Often Partisan

Pace, Age and Underinvestment

One of the most important things in a football team these days is pace. Blues lack pace – especially at the back and they suffered badly for it on Saturday as Sone Aluko swiftly breached the creaking Blues defence twice to score. However, it’s struck me that the lack of pace in the Blues side isn’t the cause of Blues woes; it’s an effect of a much deeper malaise.

Before anyone starts, this piece isn’t being written to defend or attack Lee Clark. I think it would be fair to say that Clark has his faults and that he’s not managed the team as effectively as one might have hoped this year but I also believe that there is a lot of problems with Blues that run deeper than Clark and whatever happens – takeover, change of management etc – will need to be addressed if Blues are to rise once more.

I will be honest and say that these thoughts were sparked by a conversation I had with Colin Tattum post-match, where I said and Colin agreed that whilst Blues did have a creaky defence I didn’t actually see anyone fit who could have changed things pace-wise. As Tatts points out, one of the chief problems within the team is the age of the players – we have lots of players who are 30+ and are in the twilight of their careers and Blues are playing a few teenagers who are just starting out; there aren’t many players at Blues within their peak years

Take Saturday’s team as an example. Of the thirteen players who played some part in the game, only three were in their twenties (Spector, Murphy and Burke); six were 30+ (Caldwell, Robinson, Mullins, Elliott, King and Zigic) and there were four teenagers (Butland, Morrison, Redmond and Hancox). What that gives us is a team that is full of experience and raw youthful energy but not much in the way of players at the peak of their game. In the squad only just over one third (11) of the players are in their 20s (which includes Akwasi Asante who was 20 in September and Ben Gordon who is 21) whilst there are 11 players in their 30s.

I think this is indicative of where Blues are as a team; of the last 28 signings Blues have made only three (Elliott, Ibanez and Ambrose) have involved a transfer fee. The club has had to bring in players on Bosmans, loans and short-term contracts because there has not been the money to do otherwise and unfortunately unless a takeover or serious investment comes in this is only going to get worse.

What worries me is historical precedent. In 1980 Blues signed David Langan for £350,000 – a record that stood for 14 years. Whilst it’s not necessary to break a transfer record with every signing as time went on it was indicative of the money worries that Blues went through and it wasn’t until December 1994 and the £800,000 signing of Ricky Otto that that record was broken. During that time of low investment Blues yo-yoed between the top two divisions before finally going down for a long period of time in 1986, taking sixteen years to regain top flight status. To me, that period of under-investment helped cement Blues’ fate in the lower leagues and the worry is we’re heading into a similar period of under-investment with similar consequences.

Before anyone says it, I’m not an advocate of spending money willy-nilly. I think (and have posted before on these pages) that spending money extravagantly is not necessarily the answer. Whilst I don’t think people can deny that Carson Yeung didn’t put the money in (Zigic alone has cost Blues something like £14million in transfer fee and wages etc already) I think there were some deals done that weren’t clever – such as giving a 30+ Zigic a four year contract on £50k per week with little to no resale value if things went wrong. The next owner of Birmingham City needs to be aware that the squad needs to be rebuilt over the next couple of years and I hope will think about it and bring in players who are of an age whereby with success they can move on for more than we pay for them to enable the club to continually improve.

To go back to the beginning, the lack of pace within the side isn’t the cause of Blues’ failure at the moment – it’s the result of a year and a half without money from it’s owner forcing the club and it’s successive managers to root around the bargain bin for players to bring into the side. The continued problems at the very top of the club could well continue to be the undoing of it and for me, the onus is on Carson Yeung and Peter Pannu now to bring in money to the club by either bringing a new investor online or selling it tout de suite before they truly sink it.

 

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85 Responses to “Pace, Age and Underinvestment”

  • kentucky blue says:

    Sad but true

  • James Black says:

    Al, the court case is near, i really don’t believe that any takeover is happening in reality and by the way the potential buyers are blabbing nonsense and using the media to further their aims, i think they are not the answer. More of the same if you ask me. I think we just got to hold on. Probably till after the court case. Not cheerful i know but we simply got to knuckle down to it, stop making scapegoats as whats the point. Its gonna be a long and rocky road for a long time yet. So for that reason, more than ever, lets get behind this ageing squad and support Lee Clarke as the idiots calling for his sacking are doing more harm than anything and bringing us all down with pointless nonsense. Clarke is getting there with few tools in his toolbox. As for the idiots that thought that we was gonna fly into the prem this year, well return to earth please. I know you cant Al and rightly you wouldn’t delete comments based on opinion only, but i wish certain commenters would simply go away. Some real idiots demanding sacking Clarke and replacing him with who? Nobody wanted the job if i recall but it seems many didn’t notice that. Clarke did, and he wanted it passionately. get behind him and i know we will be ok soon, not promoted, but the only realistic goal this year is to ride out this season and try and develope. How can we do that with people demanding the head of Lee. Negatives don’t help, Negatives without answers are just pathetic. I’m backing Clarke all the way and im not wasting time looking for a scapegoat. Good fans are worth 9 points a season, so please for those pulling us down with mindless moans and blaming a mechanic without a spanner, just fight with the rest of us till we have rode this through. We will get there in the end. Only point to my comment is that negative people are making the whole situation worse. Most here on this site are aware of reality, and are showing a great attitude to our adversity. Nego’s time to be quiet now.

