Often Partisan

Expectations

Birmingham City kick off the new football season in just five days with the visit of Watford to St Andrews. After a mixed pre-season results-wise Blues finished with an encouraging 2-1 win over Premier League side Hull City and now Lee Clark has the job of ensuring that the positives from that game are translated into the league season.

Expectation is a big thing. This time last year I honestly believed that Blues had a good enough squad to at least make the playoffs – and we all know what happened. A horrific start to the season put paid to that and whilst the team did improve to finish in midtable it was a case of what might have been had Blues played with any passion at all at the start of the season.

This season, it’s different. More than ever the team is one of loans and freebies; of lower level players making a step up and semi-untried kids being given a run out from their parent teams. Blues look to be changing formation from a tried and tested 4-4-2 to a more radical 3-5-2 or a slightly more conservative 4-3-3 and the whole makeup of the team has become younger, taller and more energetic. Yet it’s going to be a big ask for some of these players to come in and do a job straight off; taking on last season’s beaten play off finalists complete with most of the players that they had on loan last year is going to be a tough ask straight up. A few early defeats and one would worry for how the camp is going to take it and how the fans are going to react to Lee Clark – particularly if Marlon King is still with the club and left out.

I’ll be honest and say that I think the team is capable of finishing in the top half; maybe even sneaking the playoffs if we get lucky but I fear that once injuries start to play a part and Blues are once again reduced to raiding the academy for talent then we will struggle. I think it’s going to be tough for Blues but as long as we can stay somewhere in the middle of the table the hope has to be that maybe, just maybe we’ll get the change of ownership we all crave and things will improve in the second half of the season.

The key is the home form. I think if Blues can string together some decent early home performances the fans should be fairly sated; I think one of the big issues Clarky had last season was how poorly we started at home – particularly after being so good before – and games like the 5-0 humiliation to Barnsley live long in the memory.

In other news, Eddy Gnahoré has been performing well on trial for Conference Champions Mansfield Town where he is training with a view to getting a loan deal. His 20 minute cameo in the friendly against Boston United was rated highly by Mansfield site Stagsnet and I hope that he can push on – first team football is a must for the young Frenchman.

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41 Responses to “Expectations”

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Would Eddy Gnahoré going to Mansfield for experience have been set up as a result of the Matt Green deal, or is it totally non-related?

  • StaffsBlue says:

    The only thing that worries me still, is the centre of defence. Surely to God, he’s not going to play Hayden Mullins at the back along with Paul Robinson in the 3-5-2? I think that could be a disaster, with Robinson not the fastest and Mullins a virtual novice in the position. As I said, it’s the only area of the team I’m wary about.

  • Chris Walker says:

    I was quite critical of lee Clark last season and with his early attitude and the constant changing of formations, sometimes two or three during the game, caused some of his early problems, along with the amount of time he had to get a squad together and gel.
    This season he knew the financial constraints, he knew whom he wanted and was able to wheel and deal to achieve his aim.
    He has had time with these young guns and worked on a variation of formations and from what I have seen; he has worked a minor miracle.
    Whether it turns out to be a major miracle we shall see come next May.
    I personally believe we can finish in the top half and given luck with injuries, a play-off place could be possible. As most Bluenoses last season I thought with the team we had were more than capable of promotion, this season it is imperative we avoid the relegation dogfight, as I do not think we have the experience to succeed, win at home and nick a few results away should see us stay in the comfort zone.
    I wish all the teams the very best of luck for the coming season and 100% commitment is all we ask for the badge on the shirt from everyone.
    KRO

    • Aussieblue says:

      Chris,
      Excellent analysis and commentary and just the sort of thing that’s needed on a large scale; now and right throughout the season no matter what curved balls get lobbed at us.
      Every individual in the team should put professional pride ahead of any negativity and, like you say Chris, be proud while they have the BCFC badge on their shirt. Well done Lee Clark & coaches for creating what looks like sound promise from very little resources.
      I’ll be watching from afar as we give Watford ‘Wat-for’ on Saturday!

