Often Partisan

The Trials and Tribulations of Lee Clark – What I’ve Been Reading This Week

One thing I’ve noticed about the whole shenanigans about Lee Clark is that it has got a lot more people online talking about Blues. I thought I’d resurrect this occasional series to put together some of the better articles that deserve a wider audience and to bring some new voices to the debate.

One of the best things I’ve read in the last couple of days has come from a neutral perspective. This piece by Mike Holden which profiles Lee Clark nails one of his biggest problems I think he has at Blues – that he isn’t Chris Hughton. It makes the valid assertion that whilst Clark was keen to keep the best of what Hughton did last season he’s got to stamp his own mark on the team and lead them in his own way.

Incidentally, Best of the Bets also asked me a few questions via email, which are in this article here. Some of the questions I answered prior to the 5-0 drubbing by Barnsley and some after – see if you can guess which ones…

This piece on Joys and Sorrows was written by Lauren Round, and she is most definitely of the view that Clark is out of his depth. It will resonate with a few of the commenters here as she is critical of what is happening and talks about the lack of dedication on the player’s part.

Representing the Mambo is also a vociferous proponent of the sacking of Lee Clark. They disagree with the point I made that Blues can’t afford to sack Clark and contend that Blues cannot afford NOT to sack Clark. RtM is keen to note Clark’s record in the transfer market and points to the signings of players like Hayden Mullins as symptomatic of the problems Blues are facing on the pitch.

It’s clear that there are a lot of unhappy people out there on the internet and I suspect that it won’t take too many more performances like the one against Barnsley for the backlash to reach the terraces. I only hope that the next three games bring the kind of performances that may at least think that there may be a chance of things going right this season. With Carson’s trial due to start in just under nine weeks the last thing Blues need is turmoil on the pitch as well as off it.

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46 Responses to “The Trials and Tribulations of Lee Clark – What I’ve Been Reading This Week”

  • Tim says:

    Blues won’t sack Clark in the near future. They can’t afford it.

    The team on Saturday contained too many potential problems: lack of full backs and a midfield either new to the club, returning from injury, or otherwise out of sorts. None of that really Clark’s fault. Sometimes teams get away with a line up like this, but occasionally you get punished if the visitors are on form. Blues (and Clark) got punished.

    I don’t think it’ll happen again.

    It was the worst Blues performance I’ve ever seen. But these occasions do happen – even to great teams. How many times have Man U been thrashed over the years? More than you think.

    • nicky wicky says:

      Tim if they don’t sack LC then blues could end up in division 1. The way they are playing the crowds are going to keep getting lower and lower!

      • ESONEULB says:

        They could end up there if they sack him as well… to be honest the problems are far greater than just sacking a manager….

        • They are greater than the manager, but he isn’t helping and appears to have no clue how to turn it around.

          Many thanks to Almajir for linking to my blog, especially as I was disagreeing with him in the piece I wrote! I had to go through and check the typos when I realised it was going to get a pile of extra hits!

          Many people have commented here and elsewhere that Clark needs to be given time to turn things around. Hand on heart, does anyone really think he’s going to? If not, then he needs to be dismissed as soon as possible.

          As I pointed out on my original piece, if we have more results like Saturday he will be on his bike in any case. I’m pretty sure that the financial barriers to getting rid of him will look a little less insuperable if he is taking us down.

          In life many things are impossible until they suddenly become inevitable…….

          • This comment that appeared under my piece from a Huddersfield fan is also worth a read:

            “Hes a bluffer. Talks a great game, couldnt defend to save his life. 50 players and 5 million quid still couldnt get us out of div3. Dean Hoyle sussed him. Legend in his own mind is our Lee. Ive never seen a team lose so many 2 goal advantages in my life. Awful midfield, and I think in the end was just throwing an eleven together and hoping it worked. This is also a man who omitted Jordan Rhodes in the play off final v Peterboro 18 months ago. Now even my wife knows him and she’d play him !!
            Get rid, he’ll send you down”

          • John says:

            Chris Hughton inspired all Bluenoses, with his quiet,unflappable replies, when being interviewed. He always appeared to be in control of the situation,even if we hadn’t won the game. He obviously had the same effect on the players. Unfortunately,Lee Clark does not possess this quality. He does not inspire me,so maybe,the players feel the same.

  • James Black says:

    The bit that struck me the most was the simple comment that Lee Clarke is not Chris Houghton. Correct his not so isnt it time we accepted that Houghton left for a premiership club and a bigger challenge and Clarke has took us on and lets give him time. I dont recall the start of last season being that fantastic either.
    Then they are going to say it should be Holloway. Well Holloway is happy enough where he is and never gave any indication he wanted to move from Blackpool so why go on as if he was turned down. Giving Blues fans praise (which frankly im not sure they deserve) does not make him the right man and just cuz he kissed the ego of some doesnt make him the right choice either.
    We have Lee Clarke. Right so lets get on with it get behind him, put the blame where it lies with everyone, club for some things, manager ok some bad decisions, players as they were the ones on the pitch that looked like they wanted to go home and also the fans that deserted us on mass not just now but even when we was doing ok in the premiership.
    I do hate blame gamers without mirrors.
    Answer, lets go forward and stop crying about those that dont want to be here anyway.

