View from the South – Birmingham City v Barnsley

Mrs Bazza and I have just returned from a trip to Australia. We got back last Saturday and I’ve missed a number of matches since leaving these shores including the Cup replay, the Villa game and the Millwall debacle. I couldn’t get to see the match against Vile as despite having SKY Go it would not allow access for geographical reasons not that I missed much by all accounts. The first game back was Brentford on Tuesday night. I didn’t get away from work as early as I would have liked but that shouldn’t have made much difference. Sadly, I seemed to hit every red light on the way back and every clueless chancer jumping across junctions thinking they could make it only to block the yellow box and hold up prevailing traffic. These things always seem to happen when you’re in a hurry and I was just in time to be too late for the train I wanted to get from Blackwater. In some ways it was just as well I did because on checking the time of the next one it appeared that there was a trespasser on the line at Ascot with subsequent delays. As I surmised at the time, someone had jumped in front of a train and the inevitable fatality had ground the network to a halt. I quickly changed my route to go via Clapham Junction from Farnborough but that meant getting in the car to the station and the rush hour was now in full swing and every dozy idiot was out on the road and made sure that I missed the six o’clock by about two minutes. The quarter past was still fine but was a slow one and would mean that I didn’t make it to Brentford until about five minutes before kick off. Chris had the tickets and I met him at the turnstiles and took our seats just as the game kicked off.

Enough has been said about the thrashing we took at the hands of the West Londoners and the expected hyperbole has abounded in the press and on line. Look, no one needs me to tell them that this was a dispiriting, crushing defeat caused in the main by defending so bad it would have looked bad over the park with the Dog and Duck playing. I try not to get too carried away by high scoring wins or losses since every now and again they happen for no other reason than a team puts away all the opportunities they create. When you think about it, we have all been to games where in the first twenty minutes a team may fashion half a dozen good chances but at the end of the said period the score is still 0-0. Sometimes, the opposite happens and the score ends up 4-0 or 5-0 and the losing side can then end up taking a pasting; the game against Reading a couple of seasons ago springs to mind. I still say we didn’t deserve to win that one 6-1 but we did. Tuesday’s game was a little like that. We played OK until Stockdale, who had a mare, allowed a shot he would normally save, squirm under his hand and inside the post. However, his defenders backed off and let the guy have the shot. The second was due to Lowe (who had a mare) getting caught in possession in the centre circle leading to a three on one. The ball was popped off to the left but the Brentford attacker’s touch was heavy and forced him wide. The two defenders who were now back should have dealt with it but both went to the man as did Stockdale giving the attacker an easy finish as all he had to do was get it past the trio of players none of whom properly committed.

At half time, tired, hungry and thirsty I went down to the catering kiosk, policed by a couple of officious, stroppy, disagreeable stewards directing people to the back of a queue that was neither clear nor logical only to discover that the kiosk had run out of hot food apart from a sausage roll the size of a rat’s dick. I bought two teas and a sausage roll and headed back towards to stairs only to be confronted by another clueless steward who demanded to see my ticket. There I am with my hands full and this numpty suggesting that he could hold the cups of tea as he hadn’t got germs. I told him that I had made no aspersions that he had but asked how the hell he thought I had got in in the first place! I put the teas down on the floor and produced my ticket whereupon I was allowed to proceed. The sausage roll was hardly filling but the hot tea was welcome. After an initial flurry and Sam Gallagher missing a sitter we went three down to an own goal from Roberts (who had a mare). Worse was to follow as Stockdale went to collect a routine ball only to slip and present the ball to their centre forward who duly gave it to a mate for a tap in. Ten minutes from time Chris and I decided to head off for an earlier train. We heard the roar for the fifth as we walked towards the station and it capped off a wonderful evening (not!) The only positive was that we were not yet back in the bottom three at the end of it all!

So back to the present; the game against Barnsley was a must win in my opinion. Anything less and it would be difficult to see how we could get out of the predicament we find ourselves in. Saturday dawned bright and sunny but with a bitter northerly wind in my face as I made out for the station. My journey was smooth and I arrived at the normal time at Coventry where Chris picked me up. I enjoyed a pint at Baginton before we set off for St Andrews. The food at the Cookhouse was good; braised beef with diced spuds. That’s the positives to take out of the afternoon. The first half performance was awful. There are simply not enough negative superlatives to describe the utter tripe we witnessed. Blues conceded an abysmal goal after only 12 minutes when Thiam out on the wing was allowed to cross from a throw in to him with our defenders ball watching. Oliver McBurnie in splendid isolation in the middle of our box guided the volley from the cross the short distance past Stockdale for 1-0. Marc Roberts then upended the goalscorer five minutes later in the area for a clear penalty. McBurnie fired a low shot to Stockdale’s left but the keeper made up for his poor performance on Tuesday by pushing the ball wide for a corner. Sadly, his efforts were to prove futile when McBurnie redressed the balance by netting from inches out just after the half hour from another bout of shambolic defending. Another two soft goals conceded along with the match and the points against a team lying 23rd in the league.

