Royal Blue Skies on the Horizon?   2 comments

By Simon Boon (Birmingham City Fans Forum member)

It’s as though the Titanic is sinking. The rats have jumped ship and a lot of the guests have knocked woman and children aside and fled onto the remaining life boats. Even some of the most loyal of crew members have found the nearest life jacket and jumped straight over board. Us fans would rather go down with the ship than jump. So are we truly on a sinking ship or could there be clear Royal Blue skies on the horizon?

Birmingham City as a club are no strangers to selling its prized assets after a relegation. However the whole Craig Gardner farce is one that has hit home with many Blues fans.  Despite having come from the dark side, Craig was accepted as one of our own, which was quite a feat in itself. The crowed sung his name and he kissed the badge as he proclaimed his love for this club and its fans. I think it’s clear to see now; the majority of us were taken in by this and many of us feel betrayed. He reminisced publically about standing on the terraces with his Dad as a youth and claimed one of the greatest days of his life was Birmingham City’s promotion to the Premier League for the first time against Norwich at the Millennium Stadium back in 2002.

I sit here now, as do many Bluenoses and feel we were all too quick to be taken in by all of that. ‘He’s the heart of this club’, ‘the Steven Gerard of Birmingham’… No he’s just another footballer trying to make as much money as he can in what is a short career. But alas, loyalty it seems is dead. The kissing of the badge, the (crocodile) tears at White Heart Line. It meant less to him than it did to his adoring fans that day.

He owed us one season. Some will argue that it isn’t his choice to leave and that Carson and co have forced his hand. I don’t believe that. He wanted out, but £6 million for a young English goal scoring midfield player is quite an insult and one can only imagine why the Board have accepted this. You could speculate all day that the player wanted out even more than he’s let on, or the finances are that dire that we saw the pound signs and took the cash. Gardner is one of the few players not to have a relegation clause in his contract and maybe at 25k a week, the Board needed rid. I don’t think we will ever truly know the reason. Gardner’s gone, that’s all that matters.

Gardner may be the biggest name to go so far, but the mass exodus began with our loans going back to whence they came, they won’t be missed. Bentley, Hleb, Martins. Potentially some of the biggest loans we’ve had down the Blues since Dugarry and Forssell, who incidentally, now both have their pictures hanging in the Legends Lounge at St Andrew’s. I’ve told Kodak to cancel our order for the one of Hleb, it won’t be needed.  I hope they enjoy warming the bench of another team next season. Martins is exempt from any criticism here simply for his match winner at Wembley, I’d quite happily hang a picture of that moment on any wall I could find.

But let’s not panic, after all, many of the players leaving didn’t fill themselves will glory last season.  A lot of deadwood has gone.  Michel, Parnaby, Phillips, bit part players at best. Ridgewell has been linked with a move away but I think for the sorts of sums that have been quoted (circa £3m), we’re better off hanging onto him. Scott Dann and Cameron Jerome look set to be heading out and that could see £16 million and Ricardo Fuller heading our way. A potential stop gap in the financial black hole we currently find ourselves with and another striker who could do a job at this level. This could see some of our other top players staying put, at least for now anyway.

Currently, it’s very quiet with regards to Foster, Ferguson and Johnson, who are yet to set their stalls out either way, despite being linked to several clubs. It is expected that Zigic’s 50k-a-week demand won’t be covered and if we could get our money back for the 6’7 ½” striker then I will doft my cap to the man, thank him for the cup final goal and say farewell. Jiranek, who to be fair to the lad, took his chance when he was given it following Scott Dann’s injury, did prove himself to be a useful player, but he put himself on the first plane home after the Spurs game, shinning his Carling Cup medal as he went. Bowyer was told he was not going to be given a contract extension before the end of the season and has also left, a foolish move in my opinion on Blues’ part, as he could have a done a job for us in the Championship.

McFadden’s another one, injured for the majority of last season. He’s currently in talks with the Board and it is believed that they have offered him a less lucrative contract. For a player who struggles to stay fit, he’s going to be lucky to find a better offer.

Stevie Carr, Captain Supreme last season, has pledged his future to the club and it’s hoped others will follow suit now we have a manager who has already set his sights back on the Promised Land. Although McLeish signings, we have brought in Chris Burke and Marlon King.  While he’s never going to be a fans favourite, there is no argument that King knows how to put the ball in the net at Championship level . Chris Hughton has hailed the capture of Adam Rooney, describing the former Inverness Caledonian Thistle frontman as a “prolific goalscorer who wants to keep developing his game” and with Burke in to replace Larsson, the rebuilding has begun already.

Eck was one of the topics, which during his tenure, had divided fans. Now he’s gone there seems to be more unity within the fan base that, under Hughton we can really start to feel positive about the future. The man has been in this sort of boat before; he took a Newcastle team in ‘disarray’, united the dressing room and completely smashed the league to return at the first time of asking, with over 100 points and a team scoring for fun, losing just 4 games all season. Some will argue with the team he had he was expected to do that, but the pressures and egos of the dressing room were controlled and he made it look easy in the end. Other big teams have come down and simply dissipated into the abyss; see Leeds, Sheffield United and Southampton. Hughton didn’t let this happen to Newcastle and it is hoped he doesn’t let this happen to the Blues.

We know his challenge, and I don’t think anyone has any delusions that this coming season is going to be anything but difficult for us, but we have hope once again.

There is still no doubt a dark cloud is hovering precariously above St Andrew’s, and things may get worse before they get better, but we’re Bluenoses, we’re used to this, Joys and Sorrows and all that.

Note: Since writing this article for the Birmingham City Fans Forum Blog Simon’s comment, ‘things may even get worse before they get better’ has come true and boy – how they have come true.

On Thursday, fans of Birmingham City woke up to find out the team’s owner was facing money laundering charges in his home of Hong Kong.

Carson Yeung, a Hong Kong citizen who bought Birmingham City two years ago, is accused of five counts of money laundering involving 721 million Hong Kong dollars, about £92 million. Few details were released, though the club’s Acting chairman, Peter Pannu, said Thursday he believed the investigation was not related to the club.

Yeung’s case was adjourned until 11 Aug. He was released on bail of 7 million Hong Kong dollars and ordered to hand in his passport and report to a local police station three times a week.

Thank you



2 responses to “Royal Blue Skies on the Horizon?

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  1. Well said and i for one will be there with my club every step of the way!!!!!!!

  2. great article , have to agree with every word ,& like it was said we`ve been here before so its nothing new to us ( joys & sorrows ) after 50 yrs following OUR club I still wouldnt swap the Carling cup for survival last season , finally got the monkey off our backs & the only Brum team to win ANYTHING THIS CENTURY, the road ahead is certainly along long road , BUT we`ll be there ! BETTER A BLUE IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP THAN A CLARET ANYWHERE KRO SOTV

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