At Snails Pace

8 Mar 2023 | 23 comments

In Off The Post

The following article has been written by one of our Trust members.  They are the opinions of that person and not necessarily those of Blues Trust.  Would you like to contribute a discussion point of your own about Birmingham City Football Club?  If so, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Just one point from the Wigan game edged us a little nearer to the forty eight survival target. That’s the reality in the aftermath of another very frustrating afternoon. Taking the lead, losing it, missing a penalty and hanging on for the draw is how best to describe the game. Enduring a paltry possession rate is irrelevant as goals win games, and we didn’t build on our early advantage.

This season feels like a never ending, tortuous marathon to get over the safety line at snails pace. We make every allowance be it injuries, a small squad or the poor atmosphere around St. Andrew’s. But the unwelcome word “reality” is always the reason. We are a lower half Championship outfit where league positions don’t lie.

Physicality in this second tier is sadly the main commodity over the skill factor, with the stronger able to bully themselves along. My view obviously. Taking a lead and holding on to it requires strength, something which Blues are clearly lacking at the moment. Adding to a lead separates the more rounded sides in this league.

Rotherham next up will again be challenging, with little expected in terms of home domination and being on the front foot. A solid defence and meagre opportunities for our opponents has to be the formula if something is to be achieved from the game.

John Eustace is again coming under pressure for this awful run of winless games, with supporters appearing divided as to whether the club’s hierarchy should stick or twist with him. My firm belief is that we should back him, at least until the end of the season. Recent campaigns have seen the regular chopping and changing of managers which, luckily, have worked in terms of securing Championship status. This time around however I fear the worst should the axe fall. In my book John Eustace is as good as they come for a Birmingham City in its current state

Players on the pitch decide the outcome of games, and surely we have enough experienced professionals capable of carrying the club over the line?. Only a few seasons ago whilst following and participating in Tom Ross’s radio phone-in show, he always asked the question “well how about the players? They need to take responsibility”. How true that is. Players get managers sacked and still get paid regardless. Scott Hogan’s missed penalty wasn’t the fault of the manager but the player.

We all have differing views, and rightly so, but for some deep down gut feeling my advice for the club is not to replace John Eustace. Eleven games remaining, nine further points needed and hopefully achieved at a quicker pace. Against Rotherham we need good decision makers on the pitch. Simply that.

Mitchell Bray


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  1. Brush Strokes In Blue

    Sadly the no-hope brigade continue to drift on from one week to the next, leading to its new, long overdue residence in League 1 from next season.

  2. Malcolm X

    Unfortunately I’m with you on this one ‘Brush Strokes in Blue ‘.
    The Rotherham game will determine the remainder of this season, and could well outline our future league of play for next season onwards.

  3. John P

    When I look at the squad on match days even with the injury list as it is I think “yes, we can win this one”, but it rarely happens. There is no fight nor backbone in the team, we don’t appear to have a leader, certainly not one of any substance. As you say the players get paid regardless and don’t get sacked, with the abject performances of late it’s time they offered their salaries to pay for the poor fans costs that suffer this indignation week after week. Genuine people use what little money they have to support a bunch of losers and those said losers rake in thousands per week and do very little for it.

    I agree that Saturday’s game against Rotherham will define the rest of our season and could impact on how badly we struggle to maintain a Championship position, though the players certainly don’t deserve any plaudits, I see more effort being put in by school kids who play just for the fun of the game.

    As for Eustace the hierarchy won’t sack him unless relegation is guaranteed, they gave him a five year contract for goodness sake, what team really does that anymore? If we stay up they’ll keep him because to be honest with the backing he’s had apart from Maxco he’ll have done what was asked of him, avoid relegation, that’s the be all and end all for our owners, they have proved that they certainly have no ambition above that.

    Once again we’re a joke team and club thanks the the invisibles, both the invisibles from an ownership point of view and those players who put on the shirt and do nothing for ninety minutes. To be honest the way our club has been run and led we don’t deserve Championship status, it’s a hard thing to admit but it’s true. Even the chairman’s recent status was full of nothing, just buying time in the hope to alleviate any future protests though to be honest he’s probably just added fuel to the fire by treating fans as nothing people. We say it week in and week out, the quicker he and his cronies depart our club and this city in every aspect the better. Why can’t he and they understand that?

