      Elliott
      King

  • James says:

    How on earth can sacking the manager be the right thing to do? We have played 7 games. 7 GAMES! If you’ve had a rough month at work would you jack it in and jump ship?

    From day one the negativity surrounding Clark is shocking – fans, both blues and Huddersfield stating his 53 game unbeaten run was lucky. You can be lucky for 90 minutes. You can be lucky over a 2 leg cup tie. You cannot be lucky for 53 games.

    If we’re in the bottom 3, or close to it by Christmas, I’d be a little concerned – in the meantime stop the booing ( the fans at ht last saturday were shocking), get behind the manager and support the team.

    It was the worst performance I’d seen in a long time; possibly Wigan away under Eck comes close. BUT we are not followers of the claret and blue, we don’t make 5hit3 banners outside the ground making us look about 14 with mental issues.

    Rant over and I’ll see you in the play offs next May (if we get a 15,000 allocation I take they’ll be no complaining??!!)

    KRO

  • Warley Blue says:

    I’m the last person to call for a manager’s head, believe me, but I think Clark should do the decent thing and resign. Presumably that way there would be no need to pay up his contract and it would leave us free to at least find a caretaker manager. I do accept he’s had problems with injuries, but he also doesn’t seem to have the players on his side, which is the key thing.

    I can’t wait for November either, and I actually think it would be to the benefit of the club if Carson got sent down, as it would force his hand about the sale of the club.

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    Still cannot believe that some sections of our fans believe that we can afford the £2m + it would cost to remove LC and his team from Blues. Even if we had those sort of funds, would it not be better spent getting in a couple of half-decent players instead??

    When LC initially brought in Mullins, Ambrose and Lovenkrands, most of us believed that they could do a fairly decent job for us in our present situation and circumstances. His two most recent signings – Lita and Caddis – have great potential and have brought a different dimension to the team. It is unfortunate that injuries seem to be taking their toll very early in the season and exposing our squad frailties. But in in this adversity there is opportunity for some. Alongside the ‘regulars’ it might be worth getting some of our younger players in and having the bonus of perhaps not having too much to worry about and giving a fresh impetus to the team. Most of the newbies will not have any hangovers from last season and will just want game time. Let us not create a situation which will lead to some of them feeling alienated.

    As each and every match is played, the value of the club will keep adjusting; – / + to where we are in the league table. Would any potential new owner want to buy us knowing full well that no promotion this season would mean finding another £8m for next season – the reduction in the parachute payment – and no return to the EPL for at least two years??

    Tatts did a good piece recently on CY/BIHL and the whole ownership issue. He quite rightly pointed out that the business model was flawed from the beginning, and that CY believed that by making his initial investment, he could then rely on loans to prop-up the club and having it self-sustain itself through income it generated. Obviously he did not factor in relegation, his criminal case, freezing of assets and the options for acquiring liquidty drying up. Potent mix if ever there was one to lead a club into dangerous waters. An upside down pyramid would probably describe it best.

    There is no doubt that CY and PP will have some sort of back-up plan if CY gets sent down, whether it benefits the club remains to be seen. The ‘right’ new owners are much more important than just new owners.

    We really do need to back the team and management on Saturday – regardless.

    • Oldbluenose says:

      Atahualpa;, Loved your summing up mate, Very accurate indeed, So many variables to know exactly what can/will happen in the near future, !!.

      My thoughts on our youngsters are that — If they are selected for 1st,team duty, — L,C. talks to them first, and assures them that if they DO make a mistake, As long as their efforts and comitments are given, they will NOT get slated for making a mistake, [ surely that is how one learns ,?.].

      Just found out we have taken Robinson on board for 1, month, !!. Whether one likes the guy or not, ?. He is experianced and always was commited, !!!.

      • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

        Many thanks to you OBN.

        Can we really say that Butland will not be a wiser, more experienced and skillful keeper come the end of the season and he has played throughout the campaign?? The other youngsters can only benefit as well. The Blues fans will always appreciate hard-work, commitment and skill. Mistakes will be accepted exactly for what they are as long as the virtues are there.

        Robinson?? We will have to take him on-board as we simply do not have the options available to us. It shows that PP still will back LC and that can only be a good thing.

        • Oldbluenose says:

          Just had a read of a Bolton Blogger on Newsnow, !!. – Not very complimentary on Paul Robinson, [ ex Bolton ], In fact rather scathing of his defensive capabilities, — Does not bode well for us if true, ?.

          Also read a piece on teamtalk, [ B/ham section ] by my old mate Carthorse, [ long standing Blues fan ].
          The Huddersfield Chairman was scathing about L,C’s, capabilities, ????????????.

          • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

            It could be said that Robinson will be no more than a short-term stop-gap.

            The Huddersfield Chairman ought to acknowledge that they’ve just sold Rhodes for £8m and that is thanks due to LC. He also should know better than to have a pop at someone he himself appointed!!

