The Sacking of Cotterill, Management Musings & Owners

So last night the club confirmed what we thought was coming, Cotterill has been sacked. While it has been a poor tenure, I can’t help feeling sorry for him. Before anyone starts throwing rocks at me, let me explain. However I want to set the scene and to do that I need to go back. I do want to address a bigger issue too – but I will do that later in the blog. Firstly let’s look at management issues.

Let’s rewind back to December 2016. We were sat in the top half of the table, just outside the play off places, then we hear that Gary Rowett had been sacked. At the time it seemed an extraordinary decision. There seemed no football reason to sack him. So whether is was something behind the scenes that caused it, or it was simply the board deciding they want a new person – we don’t know.

If it was the latter, it was an incredibly brave decision. If Zola had led us to promotion, then it probably would have been described as an inspired decision. If it was the former reason, then who are we to criticise on matters of employment. However, unfortunately, the Zola appointment was a disaster. If it wasn’t for a 3rd appointment of Redknapp assisted by Cotterill, we would have gone down.

People now are saying that we should never have sacked Rowett and think where we would have been if we hadn’t, but as I have already said, we don’t know why and it may have been for a good reason. I would also say that at the time he left, there was a lot of criticism for the way we were playing under him. Something that people seem to have conveniently forgotten! So am I saying I’m pleased we sacked Rowett? No I’m not. I will support whichever manager we have, actually there maybe 1 or 2 people I might not – but I’ll leave that for now! The point is that Rowett left and that period ended.

So looking at the Redknapp / Cotterill tenure. Although short, it did what it needed to. At the time there was a lot of positivity and when Redknapp agreed to stay, I think it’s fair to say – the fans were positive about what might happen. However it didn’t turn out that way. For me, the big gap was the fact that Cotterill decided not to stay as Harry’s assistant. He clearly had a really positive impact with the players. I think that although the results weren’t going well, sacking Redknapp seemed madness. He had only had a few weeks with a whole new side, and I am convinced if he had been given to Christmas he would have turned it around. So again it makes you wonder, was the sacking results related, or something else?

So we then enter the period under Cotterill. There were mixed views on his appointment, which I can understand – but from memory, it appeared that people weren’t exactly rushing to get the job! He came back to the club where there had been a lot of changes to the squad, and that can’t be easy for any manager. The injuries to Adams and Vassell also cost us dear, which didn’t help him.

However there were some issues too. Firstly he seemed to play players out of position, especially forwards and defenders. While there may be occasional reasons to do so, it seemed a regular occurrence. I suppose the one obvious example is Gallagher. He played him wide and he seemed to struggle to have an impact. When he put him up front, we went on the best run under his tenure of 4 wins in 6. Also to be fair to Cotts, we had a pretty unchanged side at that time and then when Grounds & Maghoma got injured – it all went pear shaped again. So was that the manager, or just unfortunate circumstances?

The other point to note is that Cotterill didn’t bring anyone into the club in the January window. Was this down to him not finding anyone or the board not sanctioning it? I’m not entirely sure, but my guess would be the latter which of course makes it even more difficult for a manager especially if he has identified an area that needs strengthening.

I guess the point is, we as fans can be critical of what we see on the pitch, and fair enough – it is ALL about results. Cotterill’s record of averaging less than a point a game isn’t good enough, but I can’t help feeling he was partly a victim of circumstance. The guy seems a really nice bloke, and people I have spoken to who have met him, back that up.

So we have had a manager merry-go-round since December 2016 and we await the new victim, err sorry, manager. At the time of writing the favourite is Garry Monk. We wait and see. The first thing that does need to be fixed though, is how to cross effectively!

However there is one final point I want to make on this, because there is another part of this that I have alluded to but not specifically mentioned. That is the owners / board of the club. I have absolutely no idea who is running the club. It was clear from Steve’s interview that he hadn’t really spoken to them either, and Redknapp indicated the same when he was at Blues. Under Carson Yeung, there was a clear structure and there were people representing him here in the UK. Yes I know things didn’t end well, but he did get that right.

So I appeal to the owners / board as a fan of over 40 years, please set up 2 or 3 people who the manager can be accountable to, that the club can be a point of reference to, and that fans can see making decisions. This disconnect we have at the moment is not helping anyone, and in my opinion, until dealt with – we will not be able to go forward as a club.

