It’s been a difficult couple of years for Birmingham City, who find themselves struggling in the Championship, even under promising manager, Garry Monk.
In the last two years, relegation has threatened the Blues, with a genuine fear that the club could’ve slipped into the third-tier of English football. Harry Redknapp stepped in to save the side during a disastrous 2016/17 campaign, whilst last year it was the turn of Monk to put right the work of Redknapp and Steve Cotterill.
Now, Monk is in the process of rebuilding at St Andrew’s, but that task has been made difficult over the course of the summer due to a transfer embargo placed on the club, which hindered his chances of reshaping the squad he inherited from Cotterill.
That transfer embargo and Birmingham’s lowly positions in the Championship typify the club’s fortunes in recent seasons, with things not going to plan in the Second City.
Since relegation from the top flight in 2011, it’s been tough for Birmingham’s supporters, who will be longing for a return to the Premier League.
Back in 2011, whilst Birmingham did suffer relegation, they were also victorious at Wembley in the League Cup final beating Arsenal in dramatic fashion. Arsenal’s supporters will argue that they have been hard done to since that final, with 64/1 now the longest odds on Arsenal to win league 2019. However, Birmingham’s supporters will certainly argue differently.
Birmingham did nearly bounce straight back to the Premier League in 2012, but suffered a play-off semi-final defeat to Blackpool. Since then, though, it’s been very disappointing for the Blues.
There have been a couple of top-half finishes, but regularly the Blues have found themselves fighting off relegation under many different managers, with the exit door at St Andrew’s getting plenty of use.
The last two years have been amongst the worst, mainly due to the amount of optimism surrounding Birmingham heading into the season. That optimism hasn’t been backed by on the field performances, which has left Birmingham fighting relegation and often avoiding the third-tier by the narrowest of margins.
Monk’s revival last season did bring fresh optimism to St Andrew’s, with the support for the team clearly visible towards the final stage of the campaign. Plenty of that optimism could have quite easily been crushed following a difficult summer, but it does appear that Monk and his side will have plenty of support for the coming season, as long as they continue to put in the effort they have shown so far under the ex-Leeds boss.
Just 24 hours to go until the first kick-off of the season. We all want to see the stands bouncing, just like last time we made our way out of this tunnel. KEEP RIGHT ON! pic.twitter.com/IWjpLGS0p2
— Garry Monk (@GarryMonk) August 3, 2018
As ever, the Championship looks competitive as ever this year, but with that, any team could spring a surprise and mount a push for the play-offs.
For Birmingham, after years of disappointment, the club’s supporters will hope it is their turn to push on. Monk has done it previously at Leeds, where he launched a play-off push when nobody expected him to, so Birmingham’s supporters can be forgiven for believing he could do the same for them.
One thing is for certain, though, Birmingham’s supporters deserve better luck than they’ve had since 2011.