Sad News, Transfer News, Bruce News!

There really is never a dull day at Birmingham City, is there? Whilst we’re debating, querying and arguing over who we want to own the club, a much bigger and more important story is developing almost in the background – to one of our own players.

This blog will be a ‘latest news’ type entry but obviously, it wouldn’t be right to simply pass off the kidnapping of Wilson Palacios’s younger brother as just another BCFC related story. Our thoughts go out to Wilson and his family and I’m sure everyone will join me in wishing a speedy and safe resolution to the situation.

You can read the official club statement by clicking here.

Blues interested in Gera – This story is floating around the web today and this particularly good West Bromwich Albion site is as good a place as any to pin it down.

Silly season is here again and we’ll see many a player linked with us over the next couple of months (I saw Leicester City’s Patrick Kisnorbo linked yesterday.) It’s strange that we’re being linked with players when we don’t even know who’ll be in control of the club when the window opens. So how solid plans can be put in place is anyone’s guess. Still, it gives us all something to talk about.

Gera has made thirteen appearances for West Brom this season, bagging himself one goal.

Wenger tips Bendtner for the top – This sort of article would suggest that the Wenger has no intention of letting Saint Nik go anywhere on loan after Christmas. Shame, really. Would’ve been interesting to see how he fitted in with Steve Bruce’s current tactical set up.

Bendtner has made six appearances and score two goals for the Gunners this season.

Blues linked to Argentine – Old ‘Arry has just signed a new contract and he’s building a solid team down there at Portsmouth. I can’t see there being any substance to this one although it would be nice.

D’Alessandro is 26 years old and can operate as an attacking centre midfielder or a left winger. He currently plays for Real Zaragoza but has previously played for Portsmouth (loan), Wolfsburg and River Plate. D’Alessandro has also played over 20 times for Argentina.

Bruce takes his Kap off to Olivier – I’m still not convinced that we’ve seen the best of Olivier Kapo yet. But I’m glad we’ve got him. It’s wonderful to know that we have players in the squad who are capable of turning a game in a single second and it’s nice to know that when you pay your money, you do have a chance of seeing something special.

Kapo brings that – and goals. They’re a big bonus considering the rejuvenated Forss was the one we were all so sure would score the goals at the beginning of the campaign.

The bit about Seb Larsson at the end is completely typical too. He’s probably my favourite player at the moment. Over the past couple of years – particularly our last two in the Prem – it was hard to find ‘favourites’ and players you’d remember with pride in a few years. But Seb – and others in the current set up – seem to have character, bottle, grit and skill in abundance and that is making me very proud to be a Bluenose once again.

Yeung & Bruce bring swagger – Pretty nifty and swift round up of the takeover status. I wouldn’t necessary agree with parts of it but I’m not privy to some of the information of that of a local newspaper journalist!

For example, I don’t recall Yeung or Sullivan – or Bruce – suggesting that Bruce’s contract would be sorted out before the takeover despite Yeung saying that it wasn’t his fault that the contract hadn’t gone through in the first place. So suggesting that all it needs is a signature is perhaps taking it a step too far.

Regardless, if you want a quick, easy to read update on where we currently stand, it’s a useful piece.

Bruce happy enough with Yeung meeting – As I said, the contract is far from a signature away. Bruce is happy enough to sit tight until January and see what comes his way. Quite rightly, he just wants to focus on the football and after the win against Wigan and the big derby not far away, thankfully, we can all start to do that now.

Muamba : Wenger is a genius! – Talk about stating the bloomin’ obvious?!

Muamba : Leaving Arsenal was correct decision – I don’t know whether I’m just being a typical football fan and looking for a story that isn’t there but the quotes in this article don’t seem to completely add up. He won’t be eligible for the England U21’s for too much longer and suggesting that he wants to play for the big boys whilst still representing the U21’s seems to suggest that he doesn’t see his long term future here.

I doubt he has any intentions of leaving any time soon so the fact that the quotes seem a little at odds pops a flag up in my brain. I’m still delighted that we signed him in the first place, mind.

Three Blues in Actim team of the week – Well done to Olivier, Franck and Captain Marvel. I bet the Queudrue one has surprised a few people. I’m yet to meet too many ‘noses who rate him. I think his pinged balls really added something to the team – especially when on the counter.

Muamba backs Bruce – Nice to see yet another person publicly throwing his weight behind the current manager after the job he’s done over the last year or so.

Bruce is focused on January – A longer version of the article posted above. Basically Brucey is fully focused on the team, the performances, the matches and finances come January – exactly as he should be. He seems to have genuinely put the club – and his players – before himself and that will always be appreciated by me.

Bruce thanks fans – I think I’ve said it before but the Steve Bruce chants bugged me. Not because he doesn’t deserve massive credit for the last 12 months or so but because it’s actually quite hypocritical. I wonder how many of those singing his name on Saturday would’ve had their knives out had we gone on to lose the game.

I’m all for pats on the back but one game – and one result – doesn’t alter the overall feeling towards one member of staff. Bruce has done a fantastic job over the last twelve months and I’m glad he now knows and understands that we appreciate it, but I hope he’s aware of the fickleness of the modern day football fan.

