Often Partisan

Getting Ready for the new Season

Birmingham City face Hull City tomorrow at St Andrews in their final friendly of the pre-season before the Championship season kicks off on August 3. Lee Clark has been reported as saying that he intends to field his first XI against Hull as he looks to finalise his plans for the season.

I’ve only been to one pre-season game this year so I can’t really comment on what has gone on in other matches but I’ve never really set much store in pre-season results. The year we finished 9th in the Premier League we were abominable in pre-season; the year we were relegated we won three “trophies” in China. I’ve always seen friendlies as a chance to look at other formations, to try out players and to get fitness back into the team.

However, I have to admit that I am pleased that Lee Clark has decided that he will play what currently constitutes his first XI against Hull City. The last game on the pre-season calendar for the last few years has been a tough home game and I think there is a lot to be said for picking a full strength team and seeing how they go because it’s the last chance to ensure it’s right.

Blues will be without the three trialists that they have had in – left-sided player Liam Davis, forward Adam McGurk and right back Mark Little as Clark has had to release all three without offering them deals. Whilst it might be an indicator of how little money Clark has to play with now I also believe that none of those three players would improve the squad enough to make them a sensible investment. Blues are now well stocked on the left flank with the capture of Shane Ferguson on a season long loan whilst the right back position is covered with Eardley, Spector, Mullins and Higgins all able to play there.

If anything, I think the concentration should now be on trying to tie up deals for u20 players such as Angus McDonald and Joe Henderson to shore up the massive gap in central defensive players between the first team and the academy – Blues released four young central defenders in the summer and will need bodies for the Professional Development League.

I will be at the ground today attending a brainstorming session along with members of various supporter groups with respect to matchday details this year and what the club is looking to do off the pitch. From what I know the club have some proposals to try to enhance the matchday experience and it will be interesting to see what they are looking to do to try to improve the size of the crowd, the “atmosphere” along with the whole “matchday experience”. I will feedback the notes I have taken from today tomorrow on OP.

I think that whilst it’s going to be a tough season on and off the pitch for Blues it could still be an enjoyable one; expectations are going to be much lower this season and my hope is that because the players Clark have brought in have come in because they want to play for the club then they will try harder – and hopefully fans will recognise that effort and get behind them. It’s been a tough time of late but it can’t stay this way forever – we have to keep on believing the blue sky is just around the corner.

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105 Responses to “Getting Ready for the new Season”

  • mark says:

    Dan- imo I think can probably see the first team in action. Clark first eleven……great to be back on the topic of football. For me as along as blues give a good account of themselves, that should cheer up a few people. Kro

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Angus MacDonald wasn’t offered a contract at Yeovil and Joe Henderson was released by Coventry.
    I would prefer Mullins and Spector as back-up to Bartley, Robinson and Burn.

  • StevieW says:

    This is the game to qualify if all LC pre season training and tactical awareness is working. This team is the one that LC will nail his colours to so I am expecting to see what I am likely to get at the start of the season.

  • Retired&weary says:

    My biggest concern is that LC will tinker too much with team selection. I hope he continues with the relatively successful 433/451 formation he finished with last season. Our back 4 still needs protection. he can’t afford any more 4 or 5 goal thrashings early on!

  • Pete says:

    Dan- just a suggestion that has never been carried out and one that I do not get why not. Season ticket holders tend to moan (in many cases BUT NOT all) if great deals are put on. Why not suggest they do the deal(s) and offer a season ticket holder a free drink able to be redeemed 45 minsutes before the game. This would ensure a) fans are not left so annoyed and feel appreciated as much as they can be considering b) it provdes time for fans to buy another pint or two after this to recoup some money c0without getting fans into a silly situation might help create a little more attmosphere. Just a thought.

    Also, I for one hate the poxy tune played as the players go out. I am not one for normally harping back- BUT the best thing TF did there as manager was The Tamperer- any chance of reviewing this.

    Finally, what abut having a moving camera on the crowd using the big screen. It could be used to create an attmosphere. I cannot see each spectator having to do a funny dance like at the Olympics, BUT it could raise a laugh and attmosphere.

    I have plenty more ideas should the hierarchy at BCFC ever wish to hear them!

    • David says:

      I agree Mr blue sky followed by the tamperer with all the fans clapping along wthe music they came out to last season was appalling and did nothing to get the fans involved.

    • nicky wicky says:

      best thing to get fans back on side would be seeing the back of pannu and yeung!

    • steve says:

      I agree with the deals idea.I decided to renew my ST because i’d go to all games anyway and like where i sit.I think the football league will only allow Blues to change prices at a certain amount of games.If it gets more people in then great.

