Editorial: Some Other Mou Mou

A third successive defeat in the Championship has left many fans including myself feeling that it could be the end for Pep Clotet. The luck Blues enjoyed in the early games appears to have run out and the imbalances within the squad have been left brutally exposed.

St Andrew's taken 26 December 2018

Right now, it’s difficult to assess the mood inside the club.

Before the season started, the rumour was that Clotet was being kept on a very short leash – as the “caretaker” part of his job role entailed.

In private, Blues CEO Ren Xuandong has been bullish about the club’s promotion chances, declaring it not just possible but probable.

In turn, that has put a lot of pressure on Clotet.

The Catalan has been told in no uncertain terms not only that Blues are to be promoted, but they will be playing attacking football while doing so.

I think Clotet has tried his best to achieve this, but with a squad that is so unbalanced and lacking in pace and forwards he is struggling.

Three successive defeats mean that Clotet’s job is now in all probability on a knife-edge; however, this time it’s not just Clotet who is in the firing line this time.

Ren and fellow director Edward Zheng Gannan are also under the microscope.

Ren in particular will be under pressure as he forced out Monk in the summer and has had a free rein to push the club forward as he sees fit.

His office move to the training ground and his input into the recruitment process for players means Ren has much less place to hide now and much fewer people to deflect the blame onto.

The situation is not unlike that when Steve Cotterill was in charge.

Back then it was Birmingham Sports Holdings chairman Zhao Wenqing who ended Cotterill’s reign as Ren was unwilling to do so.

Ren paid for Cotterill’s mistakes with his own job – only to be reluctantly brought back into the fold when Edward Zheng struggled to finalise Monk’s contract.

This is the problem that Blues face now.

Should Ren and Zheng be given the boot for their own failings, then the big question would be who would come into the fold to replace them.

I almost feel sorry for Ren and Zheng for the position they are in, as it’s not their fault they are not fit for the job they have been forced into.

However, my sympathy isn’t there because rather than ask for help, they’ve submitted to their egos and believed that know best – while taking large salaries, expenses, houses and cars from the club.

The owners have a reluctance to trust in anyone who is not Chinese which raises the spectre of some other Wang Mou Mou (the Chinese version of “Fred Bloggs”) with no experience taking the job.

The only way Blues move forward in my opinion is if the owners can realise that the club needs a CEO who knows how football works.

It needs someone who can run the day to day things without pushing experienced staff out due to their temper tantrums and inability to accept advice.

It also needs someone who has the presence of mind to be able to take a step back and let the coaching staff get on with things – no matter what demands the owners put on them for attractive football.

Unless these issues are taken note of, I believe Blues will condemned to repeat the cycle they are in ad infinitum.

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