Birmingham City suffered a disappointing fall from grace in the 2016/2017 season, but does that mean they can’t bounce back?
Well, if we look at the Championship’s final standings, things don’t look great. Despite sitting among the playoff places in the early half of the season, the Blues fell to 19th and couldn’t recover. From 46 games, the midlands club won 13, lost 14 and drew 19. Aside from being a pretty poor record, things get even worse when you consider the goals for/against ratio.
With a deficit of 19, City clearly had a problem in front their own goal and their opposing teams. This fragility is something that hasn’t been lost on the odds makers. Looking ahead to a potentially razor-close 2017/2018 Championship, the football odds at Sun Bets believe Birmingham are 22/1 outsiders to win the league and 10/3 to finish in a playoff position.
Despite these odds not being fantastic, things aren’t too bad when you look in the other direction. While the Sun Bets team doesn’t have much confidence that the Blues can win the league, they also don’t feel like relegation is a major issue. At 10/1, there are plenty of teams in the mix that have worse odds when it comes to the dreaded drop.
Redknapp Knows How to Win (Half of the Time)
If we based our assessment of Birmingham City’s chances of success next season on past results and current odds, it looks as though mid-table mediocrity is looming. In fact, when we look at manager Harry Redknapp’s record, the stats suggest this is more than likely. Barring a few blips on his record (namely a rough spell at Southampton in 2004/2005), Redknapp’s win% typically hovers around the 35%/45% mark.
Essentially, when you get Redknapp as a manager, you can expect to win around half of the games he’s in charge of. Now, if we discount potential draws, we could say that a win rate of 45% last season would have given Birmingham around 20 wins and 60 points. Based on the final standings, that would have put City in 14th. Although an improvement on their actual finishing position, it’s still a far cry from the playoffs.
Of course, the stats only tell half the story and Redknapp has been able to inspire teams to success in the league over the last few years. Indeed, he’s won title league titles with Bournemouth (1986/1987 season) and Portsmouth (2002/2003 season) and he helped QPR to the Premier League in 2013/2014. So, we know that he has it in him to do well in leagues up and down the English system and this is often because of his management style.
Redknapp Knows How to Inspire His Men
Unlike some of the more studious managers out there, Redknapp is all about the players and their personalities. Using what some would describe as an “old school” approach to management, Redknapp knows how to get the best out of players and that could work in Birmingham’s favour this season.
Sure, the signing of Cheikh N’Doye and David Stockdale will bring some much needed quality to the side, but it’s the prospect of having veterans such as Ashley Cole and Robbie Keane at St. Andrews Stadium that could really tip the balance. Redknapp has recently admitted he wants to sign the pair along with Stewart Downing and that could be quite a coup for City.
Even though the trio are past their prime, there’s still something left in the tank and Redknapp could be the manager to bring it out of them. Indeed, it would only take a few decisive tackles from Cole to unleash the likes Keane and Downing on an unsuspecting defensive line.
Yes, these runs might not be as clean or consistent as they used to be, but neither do they have to be. With the margins in the Championship so tight, a small touch of class can make a huge difference and, if Redknapp can snag these players and work his magic, it could be dividends for the Blues.
Of course, there’s a lot of “ifs” to be answered before any fan or bettor can look at Birmingham as serious promotion contenders. However, what we do know is that Redknapp knows how to win and he knows how to man-manage players. If he can use these traits to his advantage next season, there’s no reason we couldn’t see City challenging for a playoff place come the New Year.
Dare to dream Blues fans? Odds on a Birmingham City promotion can be found below: https://www.sunbets.co.uk/sports/betting/Football.