Panic on the streets of Birmingham

In little over a fortnight, Birmingham City entertain Norwich City in the curtain raiser for the new season. With World Cup drama dominating the summer schedule, many of us are still checking our calendars wondering where the time has gone.

74 days have passed since Blues confirmed their Championship status with a 3-1 win over Fulham. Since then, England have battled their way to a World Cup semi-final and M&S have made a killing in waistcoats.

But, perhaps more tellingly, only one player has been added to Garry Monk’s first team squad. Kristian Pedersen signed from Union Berlin and was expected to be the first of many arrivals. That, as we are acutely aware, hasn’t panned out.

While it’s easy to become downbeat at the lack of new faces in the ranks, one look at the current squad gives me genuine cause for optimism.

Whether Garry Monk feels that way is another matter entirely. The Blues manager was promised financial backing. David Stockdale, Tomasz Kuszczak and Jonathan Grounds were informed that they are surplus to requirements as Monk made eyes at his transfer targets.

Of course, that financial backing hasn’t yet materialised (sound familiar?) as the club, led by the seemingly clueless Xuandong Ren, battle the transfer embargo imposed on them by the Football League.

Yet, for me, Blues are one ball-playing midfielder short of a very competitive squad.

Maxime Colin, Kristian Pedersen (assuming he is registered) and Wes Harding represent adequate quality in the full-back areas while Harlee Dean will be partnered either by an established Michael Morrison or a hopefully-improved Marc Roberts.

Jota and Jacques Maghoma will be ordered to do more of the same from their respective wide attacking berths. Their attacking prowess pulled Blues through another relegation scrap and they will surely have a big part to play once again.

If Viv Solomon-Otabor can show his true ability after his return from a loan spell at Blackpool, he gives another dimension and offers much needed competition over a long, gruelling campaign.

In the middle of the park is where Blues suffer a severe lack of class. With Maikel Kieftenbeld, Craig Gardner, David Davis (when fit) and Cheikh Ndoye, there is bite in abundance but, as has been the case for many a year, a composed technical craftsman is missing.

If that can be rectified, along with the situation between the sticks, a fully fit and firing Che Adams (which, admittedly, we haven’t yet witnessed) will be a decent bet to bag 15 plus goals and Lukas Jutkiewicz will give his usual workmanlike performances.

Isaac Vassell’s return to fitness will feel like a new signing in itself and promising youngsters could also make the step-up to give the squad more depth.

Winning football matches is the only way to create a positive atmosphere and Garry Monk has proved that he can make that happen.

Blues will no longer be ‘scared’ of playing at home. They will no longer be trotting out of the St. Andrew’s tunnel like lambs to the slaughter. They will no longer be fending for themselves while looking to their manager for direction which is never forthcoming (see Steve Cotterill).

The powers that be must ensure the embargo situation is dealt with one way or another if only to keep Monk happy. I can’t take another managerial merry-go-round – can you?

Rob Wildey

Follow Rob on Twitter


  1. WayCoolBlue

    No panic here, I’m very confident in a good season. We have more confidence in ours than the Vial fans down the road.

    • Stu

      Not sure id say confident as this is the same team that nearly got relegated last season .The improved performances were as much down to new manager bounce than G Monk himself . That said alot more positive to have him than to not .

    • Alan Watton

      At this point I’d take their squad over ours? Come Aug 4th that will hopefully change. It MUST change.

  2. A.Richards

    How can our CEO not realise that we supporters would like a bit of leadership and hear from him what he is doing to overcome the club’s situation vis-a vis the incoming transfer situation, especially having signed a player, Pedersen who apparently we cannot register. He has not uttered a word on the subject and so our team looks like being the same as that which just avoided relegation a few weeks ago. Our manager must be spitting tacks having told our goalkeepers they are surplus to requirements and now not able to sign another one. You won’t lose face Mr.CEO by telling us what you are doing. Because you haven’t told us, we think you are doing nothing and therefore are consequently useless. TELL US WHAT IS HAPPENING!!!

    • Alan Watton

      Couldnt agree more. As I said from what we do know ie the evidence of what we see its not good. Tired of Evening Mail repetitious waffle. Re-constituted none news. My real fear is that Gary Monk will throw the towel in.