            Only time will tell if LC and Blues have a future together.

  • PutneyDavid says:

    Can’t agree more.

    One thing Blues has learned in the last 15-20 years is stick by the manager – we are not and never have been a hire and fire club. That leads no where but down unless you have a billionaire owner..and we don’t!

  • Bluehobba says:

    Saturday cannot come quick enough for Lee Clark and the players to put right their abysmal performance. No one will put up with another “effort” like that and I bet there will be a performance similar to Forest and Bolton. Maybe wishful thinking but I am sure there will be some kind of reminder in the dressing room. They need to stand tall and be counted. Roll on Brighton!

  • Paulo says:

    Carson’s trial could last a long, long time ..!!!

  • SotonBlue says:

    I am suprised that there is no comment on either BCFC or the Mail website from any players – a statement of support for the manager from the captainfor instance would be very useful, if not expected in this situation?

    • DoctorD says:

      This is what Peter Lowenkrands had to say on twitter today:

      Wow the wind at training today was a joke! But a good hard training! Now going to do a photo shoot at St Andrews

  • Art Watson says:

    Almajir,

    What you described in your latest reply to my comments is exactly what will happen if Clark and his staff continue to manage the team.Lower gates will lead to quality players being sold anyway and god forbid should iwe get relegated to Division 1 .Who would want to take on the challenge of managing the club and what impact would this have on the club finances?
    Yes we will get someone but it won’t be a top class manager.You only have to look at the way L.C reacted during the post match interview on Sky-he was almost at breaking point.He lacks management maturity and the necessary experience to manage our team.If he was a strong manager he should have fired his coaching staff yesterday morning in response to the shocking display against Barnsley.

    The team needs strong leadership,firm direction and motivation not a manger who’s unble to handle a TV interview.For god sake what’s he like in the dressing room when he’s delivering his team talk following another bashing.

    Do you honestly believe Clark can turn this around?-I don’t and I hope he’s gone before Xmas and I’m sure he will be despite the financial constraints.

    Finally,This is not a personal attack on Clark and I wish the guy and his family a very happy life but he is out of his depth and taking the club I have supported for over 40 years into very dangerous waters with serious long term implications.My hope is the club will be sold soon and the new owners bring in their own team but as you quite rightly point out this wont happen over night.

    Sorry to have to disagree with you.

    Art.

    • almajir says:

      Art

      You are labouring under the misapprehension that I am defending Clark to the hilt. I’m not, there are concerns, even if I don’t think he should be sacked right now.

      However – and this you don’t seem to understand – the club simply cannot afford to sack him. They do not have the required money to do so. As previously stated, it’s all well and good saying it could cost us more in the long run but if you don’t have the required cash to do something, you can’t…

      I think we’re going to have accept Clark will be with us for the forseeable future.

  • Art Watson says:

    Almajir

    Thanks.

    Apart from death and paying taxes everything in live is negotiable.

    What type of contract is LC and his staff on?

    I’m sure PP could easily reach a compensation agreement which will suit both parties even if it means paying these guys off in installments over a lengthy period of time..This could be funded with the revenue from the missing thousands who at the moment are disalustiooned with what’s going.

    Are you also saying that if Blues are in the bottom 3 at Xmas we stil wont be in a financial position to pay these guys off?

    If this is the case,when will it be cost effective to get rid of them without a compensation package?

    I just can’t beleive that PP with his negotiation skills has backed the club into a one way street without an escape route especially given the circumstances of Clarks departure from Huddersfield.

    .

    • almajir says:

      You’d gamble on sacking a manager who has been in charge for nine competitive games to bring in someone who could be no better using a stake of future income that might well not happen?

  • Art Watson says:

    Will you still have the same opiniun if Blues are in the relegation zone come Xmas and LC is still the manager?

    • almajir says:

      depends on what Blue’s ownership situation is like.

      If it’s the status quo, then I don’t think my opinion will matter, we’ll be stuck with him

  • bluemaximus says:

    My god. I cant believe what I read sometimes. Everyone including myself was pi%$ed off on Saturdays performance. I myself, flew into an obscene tirade on twitter. But for gods sake, the Clarke Out brigade really need to take a step back, think about things (logically) and basically, shut the hell up.
    As much as I think the Blues are a laughing stock on many platforms, we cant go down the road of shotgun managers. That would be the final nail in the coffin of ridicule.
    The manager, ANY manager needs a MINIMUM of 1 season.

  • Art Watson says:

    Almajir ,

    New ownership is the only way forward as I just can’t see LC turning things around.

    Hopefully I’m wrong and please keep up the great work-it’s a great pleasure to read our postings.

  • bluenose08 says:

    I think lee clark will be hurting badly from that defeat on saturday more so than the fans. I like the rest of you was not happy with that level of performance from a blues team. We expect players to run their socks off for the club. As al has said we cant afford to get rid of lee clark so lets get behind him and the team and remember we support the club not individuals ! k.r.o.


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