Paradise Lost

26 Sep 2023 | 17 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.

Whichever way Blues supporters view the bagging of two paltry points out of the last twelve, disappointment is clearly in the air. After the brightest of starts in August, and the hope carried forward for keeping the club bubbling into the autumn fixtures, this run of winless games is damaging to say the least.

Last Friday’s encounter with a very beatable QPR smacked of ‘bad times past’. Analysis after analysis will not alter the fact that we are slipping into familiar territory. What feels like a short holiday in the August sunshine paradise is quickly losing it’s good feel factor.

Watford, Preston and QPR all took points from us during a challenging three matches in six days which is the really disappointing bit. Getting the warmth back around St. Andrew’s is now the sole aim.

Norwich City away on Saturday is a new chance to get points, and particularly so after their surprise mauling at the hands of Plymouth Argyle last weekend. The fixture at Carrow Road has yielded little in recent seasons, with expected defeats materialising regularly. Our new owners will surely be looking at this match closely, with thoughts no doubt as to Norwich’s capitulation against a promoted team that was part of our August joy.

Team selection and who plays where will surely be the key on Saturday, not least after some questionable decisions of late. Why, for example, did Stansfield, who led the line so well at Preston on Tuesday, play wide as against starting in the centre forward position again instead of Hogan? My own opinion is that Stansfield needs Jutkiewicz and not Hogan, despite the latter running more. Why was Sunjic not in the starting line up on Friday? He should have been kept in place and not sacrificed for creativity. Tinkering and overthinking is not a luxury we can afford this season, and the coaching staff need to get that.

Continual news updates that the squad trains hard all week and the players are ready for match days is all well and good. But in reality we never seem to manage to put games to bed, either having taking the lead or by adapting to hold out for a decent draw.

Harsh as this might seem to some supporters, we are in a different mode this season with players who should be more than capable of keeping the club around the play-off spots. Anything else and we will surely have thrown away a great opportunity.

My view is that our new owners will not let this happen and should this run of pitiful points return continue, then changes will be made. The next transfer window is, for me, a big one providing we are in with a shout of the extended season roulette.

The Watford and Preston defeats were certainly avoidable, and supporters should be under no illusion that Tom Wagner wasn’t in the crowd at Preston just for the camaraderie and experience. He will surely have been looking closely to see how his investment is progressing.

After defeat at Deepdale and last Friday’s game with only the single point gained, I am not sure he will reflect on this current month as being anything other than poor. What would change the whole mood of course is a win against Norwich. Should this happen then the new month of October gets us back into paradise mode.

Mitchell Bray


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  1. Rich

    Give the squad time – I don’t think playoffs this season is realistic. Mid table and keep the group together for next year would be fantastic. Some mixed results are inevitable on the way there

  2. Tracey Tyler

    I am saying these things as a Season ticket holder l think at present we are a hard working Championship Team but to go beyond that you need two or three players who can turn games with with a flash of brilliance,Stansfield is one and let’s hope that when he comes back George Hall will be another but the majority of the players we have bought in are just average Championship ones,on saying that the full backs Laird and Buchanan have been really good additions.l am not holding much hope out for Dembele,Roberts or Anderson as they have never set the world alight wherever they have been.Bacuna also fits into that category so summing up the two class acts who can change games are Stansfield and Hall.

  3. Ivor Roth

    This is par for the course with Birmingham City. The forwards bought except for Stansfield are not up to the mark when scoring goals. their ratio to games played and goals is far short of what is needed. We need to invest in a proven striker before we are too far behind the leaders. We have a very poor rate of goals per match. It has been our downfall for years. Goals win matches. Running around like headless chickens does not put the ball in the net. Hogan should never start. We need a Chey Adams type. Shame all the good work of the first few games; seems to be evaporating. Why is it so hard for Birmingham when others seem to score at will.

  4. Paul Davis

    Here we go again with the voices of doom amongst us. We all knew that this season was going to be a season of consolidation and then look forward next season. Personally i think the football is better and we will finish higher than last season. I said all along that 11th would be a exceptional finish and i stand by that.
    I do believe we have a squad of players that is competitive and will give anybody a game in the championship.

  5. Mick

    Again i am going to state the obvious having done so on this site a few times previously. Playing Hogan as opposed to Stansfield in my opinion cost us six points over the three match period . Now i know it is arguable that Stansfield may not have been in those positions in the first place however , lets be honest is anyone convinced with Hogan ? Why play Stansfield ( who is on fire ) out wide , and Hogan ( who is not ) as the main striker ? That in my opinion is the only thing holding us back .

  6. Engleman Bluenose


  7. Very OldBlueboy

    I can hardly believe the lead article where the writer appears to think we should be among this year’s front runners. We have bought or borrowed players that we can afford in order not to be docked points again. The main thing is that we are trying to play football, the best we have played in a long time. We have better players than we have had for some time and resting players is not tinkering. It’s trying to make sure players last the season. Players do need careful watching and as Sunjic had played virtually every game, it was sensible to give him a rest. We had 3 games in 7 days. Don’t expect too much too soon especially after what we have had to suffer in the recent past.

