Pub Talk #1: Attendances, Ownership and Jeff Vetere
In our new feature, Rob Wildey gives his pennies worth about all things Blues. So grab a pint, sit down and enjoy. Have your say by leaving a comment below.
During the summer, Harry Redknapp fever struck St. Andrews as the club announced an increase in season ticket sales. As a result, Blues` average attendance is 20,623 - their biggest at this stage of the season since Chris Hughton`s reign back in 2011.
The Wolves game attracted just 19,641 - including 2,300 visiting fans. With ticket prices in some areas set at £30 and the fact the game was televised live on a Monday evening, the attendance is more understandable. But if Blues weren`t in their current slump, a derby against the Old Gold and Black would surely have attracted a wider audience.
With both home derbies (Villa and Wolves) out of the way and given Blues` league position, attendances will soon start to dwindle. Half season ticket sales for the second half of this season have been poor and unless the team drastically improve, season ticket sales next season will also drop… even more so should Blues find themselves entertaining the likes of Fleetwood and Rochdale in League One.
This is a subject that has me split down the middle. I don`t know much about the current owners of Birmingham City but I can only judge them on two things: decision making and financial backing.
Their financial backing has been evident with Gianfranco Zola and Harry Redknapp splashing the cash. Perhaps the wrong players have been signed but that is hardly down to the owners.
My criticism lies in their decision making. Their first big decision was to sack Gary Rowett. Then, just hours later, they hired Gianfranco Zola. The first decision was bad, the second one was criminal. Zola was never the right man for this club.
As Blues slipped down the table, the trigger should have been pulled on Zola`s time at the helm. They pondered and pondered and pondered until the fans eventually turned on the Italian resulting in him forcing the issue himself by resigning.
The board earned some respite by the temporary hiring of Redknapp who was exactly the right man to motivate the players for the final three games and steer them to safety. That should have been that. Pay him his bonus, thank him for keeping us up and wave goodbye. Offering him the post permanently (if you can use that word in football) was never going to work.
It remains to be seen whether the appointment of Steve Cotterill was the right decision and the evidence is currently hanging in the balance.
To me, it seems as if we have owners who are ambitious and have their heart in the right place but are extremely naïve on most football matters.
This is the Wikipedia definition of 'Director of Football`.
The presence of a director of football acts as an intermediary between the manager and the board and may relieve pressure on a manager by handling aspects away from day-to-day coaching, allowing a manager to focus on on-pitch performance. The director of football may also help to stabilise the club.
Blues appointed Jeff Vetere as Director of Football back in May. How exactly has he contributed to the stabilisation of the club? And, as far as I am aware, Vetere has heavy involvement in the transfer business of the club. With that in mind, why hasn`t he been held to account for his own poor performance?
Vetere previously worked at Aston Villa under former manager Gerard Houllier. The club soon started their decline into relegation battle after relegation battle before they eventually plummeted into the Championship. Although Vetere wasn`t at the club when they eventually fell through the trap door, it was questioned on some Villa forums as to what he actually produced during his time at Villa Park and many lambasted his involvement in the club`s decline.
What exactly does he bring to the table? Answers on a beer mat please…
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