Pick up the mess, Lee
Bewildered is the word I`d use to describe my feelings in the immediate aftermath of Harry Redknapp`s sacking as Birmingham City manager. I, like many other Bluenoses, was violently scratching my head in total bemusement at the goings-on at our club.
Now the dust has settled somewhat, I can look at events with a clearer head.
Firstly, Redknapp deserves our gratitude for preserving the clubs Championship status after the sorry state in which he found the team. Gianfranco Zola`s reign (the less said about it, the better) was a shambles from the word go and - make no mistake about this - Blues were a League One club in waiting.
From thereon, Redknapp`s tenure deteriorated. You can point to the club acting late in the transfer market or even the hard-luck with injuries. Nevertheless, Redknapp hasn`t done himself any favours with his constant criticism of the players he inherited. A core part of a manager`s job is to inject the players with belief - the only belief Redknapp injected in his players was a belief that they are not good enough.
Football is a results based business, Harry was at the helm for eleven league games which mustered up just three wins (two of them last season) seven defeats and a solitary draw. In the process, his team scored seven goals and shipped thirteen. The second half against Preston was as bad as Blues have played in recent seasons, and that takes some doing!
No wonder Blues sit second from bottom.
In a poll on this very website, 48% agree (at the time of writing) that his sacking was the correct decision.
We can argue until the cows come home about whether or not he deserved more time - I`m personally of the opinion that he should have been afforded another month or so - but what is the point? He`s gone. One of the biggest sticks to beat the current hierarchy with was their reluctance to dismiss Zola. Frankly, they showed him too much patience when they should have fired the bullet. This time round they have acted promptly.
Placing Lee Carlsey in caretaker charge is a sure sign that the club do not have a replacement waiting in the wings. After the tenures of Gary Rowett and Zola, the club did not appoint a caretaker manager. Carsley has the chance to throw his name into the hat - assuming, of course, he even wants it. First though, he must get a tune out of the players - something Redknapp and Zola both failed to do.
Paul Williams has been appointed as a coach, Carsley`s first recruit. Williams worked with Carsley at Brentford and is someone he wholeheartedly trusts. Alongside Paul Groves, Kevin Hitchcock and Paul Robinson (a sign of Robbo`s future perhaps) Carsley must steer the ship through some unsteady waters.
The current squad is a mish-mash of Redknapp`s players sprinkled with Rowett`s & Zola`s. Carsley will have his own ideas on how the team should be set-up - getting back to basics would be a decent starting point - and it`ll be intriguing to see his team selection at 2pm on Saturday.
The success of his caretaker role will dictate the chances of him being appointed permanently so this may be premature - but Carsley may have to choose between the England U21 position he currently occupies and the dugout in B9. The burning question, though, is why would Carsley give up a role in the England set-up to work for owners who are likely to send him packing as soon as the going gets tough?
Follow Rob on Twitter - @robwil30