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Mismanagement off the field makes life tough for Monk's team on it - Interview
Friday, 31st Aug 2018 08:02 by Clive Whittingham

Our regular Birmingham contributor Matthew Elliott fills us in on the latest disasters befalling his club ahead of our visit to St Andrews’ on Saturday.

So last season went as well as can be expected when you let Redknapp and a crap director of football lose on a dozen summer signings and then bring in Steve Cotterill and his gold chain. It looked disastrous from the outside, how was it for you guys?

Yeah, mostly crap with a very limited amount of highs. Until Monk turned up, of course.

Why have players who excelled at this level elsewhere come in and been so hit and miss for you guys – Jota, Roberts, Dean, Stockdale etc?

I think there are various factors as to why players haven't performed consistently. Different managers, training, trust confidence, systems, playing styles, general confusion. We're seeing the best of most of them now. Unfortunately not Stockdale though, he's been frozen out of the squad.

Explain what went on over the summer and why? Basically a de facto transfer embargo?

Basically Blues CEO (Xuandong Ren) is a bit of a helmet. He decided that breaching FFP wasn't a problem and that the embargo was a make believe punishment dished out by the EFL fairies. Decided he'd tell Monk nothing was wrong and attempt to buy players anyway. He only got so far, before it was blown open by @almajir and had to fess up.

It's one thing breaching FFP, but if you're going to ignore the EFL and pretend nothing has happened, you're going to get punished eventually. In my opinion we are lucky that they've let us sign five (four so far) players, even if they are free and loans, as well as registering Kristian Pedersen from Union Berlin.

What exactly is the ownership situation now? How are the fans towards them?

Ownership hasn't changed since our last Q&A. Fans don't really know what's going on, again @Almajir investigative writing helps clear the muddy waters, but there's a lot of faceless ownership going on. It's still Trillion Trophy Asia, still owned by Paul Suen, but it's likely that come May time next year someone else will have the majority shareholding. And yes, they'll be from Hong Kong or China as well. Smashing.

How has Garry Monk worked to overcome that? What shape are you in now?

Monk has essentially just focused on getting the team to work as a unit. Keeping the players with the right character and attitude. Getting back to basics and ensuring there is a togetherness within the group. The squad is thin, we've got a couple of long term injuries and the squad lacks quality, we have a few youngsters on the fringes and have introduced some loans. There's a lot of turd polishing going on, but I can see a little sparkle, at least.

How would you assess the start to your season?

We've started okay. A lot of huff and puff. Not a great deal of quality, but we are creating chances. Probably deserved more points than we currently have. We were a minute or two away from three points against Norwich. Should've beaten Swansea after dominating them. Deserved a point at least against Bolton and should've held on for three against Forest too.

Where is the team strong and where is it weak?

Despite the fact (at the time of writing this) we still have the frozen out duo of Tomasz Kuszczak and David Stockdale on the books, we are struggling in goal. Lee Camp is only a few games in, but is already showing us his Sunderland form. We're also weak in centre midfield, we've lacked a true ball playing midfielder for a long time and still hasn't been addressed. We also lack goals. With regards to where we're strong, I think most fans would point to Jota and Maghoma on each wing, they cause teams problems even if the final ball isn't always there. We're also fairly strong at fullback too.

Where do you go from here? How do you see this season panning out?

Well, this game is a six pointer. We need a win, plain and simple. We can play well for as long as we like, but if we aren't winning that confidence we currently have will be completely sucked out of the team. We have to win this game, otherwise I think this season will be tougher than expected. At the beginning of the season I expected us to finish 13th-14th, but I also thought we'd start a bit better points-wise. If we can get our first win soon, keep Monk and these players together and use our final transfer wisely, I think we'll be comfortably mid-table and hopefully build from there. My fear is the punishment for the FFP issue - I have a feeling the EFL may give us points deduction because of Xuandong's incompetence and arrogance.

The Twitter/Instagram @MatthewBlue1875

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nix added 08:22 - Aug 31
The tone of this sounds so familiar. Redknapp has caused this to club after club. And yet still he’s so many media outlet’s rentaquote. I feel a bit sorry for the Birmingham fans, they seemed so hacked off when we played them at their place last season. But the fella’s right: this is a six-pointer for them at home. We really need to get at least a draw here.

I’m hoping our midfield has cheered up a bit with the introduction of Wells and Hemed. We really need Freeman and Luongo to start firing a bit more.
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TacticalR added 17:03 - Aug 31
Thanks to Matthew.

This all sounds pretty horrible. It feels like the club is still reeling from the sacking of Rowett.
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18StoneOfHoop added 03:18 - Sep 1
Jake Bidwell v Jota? Aaaarrgghh! <shudder!> Who remembers Chris Ramsays's last game as manager at Griffin Park? Bidwell was brutally embarrassed humiliated destroyed and eviscerated. Thank goodness I won't be at St Andrews this time. Good Luck to all who go! RIP Bill Cox the last time I saw him was Brum away 16th December 2017.
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