    • Blue in Spain says:

      Good Post James, and spot on as usual Al.

    • Oldbluenose says:

      James;, A well thought out and presented piece, We need to come to grips with reality, Unless we are incredibly lucky in the next month or so, and DO attract some ” decent owner “, [ or Investment, ].

      We have to accept that we will NOT be aiming for promotion, but Survival in the Championship, !!!!.

    • James says:

      Spot on James – don’t see what’s to be gained from attacking Clarke

      KRO

    • Blue blood says:

      As I’m a firm believer in being positive , I agree with most of your post, but where do u draw the line between positivity & reality, we all have to learn a trade but not at the expense of our beloved club, instead of experimenting with the formations & best 11, why didn’t he stick to what he said when he signed, ” I’m not gonna change much from where chris left off,” I understand the injury debacle, swapping & changing can’t be helped, if LC ain’t careful we will be in the division below, where he made his name, it’s evident in his formation selections, FIX UP ASAP

    • Art Watson says:

      Why do you consider anyone with a different opinion to you to be an idiot.?

      Perhaps they are more knowledgeable than you and you could learn from them.

      Or maybe they could learn from you without being called idiots.

  • RamMan1977 says:

    Agreed, spot on Al and James. Sick to the back teeth of unrealistic supporters, who appear to live in a different world. Never has the word “United” been more applicable to Blues on all fronts.

  • tc says:

    Clarke isn’t a merchanic without any spanners,he’s a chicken without a head running around the courtyard .

  • Jamie T says:

    Did Chris Hughton not have a very similar squad last year with the same lack of pace though?….

    • almajir says:

      Jamie

      It’s not about Clark v Hughton though.

      I guarantee without investment there will be continual stagnation within the team and it’ll get worse… much like the team of the late eighties and early nineties gradually nosedived in quality until we were in the third tier.

      • Jamie T says:

        Oh I agree with your point that over time we will struggle, but my point is why has it nosedived so quickly from last season? My opinion is that it can only be management, training and general motivation of the players we already have.

        We all know there is no point in sacking LC as until (if) a takeover happens, however it is down to him that we are in the position now, the future is a different matter altogether.

        KRO

  • Blueboy88 says:

    I agree Almajir.

    Although in a Non Vintage Championship season full of mediorce sides , BCFC still IMO have enough quality within the squad to make a sustained challenge for a play off place.

    But I would disagree with the “it all going to be alright brigade” , who philosphy is , as long as we
    shelter from the storm for a little bit longer , the sun will miraculously come out to shine again.

    BCFC’s long-term future is now seriously in the balance.

    We are 8-10 weeks from meltdown.
    If no new buyer is found the Butlands & Redmonds will be sold in January , & not for 10-12 million ,
    a) nobody will pay it & b) those sort of deals are financed over years , with staged repayments .
    BIHL want cash now , so the fees will be more likely 2-3 million.

    In summary , We have enough quality to have a good go in this division atm.
    With a couple of additions in January we would definetly be good enough.
    However a firesale in January will put relegation firmly back on the menu ,
    & indeed the clubs long term future

  • Gwynfor says:

    Brilliant post James I agree with you 100% these idiots calling for Clarke to be sacked need to get real and support him and the team. KRO

  • walker says:

    I agree with this statment although I just single out 2 players who I class as liabilities. Caldwell and mullins for some reason seem untouchable under clark. People keep sayin yes but calwell was a rock last season. I would say more consistantly average and did a job for us, now he is being found out big time. One shining light for me in hancox who came on and put in 2 excellent crosses. this guy could be a big player for us i the future.

    For me at the moment I would be more inclined to keep redmond away from the squad for a shirt while. He has been poor and loses the ball too many times. We paid 750k for ambrose so now that lita has gone back why not play him behind king. Zigic has done a job for us but he puts allot of pressure on king to do all the running and traking back.

    If im honest ive written this reason off (and wasted another £420 on a season ticket) and enough points to save us from the drop and if we were to go into liquidation the 10 points loss wouldnt also relegate us.

