Our Blues correspondent Andy Munro looks back on 2017-18 at St Andrews.
This was another season not for the faint-hearted, yet it all started with promise and buoyant season ticket sales. Everyone loved Harry because he was not only a character, he was bound to have great contacts and we would enjoy a bit more tim e in the spotlight media-wise.
Unfortunately, Steve Cotterill, not a manager but a decent number two, thought he was better than that and we were left with the mediocre Kevin Bond to do H’s donkey work. In fairness to ‘Arry, we’ll never know if the board backed him, but some poor signings were made probably thanks to the Blues team of agents and scouts who no doubt have lovely houses and nice cars.
After a decidedly lucky opening win against Bristol City, we went into a diabolical run and it was soon apparent that H would be back walking his tax adviser on Bournemouth beach. So it came to pass and the ‘fans favourite’ Steve Cotterill was appointed. Which fan that was, by the way, we never found out.
Things didn’t really get any better although in fairness to Cotterill, the injury of the talented Isaac Vassell didn’t help, nor did the apparent reluctance of the board to back him. Maybe, for once, our Chinese owners got it right as Blues seemed to be heading for the footballing equivalent of a car crash with the mumbling, bumbling Cotterill at the helm. He didn’t endear himself to the fans with his defensive tactics, one up top which was never going to work with no real pace in attack due to injuries. His reluctance to give young players a chance was also a mystery when we were crying out for enthusiasm and energy.
Then, at the last moment our prayers were answered fittingly by a Monk as the board at last got their fourth appointment right. Enthusiastic, bright, with an attacking attitude, Gary seems loved by players and fans alike. He gave youth a chance (and what a find in Wes Harding) and we had a go which in most cases brought a result , culminating in the win of the season when the talented Fulham were outplayed.
Who knows what next season holds, but there seems to be some light at the end of a footballing tunnel that at times during 2017-18 made the Channel variety look like a mere flyover.