Andy Munro watches Blues’ season end comfortably in the north-west.
It was a real pipe and slippers trip as we returned to last season’s scene of the unbelievable Squeaky Brum scenario. At that stage we were all trying to desperately kid ourselves that relegation was a good thing, but for every Swansea and Southampton there’s a Portsmouth and Coventry City.
Despite there being nothing at stake bar pride and win bonuses, Gary Rowett took it all very seriously with his selection. The only surprise was the inclusion of Dyer, presumably for his performance and goal the week before, leaving the comparatively out of form Cotterill on bench duties.
It was yet another cat and mouse performance as Blues were generally content to soak up the pressure and attack on the break. Our goal came from the German playmaker who showed a touch of class with his finishing and in all truth Blues always looked the team likely to score more.
It was a sort of footballing version of Floyd Mayweather – generally looking very comfortable and just doing enough to pinch a victory. Perhaps, it’s also worth remembering that Bolton are managed by a supposed rising star in Lennon. In terms of performances, Spector showed why he is worthy of a new contract as Mr Utility whilst Gray sparkled at times to keep himself firmly in the shop window. One hopes that if the Cherries come calling with their guaranteed £120 million Premier league riches that we don’t allow them to pinch Gray for a 4% share of their spoils.
Certainly, before we consider letting Gray depart, we need to bring in any new players so that clubs don’t think that they can inflate their prices. My guess is that a secret deal will be agreed and, if the players and clubs agree, we could probably secure Tesche and Fabrini for £1 million apiece and Kiernan for around £500,000. With the need to sign a top quality forward and winger that would mean the manager would need a war chest of circa £6 million.
With the club still on its uppers and poor crowds, this could only be achievable with Gray’s departure. Unfortunately that seems a prerequisite for us to start making progress on the pitch, at least under the current ownership.
Either way, Monday’s retained list should be interesting.