BCFC: With Pep Gone, What’s Next?

Wednesday saw Blues concede three goals at home for the fifth game in a row, ensuring that for the second time in a month Pep Clotet and the BCFC board agreed to part ways – this time with immediate effect. Now, for the third time in four seasons Blues face trying to bring in a manager to stop the rot and prevent them from falling into the relegation trap door.

Birmingham City FC

I’m not going to lie, last night I was furious.

Furious at the players who have seemingly switched off and are going through the motions.

Furious at a manager who had seemingly given up, safe in the knowledge he was walking away in two weeks.

Furious at the board whose continued interference has ensured Blues have an imbalanced squad that doesn’t fit any tactical shape or style.

Furious at the owners, who due to their lack of trust in anyone but their lackeys have allowed the club to slowly circle the drain of relegation to League One.

While I think that getting Clotet out was the right thing to do, it feels like a sticking plaster on a huge wound ripped through the club.

Make no mistake, the word is out there that the job is more difficult than it looks and there are reservations from potential head coaches and managers who don’t want to work with club CEO Ren Xuandong.

I’m not even sure what will happen in the immediate short term, because all the noise internally is that no one wants the job even on a temporary basis.

The only piece of good news I can definitely confirm is that despite his absolute need to be involved, Ren cannot give himself the job. Head Coaches and Managers are subject to stricter work permit rules than the players are, which means Ren has absolutely zero chance of being able to even sit on the bench.

My only hope now is that Suen and the elusive Mr King (aka Wang Yaohui) have realised what an absolute mess Ren has made of things and have asked Birmingham Sports Holdings Chairman Zhao Wenqing to sort out the manager search.

Zhao has remained in the UK since December and will be well aware of the situation as it stands.

It was Zhao who sacked Steve Cotterill when Ren wouldn’t, and it was Zhao who appointed Garry Monk.

While there are never any guarantees, I hope once again Zhao can find someone decent who will take the role; and I hope if the manager demands assurances that Ren is gone that this time Zhao will act on it.

Right now, the pressure will be on Ren from the other board members.

The board is like a Chinese soap opera, where each board member is waiting for another director to fuck up, so they can pile in on them and make themselves number one lackey.

I can well imagine that Ren is now frantically rushing around, telling his higher-ups that he can sort things out. It wouldn’t surprise me if Ren is on the phone to the EFL this morning frantically demanding that Wigan and Sheffield Wednesday have maximum points deductions applied for their respective misdemeanours.

There would be something ironic in the fact that now Ren and his cronies are hoping other teams get deductions to save their own asses.

Regardless, the next two weeks are crucial.

Relegation would be horrific. If the owners decide it’s no longer worth putting money in, they will cut costs to the bone before putting the club into administration. Administration means that they will lose the HKSE listing, and that above everything else is sacrosanct.

It’s important for both us and the owners that the club improves. Let’s hope that we can finally, finally get on the road to better times.