  • Art Watson says:

    Listening to the supporters who continue to slate those who they assume to have negative views is becoming tedious.Perhaps they should understand that I and many others feel just as passionately as they do about the club but are not prepared to sit back and watch the systematic distruction of our club without constructivly voicing an opinion.Some may not like what I say about Clark but its only my opinion and its nothing personal.

    I have supported Blues for over 50 years and this follows a family tradition.The club is very much part of my life and I only want the club to be successful-this means wanting to win every game and eventually playing premiership football.

    It’s being ambition and not excepting second best.

    • Blue in Spain says:

      And listening to your negative comments is tedious and boring to say the least. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, yours really bores me, but you’re still entitled to it, as are all the positive supporters!

  • Parisblue says:

    I don’t understand the sentence with the double negative beginning “Whilst I don’t think people can deny…….” Are you tryng to say he did or did not invest? Your American English is often incomprehensible to me I’m afraid!

  • Kaje says:

    It’s very easy to say we’re stuck with Bosman signings for now, and so restricted to old and past it players.

    But…

    Aluko was a freebie and would have jumped at the chance to come back to the club he loves. There were a few other decent younger players available, too, instead we went with Dad’s Army.

  • Mark R says:

    Good thoughtful post as always, although I must say on this occassion I think the issue specifically of overaged players been a root cause of our current problems is a red herring.

    It seems no one in football can ever agree on the issue of youth v experience and this seems to be the case here too. I have always been a strong beliver in the cliche of ‘good enough, old enough’and I can’t see any reason why this shouldnt apply to Blues too….and for those players who are +30 at Blues well (ie just cos they are over 30 this shouldnt affect their place in the team).

    If you look at the current facts. King is our outstanding player this season, we would be in real trouble without him, Carr has been one of our best players the last 2-3 seasons and Burke (player of the season last year) is hardly just out of school.

    In contrast, Redmond, Butland and Morrison have struggled for consistency and impact this season, so where’s the credibility in the opinion that a youthful Blues would be higher in the table right now?

    I am not against blooding young players, in fact I’m a very strong advocate but I have always believed lots of hot air has been talked on the importance of a player’s age ..and this works both ways for me, ie if King is banging in the goals, who cares if he is 32+ and if Butland is making mistakes, he needs to be replaced by Doyle etc (vice vera applies too of course!)

    So, forget the players ages, what Blues need to do is pick the BEST 11 available now, fine tune the training in the week and have them prepared and motivated for the next game…and that’s ALL down to the management.

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    Just keeping on an even keel is getting pretty precarious for Blues as a club.

    If CY and PP are determined to hold on until they get the sale price they desire, surely they ought to now be exploring possibilities of getting more funding into the club. Even getting the overdraft re-instated by the bank would be desirable. Soon we will start to go backwards in terms of development, staffing and spirit. Nothing is going to happen before CY’s trial now and I still believe depending on the outcome, it is then we will get a truer picture of what direction we will take.

    The uncertainty really is depressing and on Saturday again I noticed a block (No 39) in the Kop which has started to ‘rival’ itself against the Tilton and Forza Blues in the GM. We seem to take pleasure these days in arguing against one another and ‘picking’ for and against camps. Not good.

    I would dare to suggest that in this delicate stage we are in, if we can possibly sell one player who will fetch a decent fee – not Butland – important to the team and his stock will more than likely rise with time – and this money then be re-invested in two or three good championship players who are available, then it will be a worthwhile gamble. Even if we can get in the region of £4m + for Redmond I would agree to it. Ideally we would keep him for a good few years yet and let him develop and make his mark on the first-team. But we do not live in ideal times at the moment. If one of the Premiership teams come in for him, Blues should let him go and hopefully put a clause in the contract for a sell-on fee. The only problem I would see possibly entering into the equation is, if it started unsettling others in the team. Something needs to be done to arrest the feeling of despondency which seems to be slowly engulfing the club.

    I still believe that LC is as frustrated as the rest of us albeit in a better position to deal with the issues we face. Still, if he were allowed to get a couple of ‘better’ propositions into the team, I still wish to think it is all to play for.

    The only way we will ensure our boat does not sink, is to ensure that those on the tiller cannot swim.

  • sam says:

    What struck me Saturday was the lack of gambling in the box for Zigic’s flick ons. A Bowyer or Philips would have thrived, were also crap for throw ins, no inventiveness or ancipation, why have Zigic and not use for near post flicks on we had the opportunity 3 time seasilt Saturday and wasted them with play breaking down, past can be amended on the training ground but other issues can.

  • AR says:

    I am not a “Clark out” supporter but I think Jamie T made a reasonable point when he said that we had a very similar team (no Mutch or Myhill now) to last year, so why has the lack of pace now become the focus of our troubles? It’s not trying to compare managers but trying to ask a sensible question. Though there is obviously a lack of pace in the team (excepting Redmond), I feel we have conceded goals because we don’t have a strong enough midfielder sitting in front of the defence; and though we would all like a fast attacker we haven’t done badly in that area without one. I think for once, Almajir you went in too harshly & didn’t appear to take in Jamie T’s thrust.