I am sure that representatives of fanzines like ours and supporters clubs would be willing to meet with representatives of the owners to explain how improvements for better connectivity with us could be made. With that request, I am not criticising the existing forums that happen – but they deal with the every day running of the club. I think a conversation about structure could be really useful to help the owners understand things from a fan’s perspective.

I make this request in a respectful way. Football clubs aren’t just businesses, they represent communities and there are emotional ties to them. We as fans are the one constant in a club, and to move things forward, that connectivity needs to be there. So I would ask the owners to reach out to us. We want the same thing, that Birmingham City becomes a successful club on and off the pitch.




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8 Comments on The Sacking of Cotterill, Management Musings & Owners

  1. Great blog. Reasonable without any of the toy-throwing we’ve seen from some online. Cotterill’s fault, the players’ fault, the Board”s fault, N’Doye’s fault. In fact it’s a culmination of a number of negative factors. Sacking Rowett was one of them but as you said as we don’t know exactly why it happened we can’t be overly critical about it. The owners may have had no choice. Or may have made a major clanger. Let’s hope our Championship status is rescued by their latest – drastic – action. KRO.

  2. As far as I’m concerned despite the sacking of Cotterill there is no winners in this sorry mess. You could have the best coach in the country at Blues and he would from the job impossible. The club has become rotten and not only did it affect the manager but it’s obviously the players also. The first team has no fight, spirit to want to go out there and play for their lives. Whoever does take over as manager then I would seriously consider offloading some of these players who have so badly let down us fans. I having been a supporter for 40 years have never seen such a poor squad of over rated players. Yes we have struggled in those 40 years but every single player battled and die before they gave up.
    I’m sure many fans could come up with several names like me Grainger, Burns, Mark Dennis, Stephen Carr, Robbo, Damien Johnson etc etc. The current squad should have a good look at themselves and say did we do enough and it’s now time to start the season from now. So many ex players have been proud to show off the badge so it’s time the current did the same.

  3. Great holistic post….we as fans don’t know the half of what goes on behind closed doors…enjoyed reading ya blog!! KRO.

  4. Until I actually see a BCFC club statement, that Garry Monk or a.n.other has been appointed as Manager of BCFC, I will be thinking, what are the idiots in charge of the club, going to cock up next. If things don’t pan out as us bluenoses want, there should be a massive movement to get them to sell up and go. Never mind blaming managers or players, ultimately, this Board of Directors, are totally to blame for the position, we are now in.

  5. Rowett went because his heart was somewhere else and he did not have patience with the owners. Zola survived for so long because it was an opportunity for him where he thought he could only improve things and thereby tolerated the owners until enough became enough. Redknapp went because of his relationship with the owners. Beginning to see a theme. Owners from that side of the world are a different breed with different objectives by a different means. In the midst of all of this the Club has merely been a stepping stone for them that they feared to tread on at their own peril.
    Well, SC is not and never will be a Club Manager, his abilities are somewhere else. It will take a strong minded individual to see this job through added to an improved understanding from the owners. After 60 years supporting this club, these may be the worst owners we have had and we have had a few.

  6. Quite right MDS. Cotterill should have taken the job as assistant to Harry Redknapp for this season, he would have learnt a lot from him, on how to be a manager, which would have helped him in the future. I believe Blues would have been in a far better position, had that have happened.

  7. Excellent piece Kev. Enjoyed it. At least the new manager has a decent number of games to influence things so we live in hope but I hate to admit this but I’ve half reconciled on us getting relegated purely because I cannot see where enough goals are coming from which is a bad trait when you can’t keep a clean sheet!

  8. Blue exile. Do you really think that there is loads of money for a mass clearout. We have in general a good squad who have lacked confidence and a leader. They didnt respect Cotterill he lost them a long time ago. If they had given Rednapp the amount of time Cotterill got we wouldnt be in this position now. So as fans lets wipe the slate clean and start getting behind the team and players. The slagging of the team has to stop if we are to survive. If we go down most of players will move on. We need to be the thirteenth man at every game lets raise the roof at St Andrews and let them know we believe in them. Cotterill has gone thats what we wanted. Now lets get off the players back and cheer them on. KRO

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