Andy Munro provides a mid-close season report on the situation at St Andrews.
During the season, in the height of the Lee Clark baiting period, the Blues fanzine Made in Brum came out with a classic front cover featuring Lee with the headline, “Let’s Get Ready To Mumble,” in honour of his charisma-free post-match interviews.
This probably lies at the heart of the Bluenose mistrust of a man whose powers of expression would make the late Stanley Unwin seem lucid, while his camera presence seems akin to a serious and shifty crime suspect being interviewed by the police. Yet there seems to be the green shoots of managerial recovery as the man conducts his bargain basement buys and general wheeling and dealing quietly, effectively and with pragmatism.
Keeping Colin Doyle as a probable back-up but signing Randolph as a young and hungry keeper seems a good move. In front of the keeper, the release of the aging Caldwell was inevitable and the retirement of the excellent but injury-prone Carr was out of his hands. The inability to sign the talented Caddis was unfortunate but the powerful and strong running Eardley looks, at least on paper, a good replacement. Keeping Robbo is vital and, if Davies’ departure (laughable at just over £2 million) is inevitable, the signing of Jack Hobbs will be a good move with somebody else still needed alongside , although my longer-term bet has to be Will Packwood.
In midfield, money apparently dictated the departure of Fahy and the combined force of Gomis, Ambrose and Mullins was never going to set the Championship on fire. Andrew Shinnie seems a good signing and a great prospect and let’s hope we can keep Ravel M. We probably need a hard-nosed but mobile destroyer if we play two wingers although Spector could, no doubt, do a job. On the subject of wingers, if we can get the Newcastle prospect back and Burkey can rediscover his Hughton form then maybe we afford to lose Redmond. Personally I’m desperate for him to stay but the Chinese moneymen will do anything to keep us out of admin so they can get their pound of flesh from the club so I doubt he will be allowed to stay.
Up front, if nobody comes in for Marlon I’d be happy to keep him but I doubt that will happen and he might even end up in old gold with a club now devoid of class but with plenty of money. On the other hand, I would be quite happy to lose Ziggy if we also lost his wage bill, but who’s going to be daft enough to pick up the tab? The new kid Novak could be a good signing and he is apparently a hard worker which he’ll need to be if he plays alongside Ziggy. If we lose Marlon, however, we’ll still need another striker unless Aswante becomes a youthful solution.
Either way things are shaping up in an interesting manner and I’m mildly optimistic and, to be fair, much of that is due to Clark’s intelligent and refreshing signings – a change from previous managers hiding behind the signings of 30 year old-plus has-beens.