Often Partisan

Season 2012-13 Review – Pt III

The third part of my reflections on the season takes in the months of December and January, with Blues struggling at the wrong end of the table and mutterings over accounts and firesales.

Blues started December off with a short trip up the M6 to Molineux, with Marlon King scoring the only goal of the game – unfortunately deflecting a free kick past Jack Butland to hand a 1-0 victory to our canine rivals.

Crystal Palace were the next visitors to Blues, and after going down 2-0 Blues came back to snatch a point with Zigic scoring after coming on before Papa Bouba Diop marked his only start for the club with a monster of a header for the equaliser. Clark continued his policy of bringing youth into the team by giving Callum Reilly his league debut. I think there was a lot of surprise that Reilly had been picked but in hindsight it was quite a shrewd move as the midfielder has gone from Development Squad hopeful to Irish u21 international in a matter of months.

Critics of Clark will point out that the elevation of Reilly was somewhat forced and this was certainly true as Blues were forced to name an eighteen including seven teenagers in the first eleven in the next game against Burnley. There were a further two on the bench including Josh Hawker who had to be drafted in from his season ticket seat in the Tilton after an injury in the warm up. Blues managed a draw in that game as well, once again with Zigic snatching the point at the death after Blues had conceded two goals in a minute in the second half.

A brace of headers from Curtis Davies saw the Blues take Boxing Day revenge on Barnsley, beating them 2-1 at Oakwell before they went down 3-1 to Bolton three days later, Zigic both scoring and getting sent off again for violent conduct, attracting a four match ban.

The New Year saw Blues entertain Cardiff City with a team missing twelve first team players to injury and suspension, and despite a lot of effort Blues couldn’t find the way through the Welsh defences. A trip to Elland Road for the third round of the FA Cup followed which saw Blues taking a squad that resembled a school trip, and emerging with a creditable 1-1 draw. Blues gave a debut to 17 year old striker Reece Hales who capped a meteoric rise to the first team with a ten minute cameo. However, whilst Hales was enjoying his debut poor Will Packwood suffered a broken tibia and fibula after a coming together with Luciano Becchio and saw his season ended.

Clark almost made a winning return to his former stomping ground in Huddersfield a week later; however a last minute goal from Adam Hammill cancelled out Reilly’s first goal for the club in a scoreline which confused many fans back home who had seen it flash up that Blues had won 2-0 thanks to Morgaro Gomis.

Blues then faced Leeds United in the 3rd round replay but struggled to settle with Zigic remaining on the bench despite having a bit of a goalscoring hoodoo over the Lilywhites giving fans more cause for worry with Lee Clark and his tactics. Leeds were no great shakes themselves but were good enough to see of a ropey Blues side and I do remember thinking after that game we were headed in only one direction – down.

Thus when it was reported that Blues had turned down an approach from Blackpool to take Clark as manager – it was met with the consternation of many who felt that a better manager could be brought in. I don’t think it was ever that serious; Clark certainly didn’t seem in any mood to go anywhere and it was business as usual when Brighton came to Blues a few days later. Looking back on it with the benefit of hindsight I’m not sure we’d have brought in anyone who would have done much better than what Clark achieved afterwards; whilst it wasn’t win after win after win in the remaining months of the season it was better fare than we had been subjected to previously.

It was business as usual on the pitch too as Blues were once again poor but managed to snatch a point at the death thanks to an incredible keeper error of almost claret and blue proportions that saw Tomasz Kuszczak let the ball go through his hands from a Nikola Zigic effort. The level of apathy from the crowd was noticeable and with rumours of a firesale in the transfer market it wasn’t a happy time to be a Blues fan. However, the month was rounded off in the right way with a victory up at Turf Moor over Burnley, with yet another last minute goal – this time from Marlon King.

The impending firesale never actually happened; Jack Butland was sold to Stoke City but was immediately loaned back for the remainder of the season and Blues managed to bring in Wes Thomas on loan from Bournemouth to supplement the strikeforce for the remainder of the season. However it was plain for all to see that the squad massively needed investment – the accounts released in January made it plain that the club only made a profit due to player sales and that to keep it going the management would have to make use of forward funding arrangements – despite a rather large amount of “pocket expenses” going to “acting chairman” Peter Pannu.