    • Blue in Spain says:

      No Mutch, Myhill, Beausejour, Ridgewell, N’Daw, Ridgewell, Carr, Davies, Fahey, but apart from those 9 it’s the same side.

      • Blueboy88 says:

        Ridgewell ….You can say that again…

      • Chris Smith says:

        To be fair, Mutch couldn’t pass and couldn’t dribble. there’s only so far you can go if you chip and run pretty much exclusively.

      • Kaje says:

        No Mutch, Myhill, Beausejour, Ridgewell, N’Daw, Ridgewell, Carr, Davies, Fahey, but apart from those 9 it’s the same side.

        Mutch, Daw and Myhill – granted. Though we had supposedly replaced the first two with Ambrose and Mullins.

        Ridgewell barely played before going to Baggies.
        Carr was in and out for most of last season, Spector played in his position for large parts.
        Davies is injured, yep, but he’s also played in some awful performances this season.
        Fahey – He played in some poor performances this season.
        Beausejour went in JANUARY and we were still decent under Hughton after that.

        So you can only really have three of those, I’m afraid. It’s still a LARGELY unchanged squad.

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Almajir;, Two things in your piece struck me, !!.

    1, It is not as much, the lack of pace in the centre defence, [ though bad ], but that we are defending far too high, which then highlights that missing lack of pace, ?.

    2, Your aluding to the stupid contract of Zigic,!!. [ Not knocking him, as I believe he will help us ], but that it raises the spectre of Paladini, doing his Q,P,R. signings of dross, on long contracts, !!.

    The very point [ I believe ] you wre making, ?. Management needs to be very careful of signings, especially when money is non-existant, !!.

  • MERRH says:

    Sorry lads but it is about hughton v Clark, and the way they conduct themselves on and off the pitch, at a time of crisis hughton still seemed in control, and turnt up to match interviews !!! Clark is out of depth by miles, blues last season use the keeper And centre backs as ball players under Clark it kick it into the stands and panic not controlling the game, lee Clark promised high tempo attacking football without pace ? To the armchair supports ? Would you turn up to work without a plan of management for the week to come ? Regardless of what is happening behide the club doors ?

    • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

      Clark is out of depth by miles?

      3 points off mid table

      We created more chances Saturday than for ages.

      Read Dans piece ‘of the last 28 signings Blues have made only three (Elliott, Ibanez and Ambrose) have involved a transfer fee’ I really wonder what people were expecting this season?

    • Blue blood says:

      Agree totally

    • Agent McLeish says:

      Why do people keep comparing LC to CH??? CH has gone. Get over it people.

  • SOLBLUE says:

    We keep talking about the threat of PP staging a fire sale in Januray if no takeover has been agreed, but in truth looking at the performances of the players that we have which of them are clubs going to want and be willing to pay a meaningful fee for?

    At this point I would suspect only really Butland who has improved greatly since the start of the season, King who’s goal tally would appeal and possibly Burke who shows enough glimpses of the player he looked last year to take a punt on. But of these I would suspect that only Butland (the one most agree we really need to keep) would command anything like a fee worth talking about.

    Zigic would probably be one that the club would like off the books, and at the money he costs us you can see why, but we look a team with a much better shjape when he does play and so long as we persist with long ball football I would say that we need to keep him, if we can afford to.

    One proble we may have with keeping Butland is whether he willl want to stay pas January, would you want to keep goal behind our back 4 at the moment?

  • Terry says:

    Hughton v Clark? OK then. Hughton over achieved with a group of players who had nothing to lose, were backed by supporters due to Europe. Those same players have either been injured, lost form and or can’t handle the current pressure of the situation. Hughton bailed out because he knew what was coming and didn’t want to tarnish his reputation to get a stable job for a lot more money. Clark is a young manager learning his way still. He cost us nothing like Hughton and he has less money to work with, is forced to take people on month to month and Caldwell etc have got a year older and can’t recapture what the did last year. What is the point in him turning up to do an interview if he can’t speak? And can you give me a rational agrument why Clark is ‘out of his depth by miles’? I agree with Almajir, a great piece and he way the club is run is what needs to change and investment

    • MERRH says:

      Hughton left because the board failed to back him and a better or profitable club came along you can’t knock him for that ? How many years contract did he sign ? I think lee Clark aready shipped in more goal then hughton did all season, lose of voice ? Shouting bollock out hughton had full confidence and knows what to expect ? At lest mcleash made blues repesctable .

