Where’s The Leader?

31 Mar 2024

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.

I’ve purposefully left a period of reflection to work out what I think about Friday’s events at Loftus Road.

Firstly, I thought Rowett set us up really well and we looked like we had a shape which could cause the opposition problems. So it proved, and we could and should have been more clinical in key moments. But we were not, and the Achilles Heel which has erased our positive work all season reared it’s ugly head yet again. Defensive frailty.

However, I think we have a bigger issue to address and one which could be the reason why we finally drop through the trap door this season.Leadership on the pitch. Or rather, the lack of it.

In previous seasons we can point to pivotal players who stood up and said “sod this, we’re staying up by any means necessary”. Players who would raise everyone else’s game with their desire, effort and enthusiasm.

On Friday Bacuna was immense in my view. He probably had his most influential 90 minutes and was at the heart of everything good we did. But he is not a leader. Neither is Sanderson. Similarly, Paik gave it everything but he is also not the leader we need right now.

Where is the Martin O’Connor, the Robbie Savage, the Steve Bruce or Stephen Carr? The on-field inspiration who will drag us through the toughest times and lead from the front?

I think the sad truth is we don’t have one. If we’re going to stay up someone needs to emerge from the shadows, grab hold of the moment and drag us out of this mess. It’s great if we have a good team spirit, but every decent team has a leader, a focal point. Someone who inspires, cajoles and harangues in the toughest of moments.

The most positive thing from Friday, after a match I believe was well within our capabilities of winning, was the fact there are still three teams mathematically worse than us in the league. But for Swansea’s equaliser at Hillsborough, we would be looking out from inside the relegation zone today.

I don’t expect the likes of Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday, nor Plymouth and Blackburn, to be so charitable in future matches.

So now is the time for our very own Roy of the Rovers to emerge, stand tall and announce himself in time for a tough fixture against Preston North End. All is not lost.Yet. We still have winnable matches against Huddersfield, Rotherham, Cardiff and, yes, Preston.But it will take a hero from somewhere within our midst to grab these underachievers by the scruff of the neck and inspire them on the pitch. If you’ve seen him please let Gary Rowett know where he is, because he can only do so much from the sidelines. 

Jez Hemming

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