Often Partisan

Off and Running

Birmingham City completed their first league victory of the new season by beating Gary Johnson’s Yeovil Town 1-0 at Huish Park on Saturday. The only goal came from former Blues target and Yeovil defender Dan Seaborne who put through his own net.

I only got to watch about half the game on a really duff internet feed out here in the far east, and as such I can’t and won’t comment on individual performances. However, what I can say is that three points and a clean sheet have to be seen as a positive and hopefully it’s something for Clark to build upon.

I’ve seen some grumbles about the profligacy of the current strikeforce, especially with Marlon King not having moved and not having been involved. I wouldn’t disagree based on what I have seen in pre-season that Marlon King is by far and away the best striker we have at our disposal but I also believe he’s played his last game for us. His move may have been held up but I cannot see him staying at Birmingham – one way or another something will happen and he will be gone from St Andrews in the near future. It’s a blow, as with 32 goals in his two seasons he’s been a good acquisition but we have to accept it and move on.

What is pleasing to me is the form of Darren Randolph. I did see the double save he made in the first half and I have to say, I think we’ve signed a top keeper in the Irishman. He might not be the tallest of keepers but he’s definitely a good shotstopper and again, based on what I’ve seen I’d say he’s probably better than Jack Butland currently is between the sticks, which is a boon for the club.

I know that some fans think that we should do as well, if not better than last season but for me this year is all about not being relegated – the money situation at Blues is only going to get worse until a new owner comes in and I think we’re in a holding pattern until that situation arises. With no money for new signings without players out of the door, and a wage cap that is low for the division we’re going to be restricted in what we have and when suspensions and injuries bite we are going to be down to playing kids. Thus we have to look at every point as a good thing, every win as a step closer to safety and every clean sheet as an extra bonus towards a positive goal difference.

Blues have been given a tough start to the season with all three playoff teams along with Yeovil, who are on a high and if we can get to the end of August having taken five or six points I think we have to be happy. Blues seem to be playing decent stuff – people have talked about how they’ve enjoyed watching the games that have gone on so far and there does seem to be an air of positivity in adversity around St Andrews. Blues fans are at their best when the chips are down and their backs are to the wall, so let’s hope the mood continues and we can start picking up points at home.

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76 Responses to “Off and Running”

  • Bcfc beast says:

    Sounds good I have to say I am very pleased with Randolph as I didn’t like butland anyway

  • RednalBlue says:

    Hello Al. Once again thanks for all the work you do keeping us fans informed on everything.
    Due to no income and failing health I am not able to go to watch our beloved team play at present so I rely greatly on your site and links via the internet. I watched the game on saturday and the site I use was excellent, no buffering or problems whatsoever. I’ll give you the link as not sure how long you are going to be away for.

    Here’s the Blues Youtube site which you more than likely already have.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/officialbcfc?feature=watch

    comment edited – I really can’t post that link on this website as I would probably get into trouble.

  • Evesham blue says:

    Dan burn as well. We may have a decent defence this season. Away at Yeovil not easy. I notice Watford tanked Bournemouth as well

  • Letsby Avenue says:

    ..

    Randolph ????

    My MotM against Watford and Yeovil.

    I love Jack B and also Joe H, and I defended both of them when they came under stick from some of our “supporters” n the “Hate” Forums.

    As each of their season’s progressed, they improved and the abuse died down.

    But Randolph is pretty exceptional — imo.

    Of course, he doesn’t come with the kewdos of being locally raised or even Academy raised, but this guy is special.

    I really think, after only 2 League games, he will be the “prime” target in the January transfers.

    This may be heresy—— BUT…..I think ….
    Darren looks more accomplished and complete……than Joe or Jack ever did..

    Affter 2 League games, Darren is beating Wade in my Player of the Season…

    :-) :-)

    This guy knows what his job is, and is 101% focused and commited to it.

  • KeepRightcroydOn says:

    Yes, Randolph could be the capture of the season. I actually think the 2nd half save with his left peg was better than the double save he made 1st half. He probably would have been disappointed with himself if he let in the 1st half on cos first shot was nice height and close enough to him, while follow up header came straight at him, though credit to him for quick recovery.
    The 2nd half save was exceptional because he.had very little time to react and it was fast and very low with no chance of getting his hands to it, great instinctive, reflex movement to block it.

