Andy Munro comments on developments at St Andrews.
The much-publicised Thursday meeting between officials of Birmingham City FC and supporters was a fairly predictable affair all things considered,but at least it could be the start of some proper dialogue between the club and fans.
Firstly, let’s get the negatives out of the way. As we suspected, the current state of the ground would make Grenfell Tower look a safe bet, with works now costing over five times the original estimate. Furthermore, a substantial amount of what needs doing won’t be completed, it seems, until after the current season ends. Whilst we now don’t own the ground, it’s a sure fire bet that it will be Blues and not the new owners who are going to cop it financially. However, on the latter point, at least we have a twelve year lease backed up by community asset safeguards although one wouldn’t want to rely on a flaky city council if a planning application comes in to turn B9 into another Chinatown.
However, the one main bright point was the words of wisdom uttered by Craig Gardner. He made it clear that the days of paying high prices and high wages for established 29 and 30 year olds (thank you Harry Redknapp et al) was never to be repeated on his watch and neither were the previous mistakes of getting rid of young players too early and for peanuts.
Strangely enough the one thing that wasn’t mentioned was the rumour that the club shop had been sold and, if that was the case, probably to Sports Direct given the plethora of nasty, cheap stick-on badges on display. One interesting utterance was the admission from the owners that Chinese culture was that business decisions were made before consultation and not afterward, something that would be construed presumably as out and out racism if uttered by a white or black Brummie but patently true at St Andrews.
Anyway, we can only hope that the whole event is a precursor to better dialogue between the club and fans and whilst Gardner is there, there’s still room for a glimmer of optimism as the black clouds still roll around St Andrews.