Rumor has it that the board won’t just be having Zola finish this season’s campaign in the hot seat, but will also grant his performances with a £30 million budget in the summer, all in the hope we might actually be able to play an attacking style of football.
So what now, do we put faith in him to turn the club around and fight for promotion, or do we work harder as a fan base to have this man sacked from our beloved club. I’ll admit that in previous blogs I have urged fans to back Zola having personally believed that the results we have obtained have not credited our performances. However, of late I have grown continually more frustrated at the lack of results and especially by the same old post match conference week in and week out. I mean don’t get me wrong, part of me wants to Zola to find success in this new style of football, whilst the other side of me hates him passionately. Every week I go in to the game, expecting to lose, and whilst we still fall to defeat I can applaud most elements of the performance. It’s like they bestow upon us a false sense of hope in how the play only to be crushed by individual mistakes each game.
Zola doesn’t have the best track record, but the style of play is there, so why isn’t it working? He’s put it down to small mistakes and unluckiness. The press has suggested that he needs a greater transfer budget to achieve his aim. If this is the case we should expect a brilliant season to come but I must question this. The budget of £30 million is big for Birmingham, but it doesn’t even look to compare to the likes of Aston Vile, Wolves or Newcastle, to name just a few. I do personally think that Zola’s January business was good, particularly the capture of Nsue and Keita. I understand that the roles of the more attacking players he brought in are yet to be fulfilled, given the circumstances the club finds itself in, but the likes of Frei also look like quality signings.
There is no doubt he did buy well in January and he has more to spend this time. However, a budget like that might see him change one too many players come next season and upset the balance of the squad once more. Furthermore, the caliber of players required to play this ‘attractive’ football don’t come to teams who just survived the drop, nor do they come to teams without the budget to accommodate their requests. In saying all this we might not even be in the Championship next season, in which case I think our transfer budget will look somewhat different to this proposed one.
The case still remains as to whether he is the right man for the job, as mentioned previously, he did buy well in January but that doesn’t make him a good manager. The Championship, in my opinion, is the hardest league to get out of as well as the easiest league to fall in to, in the world. The teams going up this season have bags of quality, and often bags of money too. In our meetings with them under Zola however, we have fared particularly well. Take Leeds for example, I personally feel we hammered them and should I not have been aware of their league position I would have guessed they’d be about midtable. It’s not a league where you attack teams, nor is it a league here you play like Barcelona. It’s a tough league where you scrap for results, the most successful teams are often relying on a good board backing and a counter-attacking style of football. If we were midtable in the premier league maybe we could gamble on Zola getting us to play beautiful football, but we’re not.
I’m not going to call our board visionary, I prefer the term stubborn in their decision to keep Zola on, or even stupid to continue backing him. I really hope people will look back at this article and laugh thinking, ”what’s he on about, Birmingham and Zola have just won the premier league.” For now, though we are left with a dilemma, do we back the board in whatever they see in Zola, or do we protest? Alex Ferguson had a terrible first season as Man Untied manager before winning the FA cup, so maybe Zola deserves longer, after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.