      • Berkshire Blue says:

        In terms of resources we probably have around or just over the average for the championship. Based on average attendances last season, parachute payments and taking into account owner support I would say we definitely have more resources than Bournemouth, Yeovil, Doncaster, Millwall, Barnsley, Burnley, Blackpool, Middlesborough, Ipswich, Huddersfield and Charlton and arguably more than Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds and Derby. Like others I would hope for at least a mid table finish with an outside chance of the play offs. Roll on Saturday!

        • Pete says:

          A lot of those sides are able to afford transfer fees and have decent home support in terms of attmosphere. So for my money, we will be doing well to be away from a relegation battle. As it is unknown however, anything could happen.

        • Chris says:

          Have to slightly disagree as Blackpool, Ipswich, Huddersfield, Sheffield Wed, Leeds and Derby all have owners who at least on some occasions put money into the club which ours don’t.
          Many of these teams can afford higher wages too and for example Wednesday are losing £5 million per season but are backed by their chairman, which shortly might be Sammy Yu.
          Although we have a 8 million parachute payment 50% of that goes on Zigic and some of the rest to pay debts we have, which leaves us no better off than most other Championship sides financially.

        • nicky wicky says:

          but they don’t have walter mitty owners who want to cling on to the last minute in the hope that they won’t go to jail!

  • Pete says:

    key point there from Dan. Home form is vital. If home games can witness players getting a vocal, supportive attmosphere without moaning or slagging players off THEN who knows what could happen. Support at home could make the difference of future owners wanting to buy when coming to look at the club, getting performances out of players, and all in all making match days more enjoyable.

  • sutton apex says:

    if we finish 12th i think clark will have done a great job – to lose davies and butland was a huge blow.
    agree if we can turn st andrews into a fortress we might sneak 6th, home form will dictate our season

    • nicky wicky says:

      6th dream on if they finish 12th it will be a great acheivment who’s gonna score the goals? Marlon king is going! Redmond and Davies have gone.

  • Johnners says:

    I’ve got the buzz for Saturday and I think LC deserves plaudits for being bold to stamp his authority onto the squad and the formation. He has completely rebuilt the team in terms of its age, physicality and playing style. He has shown in the past that he has an eye for young talent and this gives me some confidence he will have made the most of limited resources. The real question now is not whether the team will turn up on Saturday but will the crowd turn up? And will he crowd be the same bunch of die-hard cynics as the last few seasons or will we start as we mean to go and get behind this team from the off? All the mention of the importance of the home form should remind us that we are the 12th man in the team and our enthusiasm and support counts for a lot particularly for a new bunch of players who could be forgiven for being on edge for the first full game. So come on you blue noses let’s bring the house down on Saturday. KRO.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I predict we will achieve promotion next season. The reason? Two words LEE CLARK.
    He has done a wonderful job under very difficult circumstances.
    His record at Huddersfield was impressive…..Of 178 matches in charge he lost only 50 with a win percentage of 49% (87 wins).
    If that record is replicated this season we are up. He has got his own players in the squad this season, unlike last season, so it’s full steam ahead to the Premier League.

  • Barry says:

    Unlike last year, I have no expectations for the season. In some ways it’s “Last Chance Saloon” time given our financial situation. A poor start like last year may be more difficult to recover from and combined with our well publicised financial position could send us the same way as Wolves. On the plus side, I’m looking forward to seeing how the current squad will cope and maybe the lack of expectations will benefit.

  • Masaccio says:

    LC and the team can only do what they can do on the pitch this season with what they’ve got. We can only get behind them from the terraces. The board and pannu need to take a good long look at themselves

  • Chris says:

    I feel we will be around the halfway position or lower if we are hit by injuries to ‘normal’ first team players, so any finish in the top half will be a excellent job by Lee Clark and the players.
    I hope some fans realise their expectations, are maybe too high and don”t transmit their frustration to the players IF their expectations are not met.
    A good start is not a ‘must’ as last year proved, but a steady average start would be nice and for me it’s all about the team gelling and being comfortable with their formations.
    Many teams have a good start like Huddersfield last season yet look where they ended up.
    Lay off the team if we struggle early on.

