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Where Birmingham City have gone wrong and the five players who surely won’t stay in League One



Possibly two games separate Birmingham City from League One relegation following a terrible Championship campaign.

This next Saturday, the Blues will play the ultimate six-pointer in Huddersfield Town. At this point in the season, only victory will do for Gary Rowett’s club; a loss might send either one down.

The fact that they couldn’t defeat Rotherham United, a team in the basement, last weekend made their task more challenging.After only managing a scoreless draw against Blackburn Rovers on Sunday at the New York Stadium, Sheffield Wednesday’s victory over the Blues sent them back into the bottom three.

The Keep Right On Podcast for this week discussed the Rotherham draw, evaluated the Blues’ chances of surviving, and answered fan questions.The podcast’s Q&A segment is available to read below.

Why, in your frank and objective views, do you believe that this season has been so disastrous?

AD: “To put it briefly, the primary cause is the frequent firing and switching of management. First of all, it was a cruel choice to fire John Eustace when the players were winning. Wayne Rooney arrived and immediately tore up their playbook, trying to do something different with a team that John Eustace had trained them to play a specific way. Players have stated publicly that it did not work ever since. It didn’t seem like it would ever be successful.

Tony Mowbray really stabilized the ship, scoring 10 points in the team’s first six league games. Due to illness, he had to stand down, and Mark Venus was unable to continue. Under his leadership, the Blues’ performance was poor, forcing them to hire Gary Rowett. With Steve Spooner included, the Blues have had six managers this season: three interim and three permanent.

“There could be issues just because of the size of the team. For me, though, the main issue has been the messaging’ frequent shifting. Under John Eustace, they had a defined framework and set of communications, thus there was no need to alter it. Although it has been an extreme case of bad luck, the hierarchy should have handled things a little better in advance. They could not have predicted Mowbray’s illness.

“Hopefully, this season—which has been a complete wreck—ends without relegation. The main issue I see is that a lot has changed since the preseason, when everything looked promising. Everything has crumbled, and given what has transpired, it is not surprising that the Blues are in this situation.

BD: “The choice to switch from John Eustace to Wayne Rooney is the root of all the issues. To a certain extent, Craig Gardner and his recruitment staff may have attempted to push the team’s style of play beyond what Eustace had them playing. They were following a predetermined course of action. In the Championship, as I’ve always said, you don’t go searching for trouble—it finds you, and Blues has definitely found it. That choice to go on to John Eustace, which they could have done in the summer and given themselves more opportunity to assemble a team, is the root of everything that has happened since then, some of it controllable and some of it not. They might have waited until this summer as well. I can trace all of my subsequent failures back to that choice.

Are owners and supporters underestimating how horrible it would be to go down? There is no assurance that we will rise, and we will need to rise once more. The goal was not to have a massive two-billion-pound sporting quarter in the Championship. Despite League One being a complete disaster, nobody seems to care.

AD: “From an ownership standpoint, it all stems from the Sports Quarter statement, and I did inquire with Tom Wagner about whether a relegation to League One would alter the plans.” “No, certainly not,” he replied.

“You wouldn’t expect the head of an organization, who should inspire confidence in his staff, to respond, ‘Yes, it will have a huge impact on things.'” He sent the correct message to those beneath him.

In terms of fans, I believe that a large number of individuals are simply more upbeat about the state of affairs and the announcements made by the new owners than they were under the old ones. It seems to me that the Blues are better positioned to rise again if they do fall, which is obviously not what anyone wants. Based on their recent actions, which include introducing the Sports Quarter and appointing new employees to positions outside of their expertise, it appears that the new owners are preparing well in advance of their possible return to League One the following season. Not a year or two away, but ten years away is when they are making plans. In the short run, I doubt there would be any significant changes. However, it goes without saying that they wouldn’t want Blues to stay there for three or four years, and you would think that the team would have the resources to ensure that they are far ahead of their rivals and at the top of League One.

BD: “We have no choice but to accept Tom Wagner’s statement that Knighthead will stay committed in the case of relegation at face value. I would also like to bring up the argument that because the Blues can’t fill their stadium right now, there’s no reason to build a larger one for League One. That is not the point. Whether it’s for League One or the Championship, the goal is to construct a stadium that brings in more money so that it can purchase better players and draw in more fans. It wouldn’t look good symbolically. Knighthead has stated that the Blues should be in the Premier League; if they don’t make it this year, they will be more like to League Two than the top division.

If we’re in League 1 next season, will we be able to retain the best of a bad bunch?

AD: “Who do we consider to be the best of the worst group? In my opinion, we’re discussing Laird, Paik, Miyoshi, Lee Buchanan, and Krystian Bielik. We’ve stated several times that Laird has the potential to be the PFA team of the year right-back when he puts it all together. In recent weeks, he hasn’t pulled everything together sufficiently. Because I don’t think he sees his career in League One at this point, I think the Blues would have problems sticking onto him.

“The Blues have the cards there, whether they are in League One or the Championship thanks to Lee Buchanan’s five-year contract. It would be nice to think they could hold on to him. He performed well under John Eustace and Gary Rowett, but under Tony Mowbray he was out of favor and Wayne Rooney uneasy. Lee Buchanan is a very excellent left-back in the Championship, so I think teams would be looking at him in the right situation.

“I don’t think there would be any hope of preserving Paik and Miyoshi.” With their respective international teams and to advance their careers in Europe, they both traveled here. Since Paik recently returned to the South Korean team, I don’t think he would have much of a chance to hold his position in League One. If Blues do fail, I don’t think Paik or Miyoshi will stay.

The same holds true for Krystian Bielik. It is odd to say that considering how much he declined under Wayne Rooney, but he is a candidate for player of the season in his own right. I believe that Rooney’s style of play made things really difficult for Bielik. Since Rowett entered the game, he has become the most significant player and has simplified his role.

Given that he has lost his spot in the Poland squad during the past 12 months, it would be shocking if he were to join Derby County in League One right now. He was quite hesitant to do so.



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