    • Shardendbluenose says:

      If I hear this tripe once more I will scream.

      Can you imagine a sales rep at John Lewis saying to a customer, “well I know you have been a loyal customer for 55 years but I am afraid our current line of vacuum cleaners are rubbish and you will just have to put up with it until we are taken over by WallMart..”….I don’t think so!

      Fans who think something is seriously wrong with Birmingham City should express their anger in whatever way they choose, including staying away. If you want to carry on attending the matches then that is your right and your choice but don’t bad mouth other fans for doing what is entirely logical and their choice.

  • poppa999 says:

    Next to matches could make or break our season. Brighton and Huddersfield are in good form and the big matches in the past have suited the Blues fighting mentality. This will show how big the manager is when the chips are down.

    • nicky wicky says:

      poppa the way they are playing at the moment you don’t know how these two matches will finish. they could be wins but they could just as easily be losses. The fans have lost faith in LC and have deserted him in droves. I hope blues win but i am not sure he knows what he is doing?

  • Munch_kin says:

    It will be a test on Saturday and interesting to see what attitude the players come out with after the hammering last weekend. You would hope they would come out with pride in their club and fighting for a win and not with a defeatist attitude to roll over and allow another beating. They are the 11 out there and have a faithful, loyal and supportive fan base behind them which they need to use to their advantage and win those blues hearts back and their attitude and eagerness must be shown the second they walk out onto that pitch at the weekend – they must come out ready for battle and fight for the win no matter if it be Brighton, Man U or Tamworth in front of them! Whilst Clark does seem eager, enthusiastic and willing in general and ready to take the blame for the Barnsley fiasco and other results he is obviously struggling somewhat and he hasn’t got it right yet….he needs the players to play and he needs to believe in himself. Reading the post match reports he seems always to be apologising, yes he needed to after Barsey but he is the leader and we need to see that and he can win the players and fans over. The gates are low and the many thousand’s of Blue Noses who turned up at Wembley are deserting St Andrews, many teams say it is a fortress and they hate coming and the crowd are the 12th man – We as fans need to make that fortress again and get behind them as the 12th man again rather than sitting in a corner licking our wounds. The 12th man had stayed in the pub to watch it on tv last weekend…

  • ChrisG says:

    I’ve always said that a manager is only as good as his backroom staff, for example look at a couple of previous Blues managers, when Bruce lost Bowen & brought in Black we weren’t the same, Mcleish when he lost Aitken & brought in Grant, same out come, but I think in this instance LC would be better off without his backroom boys & look to bringing in “better” replacements, I remember when LC took over in the summer several Huddersfield fans posting on Blues forums that Terry Mac was pretty much a waste of space on the training field & only good for telling jokes around the camp, if this is this case we’re in serious trouble as he is also pretty invisible on matchdays i’ve noticed, LC needs the backing of a tactition as he sometimes looks a little lost for what to do next when things aren’y going as planned, so maybe LC for his own sake needs to re-address things & sooner rather than later

    • Bluebird says:

      Well said Chris!
      This is a drum that I’ve been banging on the Forums for a few weeks now –
      McD & Faz are yesterday’s men and with no disrespect intended, how can a couple of geriatrics impress, convince and teach a team of youthful men how to play a modern game?
      What do they know about modern coaching and tactics?
      Can you imagine those two at any top flight Club?
      It’s like they are LC’s comfort blanket because he has fears about standing on his own….
      Already the signs are there that our Team is beginning to play slower, react slower and mirror the pace of those who train and coach them….
      Even Dave Watson who was initially prepared to stay at Blues decided eventually to listen to the overtures of CH; surely if following CH was his intent then he would have left straight away.
      He obviously stayed originally out of loyalty to Blues and waited to see how the new regime operated – then realised that he also had a career that could be influenced by those with whom he chose to associate!

      • Blue in Spain says:

        Yeh you’re right Roy Hodgson and Sir Alex should resign right now! These OAPs.. who the feck do they think they are!

        • Bluebird says:

          Fergie & Hodgson have young coaches and trainers who have studied the modern game –
          You’ve mentioned mature Managers and you’re right because you need a wise head for strategy –
          But for coaching and training you need young, enthusiastic, highly motivated, innovative guys –
          Cue Arsene Wenger – just replaced 63yrs old Pat Rice with the 49yrs old Steve Bould –
          Have you noticed any difference this Season in the style of Arsenal’s play?
          And this comment comes from a 65yr old just in case you thought I was biased!