  3. alan

    Don’t share your optimism. What we have at the moment will be down by Christmas. Preseason results poor

    • Rob Wildey

      Last season’s failings had a lot to do with Steve Cotterill’s poor management. Monk will get more out of the team, I’m sure of it.

    • Oldburyblue

      Glass half empty person Alan? I have faith in our manager and feel that he will make the most of the players he has at his disposal with quite a few promising youngsters coming through. Pre-Season results are not important….particularly when “the 1st Team” are yet to play together.

    • Chris

      Alan give it a rest mate. We have the same group of players that played so well for GM at the end of a tough season, they are now having a pre season together under GM and will be more ready and a lot fitter this year than last under Redknapp. We’ve played 2 pre season games so far which weren’t about results but more about fitness and getting everyone game time. And with the breakthrough of Wes Harding last season and other youngsters chomping at the bit we will still be ok if we don’t sign anyone. Keep the faith.

      • Dorsetjohn

        Chris give it a rest. The players may be fitter running around this season but we need at least one or two quality players otherwise… it’s the same as.

      • Stu

        Ever heard of new manager bounce Chris, yes Monk far better than Cotterill and will get more out of the team but there is a serious lack of overall quality and goals in that squad.Squad needs refreshing or it will be same as .

      • Alan Watton

        Same Group? Where is Gallagher? Davies? Two Goalies gone!
        Grounds replaced by a bloke we can’t play. Not a glass half empty mate. I just can’t see the glass at the moment!

  4. doug

    same team as last season pre season results very poor monk will go with no money to spend the embargo on going devision one on our way

    • Chris

      Doug what are you talking about? blues will be fine mate. Monk’s going nowhere unless you have evidence to the contrary.

  5. gary burbidge

    This post is pretty much where my head has been this summer. Kristian has been a great acquisition and I hope the FFP situation resolves itself for his sake. We have a good squad which was thrown together under different managers and never had time consolidate. Garry has polished the team, got a unity and got them playing good football. In the last games of the season we were attractive and scoring goals. We do need strength in depth but our U23 team is providing some top talent and with the summer exposure to the 1st team can only improve.
    If we look at the loan players released they weren’t playing in the main other than Sam. Creative midfield is a gap. The goalkeeper stance is surprising! I do believe we have a competitive squad and as long as they are fit we should hold our own. I am unsure where the BCFC returning loanees fit such as Diego – who maybe could play the creative middle? Thoughts

  6. Chris.Jordan

    Che Adams to bag at least 15 goals?? ROFL

    • Alan Watton

      Che Adam? when are we going to get him on the pitch?

  7. Ijaz

    Quite optimistic comments there Rob. I hope you’re right. Our squad is very thin and the hope of relying on youngsters to bulk out the squad doesn’t fill me with confidence. If a few do a Wes Harding then fantastic but I’m expecting that to be an exception rather than the rule. I would’ve liked to have seen them introduced slowly not because we don’t have any options. Anyway KRO and UTB.

  8. Steve

    Huddersfield were favourites for relegation last season, jog my memory what happened to them??

  9. John

    What all bluenoses want is clarification of the club’s situation from the directors. If they can’t speak English, employ a translator

  10. Griff

    Want to be positive but I’m concerned. If we don’t get the transfer embargo lifted I think we’ll struggle. Should have enough to stay up if Monk stays but we ain’t gonna set the league on fire!

  11. Sausage n egg

    CEO does not give a tinkers cuss about the club… He’s out for himself trying to make a name for himself in a field he knows jackshit about.. Well he has … I have a name for him!!! the team is no better than last season Monk or not and the reason is the CEO

  12. Ian davey

    The club has to sort the problems out and bring some players in. TTA need to pull there finger out and sort this mess out at the club. Not a good start at all.

  13. Nap

    A very negative atmosphere, ladies and gentlemen.
    Keep the faith, until The Blues let you down, NOT the other way around.
    Hope we have a good season, KRO, SOTV.

    • Sausage n egg

      You don’t think Blues haven’t let us down yet ? Have you got a stainless steel sphincter?

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