    KRO Bluenoses, Keep Right On and Kick Racism Out.

    As for the owners we’ve had enough, more than enough please, go and ruin some other unfortunates club!

    • Steven

      Agree with a lot of what you say. Furthermore, we all seem to agree getting new owners, is crucial to how we move forward. However, it’s really down to Eustace his staff & the players to going out the points we need. Unfortunately, over many years we have seen struggles. In my case been going down since I was 7 years old at 67 this year (60 years)
      nothing fazes me anymore. It is hard for us supporters atmosphere at St. Andrews is poor (for reasons we know) but those same supporters will back Our Team our Club, home & away if we see a desire to fight for the shirt. Like we did at Swansea & at Home v WBA. KRO

  4. Tracey Tyler

    Rotherham will be a tough nut to crack,they have been doing well over the last few weeks,Bacuna and Gardner missing and maybe Bielik so it’s going to be tough.The big trouble is no team that comes to St Andrews to play us are scared of us,they all fancy beating us.

  5. Blue are the Streets

    I do find it amusing how EVERY season fans say ‘THIS is the year we go down.’

    IMO there is no way we finish below Blackpool, Wigan or Huddersfield from this position, one of those teams would need to get 5 wins from 11 despite being horrendously out of form. There is also the matter of a free-falling QPR, a possible Reading points deduction, and our superior goal difference to the bottom 5.

    Don’t panic, and please try to actually make a modicum of noise in our 5 remaining home games.

    • Steven

      Well Said KRO

  6. Smithy

    First and above all is to score a goal this Saturday against Rotherham. This will at least give us a chance of securing a point. We will never keep a clean sheet in any game with the system we play.We haven’t the toughness.

  7. Mark R

    As I’ve mentioned a few times already on this site, I feel we have more than enough quality in the squad to stay up this term. The problem is that too many of our better players have lacked consistency. Take Bacuna for example-all the skill in the world but he drives you mad! (I guess his lack of consistency is why he’s a Blues player in the first place though!)
    In my view this lack of consistency is due to their mentality and inexperience, mainly.
    To get us over the line this season we need to perform more like we did against WBA (both games) than like we did versus Cardiff City (both games!), for example.
    This is where the likes of Harlee Dean and Jukey will play a huge role between now and the end of the season-both on and off the pitch.
    But in my opinion we will be fine-but they will need a bit of help from us fans to back them at home, in the same way that we always do away.
    Come on you Blue Boys!!!


    • Mitchell

      Mark R. Agree with you. We need a performance similar to when we played Rotherham away a couple of seasons ago. Harlee Dean scored an 88th minute winner. Very tight affair it was. Key for me will be Long and Dean. Experienced old heads. Mejbri might be a risk in terms of disapline. Steady eddy for me would be the inclusion of Graham.

      • Tracey Tyler

        Bring back Ivan Sunjic,remember him ???our £6 million pound signing who’s languishing in the German League somewhere and who’s got a contract until the end of the 2023/4 Season.

      • Steven

        Yes “Well Said” ???? KRO

    • Steven

      Spot On KRO

    • Bill

      Things are pretty bad at the moment both on the field and off it too. At the heart of the problem is the financial state of the club. Until this is sorted it’s going to be difficult to get any kind of success on the field and any stability off it. This needs to be sorted urgently but until then KRO and back the team. It’s actually been worse on the field with gates far lower than today and worse teams too. I’ve been
      a Blues fan since I was ten when I saw my first game and I’m 74 next week …I believe things will get better….so keep the pressure on the owners to sell the club