  • RonJ says:

    This season I would have thought 12th would be a marvellous achievement by LC based on the lack of funds available and the fact many clubs have been bank rolled by wealthy investors. If my prediction is right we might fingers crossed next season be in the ownership of more credible owners with the Blues supporters behind them. Hopefully the hairdresser and his cronies will just be a distant bad dream.

  • dave mann says:

    i hope is starting line up is something like this, from what ive seen pre season.
    randolph, eardley, ferguson., robinson, bartley, burn.
    burke, shinnie, allan.
    novak, green.
    ime not saying thats the team for the season, but the team to start against
    hull and watford, but that team has to perform against hull first if thats to be
    the case, more work of the ball more shutting down 3-5-2 will be the formation
    cause hes gone with that all pre season and he aint gonna change it now.KRO.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    My expectation would be Top 10. Anything more than that is a bonus. The thing that worries me, is the centre of defence. I just hope he’s bought the right players.

    Only other thing, is I’d play Callum Reilly in centre midfield, we’re still too brittle in their imo. We have a lot of ball players now, but not many who can put in a good tackle and impose themselves on the opposition.

  • dave mann says:

    staffs, your 4-4-2 team is similar to what ide pick exept you cant leave allan out from what
    ive seen but thats what fans do, have opinions and thats good banter.
    ide prefer 4-4-2 but i cant see him changing with the seson a week away, so were
    soon get nervous if it dont come of, but saying what a genius he is if it works.
    be there tommorrow.KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      It will probably be a good indicator of the 3-5-2 against Hull, if they play the same way as last season. Thing is, Brucie is a canny old character…. and he’ll be ready for that. Let’s hope it’s us that gets the Brucie Bonus. :)

  • dave mann says:

    i was at hull last seson when they put 5 past us, that first hour could have been even worse.
    came back into it last half hour scoring 2 nearly scoring another 2 so hopefully it will be an
    entertaining game,KRO.

  • quokkasskip says:


    Please ask for the Shed to brought back.

    Best halftime entertainment for a while…. loved the shed.

    Clark is going to play 3-5-2 at home…. and surely Zigic is number one name on the teamsheet….

  • OTTO says:

    The Shed was awful, bring back the kids playing small 5-A-Side back. Hopefully a great reception for Potato Head. 3-5-2 tomorrow with Novak and Green, bringing Zigic on if we’re struggling.


  • Tony says:

    Eardley Bartley Robinson Ferguson
    Burke Shinnie Reilly Allen
    Zigic Novac.

  • Tony says:

    Could be right Staffs but I have a feeling he will go 3 5 2

  • Mikey J says:


    Eardley Burn Bartley Hancox

    Shinnie Adeyemi Allan

    Burke Zigic Ferguson

    Just an idea? We was a lot better playing 4 3 3, than 4 4 2 last season imo

    • StaffsBlue says:

      That’s not a bad side Mikey… but again, soft in the middle, imo. Even Lee Clark said, after the Shrewsbury game, that “It was a knife through butter down the middle of the pitch at times.”

      How many players do we have that can mix it? Only Reilly or Lee spring to mind. Maybe we should play Paul Robinson in front, to protect the back four. :)

  • Tony says:

    Football used to be such a simple game, now you need a degree in advanced mathematics to work it out. all the permatations.
    One thing for certain we have to adapt, last season Hull ,Watford, Even Barnsley plus many others cut us to ribbons because we could not change our formation to counter their tactics.
    I dont want to slate Clark before the season has began but that was one critisism of him last year that I think proved valid.

  • Tony says:

    Would prefer 4 3 3 to 3 5 2

    • StaffsBlue says:

      If I had to plump for a formation, I’d go either 4-5-1 or 4-1-3-2…. with a defensive midfielder. My favourite player in that position, was David Batty. No frills, but did what it said on the tin.

  • dave mann says:

    steve bruce will get a good reeption, why not? its that chinese mob that wouldnt give him
    the contract, as for curtis, no, he wanted out , thats diffrent, as for zigic and novak cant
    see it working.KRO.

  • Tony says:

    Mikey I like the look of your side it looks well balanced, but is this guy Adeyemi fit?.

  • Tony says:

    Dave, Novak and green could be interchangable but I would start with Zigic, having said that he probably does not deserve to start.I can see the arguments against him.

  • dave mann says:

    i like zigic, tony always have, forget is wages thats not is problem, but hes injured anyway
    and on form doesnt deserve to, but when he comes back firing again maybe then but not now.KRO.

    • trevorblue says:

      Only ever seen him firing once and that was Leeds away not many more spring to mind

      • StaffsBlue says:

        He’s lived off those goals and the cup final effort for too long. I have to admit, I was excited when he signed. With his height, I thought he’d destroy defences. Sadly, turned out he couldn’t destroy a trifle.

