Friday, 13 December 2013

Birmingham may be close to clicking

I can't help but be intrigued by Birmingham City and their fans. I remember as a youngster that they sold the first million pound player in Trevor Francis and were a top club. Despite the rantings of Jasper Carrott bemoaning their plight, Birmingham City have always been in higher leagues than AFCB. I think Jasper's gripe was that Villa were usually seen as a bigger club and were said to have cursed the Blues by planting an unlucky stone under their main stand or something. Birmingham have not done so badly though over the years with their seasons in the Premiership while AFCB have been in the lower leagues, but something is stopping them getting back there despite the quality they have. I wonder why the Blues have not fully fired yet this season in the Championship? 

They have some quality players like the Serbian Nikola Zigic, who scored in the 2:1 win against Arsenal in the 2011 League cup to win it. In fact, that was the start of their demise when they plummeted into the Championship at a rate of knots. Since then they have found it difficult to escape the quagmire of the bottom regions of the football's second tier. For AFCB it is a great place to be, but for Birmingham I think I can say something isn't quite right.

Lee Novak who Clarke knows from his Huddersfield days is certainly
 capable of causing teams trouble, even if Zigic has not been in hot form. In midfield too they have big experienced players like Darren Ambrose, who was a great Premiership player at Newcastle Utd. Jesse Lingard (on loan from Man Utd) and Hayden Mullins are also key players, while at the back they have Paul Caddis who signed from Swindon and who has played for Celtic. So what has not clicked for the luckless lee Clark this season? 

Lingard is the club's top scorer followed by midfielders Kyle Bartley and Tom Adeyemi. They have scored as many goals as AFCB ( 24) and while they have only conceded 26 goals, 10 fewer than AFCB, they have had only five wins. Most of the teams they have beaten are also in the wrong half of the table. Zigic's absence through injury early on this season has to be a factor but he came back in September. Ambrose too though has missed some games and not having a settled side can be a hazard to good form.

For the game at Dean Court we already know that they will be without Hancox at the back, while our former Cherry - Wade Elliot has more often been a sub for the Blues when he has been available to play. Youngsters, Will Packwood and Amari'i Bell (no relation to me) could form part of Birmingham's new defence against the Cherries, while Lee Novak is said to be out with a fracture.

Birmingham's best win was probably away against Huddersfield (1:3) in November so AFCB have to be careful not to be over confident. Was that win because Lee Clark had a good knowledge of what to expect against his old team? I would suspect that the jury is still out on Lee and a finish below half way this season would be considered below par for such a team. Recent form has been pretty good for the Blues though because they are unbeaten in five.

In my mind, Birmingham City are a sleeping giant and AFCB will do well not to wake them when they play this Saturday. This opponent is a dangerous one as they will be growing in confidence with their unbeaten run and the Cherries cannot expect an easy victory when a win for the Blues would see them overhaul AFCB in the table. Birmingham have won their last two games away but have only won one of their last five at home.

Birmingham City Away form:

AFCB Home form:


  1. To give you more of an insiders view from Brum. The owner is in a Hong Kong court fighting money laundering charges of 56m, he refuses to sell the club even though there is very keen buyer with an offer on the table. Every player worth anything has been sold and the money gone straight to the owners back pocket The squad is made up of youth team players, players in the autumn of their careers (over 30's) and loanees. Poor old Lee Clark has been told to get us promoted with his hands tied behind his back! The club is in a similar situation to Portsmouth - we are a club in name only, its barely a viable business, we have no assets apart from the ground - we are in a state. That's why we are where we are!

  2. That explains a lot. Finances seem to be the root of the problem, which is always something that the fans have no control over. I hope Birmingham's fan base remains strong even through the hard times. We are all football fans and keeping the 92 clubs going with good financial management is something I believe all fans want.