It’s been of a summer of frustration and dead ends at St Andrew’s, with the club under a transfer embargo. No one has felt the sense of a missed opportunity more than manager Garry Monk, who has, in many ways had his hands tied behind his back and been forced to watch other teams strengthen as Birmingham stay in the same place.
If you’re standing still in the Championship you’re moving backwards as so many chairmen are rolling the dice by heavily investing in the teams they own in order to get to the Premier League and by doing that unlocking the abundance of wealth England’s top flight has to offer. Birmingham have been guilty of that and that is why they have been placed under a transfer embargo after breaking Financial Fair Play rules.
Monk has been left to pick up the pieces and try and get something out of a squad assembled by previous managers. The positive aspect to all of this is that the current Blues side seems to be responding to Monk and make up for a lack of quality by being willing to run through a brick for their manager. That was shown on August 17th at home to Swansea where Birmingham City battered their opponents from South West Wales only to end up with a draw.
Birmingham 0 Swansea 0
Grateful of a point at St Andrew’s tonight
We were 2nd best throughout the game + if we played a better side we would have lost by 3 or 4 goals
— Paul (@IceWithNoLemon) August 17, 2018
How the Blues didn’t walk away with all three points will remain one of football’s great mysteries but it was an encouraging display from Monk’s men nonetheless. It was easy to say on the night that Swansea were poor but that doesn’t tell nearly the whole story especially after a rampant Leeds side, who are favourites at 9/2 for promotion, were held to a draw against Graham Potter’s men at the Liberty Stadium. With that in mind and looking back on it now, Birmingham’s performance was all the more impressive.
It was only thanks to a superb finish from former Valencia star man Pablo Hernandez that Leeds were able to hang on for a share of the spoils and that is the difference between Birmingham and other promotion hopefuls at this moment in time. What Birmingham would do for that extra bit of class that makes all the difference in front of goal during tight games. Monk and Birmingham are still able to sign players from abroad on loan deals and that could be the key to unlocking the Championship defenses.
Could a raid on the fringe and younger players at Barcelona and Real Madrid be the answer? Granted, The Catalans are 7/1 and the Galacticos 13/2 to with the Champions League in the latest Champions League betting tips so it doesn’t come as an obvious place to look for players but there are good deals to be had. Monk’s assistant manager Pep Clotet could be the man to make them happen after a history of successful dealing on the continent.
Clotet was able to convince Alfonso Pedraza to join Leeds from Villareal in January 2017. In fact, it was Pedraza who scored in a 3-1 win against Birmingham when Monk and Clotet had Leeds flying high and finding the back of the net with ease. Birmingham are 25/1 to be promoted but if the club can track down a goalscorer before August 31st that will drop dramatically.
— Garry Monk (@GarryMonk) August 4, 2018
The club and supporters need Monk to be patient for any promotion push to happen and a concern will be that the 39-year-old has a habit of walking when he doesn’t get his way. It could be different this time around given Monk has had a rocky time in management last season and if the truth be told and fortunately enough for Brum, Monk probably needs Birmingham City as much as Birmingham City needs Monk.
If the former Swansea, Leeds and Middlesbrough manager can get his feet under the table after a summer to forget then he will make Birmingham promotion contenders.