Bruce back down to business – I don’t know about anyone else but this piece really pleases me. Bruce is focused on what he needs to be doing but he’s also canny enough to not simply take Yeung at his word. He knows that the deal could go wrong tomorrow and he’s prepared for that. He’s cleverly welcomed Yeung and had a productive meeting with him whilst keeping him at arm’s length and saying that trust is earnt, not simply given.

What a positive note to end the blog on…

The Sullivan, Bruce & Yeung Show!

The Steve Bruce / Carson Yeung ’showdown’ has come and gone. A meeting that promised so much seemed to have resolved very little. On Saturday, David Sullivan’s programme notes made it into the nationals and a story of hostility swept around prompting more questions about Yeung and the takeover, primarily that if Sullivan didn’t trust him, why was he still selling ‘our’ club to him?

The band played on, the game went ahead, Blues won and the meeting happened. Predictably enough, nothing has changed.

Carson Yeung still sees it exactly the same as it was before and is still outwardly very confident about the deal going ahead, Bruce staying put and spending money on players in January and beyond.

One thing you can say about Yeung is that whilst he hasn’t been forthcoming in how he’s going to achieve all this, one thing he has been constant in is his aims and ambitions for the club. If he does everything that he has thus far promised, we won’t be in bad hands. Especially since the current board have done such a marvellous job in managing the finances of the club since they first arrived – an ambition and target they set many years ago.

Meanwhile Steve Bruce saw the meeting as ‘positive’. Bruce has quite rightly become sick of all the takeover talk in recent weeks and this meeting supposedly gives him – and his players – some clarity over the future, for the rest of the season at least. If the current board stay on, he’ll stay, if Yeung buys the club and keeps his promises, he’ll stay.

I suspected that nothing would change regarding the manager’s position although one strange thing that has popped up from this meeting is the contract. Yeung claimed in his piece in The Mirror:

He knows it is not our fault about his contract and I will give him my full support and talk about new terms when we take over.

Eh? So if it’s not Sullivan and the Golds fault and it’s not the fault of Carson Yeung, who exactly is it the fault of? It’s probably a small, insignificant hiccup but small things likeĀ  this create division and suspicion. I don’t know of too many Blues fans who actually trust Yeung but at the same time, they’re sick of David Sullivan so at the moment, it’s like being between a rock and a hard place.

Regardless, the fact that both boards agree on the future is a positive and the players – and other people in the game – certainly believe that the correct man is in charge of the club. Even Hansen (Boo! Hiss!) sang Bruce’s praises on MotD this weekend.

And finally we come to pantomime villain David Sullivan!

The first Sullivan related article that I think is worth mentioning is this one from today’s Birmingham Mail. There’s been some debate on forums about whether this was a snub or merely a misunderstanding.

I’ve seen it twice and in any ensuing argument, I’ve backed Sullivan. It looked worse than it was and I highly doubt that Sullivan would be that childish. He’s opinionated, certainly, but to not shake someone’s hand with whom he will be doing a multi-million pound deal? Also taking into account Sullivan last week saying that he would stick to any deal in placeĀ  – despite his reservations – due to him giving his word to Yeung. It doesn’t sound like a man who’d then childishly not shake hands, does it?

The anxiety over the meeting reached somewhat of a fever pitch on Saturday when an article very similar to this – certainly carrying the quotes – appeared in a national newspaper.

Initially I thought the quotes were quite damning. After reading them again, they don’t seem so bad. After all, Sullivan is fed up. Can anyone honestly claim that they’d not fed up? We’re all in some sort of limbo but at least we know, as fans, where we stand and what our ‘duties’ are. Players, managers and people who work at the club do not know where they stand and it’s further credit to Steve Bruce and his staff that we’re actually in quite a healthy position.

As Sullivan says in the piece, he’s put a lot into Blues. Despite what some people think of him, he’s actually helped to build a very well run, successful football club. How many clubs are we the envy of? Considering where we started when he first turned up, it’s remarkable. I’m not one of these who constantly thinks we have to thank Sullivan and be ever indebted to him and the Golds but at a time when there’s a bit of uncertainty around, I think it’s important to look at what we have and consider how losing it might impact on the one thing we all have in common… Birmingham City.

There’s more of the same Sullivan stuff in the Birmingham Mail tonight. Nothing much different, really. Yeung has promised to try and quicken everything up, Sullivan isn’t quite sure, Steve Bruce is no closer to knowing his budget or getting his new contract.

When I first found out about this meeting, I predicted that nothing would change. December will obviously be the crunch and much will depend on financing in January. Contingency plans for both scenario’s need to be put in place. All eyes must be firmly fixed on January and improving the team. Ultimately that’s what will determine whether we’ve been successful this season, not by whose name is above the door.

I have a nagging feeling saying that, despite Sullivan’s outbursts, if December 24th comes and no takeover has happened, we’ll have a solid plan in place for who we want to sign and for how much. I’m not sure about Yeung. If he’s done and dusted with the takeover by mid-late December, I’m not convinced that he’d have gotten everything together in time to really give us a shot at pulling off a Steve Bruce January transfer window masterstroke.

