With the Championship season now ended for Birmingham City, attention turns to who will leave the club this summer and who will be brought in. The transfer window doesn’t really start until the new pre-season, but Saturday is the deadline for clubs not involved in the playoffs to submit their retained lists.
Less than 72 hours after the Championship season ended, Birmingham City announced that embattled CEO Ren Xuandong was to step down from his role with immediate effect. The immediate reaction online from Blues fans was of one of almost universal happiness that Ren is gone from the club.
As the old cliché goes, a week is a long time in football. That’s certainly the case at Birmingham City, where there seems to be positivity in the air despite a 3-0 defeat to Watford on Saturday. Although Blues remain just three points above Rotherham in 22nd having played four games more, there seems to be a feeling that Blues can get out of this that wasn’t there last Saturday.
Another day, another defeat. Millwall were the victors this time, beating Blues 2-0 at the Den on Wednesday night to condemn Aitor Karanka’s side to their ninth defeat in 13 league games. Blues lie one point behind Rotherham in 21st place, although the Millers have two games in hand. For any other club the assumption would be Karanka’s place is untenable – but there is no sign of change. What needs to happen?
Birmingham City announced on Friday the creation of a strategic committee whose job would be to advise the board on the short-term and long-term strategy of the club. This came at the request of Birmingham Sports Holdings, who had confirmed that the committee would be appointed in announcements made to the HKSE last year.
While Blues CEO Ren Xuandong has been criticised heavily on Blues social media and forums recently, Kristjaan Speakman has been somewhat under the radar. Listed on the official Blues website as Academy Manager, Speakman has been acting as a de facto Sporting Director at Blues in recent times. Is Speakman culpable for the club’s current situation.
After being given a great chance to properly secure their place in the Championship next season through other teams not picking up points, Blues threw it all away with another dismal display on Sunday. Despite a tinkering with the formation and the recall from furlough of Steve Spooner, Blues looked abject against a Stoke side who probably should have scored a few more.
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.
A late Josh Onomah winner ensured that Blues horrendous run without a win continued at Craven Cottage on Saturday. With teams around Blues continuing to pick up points the pressure is starting to stack up and the vitriol towards Pep Clotet is getting louder.
Kerys Harrop and Rachel Williams announced their departure from Birmingham City Women this week, adding to a post season exodus which has seen no less than 10 players leave in the close season. With no permanent head coach and a poor season saved by curtailment, the future seems bleak for Blues Women.