To Be And Not To Seem

5 Jan 2024 | 4 comments

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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.
Translated into plain English from Latin, my old school motto reads ‘to be and not to seem’. Never thought in a million years that one day I could relate this to my favourite pastime, Birmingham City FC. However, as things currently stand, it feels very apt.

Most longstanding Blues supporters know, I would suggest, what the club is truly about. We know and understand its identity. And we know and acknowledge its limitations, without frustration or envy of others. But we expect that the style of football we see is underpinned with hard work by players with a-never-say-die attitude.

Talented players obviously emerge from time to time, with those extra special gems usually departing quickly to pastures new which offer them a better chance of progression and success, and which helps to sustain the club financially. This is part and parcel of the landscape at St Andrew’s.

It might limit what can be achieved of course. But until new and hugely talented (and expensive) players arrive in some numbers, the starting point on the pitch surely has to be a style of football that is pragmatic and sensible given the resources at the club’s disposal. In my view, Blues fans understand that.

From the outset Wayne Rooney tried to play a very different style, not unlike Zola did in the past. Given the unforgiving demands of a competitive Championship, that approach had dangerous and damaging consequences which, unsurprisingly, resulted in the drastic action that was taken earlier this week.

As the club now undertakes the task of finding a replacement for Wayne Rooney, my plea to Tom Wagner, Garry Cook and Craig Gardner is to make an appointment with a clear and realistic understanding that the style of slick passing, pure and easy on the eye football pursued by Rooney is not what our current squad can deliver. And, possibly more importantly in my view, not what the vast number of dedicated supporters demand or expect.

That is not to say that Blues fans lack ambition. On the contrary, we want to see improvement and we hope we may see an uplift soon. Bring it on. But, as we stand today, please acknowledge the fact that we are what we are, and nothing else.

I believe the current squad has the overall ability to do well providing they are played to their strengths and not expected to be anything else. Root of all our past problems tend to boil over when we try to be something we are not. To be and not to seem.

Mitchell Bray

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  1. John P

    I have to agree with everything said in this post Mitchell, slick sexy football will be Ok once the club can afford 40 to 50 million pounds to spend on a reasonable squad with the skillsets for the pressure that type of football entails. When Gary Rowett took over he stated that he would manage to the players strengths and then build from there and he was doing a blooming good job at it, it has to be said that John Eustace also knew his players and their limits.

    We need a manager that believes in his or her squad and can bring out the best in them for their collective good, unfortunately Rooney was never that manager, it was well documented that he saw Birmingham as a stepping stone to bigger things but perhaps the step was just too high, though it has to be said that part of the blame has also to be on the owners shoulders because of the remit he was given. As you clearly say, let’s hope that this time they have begun to understand that soccer isn’t always pretty, it’s often hard graft and fighting for the points, particularly in the Championship.


    • Ed Truman

      I also agree Mitchell although I do hope that, in time, we might see the style of football develop along the lines the owners want. But it was embarrassing and painful watching Rooney try to implement it with the tools at his disposal. And alarming that he appeared hell bent on doing so irrespective of performances and results. From the latest reports in the media it looks like Tony Mowbray is on his way in. If that is the case, I can certainly live with that. He was very popular at Sunderland, and successful too as he has been elsewhere. Certainly very solid at Championship level.

  2. Neil Cottrell

    I disagree with some of this in that, for me, the issue wasn’t that the current set of players can’t play a more progressive, passing type of football it was that the way that Wayne Rooney tried to change the style was too much revolution and too little evolution. If we do indeed get Tony Mowbray as the next manager I think we’ll see a more gradual shift to a different style of football using, this season at least, many of the players we have currently got.

  3. Smithy

    As seems likely and Mowbray is installed as manager then we should climb to relative safety. Our high profile little sojourn may have ended but respect should emerge for our owners and us supporters. Safe hands under Mowbray then I think so.

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