We’ve been let down by Harry’s carelessness, we’ve been let down by the naivety of men in suits and we’ve been let down by an organisation that’s meant to be safeguarding us.
I’m back! I had a lovely holiday, thanks for asking! It was very relaxing and I’ve bought each and every one of you a stick of rock and your postcards are en route.
Aside from a bit of sight seeing, lounging around and doing far too much walking for my liking, I took the time to watch a couple of documentaries; notably the Man City series on Amazon Prime and a little gem about QPR called ‘The Four Year Plan’.
Although it does get a bit repetitive once the title is won, (spoiler alert) the Man City series is well worth a watch. Players like Kompany and Aguero come across as genuinely likeable blokes and aside from having to watch Liverpool celebrate the Champions League win, I enjoyed every minute of it. I’d strongly recommend sticking the subtitles on though because although Pep appears to be speaking English, it’s not always clear what he’s saying when he’s bouncing around the dressing room. Having said that, it’s often just as hard to make sense of him when reading his ramblings, but at least you’ll understand the individual words!
The less PR friendly QPR documentary follows the club between 2007 and 2011 and makes for some very interesting viewing for Blues fans; not just because it opens with us battering Rangers at St Andrews, but also because it’s an in depth look at attitudes and actions of irresponsible owners.
I don’t want to give too much away but instances such as the owner sending QPR’s top goal scorer out on loan whilst the manager’s on holiday and the constant revolving door that brought in 11 gaffers in the space of four years shine a worrying spotlight on the role that inept owners can play in a clubs’ downfall.
Obviously, it all worked out in the end for the Rs (spoiler alert, again!) As they eventually find their way back to the top flight, thanks mostly to the stepping back of live-wire billionaire Flavio Briatore. As an impartial onlooker, it makes you think about the Blues and our current situation.
Whilst the EFL continue to fire darts at a picture of the club’s crest, Birmingham City are forced to continue their uphill battle and now face the very real threat of a 12 point reduction due to our overspending and refusal to heed the organisation’s warnings.
Should we be angry at the EFL? Certainly. Are they completely failing in their mission to support clubs and their fans by vetting owners properly? Definitely. Are they the only ones to blame though? Well you all know the answer to that one already…
Financial turmoil seems to follow Mr. Redknapp like a bad smell and after a few seasons of reasonable stability, his transfers dealings and reportedly absurd wage offerings have crippled us.
‘Arry ‘ad ‘elp with this, of course, as he was supported by the board and their advisors every step of the way and collectively they’ve put Monk & Co in a sticky situation. Garry’s PR company may be doing a cracking job of keeping his Twitter feed jovial but after a shaky start to the season, the prospect of a 12 point setback has to be weighing on his mind.
I strongly believe that our owners are not “bad” people and I don’t fully buy into the ‘TTA Out’ ethos. I personally think that they’re naïve and neglectful rather than uncaring. Unlike QPR’s brash billionaires in the aforementioned documentary, our owners remain in the shadows and focus on the business side of things. In this world where everyone wants to be a celebrity and some referees even see themselves as a brand, I actually prefer this approach. Sure it opens them up for criticism and I’ve had a few choice words for Dong Ren when he decides to come out of the woodwork after a good spell of form, but I’d rather they focussed on running the business of Birmingham City Football Club.
I think our owners massively underestimated the Championship and the business of football in general. Every game is a business meeting with the fans except we’re a lot more ferocious than a guy in an overpriced suit.
Promotion from this league is as tough as it is rewarding and the natural instinct – especially in the world of billionaire business tycoons; is to throw money at the problem until it is solved. With this in mind, I wonder how detailed the explanation of FFP given to them really was. I don’t think they intentionally broke rules, I just think they didn’t understand the gravity of their actions.
Of course, I’m just some bloke with opinions and it could be the case that the suits knew exactly what was going on and didn’t care. I just don’t see it myself though and the bigger issue for me is the fact that such an uneducated bunch were ever allowed to take the reigns in the first place.
As fans, it’s us that ultimately suffer. Players, managers and board members come and go, but we’re stuck with this club. I for one have too many Blues shirts in my wardrobe to switch allegiances now, plus I’ve finally found a decent place to park – there’s no way I’m giving that up!
We’ve been let down my Harry’s carelessness, we’ve been let down by the naivety of men in suits and we’ve been let down by an organisation that’s meant to be safeguarding us. I’m sure Garry and the team will take every game in their stride and push the potential sanctions to the backs of their minds – as any tight knit squad would do. I know they’ll leave the worrying to us, whilst fighting on the pitch to lift the club out of its woes.
Personally, I don’t honestly think we’ll get a points deduction – certainly not 12 anyway. There’s no real precedent for it and the normal punishment for infractions such as ours tends to be a hefty fine and contrary to what some outlets would have you believe, we can actually afford that – should guys in charge choose to do so.
Interestingly, QPR broke FFP rules over following the period covered by ‘The Four Year Plan’. They ended up receiving a record breaking £40million fine after Tony Fernandes and his cohorts wrote off £60million worth of debt – an indiscretion that far exceeds the severity of our own.
Even if we do take a hit in the points column though, I still firmly believe that this team is good enough to reclaim lost ground and secure our Championship status for another year. We’re far from down and out just yet. As the mantra goes “In Garry we trust”, I just hope he trusts enough in those above him to ride this out.
By Mark Watson