I’d love to say that I’m in favour of Sullivan going. I’d love to say that I’ve had enough of his tirades, his abuse and his ill-timed rants and the sooner he’s gone, the better off we’ll all be. The thing is, I’m not. Whilst I am sick of the things I mention, I’m nowhere near convinced that we’ll be better off with someone who looks as though he’s about as organised as Liam Ridgewell and Maik Taylor from a long Mario Melchiot punt!

Of course, as with anything relating to BCFC, it’s not all black and white. Sullivan talks of damaging the club and accuses Yeung’s actions of doing just that. The only person seemingly inflaming the situation is Sullivan. Maybe because he’s the only one whose willing to tell it like he sees it and we won’t know about Yeung until the deadline gets a bit too close for comfort. Maybe if he just sat back and was a little more reserved for a change, the situation might eventually take care of itself and Yeung and his associates might come into their own and do the job they promise. Still, that’s not his style and love him or loathe him, it works for him.

At this moment in time, I think I’m swaying towards the Sullivan side of the fence… if the takeover didn’t happen I’d be perfectly satisfied, if not a little curious about what might’ve been. We’ll no doubt see plenty more twists and turns over the next few weeks and it’ll be something that, like the position of our manager over the last year, will see people chop and change opinion on as the major players make their moves.

I just hope that when the smoke clears and the dust settles the right man is in charge of BCFC.

Birmingham City 3-2 Wigan Athletic – Post Match Reaction

Want to read a report of the game? You can do so here thanks to Jake.

Phew!

At no point during this piece did I want to use the term “Blues never do it the easy was, do they?” but would it be so inappropriate on this occasion? We did our best to throw it away but despite that, the self-belief and “sheer bloodymindedness” that Steve Bruce has somehow injected into this team came shining through and brought us three points at a very crucial time.

As usual, a mish-mash of mixed up musings on the match:

The reactions of the managers:

The “One Steve Bruce” chants were interesting, weren’t they? When I heard it on the radio – and of course, Tom Ross made a big deal of it – my initial reaction was to cringe. It’s not that Steve Bruce doesn’t deserve credit and it’s not that Steve Bruce doesn’t deserve to carry on the job that he’s doing but one thing bugged me about it.

How many people who were there, waving, chanting and singing away would’ve been booing him and singing “Bruce Out!” had we not scored a late winner? Or worse still, conceded a late goal. It sort of screams of fickleness and I wish I could’ve been there to see just how many were singing it. It sounded pretty loud on the old wireless. How many who were singing would’ve rang up WM or 1152 or been hammering away at their keyboards about 4-4-2 and how we need to change and how Bruce doesn’t know what he’s doing etc, had we not gone on to win? One result doesn’t make that much difference to the overall performance analysis of a manager, surely?

Back to the game, it’s just a relief to get it out of the way. Most people I know were confident of a victory – even Kev, the J & S forum admin who is the most pessimistic person I know when it comes to Blues predicted a 2-0 win for us! – and so it turned out although have you noticed… Blues never do it the easy was, do they?

The character, bottle and determination on show was superb and this season is definitely beginning to get back to what it used to be like when we first arrived in the Premiership. The crowd once again seem louder, the team seem more up for it and Bruce is right when he talks of being back to what Birmingham City are all about. I like that he wants to be back to where we were in terms of progress and attitude of that magical first couple of seasons in the Prem.

He’s been here a while now and I think he understands what Blues fans demand of the team and the club as a whole. What’s particularly pleasing is that whilst the team have still got that endeavour and want to do well, there’s also a touch of class. The De Ridder’s and the Kapo’s bring a touch of skill to the proceedings and it’s like this is what Bruce was trying to originally do when he brought in the Dunn’s, the Izzet’s and the Gronkjaer’s a few years ago.

Now Bruce has learnt about what character traits and histories to look for in addition to the on pitch abilities. And it’s working. It’s working very well. Survive this season and hopefully allow Carson Yeung to show what he can really do in terms of marketing and this time next year, Rodders, we could be Europeanaires…

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Explanation!

You have arrived at the archive site of the Birmingham City blog Joys & Sorrows. If you were looking for fresh, meaty stuff then this way, please.

This section of the site covers the blog portion of J&S from 26th April 2006 - when the site returned after a catastrophic hosting failure causing the loss of over 500 articles - to 28th April 2008 - when I decided to have a prolonged rest from the site.

Here, if it so takes your fancy, you can find every single article, totalling over 1,000, written by myself and many others over that two year period.

Unfortunately, the formatting on some of the posts is a little rough but since this is an archive, it doesn't matter too much. Nothing is unreadable although a great deal of the links will now, sadly, be broken. So internal Joys & Sorrows links will lead you to 404 errors.

I decided to archive them in this way because I wanted to start something fresh for the main part of the site. Hopefully you'll be able to see that up on the main portion of the site now.

Commenting for the archive section has obviously been switched off. You can flick around the archives by using the 'Find It' function in the middle column or the respective 'Categories' or 'Archives' headings in the sidebars

- Aff, 03/08/08.