From an outsiders perspective looking in you might feel that Blues fan are using an excuse when it comes to our differences with the EFL and The FA – I don’t blame you for doing so as you won’t have the full picture of those on the inside. This piece is hopefully a little eye opener for those who are interested and want to know why us Blues feel like it’s “Us against The World”
Let’s roll back seven years for where this all began. Birmingham City had done something that no other West Midlands Club this century has managed to achieve – win a major trophy in English football. Something we have waited so long for and had to endure far too many sorrows. It really felt like we were on the verge of something special. A few months later we came crashing back down to earth and were relegated back to the Championship and with it came more trouble.
Alex McLeish decided to walk out and join those in B6, even after promising to stay on and mount a challenge to get us back to the big time. Promises of building a side round a younger and much more effective Craig Gardner were broken and a fire sale began. All of our best assets were stripped away and sold for pennies when you consider their actual talents. What were they replaced with you might wonder? Freebies and premier league loanees who had to fit a certain wage bracket.
So how does this all come about? Going from winning a major trophy in English football to losing near enough the entire squad within months – poor ownership, allowed by those who govern the beautiful game.
Under Carson Yeung we were literally having our club ripped apart in front of our very eyes and were on the verge of ceasing to exist. Where were the EFL and the FA to support us and make sure this didn’t happen? They weren’t interested.
A continual cycle of players coming in, making a name for themselves and then being sold on for any sort of figure continued for another four years – without a whisper of support from those in charge. We had to rely on a fan taking Chairman Peter Pannu to the cleaners with his blog to get the process of the Yeung Era moving.
Now let me ask this. If this was an Arsenal or a Chelsea or even those from across the expressway, you can bet your bottom dollar the league or the FA would have stepped in and stopped them from going into turmoil. Unfortunately for us, they couldn’t care less.
Let’s now take it forward to 2016. A two year exclusivity for Hong Kong Businessman Paul Suen of the holding company that own Blues. This meant a new set of faces were in charge and hopefully some much needed investment to a team built up of freebies and loanees. TTA was the name they went by and fans welcomed the idea of a new era.
That “new era” took a turn for the worst when Gary Rowett was sacked and replaced by Gianfranco Zola. I am in no way Gary Rowett’s biggest fan and since then his true colours and integrity have be shown after leaving Derby “his dream job” for Stoke City, but this proved to be a decision that would cost us dearly as Zola went on to win two in 24 and almost relegate a club that was 7th when he took over. Good old ‘Arry came in to save the day.
The summer of 2017 saw ‘Arry take the reigns of Birmingham City and optimism was growing in and around the club. Promises of being a top 6 side and building a team capable of promotion were made.
A change in personnel was needed and with that some much needed investment. Over 10 players were brought in during the summer window and £18m was spent to secure that talent. Those who weren’t deemed good enough moved on for no real value – due to the fact there were freebies when they came into the club.
The players brought in had good pedigree in the division and things looked positive for once, but in typical Blues fashion it was too good to be true and a poor season unravelled – with four different managers taking charge in one season.
Garry Monk managed to keep the club from a disastrous relegation and vowed to change the mentality of the club. Something he has done brilliantly.
We now find ourselves at the here and now part of this story. The 2018/19 season.
Garry Monk’s first full season as Blues boss and a sense of belief was the feeling all around the club, but in came the EFL to try and tarnish that. A transfer embargo was slapped on us and restrictions of five players under a £12k-a-week bracket were in place.
Now the EFL have finally decided to give Blues a bit of attention and it comes after they’ve finally had the chance to spend a bit of cash, something we hadn’t done for the previous five seasons – funny that. They aren’t happy with the fact we have lost money and not been able to provide income to decrease those losses, I wonder why that’s the case? Maybe it’s to do with the fact we could no way sell players for millions because they simply weren’t worth it.
This all stems down to the EFL and The FA allowing the club to be stripped apart and replaced with players of no significant value, so why is it now a massive shock to them that we’ve had to make losses financially to replace those players with better quality?
Why is it that they’re now coming down hard on a football club who hadn’t spent a penny for five-six years for finally being able to do so?
Where were they when we needed them desperately to come in a make a change before our club would be ran into the ground?
These are the main questions Blues fans want answers for from those at the EFL. It’s obvious we won’t get them, because the EFL are a bunch of Cowboys looking to make money anyway possible and ignore the actual problems that football clubs face. As long as it’s not one of the EFL lovechild clubs then they simply don’t care.
So now we’re in for another season of backs to the wall and fighting to stay clear of the elusive relegation places, but it won’t be that easy if the EFL decide to slap a points deduction on us (something that has not happened in this situation before).
After all of this and the EFL doing everything they possibly can to make this season as tough as any so far, we’re still here and fighting more than ever before. This whole episode has just made the club come closer together and build a stronger bond between our management staff and squad – they’re laughing at the face of adversity now and are out playing the majority of teams they’ve come up against.
So I’d like to thank the EFL for making that bond possible and I’d also like to thank them for showing their true colours throughout this timeline of events.
At the end of the day you can throw anything you like at this special football club because we’ll just throw it back at you and still turn out week in, week out. You’ll never break the bond that the fans have with this club and you’ll never get the better of us. Throw us a points deduction and we’ll simply relish the opportunity of giving the biggest middle finger back when we get over it, because we’re Blues.
Keep Right On!