BCFC: Groundhog Day

Birmingham City were unable to break the deadlock at Adams Park on Tuesday night, with the 0-0 final result leaving Blues once again precariously close to the relegation trap door. As befitting Groundhog Day it was the same old story of referees not giving penalties and players not taking the few chances on offer; the question is what does Aitor Karanka need to do to escape this cursed loop of relegation struggle Blues find themselves in.

St Andrew's taken 26 December 2018

I’d love to tell you all that as Karanka saw his shadow from the dugout that we will win in the next six weeks, but unfortunately real life doesn’t quite work out like that.

It was concerning that Karanka talked about “concentration” being the reason that he didn’t make any subs until Marc Roberts got himself sent off; the implication being that he thought if he changed it Blues would concede to what are in all probability are the worst team in the division.

And sure, while there is no guarantee that making a substitution would have made for a positive change I’d also say that not trying to affect things is just cowardly. If Bill Murray had to learn ice sculpture, jazz piano and how to be a decent human being to get Andie MacDowell in the end then I’m sure we could have experimented with having Sam Cosgrove or Scott Hogan on the pitch for a few minutes.

The truth is, I’m at a loss as to how Blues can get out of this seemingly endless loop of relegation dogfights that they seem to have found themselves in.

For everything I’ve talked about with regards to the ownership, it’s hard to deny that the money has been there. While Blues were unsuccessful on deadline day in bringing in another first team forward, it is truth attempts were made to do so. Of course, there is an argument about it being all a bit late, and worries about it borrowing budget from the summer – but unlike the match at Adams Park it does appear that an attempt was made by those in charge to make some kind of change.

Likewise, I don’t think we can argue that Blues have had some rotten luck and even more rotten referees. The standard of officiating in the division has been poor, and Blues have been on the wrong end of a fair few decisions. In saying that, just as one has to be shoot to score one has to be in box to win a penalty and Blues just don’t seem to do that enough.

It’s difficult to deny that Blues need stability too. The recent rapid turnover of managers has not helped things in the longer term at the club; giving Karanka the Spanish archer might make a lot of people feel better but to bring the cycle to a close Blues would need to make the right choice in management and I’m not convinced the current set up are able to do that.

While I don’t think the club feel that they’re in a “stick or twist” situation, Blues have just 19 games left in the season to make things right. For the second season in a row a points deduction applied to another team is making things look slightly better than they are; one league win and just six points in the last ten league games should rightly be alarming.

I’ll be honest and say that I don’t know what will work to make things better. I have to hope that the club are in a better position to make that call right now, because the alternative is looking bleaker by the day.

All I do know is that Blues cannot keep doing the same things and hoping for a different result – because it’s just not going to happen.