Editorial: Say No to Unlucky Managers

The four month tenure of Gianfranco Zola as Birmingham City manager has come to an end, with the Italian resigning from him position following the 2-0 home defeat to Burton Albion. With just two wins in his short tenure Zola has to go down as one of the most disastrous appointments and he leaves Blues precariously above the relegation places.

Birmingham City FC

I’m not that surprised he has gone. During the second half he remained much of the time sat in the dugout, almost resigned to his fate. For the first time in a long time the whole stadium was united in chanting that they wanted the manager sacked.

The stage was set.

While I think Zola probably should have walked/been pushed some time ago, I’m pleased he did walk in the end – and I’m hopeful he’s walked without demanding a payoff.

He even had the bottle to face up to the press to confirm it and to apologise for not being good enough. There is maybe a lesson to be learned there for other people within the club.

I’m not going to pretend I know what will happen next, because I don’t know. Before the game the talk was bullish; I’m not sure anyone has been lined up.

I personally hope that we don’t rush an appointment. I’m not a fan of Paul Robinson, but I think he would command enough respect to handle the last three games of the season – maybe assisted by Richard Beale and even Steve Spooner.

However, from reading the Blues statement it might be that will happen. The one thing that intrigues me is that none of Zola’s staff have been binned off as of yet – although one would think that will be a case of mutually agreeing deals with each.

There is an apocryphal story of a HR manager who takes a stack of CVs he’s received in application for a job and throws half of them in the bin, stating that he “does not hire unlucky people”.

I hope Blues take this approach with their next manager.

Zola was unlucky. For example, as a manager you cannot legislate for your centre forward hitting the ball wide with an open goal at his mercy. You can’t predict your #1 keeper will spill a ball into an open goalmouth for an opposition player to tuck away from four yards.

I’m a believer that people create their own luck. Rowett was the archetype – I think he was able to put players into a team in a way that they were organised and would take advantage of luck that fell their way.

We cannot afford another unlucky manager.

While I do not know what will happen, I have a theory. One thing that stuck out from my pre-match conversations with people I know at the club was the definite ethos of the board to have a team that played “attractive football”.

I think whoever will be given the job will be someone to fit this stereotype.

My (admittedly flaky) reasoning for this is that I think one method TTA and Paul Suen might be considering to make money from the club is by buying cheap players and developing them.

It’s a fact that attacking players will go for more money than defenders. I think it’s easy for attacking players to stand out in teams that attack and play nice football.

Now it might not be that team is successful – but if you can consistently buy players for £1M – 2M and sell for more, then you can make real profit.

This method wouldn’t rely on Blues actually getting promoted – just playing nicey nicey football.

Gary Rowett would never have fitted into this; for one he wouldn’t have accepted any interference in transfers and for two we know Rowett is much about organisation and hard work than being fancy-dan players.

For us, it’s all about next week. I left St Andrew’s today convinced that Blues were done – but the resignation of Zola has restored some hope.

The next decision is a big one for TTA. Let’s hope they make a better one than last time.

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