Blues did create an excellent chance early on before Barnsley scored when Che Adams bang in the centre of goal ten yards out side footed into the keeper when any reasonable elevation would have seen us in front. Barnsley are a poor team but they outplayed Blues comprehensively and all they had to do was soak up what pressure we were able to muster in the second half as we predictably hoofed the ball up to Gallagher from deep or attempted to play through their packed defence with not enough width. When we did attempt to get it wide mainly through Jenkinson who I thought was our best player we couldn’t get a telling attempt on goal. The problem is whenever we do get a cross in we have no one capable of heading a ball and Barnsley’s tall defenders won everything in the air. Indeed they were first to every second ball, every breakdown and every 50-50 challenge. We did carve out three or four chances throughout the game which were either blocked or put straight at the keeper. This game summed up the season; gift the opposition goals because we don’t know how to defend properly and miss gilt edged chances when they do crop up. Once again Barnsley didn’t have to work hard to score their goals just as at Brentford. The main difference is, Brentford are a decent side.

The Good: There will be a number of different venues to visit next season.

The Bad: Perm any number from about twenty things.

The Ugly: The thought that things are going to get worse yet.

Birmingham City: David Stockdale 7, Maxime Colin 6, Marc Roberts 5, Harlee Dean 5, Carl Jenkinson 7 (Cohen Brammall 83, N/A) Craig Gardner 5, Cheick N’Doye 5 (Jota 76, 4) Che Adams 5, Jacques Maghoma 5, Jeremie Boga 5, Sam Gallagher 6.

Subs not used: Jason Lowe, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Josh Dacres-Cogley, Conor Trueman, Michael Morrison.

Goals: None

Yellow cards: Gallagher 24, Gardner 32, Dean 74.

Barnsley: Nick Townsend 6, Andy Yiadom 6, Adam Jackson 6, Liam Lindsay 6, Zeki Fryers 6, Brad Potts 6, Joe Williams 7, Gary Gardner 7 (Matty Pearson 87, N/A) Mamadou Thiam 6 (Connor Mahoney 60, 6) Kieffer Moore 7, Oliver McBurnie 8 (Christophe Knasmullner 77, 6)

Subs not used: Adam Davies, Dimitre Cavare, George Moncur, Tom Bradshaw.

Goals: McBurnie 12, 36.

Yellow cards: None.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson 6; nothing particularly to report about the referee. Competent throughout. Right to award Barnsley their penalty. Good save from Stockdale so it could have been worse.

Attendance: 19,822

Bazza KRO

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17 Comments on View from the South – Birmingham City v Barnsley

  1. I’ll say here and now this is a pivotal moment in our season. It’s all well and good calling for Cotterill’s head (not that Bazza had in his excellent article – a rat’s WHAT? ?) but sacking Harry made zero difference and we have no transfer window until League One at this rate. Keep him and get him to sort the squad out. Or else sack him and bring THE RIGHT GUY in. Not many worse managers available. I backed Cotterill and will while he’s in post but we’re in an indefensible position for the money spent on the squad. He took the job on so should be responsible for getting us out of the mess we’re in. KRO.

  2. Yesterday was as bad as I can remember it for a long time. In terms of the scos you have given players above, I would have to take issue with Jenkinson and N’Doye, both of whom I thought were awful – Jenkinson because he lacks interest and N’Doye because he lacks talent. My feeling is that Cotterill has to go, he shows no ability to make things better and he is the wrong manager at the wrong time. That said, this mess predates him and was, therefore, not of his making. As such, getting rid of the manager alone will not be the solution and there will be many people disappointed when/if things do not improve after his departure, which I am sur is imminent. Compounding all this, Blues have financial strains that will limit summer spending, so in all likelihood, there will be no significant changes in the squad – no one new coming into St Andrews and I cannot imagine anyone taking any of our high earners after recent performances.

    If we go down to league one, so be it, we will be back and I am always happy to go down St Andrews and watch Blues. However, I think we still have time to turn it around… Sunderland are as good as down, I think Burton will go with them, so we might be able to avoid the re aining spot. But, we need managerial change now as a starting point. The usual names have been bandied around, but I cannot help but think that Derek Adams, currntly at Plymouth Argyle would be an ideal candidate.