  8. Ronald clive

    The team they should play against Norwich is the is the team they put out at Preston in my opinion they played the best football of the season they was unlucky to lose.

  9. Ed Truman

    Some excellent comments, many of which I agree with. Yes, we are a work in progress. Yes, we are playing better football than for some time. Yes, some recent team selection decisions have raised questions, not least because points have been lost in matches that could easily have gone our way. It is still early in the season but the big question for me is how impatient for success are the new owners? If they are prepared to accept success will take time to achieve then fair enough. If, on the other hand, they have looked at the division and think we should already be doing better than we are then that is quite a different matter. And one that will put immense pressure on JE. We’ll see.

  10. Mitchell

    At the beginning of the season I would have gone along with some ‘stability’ comments. However, looking at what we are up against this season then we have to go for it. We have a squad capable of sixth spot and I feel our owners know it. Preston and Ipswich have got promotion in their sights so why not us. Stability and slow progress is idle in my book. Coaches especially at Blues have got to earn their esteemed positions. We are in a different arena now.

    • pamela allsopp

      We need most of all, a creative midfielder. In the past, we had Alan Campbell, Kebin Dillon, Bryan Highes, Howard Kendall, Mark Ward etc etc, and it was no surprise therefore, that we used to score goals. In recent seasons, we have been poorly served in midfield, and it needs to change to give the strikers more opportunities.
      I would ask Brentford, why they continually get good strikers, but who then are not so prolific when they leave. Anyway, the situation needs addressing, because we seem unable to score more than one goal per game on a regular basis, thus putting a lot of pressure on the defence, and limiting our chance of winning.,

      • Tracey Tyler

        Well said Pamela on the point of needing a creative midfielder,Sunjic and Bielik are too similar l think,more defensive than attack minded.We really need a midfielder who can slow the game down and pass accurately like Chair from QPR or in his prime Bannen from Sheffield Wednesday.l am sure that when George Hall is back he will provide explosive runs from midfield but l still would like to see a ball playing midfield general.

    • Mark R

      Eustace’s loyalty to Hogan reminds me a little bit of Gareth Southgate’s loyalty to Harry Maguire in the England side. Loyalty is admirable to a degree, but you can go too far with it, in which case it becomes blind loyalty.
      No one wants Hogan’s luck to turn more than us lot, but surely you can only give him so many chances, especially when there are better options, and several of them, in the building?
      Eustace is no mug, so I’m sure he’s aware of this as he has pulled Hogan out of the starting line up on several occasions in the past.
      However, he still appears to be getting far more game time than he deserves of late.
      My view is that, with the players we have, an attack-minded 4-4-2 will suit us better than the 4-2-3-1 Eustace seems to prefer these days. Then we could stick Jukey up top with Stansfield, and have the likes of Myoshi, Bacuna, Anderson and Hall competing for the wide midfield options (alongside Bielik and Sunjic) who are all clever enough to drift infield in behind the front 2 at times.
      Anyway, I’ll be shocked if Hogan starts v Norwich-even with the injury list we have!

  11. Uncle Tom's Follower

    We are playing a much improved flow of football compared to the past few seasons in fairness. However we have to accept at this stage that there’s big room for improvement in certain positions,but we are a work-in progress. The burning question is though,can Eustace last the pace of time going forward? He deserves the opportunity to have a go but needs to ensure Hogan doesn’t become his Achilles heel! At best Hogan is League 1 standard, and just doesn’t seem up to it so far this season.
    The new owners(part owners) will want a return on their investments eventually, and if they lose confidence in the team management and coaching then rest assured they’ll be no wasting of time in making the necessary changes that need to make their plans/objectives happen.
    I’m hopeful of a top 10 final position end of season, with a view to hopefully getting the owners to spend out on even better players to compliment the nucleus of what we have in the squad now for next season’s push for promotion….. The burning question is, who will be the team manager??

  12. Roy

    I predicted this at the start of the season, not being in the top 6 and the wolves would be howling about wasted opportunities, players that were lauded a month ago would be slagged off and the doom merchants could feel happy again moaning about everything.
    A few points. 1. FFP. We can’t go out and spend a fortune, and that is what it will take to get another Che Adams. 2. A lot of our recent results have been partly bad luck, we outplayed then unbeaten Preston at Deepdale, had a shocking referee at Watford, were possibly a Hogan penalty away from a win against Millwall and with a bit of luck would have beaten QPR. Would that have been a likely description of our performances last season? One final point, teams are not going to roll over against us, and many have players just as good as ours. I seem to think we are well above pre season favourites Middlesboro and Coventry, so stop moaning for God sake.

    • Stephen Shute

      How many chances is Hogan going to get? Roll on expiry of his contract.

  13. Tony Hill

    I think you are being a bit harsh with your comments. I’m sure most fans would be happy with a top half finish this season bearing in mind we have to keep within FFP regulations when shopping for players. But I also think that if there is no tangible evidence of progress with, say,10 games to go, JE could be on the way out. I like JE but I have my doubts that he is the right man to lead us to the PL. I believe the owners consider this season to be one of consolidation and that next season is the one in which a serious promotion challenge should be made.If a change of coach becomes necessary, it’s important that he is bedded in well before next August

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