The review will continue tomorrow with February and March.

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27 Responses to “Season 2012-13 Review – Pt III”

  • DoctorD says:

    I well recall the Huddersfield game — the person writing the live Internet report mixed up Gomis (black, wearing pink and playing in one direction) for the Huddersfield opposite number (white, wearing blue and playing in the opposite direction) and what looked to us armchair supporters as a 2-0 win was just a 1-1 draw. To make matters worse, the BBC table had already been updated with a 2-0 win. Serves us right for not going to the game eh?

    • Letsby Avenue says:

      To be fair, that report came via the PA (Press Association) that provides the basic un-biased data to many media outlets.
      Who then use or ammend that data to give the impression that they’ve got a hundred reporters at 50 matches :-)

      Daily Mail and Guardian being the worst over the season imo. Silly interjections, like “Bet that hurt” when Packwood suffered his injury. (Above).

      The Blues running text, commentary, by Andy Walker, available for free every match via our website, is accurate, clear and pretty much objective. Nothing better really if you can’t get to an Away match or even St Andrews.

      The BBC use the PA data input, that was why they messed up.
      SKY however didn’t twig till about half-five, like it was “important” and still kept showing the wrong result

      We were everywhere trying to sort it out, and we didn’t believe Tom Ross (because he once claimed a goal when the shot hit the corner flag.)

      Sorry Tom


  • tony says:

    2 games come to mind from this period . The no show up at Bolton where we were absolutely awful and the Cardiff game . Despite Cardiff riding high in the league and us playing several kids I though the very least we deserved from the game was a draw.

  • mark says:

    Missing twelve players through injuries say it all, and these injuries continued to have affect……but fair to the young lads like reilly,took the bull by the horns, and grasped it with both hands. How could clark drop them….well-done them.kro

  • mark says:

    In that Bolton game butland make two errors……did not come off his line for the first goal, I think he went out with concete boots…. Discussions started about butland commanding his box?????..but we lost as a team…..

  • mark says:

    Will packwood started to show lots of promise before his horrendous injury…….imo future blues captain….

  • mark says:

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11095/8740618/ blues linked with another player tommy spurr…..

  • Always a Blue says:

    Do you mean his wages will be higher as of course his value will not matter as he is a free agent.

  • Tony says:

    The leeds match was yet another nail in the already nail ridden coffin of Clark,how could he leave zigic out of the team, a player who had single handedly destroyed them only a short time earlier.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    It’s a pity that negative fans don’t do a fraction as much as our manager does to promote what a fantastic club Birmingham City is.

    Lee Clark is working his bollox off, in extremely difficult circumstances to give us a squad to at least challenge in the top half and maybe for the play-offs… and all some people can do is moan. Priceless!

    • trevorblue says:

      well said could not agree more

    • Bluenosesol says:

      SB, I was going to make that very point myself. LC has always said that we are a fantastic club, in a fantastic city with fantastic history. My heart went out to him when many fans were slating him as not up to the job and worse, whilst he was shouting our name from the rooftops. Also his engagement of the various agencies and his methodology would suggest a degree of intelligence well beyond what some have given him credit for. On the point of negativity, there is a huge difference between slagging the club off at every opportunity and encouraging fellow Bluenoses to be realistic every time the club are assoicated with avaulable players. KRO!

      • StaffsBlue says:

        Tbh Bluenosesol, I don’t know what more the man can do to prove he’s committed long-term to this club.

        Apart from working under servere restrictions, the guy is using whatever means possible to bring players in. Plus, he and his staff have taken the trouble to go over to Barcelona (not for a holiday I might add) to see if there’s anything in their systems that he can implement to make our club better… all on a shoestring too. I wouldn’t be surprised if he paid for that trip out of his own pocket. Can’t see Peter Pinghu stumping up for that. Nook nook!

  • jazzzy786 says:

    LC is doing a good job considering the restraints he’s working under.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Spot on jazzzy. At least he’s sticking around for more than one season, which, in these troubled times, already puts him high up in my estimation. More than I can say for the last incumbant.

  • mark says:

    Glad we turned down blackpool…..

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