    Ever hopeful!

  3. It amazes me that professiinal sportspeople can have such thin confidence. They have spent their whole life in sport wherw they win and lose and suddenly, lose a few and the confidence of (for instance) Roberts is abysmally low. Has he never lost before?? Poor him, things aren’t going well. Get your head down and work harder!

  4. As tactically abysmal as he seems to be Cotterill is not responsible for the squad we have “developed” over the past couple of seasons. No matter who we replaced him with we would have an unbalanced squad of unmotivated, seemingly gutless individuals who, in the case of “Arry’s” buys are going to be on money that other teams won’t match, so we are stuck with them. The fault as we all know lies with the clowns making the decisions at board level, can any club have a group as lacking in basic football knowledge as we have got? God help them if they have. One other point, if we sack Cotterill, who is going to want to manage a club where his predecessor had to get police protection from his own club’s fans?

  5. I await Bazza’s View from south with baited breath after every game.
    I love the whole adventure. From the journey to the beers and food.
    I am exiled in the south myself,St ives Cornwnwall and a proper journey it is from here.
    Now,i don’t get up as much as I would like nowadays but for probably the first time I don’t want to make the trip. I am apathetic!
    Even under Lee Clarke and the bargain basement players,i could find a sense of enthusiasm and camaraderie.We were shit and skint but we were in it together.
    I think the money we have spent and the wages we are paying gave us hope but as we are Blues and nothing is simple gross mismanagement has left me feeling numb!
    Hope is cruel mistress and something us Blue noses understand.

    Keep up the good work Bazza and try not to go abroad when we have big games.

    KRO as always,Trev

  6. I think you are missing the point, on paper we have a decent team and albeit compared to others probably not but from being a blues fan for years that’s counted for nothing bcus we’ve always played with heart. Unfortunately I feel that this has gone , I blame the board but it’s rotten from top to bottom and I still think cotta had to take some blame. We were on a roll then he plays ndoye against villa the man is a non conforming midfielder who seems to take formation as a joke but to play him after a family problem was utter suicide. He didn’t know what planet he was on let alone giving any help. He’s got to go, cotta, I know we have no money but we have a squad like all the rest and he is way out of his comfort zone with organisatIon. I would call Gary monk and tell him to get down st Andrews and save us cus we are going down as it stands at the moment

  7. Thanks for your comments boys and I wish I had more cheerful tidings to impart. I’ve spoken to a number of fans who feel that Cotterill should go but I share your opinions that it’s unlikely to make much difference with the unbalanced, unmotivated and demoralised squad we have. The players are simply not good enough and I can forgive that but lack of effort which goes a long way in compensating lack of ability is there for all to see. What I find particularly disturbing is that we have only scored two goals (yes TWO!) from a set piece. That is an atrocious statistic and surely something that could be practiced in training? Still to do that you have to be able to deliver a decent ball and we appear to have nobody who can. Things are grim and there be trouble at mill!

  8. spot on Bazza good as always Trev at the moment stop in beautiful St Ives the team would make you cry at the moment. Barnsley are poor but the difference was they wanted to win we did not the players have gone. Stockdale looks a stone overweight Colin still gives it his all Roberts and Dean look like rabbits in headlights adams played on the wing Boga runs around like a headless chicken going nowhere what do we say about Ndoye a trier but cant pass water Jota looks like he don’t want to be here. I am lost for words at the moment but we are blues. I still think we can get out of trouble but things need to change KRO

  9. I always enjoy reading your blog,it does make me chuckle. I couldn’t help laughing out aloud when you wrote ‘There are simply not enough negative superlatives to describe the utter tripe we witnessed!!!!!!’ How true, it was the most appallingly inept bag of sh*te that I’ve seen at St Andrews this season (or perhaps any other season), apart from the abysmal showing that Sunderland served up against us earlier this season.

    It is easy as a fan to have a knee jerk reaction to negative performances, especially after I roundly criticised Cotterill earlier in the season. I thought I would have to eat my words after the mini recovery. Then, it all quickly turned to sh*t again with one defeat following yet another. It wasn’t just the defeats, but the manner of them. The team simply seemed to lack direction, effort, confidence or heart, and caved in once a goal was conceded.

    I wasn’t at Brentford, but I saw the ‘highlights’, it was amateur hour and more akin to watching the Dog and Duck than a professional football team. Brentford were talking up their win like they were Barca, but we know the truth, the blind school could beat us right now.