  8. Sausage n Egg

    what has gone wrong ? a team that looked like it could play a bit has now turned into our usual cant string 3 passes together without giving it away, eventually resorting to lump it anywhere?…we have some ever presents who are guilty of this time after time, season after season..nothing will change until this changes and the get moved on..yes it looks good on paper but sadly it doesnt work on the grass ….as pros you would like to think they have basic skills but looking at some you do wonder… 28% possession against a poor Wigan team does not lie…what are they doing on the training ground?(where ever that is now) lets hope that doesnt become the latest in a long line of excuses for rubbish football.. for me Eustace has used up his credit..i just dont think hes got what it takes….seems to lack fire and leadership in my opinion..we are now getting repeated waffle after games with the same “we should have won” comments well John..heres a news flash ..score more goals than the other team and you will!!.. i fear these players will just carry on getting managers the bullet whilst trousering a wage for doing very little. Eustace will just be another statistic in turnover of our managers

  9. Tracey Tyler

    Agree,l blame the Board for one for dishing out long Contracts and high wages to ordinary run of the mill players.Hogan 5 year contract 28,000 per year,sheer lunacy for a player of his age and ability,Dean,Colin and Jota they when they first came to the Club and don’t forget Sunjic ??? A £6 million pound signing on a 5 year contract on £20 odd thousand a week who is now languishing in the German League,he will be in the last year on his contract next season,then what is going to happen ??? No sell on fee,what a Investment that was.You can add so many other tales of woe,Etheridge for one,players that come here know they are on easy street I’m afraid,no fight,no ambition.

  10. Stan Moye

    Irrespective of who the owners are, l think 20k plus wages will be a thing of the past. But you have to question the business acumen made by the current owners especially with the contracts for the likes of Etheridge, Hogan, Dean and Eustace. I know there are others, but coupled with the length of contracts and apparent clauses, it’s total madness. I wonder if any have a relegation clause inserted? Whilst l believe we won’t get relegated, it just uninspiring to rely on there being three worse teams than ours.
    I’m sure JE is an honourable man, but please John change the record. I’m fed up of the constant spin he attempts to put on games, has he watched the same game as me? Wigan were there for the taking but we sat back and invited pressure. We’d had a free week, but then described us as looking leggy. For Christ’s sake John, stop being Mr nice guy and put some fire in their bellies, your softly softly approach is just not cutting it.

  11. Mitchell

    Stan. John Eustace is very decent and savvy. He is no pushover and no fool. Believe me there are other ‘ agenda ‘ issues here. Players need to listen and follow him only. Get the 48points asap and you will see a different JE.

    • Stan Moye

      Mitchell that is a very intriguing comment. I don’t know if l’ve got the right end of the stick, but is JE being undermined by people with there own agenda?

  12. Mitchell

    Stan. Losing JE will be similar in my view to Gary Rowett. Big difference is ego’s. We want transparency at our club and a clean slate don’t we? We yearn to feel wanted as paying supporters don’t we? Too many years of being ‘orphaned ‘ by hierarchy. This head coach is talented but massively restricted.He is the first manager for a very long time that ‘feels’ the club. Let’s leave it at that Stan, but this apalling record of miserable results mustn’t be aimed 100% at Eustace. Had West Brom. or Watford or Stoke got to him before we did then he would now be much sort after. New ownership will be monumental and to retain JE will be equally so.

  13. Mark R

    I agree with your assessment of John Eustace there Mitchell. He is a good coach, but just as importantly he is passionate and ‘gets’ our club. We also need to remember he is still young and will improve with experience. From the outside looking in some fans have suggested he lacks ‘toughness’ with some of the players but I’m not convinced about that tbh.
    We need to think of what the alternative(s) could be, ie another Karanka God forbid who didn’t ‘get’ the club at all and cost a fortune to get rid of!
    For what it’s worth I actually thought Pep Clotet was a very good coach too and I really liked the way Blues played under him.
    We need to give Eustace our support and he needs to be backed, which hopefully he will be if and when new owners (or part-owners) come in.
    Let’s get behind Eustace and the Blues tomorrow v Rotherham!


  14. Mitchell

    Pure relief! World’s a better place for us weary followers. Peaceful evening.Enjoy Sunday.

  15. Stan Moye

    Absolutely Mitchell, the performance we’ve all been waiting for.
    Unfortunately couldn’t travel due to being snowbound in the forest, but watched several times, two great goals, and a rugged and determined second half. Anything is possible now.

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