Often Partisan

The Return of the Feelgood Factor – Forest Review

Here are my reflections on the match between Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest at St Andrews.

A Good Result And A Good Performance

It made a nice change – to walk out of the ground having seen Blues play well throughout a game and pick up three points. Throw in the first back to back wins of the season, a pantomime villan in Big Eck and the only disappointment was that Blues threw away what would have been only their fifth clean sheet of the season with an iffy penalty at the end.

Make no mistake – this was a very good performance. The defence appeared strong and resolute; the midfield combative and creative and the front line caused the Forest defence problems throughout the game with only a lack of composure when shooting denying Wes Thomas a debut goal. Indeed, Marlon King could have had a couple, Nathan Redmond could have scored – it could have been a veritable thrashing but for a little bit more confidence when pulling the trigger.

Wade Elliott

Chris Burke will get most of the plaudits for this performance – particularly as it looked for a while that he would be playing in Forest Red this month but I think Wade Elliott deserves a big mention. I’ve been critical of Wade in past weeks so it’s only fair I hand out the praise when it’s deserved – and it really was today. Elliott kept the midfield ticking, playing nice passes and keeping possession moving, giving Blues attacking impetus in the middle of the park. I did wonder about Wade starting in the middle and I’m glad that he proved Clark right and me wrong.

Look What You Could Have Won

Today the 2011-2 vintage Chris Burke was back in the building. Taking the man on, whipping in the crosses and showing the strikers how it’s done with an absolutely sublime finish just before half-time. It’s slightly disingenuous to say that Burke would definitely have gone to Forest had a bid been accepted – after all, it might be that he needs glasses too – but I am glad that we’ve held on to the Scot because on this form he will help push up the table, no question.

Nathan Redmond

Redmond came on for the slightly ineffective Hall and showed today glimpses of his former self. Okay, he hit a shot wide on his wrong foot but he was taking on (and beating) the full back continuously, giving us an attacking outlet that meant Blues looked dangerous every single time on the counter. The second goal came about from some more trickery – and having learnt that his left foot isn’t that trusty Redmond instead took the ball to the byline and pulled the ball back beautifully for the onrushing Burke. This is the kind of play that made him a sensation last year and more of this will be most welcome.

Jack Butland

I was curious as to how the whole move and loan back thing would affect Jack; would his mind be elsewhere or would he be on the ball. Well, today he was on the ball. Some great shot-stopping as normal but combined with a lot more confidence and command in the box – it’s just a shame that we gave away a pen and denied him a clean sheet he richly deserved. Whilst some might feel the deal to sell Jack was a bit low we’ll really need him for the next six months and that alone might make it worthwhile to us.

For the first time in a while, I feel enthused and forward-looking about Blues. The uncertainty of the transfer window over, some good play at home and back to back wins have pushed us up the table somewhat. Whilst the playoffs are probably out of reach more of this will at least bring some of the feelgood factor back and maybe make Blues a more attractive proposition to purchase.

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43 Responses to “The Return of the Feelgood Factor – Forest Review”

  • Stevieboy says:

    I would endorse all comments above. I would like to see jack save a penalty before leaves though, like all great blues shot stoppers. Benno, Doyle, Hart and Foster of recent times, oh and not to forget good old Maik in that list either..

  • tony says:

    The frst half wasn’t the best yet both sides missed good chances.We didn’t win enough 2nd balls and lost possession to easily at times.Second half we started really well,had a good five minutes then abit of a lull.The lad from bournemouth had an awful attempt in the one on one but won a great header to set up kings chance.2 great goals by burke but i thought reillys introduction made us alot better in midfield and zigic showed why when he came on he’s behind a loan signing in the pecking order….Great result and lets hope it gives everyone more confidence in the next game

    2 other points… ginger judas abuse was funny as … and to charge 30 quid for that game was a disgrace.

  • Aussieblue says:

    Love your write up and analysis Alamajir…means a lot all the way over here. Massive result when you look at the narrow points margin above us. An improved attendance too I see…hope that was not ALL down to Forest!