    I am at a loss to know what goes on at the training ground, the tactics seem to comprise of continually passing square and eventually back to Stockdale, before an aimless hoof upfield. The team selection is baffling, players played out of position and the continual selection of the absolutely hopeless Ndoye. Not picking players who should be picked etc etc. I am tired of listening to excuses for one of the worst players ever to don a blue shirt, yet he still gets picked. WTF?

    I could go on and on, there’s so much I could say about the abject nature of our performances, but I feel certain of one thing, as sure as sh*t is brown, we’re going down. I suspect that we may hang on to Cotterill, but if we do, he will take us into the abyss. I believe that our only hope is to let him go, there’s something seriously wrong down there. I’d even rather leave it to Robbo than Cotterill now, a different voice and someone the players trust. My worry is that the owners either do not want to lose more face by sacking him or they can’t afford to.

    Cotterill is the king of excuses and has a bad surly attitude, never accepts any responsibity himself, a bad sign. I think the players have no faith in him and it shows. I believe that the players still care, but they are demotivated and shorn of confidence. A change is needed or we will playing Walsall next season.

    KRO

  10. It’s impossible to argue with your analysis Shipston Blue. Whilst not being Cotterill’s greatest fan, up until now, I’ve been of the view that sacking yet another manager is not going to change the parlous situation we find ourselves in. The players are just not competitive at this level on the evidence dished up so far. Chris told me that Cotterill has apparently stated that he may not be able to save us from the drop this season which I’m bound to say has altered my assessment of the man somewhat. What sort of statement does that make to the players? Perhaps it is time for change after all. Who would want to take the job though?

  11. Bazza, if truth be told, I don’t really know who would be a suitable candidate, be it short or long term. I do feel that things need to change or we are gone. Whilst Cotterill hasn’t had any imput in buying the players, I feel that the squad is still good enough to keep us up if managed well. I just don’t believe that Cotterill can do it, although I want to proven wrong.

    Redknapp and Vetere also have to answer for much of the mess we are in. They went out and wasted money on players who are no better than the ones we already have, indeed some are much much worse. They also appears to have brought these players in on huge salaries and are difficult to move on. It appears to have caused disharmony amongst the squad. We have had no real money to spend for seasons, and when we finally do, we may as well have flushed it down the toilet. If GR were still here, you can be pretty sure that he could have moulded the current squad into a competive outfit, but, GR is old news now.

    I appreciate that Cotterill has inherited the mess that has been left by Zola and Redknapp, but he has continually implied blame on what went before, suggesting that the current squad ar not good enough. I agree with you that his statement about not being able to save us sends a negative message and smacks of getting his excuse in early.

    As for who would want to take the job, I’m sure that notwithstanding the plight that the club finds itself in, there will be plenty of people that would still want the challenge of saving a so-called big club.

    I think and hope, that we will see the proverbial cloud of white smoke puffing from a St Andrews chimney shortly, when the HK conclave make a decision about a new incumbent of the manager’s office. A bit like 1978 at the Vatican, three bosses in one year!

    KRO

  12. White smoke out of a chimney outside St Andrews; that’s a novel idea! The dying Pope is shouted at (we’ve done that already) checked for vital signs (there don’t appear to be any judging by the interviews Cotterill gives!) and finally he’s whacked over the head with a mallet (that would be interesting viewing on SKY Sports News wouldn’t it?) Ultimately, an outgoing Pope has to have his ring crushed using a hammer and chisel (Ouch!!!! 😀 ) Perhaps there is to be another inter-regnal period soon?

  13. Whatever we think about Cotterill, perhaps having his ring crushed during the inter-regnal period is a tad excessive, or then again, is it?! Irrespective of my moderate compassion, there’s a long queue of people who would happily oblige! We may see the black smoke early on Wednesday, followed by the white shortly afterwards. If we don’t, I fear for the future of the holy church of St Andrews. Maybe we need to send for Robert Langdon in an attempt to save it before it’s too late…

  14. I don’t think that even Cotterill deserves to be hit on the head with a mallet or have his ring crushed during the inter-regnal period, but then again?! Even with my very slight compassion, there’s still a long queue of people who would happily oblige!

    Given the imminent visit of the HK conclave, there’s the strong possibility of black smoke shortly after lunch, followed by a puff of white smoke around tea time. If this fails to happen, it could signal the end of the holy church of St Andrews. Our only hope of being saved might then rest with Robert Langdon…

  15. Yes but can the code be cracked in time? 😀 Will there be claret and blue habited, self-flagellating monks lurking round every corner hell bent on stopping the Holy process?

  16. Bazza,

    As with all dramas, we’ll probably only know at the very end.

    I must say that the thought of those claret and blue self-flagellating monks is almost too hideous to contemplate!

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