  • Ali Duncan says:

    I think the division will be as unpredictable as last year and it’s nice to get three points on the board. I reckon we’ll have a good idea how the division will shape up for the rest of season once we hit the ten game mark. Until that point I’m happy to just relax and enjoy it. However in Barnsley and Millwall, the teams I thought would start poorly and who I believe will struggle all season have done just that so I think we’ll have enough quality to stay in the division.

  • KeepRightcroydON says:

    Although Brighton were one of last season’s play of teams, I’m quite hopeful of a good result on Sat. They’ve not had a good start, and are themselves having a bit of a mini crisis with the repercussions of the sacking of Puyet rumbling on, so now is as good a time as any to play them.

  • EveshamBlue says:

    Early doors but will we have the firepower this season with Marlon being frozen out? Also Burke doesnt fit the 352 which would be a shame to waste him

  • Frankie says:

    Can’t argue with any of that.
    Think our defence looks more than decent, Mullins should win a few more fans over with his performances at the back alongside Robbo and Big Dan.
    We will struggle to score goals but I urge Blues fans to be patient with Green and novak, they are 100% grafters and just need that FIRST goal.
    As wisely said, this season is all about survival really.
    Hopefully we can rid ourselves of the burden of Yeung and Pannu soon !

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I said weeks ago, that Hayden Mullins started at West Ham as a centre back. Then last week, Lee Clark said that he was used mainly in that position at Portsmouth. So maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised that he’s playing well there so far this season.

      As for the strikers, I don’t think there’s too much to worry about. They’ll come good I think. Remember, the hardest goal to get… is the first one. Also, no player reached double figures for Hull last season and look where they ended up. As long as the fans stay behind them, they’ll be ok.

  • Mark1875 says:

    Brilliant article. Thanks for keeping us informed.Keep up the good work. Magic.

  • Andy W says:

    I think Almajir has it spot on form me. Any 3 points away from home in this division has to be a positive. But I did wonder after the Watford game where I could see our goals coming from this season, and I am still wondering after Saturday? I think Randolph, Burn and Shinnie have all been significant performers for us so far, and look like good signings. Not sure yet on some of the others. It is very early days, and the team is still not gelling entirely but there are signs of the kind of style that the manager wants us to play, and it looks quite refreshing. However, I think this division is even more competitive this season, and my worry is that we may get a bit bullied as the season goes on. We are going to need plenty of goals to keep our heads above the water, and I think staying up will be an achievement with the current squad.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    The atmosphere at Yeovil on Saturday was quite incredible. Had to laugh as the Yeovil gaffer thanked his fans for the atmosphere, but in reality it was down to the Bluenoses. On Saturday I was peed off with the moands from the Yeovil fans and manager that Eardley should have been sent off, his booking was innocuous and the second foul was barely a foul. We had a definitie penalty claim rejected. Randy was brilliant in goals and you wont see a better reaction save than his double save and his extended leg save all season. Last season when I saw Elliot’s inclusion on the team sheet I would emit a huge sigh. This season he has been very good and on Saturday he was our star player. Winning the ball and his distribution and drive was excellent. Dan Burn also looks like a star in the making despite some of my fellow Noses taking the mick on Saturday. That’s six pints of lager for you! My main concerns were that Matt Green struggled to make any impact, Callum Reilly had another mediocre performance and Shane Ferguson has yet to produce his form of last season. If we can do Brighton who lost at home on Saturday, we will be on a roll!! KRO!!

    • Ali Duncan says:

      I like Callum but I think he is too lightweight. He gets knocked off the ball too easily and I think he needs to put some Gym time in to muscle up a bit.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I think I might agree with that. The lad needs building up. Maybe he should eat THREE shredded wheat. :-) He took one whack on Tuesday that took him a while to get up from.. even the ref ran over to see if he was ok. As he got to his feet, he physically staggered for a few steps. It seemed to affect him for the rest of the game. I like Reilly, I hope he has a good future with us.

  • sappy sad says:

    ………blues are looking good …and we have to give our strikers a chance ..but I cant get my head around a midfield player sitting on the bench who has done in the championship what ryan giggs has done in the prem ……who has the ability to make many goals and also score goals …..I judge players on results ,and what they bring to a team …….floating like a butterfly is worthless unless you can sting like a bee as well…………things are looking good though as long as we have more attempts on goal than the opposition…..kro

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I commented on this Blog when we signed Randolph that he would become a favourite with the fans having seen him play for Motherwell.
    At 6′ 1″ he is the optimum height for a ‘keeper, combining speed and agility with great reflexes that lumbering 6’ 5″ ‘keepers can’t match.