  • MERRH says:

    Paul can you name me a game that you are fully convinced that blues deserved the victory ? And did he not have the backing of a million or billionaire own at Huddersfield and still failed to achieve promotion ? It’s not about buying its about planning and managing what you got effectively? And also expecting decent football hope and promises to be kept at 30 pound a ticket ?

  • Louise says:

    We all have our own opinions on Lee Clark and because I want him out, it doesn’t make me any less a supporter than anyone else. I’ve paid for my season ticket and so I’m entitled to have my say.
    All I know is all these excuses being banded around are wearing thin, it stops with the manager.
    There were problems with the board last season, but Hughton managed to motivate the players. He also had very little to spend, but managed to bring in players that strengthened the team.
    We are shocking at home, a place where last season we were strong, away teams must look forward to playing at St. Andrews this season.
    We’ve lost more games than we’ve won, and we’re currently sitting 17th in the table on 20 points from 17 games. Just that in itself should set alarm bells ringing.
    If the current board keep Clark, they’ll stand to lose more in ticket revenue than the cost to pay him and his backroom staff the clause fee. Unfortunately I can only see the attendances getting worse, fans are sick of the football being served up.

    I’ll never slate someone for having a different opinion to me, but to be called an idiot for having a different opinion is just ludicrous. I will not back a manager that’s taking us to league one.
    Get him out before its too late, the damage he’s causing is gonna take years to repair.

  • The Flying Pig says:

    Pace is undoubtedly an issue and it’s hard to argue with the well-reasoned piece here. I would add that we have to look closely at the reliance on loan signings over the past few years [pre-relegation] as being a factor in our current predicament. Whilst i think that loanees do have a place, an over-reliance does little to enhance the resources of the club in the longer-term – what damage did hleb and Bentley do to our finances, what with the loan fees and wages. further whilst Obafemi has, forever, the freedom of Small Heath and my undying gratitude, he was an expensive patient in the treatment room

    We missed Davies on Saturday; whilst he’s not lightning quick, he has the pace to bail us out of problems such as Saturday. i agree with Oldbluenose that we play a risky game defending a high line when we have problems with pace.

    i do think the manager has to drop Caldwell, he is a liability; i’ve got some reservations about Robinson playing in the centre, but I thought he was MOM on Saturday and I’d rather see him or Pablo alongside Davies.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Really do get p***** off with the amount of commenters who readily call their fellow Bluenoses idiots because they dont agree with them. I agree with the comments about staying positive. I agree with the general observations about our commercial status. I agree with the general observations around Lee Clark and his management team and I also agree with a lot of the comment about our teams potential this season. I have lots to say about it. Problem is we are not in a situation where a groundswell of supporter reaction is going to make a jot of difference. If we keep saying that ineptitude prevails throughout the club, it wont make a jot of difference, as thing stand at the high level, we are a (not so) rich man’s toy. At the coal face we are a bunch of supporters who have been supporting the club for eons and right now, the ONLY way we can make a difference is to support the team. KRO.

  • prewarblue says:

    I just wonder what difference investment in the team would make now,,,,,I want Yeung & co out as badly as the next man,,,,but he is and was not the only member of the board to fail with investment when it is needed,,,,,,,what a difference that £8 mill that Xtep contract would have made that Hui pocketed and walked away with

  • roskoe says:

    People making “negative” comments are just voicing an opinion and their concerns for the football club they love. Lets not turn this into a “you aren’t real fans as you are negative” type of debate. Who is to say Blackburn fans weren’t real fans with all the Venkys out chants? The same could be said of the Villa fans with the anti Ellis (and Lerner) chants/demos. I’m not an advocate of sacking managers mid season, especially with no other candidates and after the manager has been working with his hands tied, and do feel we should give LC a chance. We are ALL blues fans and all have opinions, however we should ALL get behind the team when they are on the pitch, wether you back LC or not.

    James – I agree that fans can help the team, however where did you get that finite stat about 9 points a season from? Is it one of the 85% of stats that are made up?

    KRO

    • James Black says:

      Roskoe, Yes hands up i totally made it up, no stats available im afraid. But a fairly decent guess i thought. I’ve seen many a day in the past when 2-0 down at half time, the team pick up momentum, claw back a goal, and the fans have been a twelfth man and gained us points. I confess the 9 points is just an approximation.

  • AR says:

    Blue in Spain mentions Beausejour (half a season). How many games did N’Daw,Ridgewell & Carr play for us last season? Where does he think Davies & Fahey have gone? They’re still with us FGS. In addition we have got at least half a dozen new players from last season.

    • Blue in Spain says:

      You may or may not have heard that Davies is injured and fahey is on compassionate, so did he have them available Saturday?

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Interesting observation about no one in their prime. I would like to add no ball winner in the middle, poor in possession, poor passing, poor from set pieces.