  • PCTVOR says:

    We are where we are and it is what it is.

    It’s the ridiculous expectations of some that concern me.

    Leek Lark aint Harry Potter, mid table is the most we can hope for but others were saying automatic promotion just cos we’d signed Ambrose and Mullins. We’re broke, and for the moment are going nowhere so accept it and get behind the team. If you’re just gonna turn up and boo then stay at home.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    LC is really an easy scapegoat and has inherited the miserable situation of the CY situation, no funding and an unfortunate run of injuries. Can you imagine starting a new job with these problems and being expected to be performing at the highest level immediately? It’s just not going to happen people. I’m not saying that LC would be my first choice manager, the reality is that he was probably the best of what was available within our means. I do hope that LC turns things round and there have been some encouraging performances such as Bolton but with a depleated defence and the backgound issues then he’ll do very well to keep us mid table. I just hope that the sale of the club can be completed asap and that the buyer has the best intentions of the club at heart i.e. no repeat of the Kumars, Wheldon’s or potential Italian playboys who would be even worse than CY.

  • Mickey07 says:

    Round and round and round we go without anything positive happening to our club,its just dragging on all the time each and everyday……the silence is deafing yet again from pannu and yeung…they hold us with contempt.

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    Expectation is the key word –

    If the expectation is Premiership football , then we have to accept that the following are just not good enough to acheive that ..


    There are too many teams in this division who do all the above better than us ,
    so realistically we need to hang onto our Championship status , & hope to entice energetic new owners who will begin the process of rebuilding our proud club….

  • surreybluenose says:

    Is Haydn Mullins the new Damien Johnson or the new Keith Fahey of 2 years ago, who can never do anything right? On Saturday, as Colin Tattum noted, Barnsley waltzed through the middle of our midfield. Forest didn’t do that nor did Bolton. In these 2 matches it was thought that we had turned the corner and showing some improvement. The difference? Mullins and Spector in midfield giving some cover to the defence. By 25 minutes of last Saturday’s game they were at full back with Fahey and Ambrose in midfield. Mullins might not be fashionable but at central midfield he can do a job. In the Forest and Bolton matches we conceded 3 goals. 1 a great piece of individual skill by Cox,1 from a mistake by Ibanez and 1 direct from a free kick given away by Caldwell. If Mullins plays at central midfield on Saturday it’s time to cut him some slack.It might not be a fashionable thing to say but in the absence of anyone else Mullins should play central midfield on Saturday with Spector.

  • We should not be judging anybody; manager, players, fans, Carson Yeung, Peter Pannu, the backroom staff, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, the man who went to mow or his dog at the present time for our troubles. Everybody and I mean everybody has fallen well below the standards we have all set for ourselves. No, all men should be judged on the manner in which they rise to their feet! It is the response to the worst defeat and performance I have witnessed in nearly 50 years that I will be looking for on Saturday, the Tuesday after and the Saturday after that. Then I think we will have a fair idea of where we are and where we are headed. Regardless, KRO SOTV.

  • Mark Y says:

    I am worried as we have not played any teams as yet in the top 10 in the championship and got stuffed by Coventry. Unfortunately, there is no evidence currently that LC or his back up team have the required nouse to get near to a play off place. I think that part of the problem is that he is following in the footsteps of a very shrewd and intelligent manager CH and the players realise LC is not up to the same level. CH managed to retain the same defensive solidity created by McLeish whist establishing passing game. Even if you exclude the Barnsley debacle it is clear that we are completely unbalanced and disjointed going forward. Too many attacking midfielders that aren’t blending together and no one offering a balance on the left like Beasejour and Townsend offered last season. Zigic, Lovenkrans Redmond and Morrison don’t know where they fit in. The loss of 3 defenders during the Bolton and Barnsley games was very unlucky and worsened our prospects further. In summary we have got problems all over the pitch and the fixtures are going to get a lot tougher now. LC needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat quickly as I see a relegation battle being a more likely scenario than a play off challenge. Add to that there is no chance of LC being sacked until the ownership issue is sorted. I’m praying for a shock at Brighton.

  • carsonyeung says:

    The most erudite and informative discussion on this has taken place on the Singing the Blues website.

  • sam says:

    Fair play to those hardy souls who ll travel to Brighton!
    Too early to hang out LC yet, KRO

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    How is it possible sacking LC and his team without creating more chaos and upheaval??
    We do not have the funds, nobody suitable is out- there who would want to manage a club with such circumstances and this would mean yet again a new team coming in creating their own environment and wanting time and patience to implement their ‘plans’.