  • Tony says:

    What I like about this keeper, apart from his obvious shot stopping ability, is the way that he exudes confidence, that will spread to his fellow defenders. Also the way that, as soon as he has the ball in hands he’s looking to pass it out to start a move of our own. Overall very impressed.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I think both Randolph and Dan Burn have made an enormous difference. Randolph commands his area, especially on crosses.. and Burn is so dominant in the air it’s untrue. They both exude confidence in their play. What a difference to last season.

    • tmsblues says:

      And already a safer pairing in the team spine than Davies and Butland who were both prone to dodgy goal giving moments particularly early in the season!

      • StaffsBlue says:

        Dan Burn on keeper Randolph: ““He’s a really good goalkeeper. He is so agile, he pulled off some good saves. He’s an extra man at the back when the ball does go over the top, it is so reassuring to have a guy you can rely on behind you.”

        That’s exactly where we were falling down most of last season, when the ball was played over the top, there was a no-man’s-land between the defence and goalkeeper.

  • dave mann says:

    great day at yeovul, enjoyed the game particuly second half again for the third game in a row
    where we upped the tempo and played really well. randolph quality, mullins quality, elliot quality.
    the atmosphere could have been better from both sets of fans but 3 points and there bubble
    burst, not sure about there anouncer giving the goal to burn, it hit 2 of there defenders with
    burn pressing but100% own goal.KRO.

  • Johnners says:

    I am convinced Butland cost us a place in the play-offs last season – partly through random errors that cost us specific points and generally through not commanding the box which unnerved the back four. The early signs with Randolph are very positive – confident, consistent and agile. It has been a very encouraging start to the season. I’m happy with building the team from the back and I think there are some players who are yet to get into the groove going forward – Ferguson, Green, Novak in particular. However, the raw ingredients are there if given a bit of time. I expect Shinnie to be a bit of a star once the rest of the team have got used to his movement and unorthodox thinking since he has that rare ability to ghost into the box unnoticed – we have not had a player like that in the team for some time. Maybe Bryan Hughes was the last example. Burn is the sort of soldier Blues fans have always taken to their hearts. The other aspect I have noticed is that we are physically much stronger this year – Burn,Adeyami, Novak have beefed up the spine and Robinson’s fiery captaincy is getting us more into the face of the opponents than last year. Need to be a bit careful on the disciplinary side but overall I think it is a positive shift.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    That’s one thing that may be a bit of a worry… the disciplinary record.

    So far, after 3 matches, it looks like this;

    Robinson 2 (bookings)
    Eardley 2
    Burn 2

    Adeyemi 1
    Arthur 1
    Elliott 1
    Ferguson 1
    Novak 1

    Another few matches could potentially wipe out 3/4 of our regular defence. I hope Lee Clark sorts that side of things out, or it could get a bit tricky as the season goes on.

  • Kev says:

    I agree with the Randolph comments, I like the way he distributes too. He keeps the game going.

    Burn also looks a decent player.

  • dave mann says:

    the bookings on saturday, and im not one that normally slags the ref off, were ridiculous and
    not warranted, he was definetley a homer and gave us nothing, its worrying the yellow cards
    but you cant blow on anybody these days without getting booked, absoluetly spoilt the game
    for me but we deserved to win and defended magnificently.KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      In my honest opinion, between one third and one half of all bookings and sendings off are unjustified. All they do, is spoil the flow of a game, spoil the entertainment for the crowd.. and make the authorities, (who are actually paid to think up these silly rules,) look stupid.

      The offside rule. Nuff said.

      • DoctorD says:

        To be fair, I think the rule that you can’t pass back to the keeper was genius. It has really helped the flow of the game immeasurably. Remember those dire 0-0s with the ball always going back to the keeper who’d bounce it interminably and then lamely punt it forward?

        • StaffsBlue says:

          I do agree on that one…. although, they did go via the stupid 3 steps rule. Glad that one went down the bog eventually. I think they got it just about right now.