  • crotcher88 says:

    great to be talking about the football after all the doom and gloom the window shocked me after hold my hands up i expected a firesale what a week but they proved me wrong lets hope that the clouds have gone away and we start to play kro

  • James Black says:

    Stay upbeat lads, it really makes a difference. St Andrews more fun to be there when people ain’t whinging. Yes it takes awhile for a new manager and new additions to blend and its only been half a season with many things making Clarke’s job difficult. Speculations have been dominating and its just wrong to talk when you don’t know the facts as it starts others jumping on the bandwagon. Even if we lose the next game their ain’t no need to bring out hatchets and when it comes to the board, if your gonna slag them, make sure you know what your talking about first. Its been embarrassing being a blues fan lately, not cuz of the off-field antics of the board as much as the overreaction and hysteria of some of the fans. It doesn’t help a thing and i would like to think (but i doubt) that they will stay quiet. Relegation nor administration was never as likely as many felt and it just became a bandwagon without any real substance, just speculation. Take it as a given that they cannot afford to talk too much, i think some of the reactions have proven why. Everything gets misunderstood and it got well well outta hand. Were not there yet were not safe yet, but remove the negativity then we have a far better chance.
    By the way, i am around 7000 miles away so i cant get a bus to St Andrews, but am i right in thinking that no protests materialized??? i hope not as it wont help nothing. .

    • RichardM says:

      James – one win does not mean we are out of dager yet – 6 points above the drop zone with all the sides below us also starting to show some good form. You’re right to say people have been over-egging the pudding, but by contrast le’s not get complacent and start talking about play-offs, we are still in the thick of the relegation battle and will need more days like yesterday to safely pull-away.

  • Dan B says:

    Excellent analysis bud, only thing I’m slightly concerned by is the inconsistant play down our left wing, as everybody’s picking up on Burke’s getting back into that menacing, terrorising the left back kind of form, would love to see similar down the left, I felt Hall was ineffective out wide today and Redmond showed spark (and skill for the 2nd goal) but again he’s not been anywhere near consistant this season, just wondered if you thought it’d be worth trying Hanxoc or Lovenkrands out there for a game??
    Onwards and Upwards Bluenoses, based on the top 2 divisions of English football I’d have to say we’re possibly the most in form Midlands team now, Villa and the Dingles in the bottom 3 of their leagues, can it get much better???

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason he says:

    Hang on hang on I though Lee Clark had ‘ruined’ Burke according to all the experts (most of whom never attend on here). Burke is playing out of his skin right now and it was poetic justice that he took Judas’ side apart.

    The way Lee Clark has taken all the abuse and rose above him is the mark of a man and a leader. No quitting for him to an easier job (Blackpool) like Judas and Hughton, he stayed and has the team playing well. Course all the tactical geniuses on here (most of whom never attend) know better.

    All the crass comments like ‘The team dont wanna play for him it’s obvious’, ‘he’s lost the dressing room’, ‘he’s chinned Fahey’, ‘He turns up piissed for training’ made by dummies with no clue who just want to ruin the club. LC is a leader and the public face of the club whilst PP hides out in Hong Kong. He hasn’t done a runner, he has stayed giving us stability and showing loyalty. People were warming to him yesterday and as his long time backer I was chuffed for him.

    KRO Lee Clark.

    • Blue in Spain says:

      Hear, Hear!

    • carlos says:

      Was he offered the Blackpool job, sorry must have missed that one.

      • Art Watson says:

        Yes me too.

        One swallow obviously makes a summer!

        Great result though and congratulations to Mr Clark even though I still think he’s out of his depth.

        • Blue in Spain says:

          Art Watson in criticising Clark shocker…. One swallow? Was Burnley a defeat then? And we are unbeaten in the league in 4!

          • Alex T says:

            2 swallows might make a spring though!! :-)

          • Art Watson says:


            League Cup…out
            FA Cup………..out

            Annual salary ….estimated £250,000

            Average home gate…..down 3,000


          • Blue in Spain says:

            Well done Art, you spent time compiling this to point out your negative rubbish again… If you found a tenner you’d be whinging it wasn’t 20 quid! So on the one had you defend the lower crowds on the economic environment, and now you’re blaming Clark! Which is it?

    • RichardM says:

      Paul I admire your enthusiasm I really do – but you will never, not in a million years, convince me that Lee Clark is anything other than, at best, an average manager. We all agree we’re stuck with him and that’s that – but tactical genius he ain’t, media savvy he ain’t, man management we can only guess!
      I think the players are playing for themselves right now and Lee Clark is an irrelevance to them. Long may it continue!

