Editorial: Time to Step Up

It’s another morning after the day before, and it’s another inquest into an inept Blues performance and shocking home defeat. A slew of individual errors ensured Blues fell behind by three goals in quick time to Derby on Tuesday evening, with the Rams completing a comprehensive 4-0 victory to move out of the bottom three.

Birmingham City FC

I’ll be honest and admit that match reports are not my forte and I’m not going to go into details here; not least because I turned over at 3-0 and ended up watching GoodFellas instead. If tactical analysis is what you’re after, then I’d recommend following the excellent Blues Breakdown and Blues Analytics on Twitter for some proper insight.

Likewise, I’m not going to go into a passionate rant about the state of the team. Mark Watson of We Are Birmingham managed to sit through the game and I have no desire to steal his thunder following his excellent piece which you can read here.

What concerns me most at the moment is the feeling of helplessness I can sense from fans online; the acceptance that Blues are shit right now and that there is nothing we can do to change that.

Worse, there is even a feeling of apathy from fans towards the club.

I think we’re all feeling the effect of not being able to go to games, to not get together in the bars and pubs around St Andrew’s and socialise together.

At least at the ground it’s possible to vent one’s anger directly at the source of frustration; at home all we can do is to turn off the TV, to reach for the smartphone and vent our spleen on social media. A well worded tweet doesn’t have quite the same effect as a chorus of voices echoing around the stand.

It doesn’t help that there is some way to go before Blues fans can even return to the ground – not least because half of its closed due to safety issues. We’re stuck in this purgatory of fandom for some time yet.

With that purgatory comes the chance that fans will drift away. Without that regular fix it’s possible people will find another use for their time and money. Without hope that things will improve, it’s possible some fans will give up.

The challenge right now for the club and its leadership is to prove that things can and will get better for Blues.

It’s all good talking about “three year plans” and “core values” but the evidence of the last few years is that the club is swimming in ever decreasing circles around the relegation plughole into League One.

Blues are in comparative safety in 18th position currently, and we saw last season how a poor run can ensure the club gets sucked into real danger.

Blues CEO Ren Xuandong needs to find a way to give fans belief that history is not going to repeat itself. It’s possible he needs to show his bosses too that his pursuit and installation of Aitor Karanka as manager was the right decision – not least because unemployment for Ren could result in his past in China catching up with him.

I’ll be honest – I’m not sure what the solution is myself. I think it’s a bigger problem than just changing manager or players – especially as both of those options cost money the club may not have.

However, I’m not the one being paid a six figure sum every year to run the club. I don’t have the responsibility that comes with an office at Wast Hills and a seat in the boardroom.

If it’s time for the players to stand up and to be counted, and for the manager to prove his worth – then it’s also time for the CEO to step up and show his leadership too.