BCFC: Open House Overview

On Monday evening Birmingham City held their inaugural “Open House” session, outlining future strategy to more than 100 fans present. Various senior management staff gave talks on how departments were looking to progress following the takeover by Knighthead, while Club Chairman Tom Wagner and Garry Cook also gave keynote speeches.

We are Birmingham

It was my original plan to write up what happened in one article after the evening finished.

I will be honest now and say that I cannot do that.

The sheer volume of information given means I need to spend maybe two or three articles writing it all up, while the fact that I’m writing this at 1am thanks to over runs and not completing the live podcast until almost midnight means I have to be brief.

With this in mind, the best thing I can do immediately is share an overview of the event, if only to give an idea as to why my head is currently spinning.

One of the key things I took away from the event was that the club are determined to rectify the mistakes of the past.

They know that communication has been poor and they know that fans want to feel involved in the way the club is run.

There are commercial reasons why fans can’t be consulted on every little thing the club does and I didn’t expect massively granular detail on the day to day running of the club

What I did expect was that we would hear more about the overarching strategy that was being employed by the club under the new regime – and this is what we received.

What that meant was a raft of detailed presentations which gave a good idea as to how the club is being run from all sides; retail, infrastructure, community as well as the on the pitch stuff.

I think there was a mistaken impression that the event would be a long Q&A but it was nothing like that.

Instead, groups were taken to locations as diverse as the media room, the club shop and the Boardroom Club to listen to short presentations from staff.

While there were a few specific questions taken during these presentations, they tended to be bigger picture and more holistic than most questions  that I’ve seen suggested on social media.

Interestingly, there was even a presentation from the football staff at the club. This included men’s first team manager Wayne Rooney, who spoke about the identity on the pitch going forwards.

Interestingly, his ideas on tactics and identity were echoed by Darren Carter and Hope Powell as they spoke about the Women’s team.

My words cannot do this justice as it brought a lot of sense into the buzzwords we have heard about the way they want the team to play.

While I am sure the win over Sheffield Wednesday helped, Rooney’s eloquent talk – no erms here – solidified in my mind some of the positive things I thought I’d seen with the team and have given me more belief that he can be the man to take the team forward.

I’ve seen online some people complain that it was the same old fans invited to the event and in some ways they’re right; there were a fair few familiar faces that I expected to see at St Andrew’s on Monday.

However, with it being the first event of this kind hosted by the club I think the club knew they had to get the gobby twats on social media like myself along to make sure that the messages from the meeting were spread far and wide.

Furthemore, the first event was always going to be a tricky one and there were teething troubles with Blues TV; the massive over-runs were probably down to how ambitious the club were about getting detail across.

I’m hopeful next time will be smoother and will feature different fans, for a different viewpoint.

More importantly, the “Blues Matters” forum will be launched by then.

This will be set up to look at the granular day-to-day stuff and will be taking applications from fans who want to commit to the work this forum is going to entail.

Blues Matters will be perfect for any fan who feels they have something to give and wants to get involved.

The argument this event was a PR exercise is not wholly inaccurate.

As starstruck as I am to compare shaving tips with Wayne Rooney, I still have some scepticism about some of what was said.

I felt that there was a definite American-style “dog and pony” style in this event and I did feel that some things were glossed over a bit in the name of positivity.

However, once again I’m reminded this is the first event and that as more are held, it’s going to be harder to be sceptical of what we are told. Actions always speak louder than words, and if Blues can commit to the actions I heard about tonight, the future is very bright.

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