As We Journey On #7: Barnsley Beating, Cotterill’s Future, FFP And Complete Madness

Where do I start this week? I have been asking myself this question all week and whenever I learn something new. Things seem bad currently with Blues, but this may be the best it’ll be for a while. I’m going to try and explain what’s happening in the easiest way possible but there’s a lot so it could go horribly wrong. I’ll try not to go on a rant this week and it may be a longer piece as there is a ridiculous amount of information, so I apologise and advise to strap yourself in for a rollercoaster of events.    

Barnsley Beating…   

I thought I would start the piece off by reporting on our game against relegation rivals Barnsley. However, I am going to try and keep it short as I feel I am going to be repeating the same lines from the past few match reports.    

Saturday had Blues playing host to relegation rivals Barnsley, in what was one of the biggest matches in our season. Barnsley were two points behind us in the league before kickoff, with a game in hand, so Blues had to get something from this game. It was a must-win game and a game for the players to prove they mean business. They didn’t do this whatsoever.    

Bluenoses were given a little encouragement when the starting lineup was released and we saw Che Adams’ name in the starting eleven. Blues fans had wanted him back in the squad for the longest time and it was refreshing and uplifting to see Cotterill had finally listened to our thoughts.    

It didn’t help the team whatsoever and they were the same spineless players that had just received a spanking by Brentford. Blues had a good chance to take the lead early on, but the Barnsley keeper made a fantastic double save to stop Boga and Adams from breaking the deadlock.   

Then, normality resumed and Blues went 1-0 down to a sloppy goal on thirteen minutes. An easy run down the right for Barnsley winger Thiam lead to a cross, which found striker McBurnie in open space and he headed home. Sunday league defending by Blues and the atmosphere was quickly turning sour.    

Four minutes later, another schoolboy error by Blues defender Marc Roberts brought down a Barnsley player and they were awarded a penalty. McBurnie stepped up and placed it into the bottom corner, however, Stockdale got there first and made an incredible save. One of the best I have seen from a penalty.    

This caused the Blues fans to belt out a passionate rendition of Keep Right On and it really should have inspired the team to a better performance. It didn’t and Blues went 2-0 down, when McBurnie had an easy, close range, tap in for his second of the game.   

One more event happened in the first half. A blues fan managed to get in front of Steve Cotterill and threw his season ticket into the face of Cotterill. If this wasn’t a sign to Steve that the fans don’t want him, then I don’t know what is.    

The first half finished and there were boo’s all around the ground, and rightly so. Blues had been awful and spineless for three or four games now. This sums up the state of the club right now, Steve Cotterill has to be escorted to the tunnel by police, at home. How is this coward still in a job?   

The second half commenced and, to be perfectly honest, nothing happened. Blues were spineless once more and Barnsley were showing why they are down here with us. The game ended 2-0 and Cotterill had to run down a separate tunnel for his safety. It’s astonishing to me that he is still in the job.    

Cotterill in his after-match press conference did something that he should regret forever and something he can never get back from. He confirmed that multiple things were thrown at him during the game and then subtly blamed the fans for the recent run of losses. He actually turned around and said the players are scared to play at home. WHAT?! Some of our players are currently sitting on the bench earning £45k a week and they are scared of us fans for getting annoyed at their crap performances. Cotterill, I know you love blaming everyone else but yourself, but hit a new low and a low you cannot come back from.    

I’m leaving that part there. Blues fell back into the bottom three, and we deserved to be there. The players are crap, the manager is crap and the owners are crap.    

Cotterill’s Future and FFP…   

Once again, I ask the question, where do I start? I will try to explain this in the best way possible and I apologise if I confuse any of you.    

Right, there have been so many reports from different people. Some sources are saying Blues were considering getting rid of Cotterill but no replacement has been found. Others were saying some had been initially asked about the role. There are two sources I trust. Alan Nixon, a journalist who is hardly wrong when it comes to things about the EFL, and Almajir, someone who can always be trusted when it comes to Blues.    