    Whose fault is this? The tactics and buys have been poor as has the way the squad has been used. Any decent manager/coaching team would be able to see our shortcomings/ weaknesses and try to sort the problem. Unfortunately we’ve paid peanuts and got a management crew of monkeys. Can we really criticise a monkey for being a monkey? In a nutshell (no pun intended) we got a poor manager because we’re broke who in turn got in poor players and players in the wrong positions to where we needed players.

    While we can to a degree blame the quality of our signings on the owners and the finances as the likes of Caddis prove there are good players out there and there’s no excuses for not signing a left winger. If I come across as negative so be it and I don’t really care what you think.

    • MERRH says:

      Totally agree, nail on the head. With news interview’s praising hulls two strikers commenting on them being the best in there position in this league…. Jay Simpson and aloko Then sticking Caldwell on them who as fast as a milk floater .?

  • James Black says:

    By negative comments, i mean firstly comments that are unjust. Louise, yes i will admit you was one of a few that have been making ill informed and hostile to Clarke statements. Your claiming that different circumstances will not have any bearing on events. This is not last year, this is 2012. Comparisons you cannot make. Are we in Europe this year? no. Houghton walked into a club that had just won a cup, and had Europe as a bonus, (and some was calling it a distraction). Clarke has a totally different situation to manage. And Louise, which door was the great managers of football knocking down for the job. Let the guy do his job. Slag him after relegation if you want, but i don’t think you will get that opportunity as were going to be mid table. I stick to my point and OK although the term idiots was meant generally and not personally, i still say that even thinking about sacking Clarke is idiotic. Your making more of it then it is. We was looking terrible up to a few games ago. Right now i would say theirs good signs. Considering injuries too. So what damned point is their in sacking anyone at this time. I wonder what those Man Utd fans that wanted Ferguson out have to say now. Man Utd even seemed to of lost the plot way back then. It seemed for a long time Ferguson was taking them backward. That was in the year 900BC, his still there 2012.

  • James Black says:

    Also in reply about attendances going down all because of Clarke. Well Saturday had over 17,000. Some games when we was in the premiership even were as low as 21,000 on occasion. I don’t think Clarke is a factor in the attendances. We are not a well supported club as regards numbers. That was going on in the premiership. Couldn’t even sell out against the Villa i recall. 17,000 when were not doing too well and no camaraderie of Europe either to spice it up, ain’t bad considering. Don’t blame Clarke that we have a diminishing fan base, that’s been going on for years. I remember them that told Sullivan that if we get a new stadium, 40,000 wouldn’t be big enough. We barely ever sold out at 29,000 capacity. Not surprising chairman don’t listen to fans sometimes.

    • MERRH says:

      Over 17000 as it was kids for a quid and a former manager to try and get one over smart- ass last season averaged 20 000 atleast ? Don’t help going 3 down in front of a decent crowd ? Want a pillow for that armchair ?

  • Ryan15BCFC says:

    Gabriel Zakuani is our man for pace at the back, fast, strong, great tackler and been put up for transfer by Peterborough so he’d be on the cheap.

  • Louise says:

    James, how can you say my comments about Clark are ill informed??
    I’ve paid my money, I’m not happy, I’m entitled to show it. Just because I have a different view to you doesn’t mean you are right and you can shoot me down.
    Say what you like about me, I’m a big girl, I can take it, but do it without putting me down. Telling me what to say, do and think is just downright disrespectful.

    You’re entitled to your opinion as are the rest of us, lets just leave it at that!

    Apologies Almajir if I’ve upset anyone.

    • James Black says:

      Louse and Art. I can put it another way if you like which seems less personal. Sacking Clarke would be an idiotic thing to do when there is nobody there to take over and he hasn’t been given long enough to put his stamp on the team. I did not mean to single anyone out by saying the word idiots. It was not my intention to insult anyone directly, but i do believe that the calling for the head of Lee Clarke after not even half a season and no suitable replacement available, let alone the cost to the club, could be considered idiotic. I’m saying the same thing but wording it different so you cant play on my choice of words to make me out to be putting any individual down. I’m putting an outrageous viewpoint down.. You have the right to your opinion of course you do. I have the right to mine which is calling for the head of Clarke is idiotic. No insult intended to any individual, but how can i attack a viewpoint without suggesting that the people expressing that viewpoint. are not being too bright. Its just words and yes i know you have a right to your opinions, as i have a right to say that that viewpoint is not too clever.

      • Art Watson says:

        James,

        Your argument about sacking Clark is flaud as you do not know whether there is another manager wanting to take over from him.As for giving him time -take a look at his record at the Blues and also listen to what some Huddersfiield fans have previously written about his ability and management style.He is doing exactly what he did at Huddersfield and why was he fired?

