BCFC Board: Under Promise and Over Deliver

Birmingham City have had a busy week in the transfer window, securing three players on permanent deals to bolster their squad. Equatoguinean international right-back Emilio Nsue has been joined by Turkey international winger Kerim Frei and talented left-back Cheick Keita as Blues have gone continental in their purchases. Excitement levels have risen considerably – no small thanks to nature of these signings.

Birmingham City FC

I’m going to say it right out – this is the most excited I’ve been in a transfer window since summer 2010.

Part of it of course is down to the money spent. Blues have spent nearly £7million already in this window – which I think is the most we’ve spent in transfer fees since that window in summer 2010.

However, I think another large part of it was the nature of the transfers. There was no gap of more than a day or two between a rumour breaking about a player and a player signing. I’ve often complained in the past about “dithering” – there was none of that this week.

If anything, Gianfranco Zola downplayed transfers. After last weekend’s match Zola seemed to be downcast with respect to players coming in, declaring that he would work with what he had. Zola talked about how hard the winter window was, and insisted he only wanted to bring in players who would better the team – and that he would wait to do so.

I think that lowering of expectation made people all the more excited when transfers did happen.

Under promise and over deliver.

In each transfer, the first news we actually heard about them was from a journalist abroad. For example, the first gossip I heard about Kerim Frei didn’t come from Birmingham – it came from the Besiktas fans at my workplace asking me if I’d heard Frei was coming to my club.

Either Blues moved very quickly to wrap up deals or they have managed to completely crack down on rumours coming to the press in the UK. In either case, there had been not one rumour linking any of these three players to the club before last weekend.

Of course, now the test is if these players can improve the team. Blues desperately need a win from somewhere, to get that particular monkey off Zola’s back and to move us on from those still pining for Gary Rowett.

I’ll be honest, for the first time in a while I’m feeling optimistic. I’ve seen concrete proof that money will be invested in the team. The players brought in reflect the things I thought the team lacked in spades – pace and width.

I can see a plan going forwards.

I said that this month would be a test of TTA and of Panos Pavlakis. A test of the ambitions of the club’s new overlords  – and of Panos Pavlakis to implement them. At the moment, it’s really pleasing to say that they’re passing – that the players have been brought in and it looks unlikely Blues will be scrabbling around on deadline day for somebody/anybody to better the team.

They made a ballsy decision in sacking Rowett and bringing in Zola. They backed their own choices in the belief they would do better in the transfer market and the league table. We’ll never know for sure if these choices were better than what Rowett would have brought in – now it’s about having faith in their man to do a job and to give him all the support necessary to succeed.

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