Nixon reported that there were three candidates for the Blues job. All three has been asked about the job. One wasn’t too sure, one was warming to the idea and one was ready to take the job with the current backroom staff. One of these was confirmed, by Nixon, as Garry Monk. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know but, as I said, Nixon can be trusted.    

Then the bombshell hit us, we may have failed FFP. If you don’t know, FFP stands for Financial Fair Play and it is there to stop clubs from splashing out the cash without making near the figure they have spent. It has nothing to do with debt, it is just simply profits and losses. So, the rumours saying we owe £50 million are complete rubbish and others saying we could face administration are also rubbish.   

Wednesday was a massive day for Blues, our directors had flown over from China to have a meeting with Cotterill and the players and staff. Apparently, the players and staff were 100% behind Cotterill and so he won’t be sacked, YET. That’s the keyword, yet, we don’t know how much time they have given Cotterill so he could be sacked if we lose against Forest on Saturday, he may have been given ten games, we just don’t know.   

The other major thing that happened on Wednesday was the interim accounts of Blues’ holding company were released. This was the major factor in the FFP decision. It wasn’t good reading, we had made a loss of £17 million in six months, more than what we lost over the course of the whole year last year. We cannot go below £39 million over three years, and we are currently very close or just over this figure. A statement should have been released on Thursday and hopefully, it follows this sentence, but if it was a late announcement then it won’t be in this and I am sorry about this, but the editors need the piece the day before the release so they can work their magic.     

The FFP could mean so many things. The EFL have the power to fine us, place a transfer embargo over us and even deduct points. However, the latter is reserved for an extreme case and this won’t happen to Blues, as they may not go over the figure by that much. However, the most likely thing is a transfer embargo being placed on us, meaning we won’t be able to sign anyone in the summer and that isn’t good at all, no matter what happens at the end of the season and what league we are playing in.    

FFP is also affecting the manager dilemma. Obviously, if we sack Cotterill, that’s a payout and more money to add to the total we have lost. We would then have to go after a manager like Monk, who is out of a job so we don’t have to pay compensation.    

In the simplest terms, it isn’t looking good for Blues and it always seems to be us. We finally got through the Carson Yeung era, had some decent money to spend and the first time we spend it, we could fail FFP. That just sums up Blues.    

Hopefully, that has cleared things up for you and I apologise if I have missed anything or worded something wrong. It’s taken me days to plan this and whenever I think I have finished, more information is thrown at me.   

Looking Forward To Forest…   

Moving back to on-field matters and Saturday has Blues making the fairly short trip to Nottingham as we play Nottingham Forest. I hate Forest, they may have history but their fans are absolute melts and live in the 80’s when Clough won them the two European trophies that they never stop mentioning in arguments. Derby are a much better side, have a better fan base and completely dominate their rivalry.   

Anyway, back to the Blues. I really hope we beat Forest and we need to beat Forest, for the sake of the club. Hopefully, the players use whats going on behind the scenes as ammunition to go out there and beat Forest and finally prove to us fans that they have some fight left in them.   

However, based on previous performances and results in recent weeks, I cannot logically say we will win this game, or even have a chance. My heart is obviously wanting Blues to win, but my head is saying the complete opposite and it’s hard to argue against it.    

Just as I am about to send this off, the news came out that betting had been suspended on Garry Monk becoming Blues boss. From a quick look at social media I can see most bluenoses wanting, however, I’m not so keen. You could say he was wrongly sacked at Swansea, he was doing well at Leeds, but after talking to my mate who is a Leeds fan, he said that he only has one plan, and if that fails he doesn’t have an alternative. He also said he can easily lose the dressing room and have spats with players.    

Monk reminds me of Pardew, it seems he has his honeymoon period when he first joins, teams learn what he is doing and it goes downhill from there. Personally, I wouldn’t want him but I’d have anyone over Cotterill at the minute    

Hopefully, in next week’s piece, I am talking about a passionate performance from the lads, that we haven’t failed FFP and either Cotterill has gone or he has come to his senses and apologised for the ridiculous excuses he has made during his stint as manager. As always, thanks for reading and Keep Right On!   

About the Author

Stephen Beavon
Just a young football fan who likes to get his opinion across to others. Love Birmingham City, although it is difficult at times.