        Finally it will come as no surprise that I also disagree with your comments on attendencies..Saturdays attendence(17000) was as a result of the very successful “kids for a quid “promotion without this you can expect gates of around 14000 and I do believe this to be linked to poor perform,lack of success and to a degree a protest against Clark

        Under Clark I can only see this getting worse as we forget the “play offs”and head towards relegation into Division 1.I understand the financial argument against sacking Clark but as many have previously pointed out “can we afford not to sack him”-that’s the big question!

        Once again this is just my opinion and I sincerely hope for the sake of the future of our great club that Clark sorts it out but frankly I can’t see him doing it and we should replace him now before its to late.

        • Oldbluenose says:

          Art;, I see a flaw in your statement, !!. You say it is cheaper in the long-run, to sack L,C, and his staff, ?. — Where do we find the money to pay them off, AND stay afloat this season, with NO investment coming in, ??.

          • Art Watson says:

            Oldbluenose.

            This is a very tough question to answer and to be frank I’m not certain I can.

            Hopefully we will have new owners soon who know doubt will decide Clarks future-if not Im afraid to say” we would have to sell one or two key players in order to pay him off and then start to rebuild the team with proper management.”.Improved gates and commercial receipts would also help to finance his exit.However my first plan would be to negotiate a pay off deal based on payment to be made at the end of this season thus giving the club time to refinance .I’m sure this would be acceptable to Clark without the need to drag his contract through the courts and know doubt he would see the benefits of this on a “take it or leave it basis.”

            I realise this is high risk but I can not see Clark turning things around and hopefully he will resign before long.

          • James Black says:

            Art just a quick question in the light of your comment regarding getting rid of Clarke. What im asking is who is this magical figure that will sweep into St Andrews and lift the league position as well as boost attendances? Just curious who this magic man is, maybe you have suggestions. A few months ago the job was available, but i didn’t see this magic man sending in his application.

        • James Black says:

          Art , i no longer live in the UK and was not aware that it was kids for a quid. So on that point OK i take your point. Attendances was slipping long ago way before Clarke, but i concede that a lowly league position isn’t helping. However would like to point out that not long ago people was complaining about ticket prices even though they are on par with other clubs. Be nice for people to acknowledge that the club have introduced kids for a quid. Not one compliment to the club for that from anyone yet many moans about ticket prices before. People should at least acknowledge that the club did their part by introducing kids for a quid.. Strangely though Art, you are correct in saying without it the gate would of been only 14000. Kids for a quid only brought in 3000 extra fans then. Like i said i think we have an attendance problem but acknowledge the lowly position is a factor too.

  • Art Watson says:

    James Black,

    I said in a previous post that calling loyal supporters idiots just relects on your ignorance and lack of knowledge.So please except other people’s view points without trying to flex your muscles or scoring a few brownie points..We can all learn something new every day and in my view Louise made some very very positive comments which you have endeavoured to belittle.

    No offence hopefully.

  • Wingman Blue says:

    Agree with Al, but not James. Injuries aside, the regular team lacks pace, cohesion, and above all morale. We no longer as Sam says have a Bowyer or Phillips to pounce on a loose ball and fire it home, and I said a year ago that if Beausejour went we’d struggle to make the play-offs, let alone gain promotion as he gave us cohesion in midfield. As Al says, empty pockets have prevented their replacement, but the lack of fighting spirit and the end of Fortress Stans has as much to do with lack of leadership and belief as anything else, and LC does not impart belief.

  • Art Watson says:

    My real concern is what will happen if the club fail to get new owners in time for the January transfer window.I think it goes without saying that financial issues will force the club to sell one or maybe two of our top players.

    Can you imagine where this team would be without Butland-King-Burke or Redmond ?

    You can almost predict the eventuality.!

  • andy says:

    Im sure everyone can see Birmingham City is in a complete mess from top to bottom and as each day passes it will get worse. The club desperately needs a new owner/owners right now and i for one am hoping the Paladini bid is accepted before the transfer window opens so the club can start to move forward.

    • almajir says:

      They need to get a move on, six weeks tomorrow is new year’s day… and a takeover will take something like six weeks minimum.

      • Gary R says:

        Even if Paladini has taken us over with a week to go of the transfer window, he could still bring in 4-5 players in that time. You could, in all reality, sign 4-5 players in a matter of a couple of days. Apparently Lee Clark has already identified the players he wants to sign in the event of a takeover, so we’re already prepared in that respect.

  • Ray says:

    Strangely I’m not that worked up. Think I have accepted
    things getting worse, it softens the blow when I hear anything
    thats bad news for Blues. But I always sincerely hope I’m wrong.
    Every window during this situation is more than likely to not
    improve matters. Might not have to imagine losing those players
    for long as it could be a reality over the next 12 months.
    I really hope this take over will happen and in time.

