Please don't come back and bore us
Having previously trained our collective microscope on the departed Wolves and Burnley and their chances of avoiding rejoining us all in a year’s time, it’s now Birmingham City’s turn. Few articles that have featured the Blues in recent times have omitted the phrase “yo yo club” and this close season’s column inches will be no different. I must admit to being thankful for the second city side’s most recent parting however: charmless is an adjective often used to describe the club and its employees, and the prospect of another trip to a quarter empty St. Andrew’s did not appeal.
Birmingham City attract approbation chiefly because their spending levels traditionally exceed all reasonable boundaries for a club in the Championship. Their last promotion in 2007 featured hefty weekly wage pay outs to Arsenal loanees, Sebastian Larsson, Nicklas Bendtner and Fabrice Muamba – a crass exploitation of the loan system – and their most recent elevation was similarly assisted. Bulging financial packages found their way into the wallets of Lee Carsley and Kevin Phillips and these admittedly canny signings supplemented a star studded roster containing few players lacking Premier League experience.
So will we reluctantly be forced to welcome them back in a year? It certainly looks that way. The excellent Phillips will continue to be crucial because the club’s top scorer is unlikely to reach double figures, but Marcus Bent, Gary McSheffrey and Cameron Jerome have already proved anonymous at the top level and newcomer Christian Benitez could well repeat the non-performances of two spectacular South American failures in Blue: Alberto Tarantini and Luciano Figueroa. Further back, one might have hoped that Alex McLeish would take pointers from the emergence of the previously unknown Keith Fahey and cut his cloth a bit, but instead, miscreants such as Lee Bowyer have been attracted to a club with a reputation for bad boys stretching back to Pat van den Hauwe and Mark Dennis. Roger Johnson and Scott Dann will shore up the defence but their swift signings will only heighten the impression that McLeish is dissatisfied with what he has got and although we wish two of the better performing Championship players of last season well, it remains to be seen if they will be good enough. My message for the Blues: use your vast hinterland to obtain young players and concentrate on nurturing younger talent. Please don’t come back and bore us.