Out Of Our Hands. But Within Our Grasp.

24 Apr 2024 | 3 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.

In what has been an extraordinary season, even by Blues’ chaotic standards, we handed the initiative to Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend. The one thing none of us wanted was to go into the last game of the season needing a result against Norwich, but here we are. Two matches remain, 180-odd minutes of football to define the trajectory of the new Super Blues project.

In what must be a really exciting climax to the relegation battle for the neutrals, we limped to a bore draw against a Rotherham side which boasts one of the worst Championship returns in history. A side against which we are the only team in the division to fail to score. It’s all typically Blues.

As elated as I was with the win against a Coventry City side preserving itself for an epic FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United, I was equally deflated with the no-show at Rotherham. Aside from a slight advantage with possession, we were second best by most statistical measures but for saves by our goalkeeper.

For all Gary Rowett’s protestations about the quality of the pitch, the long-ball tactics of our opponents, the delay in the game or the moon being in its third phase and possibly affecting the brain chemistry of our players, we simply were not good enough. As bad as Huddersfield, our next opponents, are, Rotherham are significantly worse. And we were nowhere near beating them.

Burke starting instead of Miyoshi, Bacuna sulking his way through another ineffective cameo as sub and even Dembele getting an unexpected chance to show his lack of tackling ability, were just footnotes in a match where the urgency of our situation seemed lost on most of the team.

On Sunday Sheffield Wednesday showed what battling is, against one of their rivals for the drop and soundly hammered them. They now sit above us by a point and deservedly so after their resurrection in the second half of the season. The table does not lie.

On Monday we discovered our captain was so impressed by our victory over Coventry he allegedly had a few celebratory drinks and decided to drive home. A great example to both his teammates and our legion of young fans.

Yes, we have all made mistakes but it’s a peephole into the mindset of an athlete who should be preparing for the mother of all battles in his professional career. It’s hard to escape the feeling he, and some others in the squad, don’t view things with quite the same intensity as us fans.

I said a few weeks back we don’t have a leader on the pitch, but I would contend one has emerged in the last couple of matches. Stand up Ivan Sunjic.  Let him have the armband for the last two matches and give him free rein to be the manager on the pitch. In the absence of Jukey, who better to get into his teammates when they’re not doing the hard yards?

So now on to Huddersfield on Saturday. I had the pleasure of watching them at the weekend while waiting for the match to resume at The New York Stadium, and they are truly bereft of ideas and drive. Swansea literally cantered to a 4-0 win.

This is the archetypal winner-takes-all match and it will come down to the team with the biggest heart. I’m genuinely on the fence about how it will go. It depends entirely on which Blues side turns up. And now we have to look over our shoulder at how everyone else is doing.

What an opportunity that was missed on Saturday to put daylight between us and at least one of our rivals, go level with Plymouth and get to within a point of Blackburn. On the plus side, most of us would have settled for four points out of the last two matches. Just not that way around.

Against Huddersfield, and then again at home to Norwich if we are still in the fight to stay up, we need to channel the emotion of Sunjic who was in tears after scoring against Coventry, rather than the sloping shouldered sulks of those who think they’re above being on the bench. Of those who think a midweek bevvy is good training for staving off relegation. And of those who think our long-suffering support will accept a six out of 10 performance and a couple of fist pumps to the crowd.

Winston Churchill famously said, after the Greeks had held off the Italian army with few guns and anything they could lay their hands on during World War II, “No longer will they say Greeks fought like men. They will say men fought like Greeks.”

I wonder if we’ll be saying something similar about our players at 4.55pm on Saturday? It may be out of our hands at the moment but survival is still well within our grasp with two absolutely crucial games to play.

The fans are up for it. Are the players?


Jez Hemming

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  1. Harry Parker

    Šunjić as captain is a good call Jez. I’ve seen him shouting, geeing up players and is first to congratulate good play. His fist pump when we score is a sign of his passion. He already does the job in my opinion, works every third of the pitch so no-one better. just make it official.

  2. AG

    I wish I had written the article which conveys all that I feel.I would just add that despite all the good things the new owners have done their decision to burden us with 15 games of Rooney and the unfortunate illness of his successor have been two heavy millstones.I am near to the position that should the last day become a battle between Blackburn and ourselves I will be happy to see John Eustace to prevail.

  3. Martin Hall

    I totally agree with Jez’s comments relating to sulky Bacuna and Dembele’s lack of talking and passing skills.

    To leave Jordan James out of the starting 11 can only mean they have a sale organised in the Summer window. However, the club’s need to stay in the Championship means that this should be ignored and he should play if his mind is in the right place.

    Why Gary Gardener, a player who has shown he has the Club in his heart, is not used more I do not know.

    I am no expert just a fan for 60 years.

    Martin Hall

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