    • Bluenosesol says:

      Has anyone worked out Zigic’s unavailability due to inujury? Surely he has been injured that often that we have grounds to terminate his contract? Its not like he get injured playing determined football, he seems to pick up niggling injuries on the training field??

    • Bluenosesol says:

      Sorry guys, but the Zigic situation is sickening, he is a lovely bloke who has had a great match at Leeds ansd scored a crucial goal at the cup final. Truth is he is destroying the clubs finances, cant be arsed to put the effort in during training and is no better in performance than what you would expect from a league 1 loan player. Please smell the coffeee and stop sympathising with this blood sucking leach !!

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Just wandering why we set ourselves up for failure and ridicule? If we knew that we did not have the funds to recruit new players, then why on earth did we take on 3 triallists in the first place???

  • dave mann says:

    bluenosesol, ive said earlier that hes injured anyway so zigic wont start the season.
    we took on the 3 trialists hopeing someone would come and take king, lovenkrands
    and anbrose but that aint happening either so they had to go.
    trevorblue, after the leeds game if you remember he got dropped to the bench after
    scoting 4 goals then got injured which about sums up zigics time at blues.KRO.

  • mark says:

    Imo clark might shock us by playing 451 with the second forward playing a duel role behind green. The most important game is the 3pointer against watford. It imperative result for us set the tone for our season. Hopefully our fans who been keeping their money in their pockets, will eventually join us, and begin our journey to the end of the road.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I think you’re right Mark. If we can beat a side that thrashed us so convincingly last season, it’ll lift the spirits and the hopes for a successful season. KRO

  • dave mann says:

    4-5-1- away definetley mark, but at home to keep the part time vultures at bay he will have
    to play 2 upfront or even 3 so get down there and support him and your club.KRO.

    • mark says:

      Tbh Dave, what ever system clark plays where will always be fans who want to complain for the sake of complaining. Most fans just want the right results, by the way happy to join you as a season ticket holder. I simply had a great buss from blues away games, and our home fans were simply appalling, sorry to say. I like most of you hope this is not the case this season, totally agreed with Paul carter views on the complete apathy, and toxic amosphere. As a bluenose you win some you lose some. This is a family club we has fans need also to set the tone for our next generation of fans. Kro

  • mark says:

    Absolutely staffsblue- he is simply just another forward at our club. Scarey really he not scored either.

  • dave mann says:

    that wasnt meant at you mark by the way.

  • dave mann says:

    if zigic is fit for the start of the season, stays injury free, scores 18 goals this season and we
    get promoted, i wonder if fans will still be peeved about what hes earning……….i think not!
    60k will be chicken feed if we get back in the premier league and he will be loved forever.
    you never know……..hang on ive just woken up…sorry, got carried away then.KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I think that’s the main bugbear about Zigic. If he’d scored 15-18 gps, or even 10-15, people wouldn’t be so peeved about his wages. Or I wouldn’t at least. At the end of the day, it was the owners that gave him that contract and he would have been a fool not to accept it. His agent must have been doing cartwheels when he saw no relegation claus.

      But, you’d think he’d bust a gut to to prove he’s worth that kind of money, at least to the fans. And that’s the crux of the matter. He hasn’t… and he isn’t.

  • dave mann says:

    but if the above was to happen , and it wasnt a dream then the fans would soon
    forget about his wages, he hasnt yet……… but?KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      But Davies and Elliott contributed as many goals as Zigic last season. Does that mean they were worth £60k p/w too? It’s all about value for money Dave. Do you really think he has been?

  • RichardM says:

    I can see a slow start this season, particulalry with a home starter against Watford (that I don’t expect we’ll get anything from) – as the players bed in and get to know one another properly. We need to be VERY patient this season. Anything above 12th place a real bonus as far as I’m concerned, I’ll be happy with 21st position and new owners!

    • StaffsBlue says:

      If we get new owners, I’d be happy with 21st too. :)

      It makes you wonder though, if Lee Clark and the team do well this season, will the board feel justified in the financial/player cuts they’ve made. I can see them giving themselves a huge slap on the back if we did actually reach the play-offs!

  • Oldbluenose says:

    I have just read that Jack Deaman, is on trial at Torquay United, !!. I wish him success , !!.

  • Chris says:

    If he was to score 20+ goals and help us even to playoffs then myself i would be pleased with his contribution but sadly alas one can only dream of a 20+ Zigic……

  • edd77 says:

    On what I’ve read zigic n Novak are both out 2Moz so he’ll prob go green and shinnie, then see if zigic and Novak are fit for for watford game if they aint then it will prob b green n shinnie against watford 2

  • Chris says:

    Someone just posted on BCFC forum that king is in talks with Turkish club…..