  • Johnners says:

    Interesting stats. Thanks for providing. Treading a bit of a line there…

  • The Flying Pig says:

    I was pleased with the points but I thought it was a poor quality game on Saturday.
    As Dave Mann says, the Ref was awful – it was never a dirty game and yet there were 6 bookings – some of them innocuous, but it was the Ref’s inability to spot things like the deflection for a corner that had both sets of fans suggesting he didn’t know what he was doing. Habing booked Eardley for othing early on he then gave himself a problem when he committed the latter foul; however, neither of them were bookable offences IMO.
    We had no width on the right and Fergie wasn’t particularly good on the left [to be fair, the Yeovil RB looked pretty good]. Green didn’t hold the ball up as well as he did against Watford, but I thought Novak looked better in the second half – I haven’t been impressed with him at this early stage, but he looked a bit more lively.
    Randolph looks like a great acquisition and Burn looks competent.

  • pedantic pete says:

    I have a colleague who briefly played between the sticks for Queens Park in Scotland. He thinks Randolph is a very good keeper. All in all I think we have been lucky to have had a great series of goalies – Hart, Foster, Butland and now Randolph seems to be continuing that trend. Frustrtating for Doyle maybe, but good for the club.

  • dave mann says:

    the only worrying thing for me in these first3 games, watford, plymouth and yeovil, is the
    firepower up front, everything else has been very good, but were missing a marlon king
    so until that gets sorted, if at all, were going to have to play like we did saturday and grind
    out results because the defence looks solid and i cant see us getting hit for 4s and 5s like
    last season.KRO.

  • Tony says:

    I thought the Yeovil right back was guilty of some play acting when Fergie got booked. He went down pole axed, but jumped up as soon as the ref reached for the card and then took the free kick. Hmmmmm!!

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Luke Ayling. Ex-Arsenal I believe. I remember him having some good games in the play-offs last season. Maybe, as he’s gone up a division now, he’s been practicing.

      • Richard Granfield says:

        Luke Ayling was Kyle Bartley’s partner in central defence when Arsenal won the FA Youth Cup a few years back.

  • dave mann says:

    its getting all to common tony mate, players dont give a dam about other professionals, just
    themselves and there team mates and gaining an advantage for there team………if
    you cant beat them join them comes to mind but its a sad state off affairs.KRO.

    • chas says:

      Twas always that way, Dave. I remember Francis Lee going down and out for the count and the punch had missed him. He did admit it years later tho, and he was a diving shit all his career.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        Francis Lee was the master of the dive. Another that run him a close second.. was Mickey Thomas. Must have been something in the Manchester water. :-) Thankfully, there weren’t too many of them back then.. it was definitely frowned upon.

        Although it won’t change any time soon, the cause and the cure are one and the same….. The Manager.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        This might give you a bit of a laugh. Watch Franny Lee after he pushes Georgie Best in the back. Oh, the irony of it. :-)

  • Tony says:

    Staffs was that franny lee who got into a fight with Keegan on the pitch both sent off,was a good scrap though.

  • Tony says:

    Ok Bremmner it was, your right tremendous player but wherever you look on that pitch talent was everywhere.
    Performance in most sports have improved in the last 40 odd years but looking around that pitch that dont apply ,not one player in the championship would have got on the bench and not too many from the premiership either.
    People talk about midfielders but Colin Bell was one of the best ever probably the best engine of any player of that era. We are told not to look back with rose coloured glasses but you dont need them to see the difference from today.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      The Leeds United team of the late 60s and early 70s was the greatest club side I ever saw.

      Sprake, Reaney, Cooper, Bremner, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Clarke, Jones, Giles, Gray.

      Proper players, proper numbers, proper positions. :-)

      • chas says:

        I would agree with you there, Staffs, but I would add, they were also the dirtiest team I ever saw. I could never understand why , cos they were so talented they really didn’t need the dirt.

      • Richard Granfield says:

        Staffs I agree with you about Leeds in the late 60’s and early 70’s. I was at Hillsborough for the FA Cup Semi Final in 1972 when Blues were defeated (and outclassed) 3-0 by Leeds.
        The Blues team included Paul Cooper in goal, Hynd and Harland at centre back. Francis, Hatton and Latchford up front.
        Blues returned to Hillsborough some weeks later and beat Wednesday 2-1 on the way to promotion.
        Happy Days.

  • dave mann says:

    klinsmann was the diver off all divers, that1990 world cup final dive followed by the tripple
    back summersaults and double front flip overs was trully memorable, great entertainment
    and a true master of his art.KRO.

