Birmingham City’s 1-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic last night has left the Blues in a desperate situation at the bottom of the Championship. 18 games without a victory at St Andrews has seen them fall from the safety of mid-table to potentially replicating what rivals Wolves did last year. Their awful home form this season alongside issues off the pitch has seen attendances dramatically decline. When Blues won the League Cup in 2011, nobody could have foreseen this sudden fall from grace.
It is widely noticeable that football clubs that are stable off the pitch are the most successful.
Look at rivals West Bromwich Albion who have spent wisely in the Premier League since their last promotion and have now finally consolidated at the top level.
Wolverhampton Wanderers fans protested at owner Steve Morgan for his poor managerial appointments, but have now steadied the ship somewhat after they took their time in appointing Kenny Jackett, a man who has a fantastic record in the lower leagues.
Another Midlands club, Stoke City have established themselves in the Premier League without any real danger of being relegated back to the Championship, The Potters trusted Tony Pulis to stabilise in the top division and have reaped the rewards since.
The same cannot be said for Birmingham City.
After several attempts to buy the club previously, in October 2009, Hong Kong-based businessman Carson Yeung bought himself the biggest share of the club. Promises of significant investment in players followed, the possibility of either building a new stadium or redeveloping St Andrews were coined across and the notion of Birmingham City becoming a force in the Premier League became a little more possible.
The most notable signing has been Croatian giant, Nikola Zigic who has scored just 31 goals in 127 appearances for the Blues. Granted some of these goals have been important for the successes Birmingham have had such as their historic League Cup final win.
It has now turned out that Carson Yeung is in fact a criminal who has been jailed for 5 counts of money laundering. The case lasted just under 3 years, from June 2011 to March 2014, resulting in the Blues having no real leader at the top of the club. Lee Clark, who has been criticised by fans of his recent tactical decisions has had a thankless task in consolidating Birmingham’s future.
All of this turmoil off the pitch has been replicated in their home games, having an average attendance of around 15,000 compared to the attendances of at least 25,000 in their last season in the Premier League.
With money draining out of the club from player wages, relegation to League One will be yet another disaster for a club that has so much potential. If they are relegated, Blues need stability, to follow their rivals’ moves down the road could be beneficial to them.