  • Zenzero says:


    Eardley Bartley Robinson Hancox

    Elliot Shinnie Lee

    Burke Novak Ferguson

    That is what I think the team for Watford will be.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      What I’d like and what I think will be, are two completely different teams. What I think will be the team, are: (3-5-2)


      Bartley Robinson Burn

      Eardley Burke Lee Shinnie Ferguson

      Novak Zigic

      • KeepRightcroydOn says:

        I assume mean if everyone is fit…which Ziggy isn’t at the moment. BTW what’s Eardley like in tracking back? Fergie’s good on the left, but we also need out RB to be good in 352.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Ziggy’s been out for 3 games with a back strain… just as Novak has been out for 2, but there’s still a week to go yet. As far as I know, Clark has made no indication that any of the niggles are that bad. I’d be surprised if both weren’t fit to start the season.

          • steve says:

            The thing with Ziggy is,he won’t play unless he’s 100%.He’s said this before.Too many times he gets what we’re lead to believe is a minor injury and we don’t see him for weeks.

  • Evesham blue says:

    What concerns me is LC tinkering again with new formations and tactics. We will get walloped again.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I don’t like saying this, but maybe it’ll take a couple of wallopings for him to see that 4-3-3 is best for the players and the fans and ditch the 3-5-2. I think he was so impressed by the way Hull and Watford walloped us last season, it’s maybe coloured his vision a tad. Still, who know, maybe 3-5-2 will be a raging success once the players get used to it. Maybe.

  • Bazzathebluenose says:

    We’re doomed Mr Mannering! Doomed!

  • Tony says:

    What concerns me is the lack of expectation, I mean some have said they would be happy with 21 st place. My question is at what point does Clark become accountable? if we avoid relegation, halfway, top 10, or 8 ,top 6? there has to be some sort of yardstick to measure him by otherwise he has the safest job in the country.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      You’ve mis-quoted a couple of us Tony. What was actually said, what that we would be happy to finish 21st, as long as these owners were replaced.

      I have actually said on a number of occasions, that I expect us to finish Top 10. My actual prediction is between 8th and 5th.

    • Art says:


      Clark is in a win win situation this season.

      If he succeeds it’s all down to him but if he fails it’s the boards fault for running the club on a shoe string.I’m not a Clark fan and I think we will really struggle this season but I do have a degree of sympathy for him.The owners are the core problem -Clark is just doing what he’s told.

      If new owners are not found before the end of this season I think we will finish in the bottom three.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Ziggy reported to be on £70k this season. Average PREMIER LEAGUE WAGE this season is 30k !!

    PS why is Ziggy unfit to start this season – bad back???


  • jay says:

    bartley robinson burn
    eardley furguson

    burke adyami allan



    i think we can all agree im right with this prediction!

  • sutton apex says:

    all our best results second half of season we played 4 5 1 with zig up front – clark should stick to this, shinnie will be the attacking midfielder with a license to push forward when ever he can – blues 1 hull 3

  • tony says:

    I’m not fussed about pre season results just think its ideal for sorting out fitness,formations and tactics.Unfortunately having been to oxford and shrewsbury we were lacking in most of those.Can’t see doyle being no.1 as he looked poor at shrewsbury and the less said about the trialists the better.Today i’m just hoping we have a formation and tactics that work,result would be nice but secondary for me.

  • mark says:

    Imo I believe green will get 20 goals, win championship, and the gates at home rise to 20,000, now have I got more chance of winning lotto. But hey you got to be in it to win it come on you blue boys. Kro

  • Mark1875 says:

    Who gave Zigic a ridiculous contract with no relegation clause?
    Instead of blaming him for everything, why not have a go at people like Foster and Ridgewell who made huge errors that got us relegated, were on big money and couldn’t wait to leave.
    As for King the reasons he is going are well known at the club

  • mark says:

    Clark taking his role with required degree of compliance??…….. Or simply comes on a whim from those with the authority to order it……

  • bluenose says:

    Looking forward to the new season even though I’m disappointed with the sale of out 3 star players (supposingly eye popping offers—yeah right!!) but onwards on upwards cannot wait for the opener v Watford KRO!!

  • Steve says:

    On the subject of bringing back ‘The Tamperer’ – please, no!! It’s embarrassing watching 14,000 people in a 29,000 stadium clapping in time like some robots. It worked back in the day when we had bigger gates and was a bit fresher but realy…let’s move on.

  • woody says:

    Are we still interested in paddy McCourt he says he wants to play in the championship after turning down peterborough

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Prediction for today:


    Bartley Robinson Burn

    Eardley Burke Adeyemi Elliott Ferguson

    Shinnie Green

    Birmingham City 3-2 Hull City


  • […] of Lee Clark from his last job inspired our then second most read post of all time and that he clings on for grim life at Birmingham City might seem incredible. To boot, he’s been allowed to completely overhaul the […]

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