    • mark says:

      AJ unfortunately had this to his game, imo am dead against player divers, if a defender takes your legs away in penalty area that’s simply. simulation occurs this should be stamped out…. call me old fashion… could not careless if this potentiality win us a penalty……football should be played on fair play imo. Also playacting should equally be stamped out, absolutely no need to get players sent off. To win fairly this should be done by 11 playing 11. The best team wins…….. again imo……………..

      • StaffsBlue says:

        As I said yesterday Mark, (and I quote myself,) “the cause and the cure are one and the same….. The Manager. If all managers said to all the divers, “Cut it out, or you won’t be playing,” it wouldn’t last too much longer.

        I remember hearing an interview years ago, with the great Trevor Francis. He said that when he played for Sampdoria, he couldn’t believe that there were training sessions set aside exclusively for diving and winning free kicks/penalties.. So you see, the continentals have been at it for a very long time.

        • mark says:

          Totally agree staffsblue – but issue needs to be dealt further up the football food chain, and for all the other counties need to take this on board. Its a disgusting part of football imo i would want personally it remove completely from football it has no place in football other than give way to cheats…same goes for playacting……. was very disgusted by Watford team, they were a talented team, and Zola should jumped on his players for the way the acted. It appears to me turn a blind eye if the result appears to go your way……………

          • StaffsBlue says:

            I’m with you Mark. Agree with every point you made. But, if you’re waiting for TPTB to do anything, you’ll waiting about the same length of time it’ll take England to win another trophy. Money talks.. and we all know that football is all about money now.

            Worst thing that ever happened to football (and other sports) was Sky Sports. If it wasn’t for them flooding the sport with money, we wouldn’t have all the mercenaries flooding our game. Because let’s face it, they don’t come here to win trophies, or for the sincillating football.

            Maybe I’m just getting too cynical in my old age. =)

          • StaffsBlue says:

            * (at me) Try scintilating you silly old fool lol

  • mark says:

    what really pleased me is how hayden and robinson have connected at the back with burns. yes the goalkeeper deserve the plaudits. Both old heads deserve equally credit which was not noted in your blog? Equally hayden has appeared to pick up this mantle gracefully. Camaraderie within the team is 100% Clark has worked his sock off to get a collection of players who will do the blue shirt proud imo . it appears to me now that we are looking for faults, the end game is results…………inclarkwetrust

  • mark says:

    imo you probably never get all 11 players playing at their 110 percent every game individually…. what you can get is a team playing at 110 percent,,,,,working hard for each other, making the right decisions together, no prim a dona’s……..What we have is a very hard working team who can also play football….. ONE thing fans like to see is sweat, commitment and desire which we can now see in abundances…………………………..kro

  • dave mann says:

    with the greatest off respect tony you can only give 100%, theres not such thing as more
    than that, but your point is valid, the way we played saturday against yeovil was 100%
    commitment and team work with no prima donas taking the headlines. if we carry on
    playing like that for the rest of the season, as we have been in the first 3 games then
    we will have a lot better season than some douting fans think, trust me.KRO.

  • dave mann says:

    sorry tony i meant mark…….sorry.KRO.

  • mark says:

    you are correct dave regarding 100% it was just figure of speech, my point was this is a far better showing than most doubting fans think. I personally think you can not please all fans, but 2000 fans including myself and you at yeovil demonstrated that this was a hard working result…… we are moving in the right direction, the dead wood is slowly been removed, cutting the cloth, players who want to play for the shirt are here. quote by Dan burns not a single sentiment about Yeovil other than he moved on , and is now wearing a blues shirt…….

  • mark says:

    Sorry dan for changing the subject slightly with regards to carson Trial. Are HK courts happy about this trial length simply because they know Carson is guilty????

  • dave mann says:

    agreed mark 100%. KRO.

  • Tony says:

    Leeds united of the 70s were the best club side I have ever seen apart from careless hands in goal.
    I too was at that cup semi final when we were totally outclassed.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Other than the Blues… the 3 sides I have good memories of, are 1. Leeds Utd 2. Man United (1967-68) 3. Chelsea (late 60s early 70s.)

      I can’t remember seeing 3 better sides.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I’ll add Bill Nich’s Tottenham to that list. The 60s and 70s really were a magical time for football.

  • Tony says:

    Just watched that clip Staffs almost forgot what a good scrap it was.


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