  • Paulo says:

    Finally …it happened. If I had to say, what was my match of the season so far, then that was it. The whole day just seemed so relaxed, can’t put my finger on why to be honest, but having a crowd of over 17,000 did help and McJudas took so much stick you could of heard it over in the allotments. The fact he simply smiled and applauded us shows how much of two faced ‘person’ he is ..he knows the papers will show only the visual, not the audio. Either way, he gave Clarky a good day at the office, which he probably deserved anyway. The ‘ginger Judas Rat’ flag was also ‘attempted’ to be taken down, but proudly hung in there from the top of the Gil Merrick ..a very half hearted attempt by our over the top security again.
    As for the game, it was nice to hear us sing louder than the away fans for a change, and to be hinest, I have to agree with what you have put Almajir.
    I also would say it was by far a team effort and (excuse the caps, I know I’m not allowed) TWO GOOD HALVES. A few bad passes here and there, a little but of hesitation, a tiny bit of waiting for the pass (then losing it), but for the most, it looked like a different team under a different gaffer. We attacked, took the initiative, broke forward, raised the atmosphere, took chances, and missed a few, but we scored. Ok, the new lad Thomas wasn’t as on fire, and Hall was ok, but for me, there were no really bad ones and no pantomime dames ..everyone showed what they can achieve and showed more confidence together. Butland, Caddis, Davies, Caldwell (yes, I know), Marlon, Elliot, Redmond, Burke, Zigic, Robbo and our young Callum Reilly ..I think all played well together and individually. Ok, Hall, Thomas and Gomis took off, but that happens when strength is needed somewhere.
    If we get one clean sheet at home this season, we will still take the mick, but we will be happy if we play like that and fight for it from the start. Maybe Forest were poor, so we looked better, but I honestly think they were a threat and weren’t to be underestimated. It was a fantastic defensive show yesterday that helped us get that ball up to midfield.
    One highlight was watching someone half inch my programme in the George ..it was so badly done I had to say something, let them have it anyway though ha ha.

  • Old Jom says:

    I agree with all your points.You did however, come up against a team that had just had a morale kicking off its owner (hes a good friend of mine,but hes pushing his luck with Mark)
    No one was happy with the Big Eck joining us,least of all me (I broke his nose in a bar brawl in Tenerife back in 82)
    Burke would do well to stay away from Forest as would any other player.Im going back to watching Gloucester play rugger.

  • Fange says:

    It would appear that Blues are a little bit more relaxed. The pressures off, there’s no issues of ‘will I be moving in Jan?’ Al, you say it’s too late for the playoffs, but you never know. It is a long shot, I admit, but I wouldn’t bet against them.

  • Bluehobba says:

    Totally agree with the your match reflections. They really did put a shift in yesterday and got their rewards. I thought Caldwell had his best game in a Blues shirt for a long time. Burke was on fire and what a finish for the first goal. Winning games breeds confidence and yes we have to take one game at a time but with a performance like that next week along with a bit more composure in front of goal we have nothing to fear at Charlton. An enjoyable game and a bit more positivity around the place now the window has shut. PS To put my neck on the line I will say we will go unbeaten in February, KRO

  • Sirharry1875 says:

    Absolutely loved it yesterday. The cloud that has been hanging over us throughout January has moved on to join the even bigger black cloud over Aston. There was a different atmosphere and the place was buzzing. Confidence is growing, the belief is back and it could be a good few months for us. Lets see how far we can go!

    50/1 for promotion with ladbrokes? Got to be worth a cheeky fiver!!!!

  • Blueboy88 says:

    Excellent match day review , best performance since Bristol City.

    Big Eck’s presence was the catalyst , gave the Tilton a rallying point from the off , &
    a crackling atmosphere within St Andrews was just what the Doctor ordered …

    Hopefully we can now go on & put clear Blue water between the bottom three & us.

    Finally , yes well done Lee Clark..

  • Kaje says:

    I’m struggling to remember the performance of Wade Elliott in the manner you describe, I thought he dipped in and out of the game and was absent for large periods. Those sentiments were echoed by a few of the usual crowd in Block 9!

    Football, it’s a funny old game…

  • DoctorD says:

    Great result yesterday — I am sure this team (any team in fact) benefits from winning. It’s why Villa are struggling so badly, ha ha. It’s a confidence thing and having trust in your teammaters. There must be such an extra buzz in training and players looking forward to the next game, not being afraid.

  • andy says:

    Lee Clark is definately the man for the job, what he said post match was spot on and once he has a team full of the enthusiasm and desire he has for the club, good times will come back.