    I believe it’s a bit harsh to think we’ll get relegated because of LC. Maybe we will not get promoted; that is an entirely different matter. We will have to give him the opportunity to turn things around and make improvements to the way the team are performing. Look, amongst the reasons CH may have moved to Norwich for, it could well be that he felt it would be hard to replicate the efforts of last season without major investment. Can anyone honestly say that Mullins and Ambrose were going to be the difference between being promoted to the EPL or not??

    If anything, LC could be accused of trying too hard to do things like CH and creating the same vibe and atmosphere. How many of us would like to go into a new employent position and be constantly reminded about the previous incumbent’s great spell in charge?? He needs time, some patience and a bit of understanding to try and influence his way of doing things. As well as Terry Mac and Fazackerley, he has also brought in Watson to work with the first-team and he has got good previous playing experience and will no doubt influence the defence in due time.

    Injuries have not helped and with Caddis and Murphy out, it will be hard to sustain any sort of regular pattern in the first team. It is obvious the midfield are not functioning as well as could or should be expected, but surely this is visible to LC and his team as well and he will need to put it right.

    The shadow of CY’s legal situation is hanging over the club and has done since his arrest. What we can do to influence that is minimal at best. All we can do is hope that performances pick up and results start going our way soon. Even now, a couple of wins will see you steam up the table and a couple of reverses shoot down it. We cannot judge yet whether we stand a good chance of being in the shake-up at the end of the season. LC knew his brief when he took the position, we have to have the good judgement and nous to let him try and achieve it in a reasonable timeframe.

    • Oldbluenose says:

      Atahualpa, mate;, I follow, and agree in princip;e your views, Big trouble is that L,C. does not inspire confidence to make the breakthrough we need, !!.

      One thought that has crossed my mind lately, is that possibly it is the Back-up staff, [ Mc,D. and Fazackerly ], who may be the major millstones, ?.

      Oh,!!. to be a fly-on-the-wall att wast hills, to see and hear what goes on there, ?.

      • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:


        LC needs to summon the confidence and have his staff prepare the team for the matches in the correct way. It really cannot come from elsewhere. If there is a problem(s), they need to iron it out amongst themselves.

        One thing is for sure, we cannot continue with the way things are at present.

  • Marc says:

    With the injury situation, (now with King and Mullins suffering from flu) according to sources i can see Clark going with the following and i hope he does, For me Its much of a muchness with Ibanez or Caldwell both are the slowest central defenders ive seen in a long time, Elliott was one of the most shocking last time out.

    Spector RB
    Gordon LB
    Davies CB
    Ibanez CB
    Gomis CM
    Fahey CM
    Burke RM
    Redmond LM (Cutting in)
    Zigic CF
    Lovenkrands CF

  • Marc says:

    Oh yes so he is, looks like Caldwell then, but imo he has been very very poor so far, one of the worst culprits

  • crotcher88 says:

    chubawamba cums to mind ae least i hope so cum on blues

  • blueyork says:

    Can’t post about Blues yet, all this hullaballoo is doing me in

  • danny says:

    All will be revealed on Saturday
    Will the Players up their game and play for LC
    Will the Players up their game and play for the Fans
    Will the Players up their game and play for pride
    Win Lose or Draw we need to see a commited performance
    If they dont all will be revealed and LC will have to GO

  • Kev jones says:

    I just want to see football played the way it should be which is keeping hold of it for a start:) our possession on the the ball is alarming to say the least. On that respect your right in saying he is no CH and do hope LC “soon” rarther than later gets blues in to at least sum sort of consistency and togetherness from which they can build from, time will tell. Also is blaming LC for the players to simply hide behind a good idea?

  • Clark aint got it.
    Barnsley problems were structural and half time team talk would have been vital.
    16 mill this year in parachute payments.
    8 mill next season.
    This season is crunch…Chinese are out of cash.
    Last season promotion was absolutely vital.We palyed too many games.
    WOLVES cup win was killer game.
    Chinese cannot and will not change manager.
    McCarthy would get us out of it.
    Even Kevin Blackwell just appointed by Bury would do it also…..not LC and dickhead McDermott friend of other dickhead Mcnamanan.

  • Kimberley Blue says:

    If you had the choice now which of the 3 following managers would you pick ?
    Steve Bruce
    Alex McLeish
    Lee Clarke
    My choice would be Mcleish

  • Tonytiler says:

    I can see Clarke playing the 4-5-1 at Brighton. He needs to bring some energy into the centre of the park. Either Gomas or ravel. This may save us from another heavy defeat. My team would be butland , Robinson ,Davies ,Caldwell , Spector. Mullins , gomas , fahey , ravel , Burke , zigic. . But what do I know. ?

  • Kev jones says:

    As Birmingham City FC 1875 goes we should be thick skinned from all this by now:) so lets all get behind them regardless.

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