  • Evesham Blue says:

    I think we have some very good attacking midfield players. The likes of Shinnie, Allan.

    The achilles heel may be the defensive aspect again through midfield not protecting the defence unless Adyemi can add physical presence. Champ teams can “bully” midfield. Will the young guns cope?

    Plus alot depends on the strikers taking up King’s contribution. Big ask. Forest for example have spent heavily on the strikers.

    However I think defensively I think Randolph will do far better than Butland.

    • Evesham Blue says:

      Alot depends as ever on injuries and how quickly we gel as a team. There are a hell of alot of personnel changes.

      Having said that – I am very excited. I think there is the potential there to be the surprise package even.

  • DoctorD says:

    Look at our past four years: 9th and 18th in the prem then 4th and 12 th in the Championship.

    If we can avoid a further downward slide, it’ll have been a good year.

  • dave mann says:

    very encouraging saturday, played well on and off the ball., keeping hull at bay untill
    that idiot robinson jumps in sliding in the area, totally brain dead tackle, theres commitment
    then theres madnes and that was madnes, but looking good and very versatile. roll on
    saturday. must say though i thought mullins was the best player on the pitch and i
    dont rate him, weve all got a lot to learn about our own players,KRO.

    • phil says:

      I thought it was a good tackle Dave.
      That’s what we should have in the game, he took the ball.

      • Bluenosesol says:

        Have to agree with you Phil. Looked a good tackle to me and in fact have just read that LC thought the same.

  • SuttonBluenose2 says:

    I’ve got a funny feeling about this season. We look on paper absolute shite to the untrained eye. The players we have signed this season are very much non-league nobodies, or at least lower league. But the loan players, look where they’ve come from. Solid Premier League teams, all with proven academies. I think we’ll surprise ourselves this season and perhaps a slow start what with all the new faces, but a top half finish. Maybe challenging the promotion places. Got my tickets booked for Saturday. KRO

  • dave mann says:

    ime not saying he didnt win the ball, but in 2013 you cant dive in in your own penalty aea
    like that, your giving the referee an excuse to give a penalty and that will happen to us a lot
    if he doesent cut it out.KRO.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    This is why the art of defending is dying. You can’t sneeze without a player falling over from the blast!

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Change of suject lad’s, !!.

    Just announced on Newsnow, !!. Christian [ Chucho ] Benitez, has been killed in a car crash, !!.

  • Bill Cridland says:

    I would urge blues supporters to read the observer sports supplement and see the scandalous use of Leeds united to fund his jollies backwards and forwards to Italy amongst other things to see other genuine supporters being taken for a ride,k

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    Just hope we give Watford a real good hiding , as they should not be allowed to prosper.

    This season they have signed nine from Udinese and two from Granada (loans in any other name)
    As the Pozzo family that owns Watford also owns Udinese and Granada.

    How the FL can turn a blind eye beggars belief..

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I’m all for giving those London boys a thrashing… and dedicating the win to Chucho!

  • tony says:

    Very much a season of the unknown which excites and frightens me in equal measure.If we can hit the ground running,stay clear of long term injuries and not concede stupid goals again then who knows.

  • RUPERT says:

    The problems will arise when injuries and suspensions take there toll. I am afraid I don’t share the optimism of others, this is a relegation squad, and not Lee Clarks fault.
    If the manager pulls this one off he deserves his big money move that Pannu will be able to cash in on!!
    Good luck lads I hope I am wrong.

    RIP Chucho

  • almajir says:

    Did notify people on twitter and fb of potential issues and there will continue to be issues until tuesday pm. Please bear with me

  • StaffsBlue says:

    This has reared it’s head again. Is this why he was given a free?

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/5040717/Footie-thug-King-held-on-hit-and-run.html

    • chas says:

      The one I reported about happened last Saturday night. Might be a total accident , we will have to wait and see.


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