  • Lurkio says:

    What your saying about Elliot i was saying weeks ago. He’s got the most intelligence of any of our players on the pitch. If you questioned him starting in the middle then you must have missed the Cardiff game? His ability to read and start plays has seen him change from being an OK Left Mid (who drifted in a lot anyway) to somebody (with either Gomis or Reilly alongside) who brings a bit of calm and composure in the middle which is helping the rest of the team. When he was repositioned out left for the Leeds replay the middle looked sketchy. I know he scored, but moving him centrally on a permanent basis will be what changes our season.

  • BobBobandTrev says:

    Interesting stat, Reading were in the same position as us this time last season and they didn’t do too badly.
    To the end of the road.

    • Dom says:

      Reading were in 6th place 30 games in and had 51 points and then went on to win 12 of their last 16 games losing only 2 of them. That being said there are 48 points left up for grabs in our last 16 and if we create the exact same form we will finish on 75 points. Just a point behind last seasons finish and potentially enough to gain a playoff place. It’s a long shot but playoffs aren’t out of reach.

      • Julian Glass says:

        For crying out loud we’ve just had rep wins on the bounce. Make it five on the trot and it might have some substance.

        • Dom says:

          I was hoping to dispel the optimism by showing that the league winners were not in the same position as us this time last season. But i also felt the need to show that play-off places are still available. So although I agree it’s too soon to get carried away I think we should at least show some hope and ambition.

  • reddog says:

    Forest fan here. Some bias views of the game here which is to be expected. You got 2 goals from 2 shots on target, we got 1 from 6 on target. Unfortunately you had an England keeper between the sticks and that was the difference. Rather like a few season’s ago in our FA Cup meetings when Joe Hart was the difference. Anyway I generally enjoyed the match yesterday even if my team did lose. We played some good 1 and 2 touch football which opened your defence up numerous times.

  • BLuenosesol says:

    It was fantastic to sense the improvement in the atmosphere yesterday. Not sure if we have taken the full 3000 allocation to fill the Jimmy Seed stand at Charlton next Saturday, but the acoustics there are such that a loud away contingent can really make a difference. If we can win on Saturday we are set fair for the next home game, if we dont, then we can get back on the rails. Must say LC’s interviews before and after the game this week were his best to date. Having seen so many managers come and go over the years, I have never heard one who constantly bangs the drum for the club and the supporters and who has the humility of admitting that he is proud to be associated with such a massive club with a great history. To be fair, throughout all of the abuse, he has stood tall and defended himself, his players and the club to asn extent I do not recall from previious incumbents! A real man with a true blue heart for me….KRO

  • Tonytiler says:

    I thought Clark got his selection tactics spot on , actually starting hall a left winger in his natural position. ( even though the lad didn’t get going ). And wade Elliot looked great in the centre of the park. Redmond looked dangerous on coming on. Just a shame he hasn’t got a left peg. The atmosphere before the game was one of strange feeling. I’m not sure it was after all the media attention that we would not be fielding a half decent team or the fact Mcleish was coming back. It felt that the feel good factor was back. I’m still not sure how we will fair up at the end of season. But it was the first time all season I’ve seen the players attack from the back. And it was great to see the whole team walk towards the Tilton to show there appreciation. Kro

  • Chris says:

    What I took from yesterday was for perhaps the first time this season the crowd wasnt waiting for something to pick on or turn on our own team. Although it was the Eck effect it showed me how when the crowds on the teams side or just focused on the opposition even, it helps and effects the teams performance… If there was ever a game to show how a crowd on side is needed in these times, yesterday was it. Maybe come the end of the season if this continues we will need to thank Eck for his panto appearance yesterday. KRO

  • swissjonny says:

    A great win and a week of good old fashioned relief.we all know our future lies with new owners and new off fiield management but for now lets just focus on getting behind the boys and getting points on the board.Nothing will happen regarding a takeover between now and the end of the season and I really feel the threat of administration has been removed for the medium term.So lets stay in the Championship with a big safety margin and wait for the warm winds of Summer to bring a positive change.Its amazing what 3 points does for the spirits.

  • KeepRightcroydOn says:

    Well the week ended well after a long period of anxiousness. Guarded optimism for the short term, till the end of the season. By then fingers crossed BIHL accounts will be released paving the way for a takeover and hopefully new funds for LC to strengthen the team and make it a strong contender for promotion next season – I think it’s most unlikely, even wishful thinking we’ll make the play offs this season.

    At long last LC seems to be getting the team to play the way he wants, so hopefully we’ll see some good football and a few wins to end up in a respectable position at the end of the season. Am feeling much happier than this time last week.

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