  • Ian says:

    I understand al that you as we all are must be tired of Clarks ineptitude, the continual ownership issues and the takeover tribulations but to try to offer up that the squad is in some way lacking is wrong.

    Firstly we have great squad that most championship managers can only dream of. We have Curtis Davies, Nathan Redmond, Marlon King, Jack Butland, Chris Burke, Nikola Zigic, Peter Lovenkrands, Steven Carr & Ravel Morrison. All great players that walk into alot of championship sides. Clarke cannot get the best out of them and cannot form a cohesive squad. He wasted money on Darren Ambrose, David Lucas & Ben Gordon with jusry still out on Diop.

    Id rather see us losing fielding Akwasi Asanti & Will Packwood then signing dross and free’s from elsewhere plus they are already on our books.

    • James Black says:

      Ian, this super squad you talk of which i believe you are implying was so magical under Houghton but not for Clarke, (im gueesing that is your point). Well lets run through that list and put it in perspective. Davies (injured) Redmund (not firing so ok you got a point there) King (well i dont see where he is failing under Clarke but ok) Butland (was on the books but wasnt considered by Houghton at all in any game at any time) He is also a rookie, young and made many errors in opening games but he is coming good. Burke (He has started to fire under Clarke after a period of not playing well), Zigic (opinion only but he was not anything special under Houghton either) Lovenkrands ( yes a Clarke signing that i don’t believe was such a bad idea considering we had no money for Messi at the time and the jury still out, time will tell) Carr (long term injury been unavailable all season) Morrison (well see no problem with that signing at all). Ambrose, Lucas Gordon and Diop (ok some haven’t fired true and some haven’t had the opportunity yet) Time will tell but remember they were what was available for free to cover injuries and plug gaps..As regards Asanti & Packwood well yes you have a point but some may argue they are not ready yet, but yes i agree would like to see them given regular spots although its risky and if fails no doubt will be another stick to hit Clarke with. You missed out Mullins who hasn’t performed yet a Clarke signing yes, but again was free and bought in for a purpose due to lack of funds for Messi. Well also lets not forget that Fahey has been injured and is now on compassionate leave so not available. Point im making is that to say that Clarke has a great squad which are not playing for him is not true as some vital facts and circumstances are not taken into consideration. I guess players that are injured and unavailable are not firing in some peoples approximation too. In other words, its not as simple as you paint it.

  • AussieBlue says:

    We can analyse all we like but the overriding issue is one of pride in Club, passion for the shirt, ground and self-belief. All are currently compromised by shocking ownership,uncertainty, business shenanigans and a situation where St Andrews is the foottball being kicked around instead of the real ball. Bruce left because he did not know his future under a BIH ownership…he could not deliver the passion, feeling he could be out any moment and he should be respected for that decision – a damn fine manger in my opinion. Clarke could be too but we need stability, investment and a return to KRO obstinate chauvanism that befits the UK’s second city and fantastic population. If Paladini can offer that then he has my vote. OK I live in Australia now…est mea culpa!

  • MERRH says:

    http://www.huddersfield.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=273319

    Everything you need to kno about lee Clark … Please read .

    • almajir says:

      Everything you need to know about Clark… from one Huddersfield fan’s perspective.

      I would suggest you cannot rely on what one person says to make a judgement on Clark.

      • MERRH says:

        High ticket prices ? Poor handling of the media ? Strange team selections ? Enough players to pick 4 teams ? Poor man management, rubbish signings, 3 years of failure ! Unbeaten run against teams like Walsall and Yeovil ? Strange because its awfully alike with blues …

  • MERRH says:

    I believe it is partly down to lee Clark yes ! Not fully but on the bases of Huddersfield having high priced tickets under his management ? And blues the season he takes over, does he not have any input , and the dire football,

    • almajir says:

      You make no sense.

      Ticket prices are set by the board, Clark has nothing to do with them. Indeed, they were set prior to his arrival.

      Furthermore, ticket prices are comparable to that of other teams in the division.

      You can blame Clark for some things but high ticket prices is taking the pee somewhat.

  • Art Watson says:

    Hopefully a balanced view.

    1,if Clark had gained promotion before being fired would the HF board have backed him or would he still have been fired after gaining promotion.

    2,I must confess some of the football issues at our club mirror what appear to have happened during his reign at HF including his silence with the press this very week.

    For the sake of the club I genuinely hope he can turn things around.

    • James Black says:

      Art, maybe i should of spoken to the press using sign language or perhaps writing it down on notes and passing the answers to questions to the media. How do you conduct an interview when you have lost your voice? So many questions i know but im sure you have already thought through the answer.

  • James Black says:

    Art, maybe HE should of spoken to the press is what i meant to say. I never talk to them myself.

  • Art says:

    Thought for a moment you were Clarky in disguise.

    May be you are-hey!


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