BCFC: Believe in Garry

Birmingham City made it two wins in two over the Christmas period with a well fought victory over Stoke City. Jacques Maghoma and Omar Bogle both scored Christmas crackers of goals as the Potters succumbed to their first defeat since losing to Blues back in October.

Birmingham City FC

While it was a battle of attrition at times, Blues pulled together as a team to win in front of a 26,000+ Boxing Day crowd at St Andrew’s.

The scenes on and off the pitch when Bogle scored his first goal for the club typifies the good vibe around the ground.

On the pitch, the players and the management staff celebrated together, clearly delighted for Bogle to have broken his duck.

Off it, there was noise from all four stands as the fans came together to applaud and sing for the team.

It was a stark contrast to the feelings of the Stoke fans, many of whom vented their anger on message boards and social media after the match.

For me, Stoke typified much of what has been wrong with Blues since Gary Rowett departed two years ago.

Taken as individuals, they have some quality players in their ranks and on paper they should be achieving much better than they are.

As a team however, they looked dour and unimaginative, devoid of attacking nous and creativity.

On the other hand, I genuinely couldn’t pick a man of the match for Blues yesterday as everyone in Blue played well.

While Rowett took a dispirited side left over from Lee Clark and made it organised and difficult to beat, Monk has taken a dispirited side left over from Steve Cotterill and made them believe in themselves again.

In just over half a season, Blues have already won two more games than they did the entirety of the last campaign and have already achieved more than 80% of last season’s points total.

Moreover, after just 24 games Blues are only one goal behind their total for the whole of last season and will finally buck a trend which has seen them score fewer goals every season since the 78 scored back in 2011/12.

That belief has spilled over into the stands too.

Everywhere I went yesterday, I heard people being positive about the team and the manager.

People can see the work rate, the effort and the belief these players have in each other and it’s infectious.

While the work done by Monk and his staff to reconnect with the Blues fan community off the pitch has been well received, I think the work done on the pitch is more important in the short term.

After a few years when it’s felt like the club is circling the drain prior to relegation to League One, we are once again looking up the table at the fabled “P” word.

I think it’s too early to say if the “P” word is even possible, but the fact that we can even think about it shows how far the club has come in the last nine months.

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