Those of a generation will get what I am saying when I say “That was the week that was”. Gary Rowett sensationally sacked as manager of Blues and replaced by Gianfranco Zola. To say it came out of the blue would be an understatement and to be honest it left me shocked, bemused and I must admit angry at a time when I thought nothing would surprise me anymore in this game.
However it’s not the fact that a manager had been replaced as I have seen around 70 come and go in my broadcasting career in the West Midlands.
It was more about a manager getting the sack who was doing an amazing job with everything going reasonably well and with 1.7 points per game looked set for the playoffs and of course he was very popular with supporters.
Whether or not you were happy to see Rowett go, what is undeniable and without argument is that he did a fantastic job under some very difficult financial and ownership circumstances.
It is worth just remembering that GR and his team left a reasonably safe job at Burton to accept the job at St Andrews with the club struggling, facing relegation and on the back of an 8-0 defeat by Bournemouth.
By the way there some others who refused to be considered for the job because of the state Blues were in.
However despite being stunned and bewildered at the news I won’t be and never have shed any tears for a football manager losing his job. Gary Rowett will have had his contract paid up in full and I am sure will be back in a job, probably in the Championship sooner rather than later. He leaves the club, I am sure, as a better manager than the day he walked in the door.
His backroom team of Kevin Summerfield, Mark Sale, and Kevin Poole know that as soon as he accepts a job then they will be back in work. However that did not stop a few tears being shed when they were told they were being sacked such is the feeling they had working at a club they once played for.
Having said all that the sacking of Gary Rowett is absolutely nothing to do with Gianfranco Zola as it was a decision made by the new owners Trillion Trophy Asia. I, along with most supporters, would love them to come out and publicly explain how they arrived at that decision. However, they did, and now it is vital that everyone gets behind Gianfranco for the good of the club and at the end of the day the club is the most important thing. Definitely more important than any individual.
With the club sitting in such a healthy place in the league and on course for the playoffs any change the new owners wanted to make would surely have been better made at the end of the season?
Managing is a difficult enough job anyway but now Gianfranco has to get the players to adapt to a new style of play, bring in new players in January to suit that style, while winning football matches to keep in touch with the playoffs.
Having met Gianfranco for the first time last Wednesday I have to say he is an extremely nice man and a pleasure to deal with and someone the fans I am sure will be able to relate to.
The popularity of any individual, be they directors or managers, can be equated to results so here’s to GZ getting his first win and I, like all Blues fans, hope he wins lots of games.
Panos Pavlakis is very definitely the man in the middle-in charge of the club on a daily basis but answerable to the BIHL board and that of course ultimately means to TTA.
He has done a super job in repairing the damage done to the clubs relationship with its fans during the latter stages of the Carson Yeung era.
However those bridges he built have been dismantled in the eyes of many fans because of last week’s events. But we have to remember, like all of us, the people at the club have bosses and ultimately have to do what they are instructed to do by those that own the club.
Over in China I am sure they do not realise that the clubs image has also been tarnished within the game so again there is a lot of repair work to be done by Panos and Mike Wiseman in the Blues boardroom.
So now is the time for unity with the fans and the club if it is to have any chance whatsoever of reaching the playoffs.
Christmas is a tough time for clubs with 3 games in a festive feast of football in a short space of time. Usually we have a clearer idea of where this season is going come the first week of January so good luck to all our clubs.
I would like to wish all readers a very Merry Christmas and hope that you and yours have a wonderful family time whatever your team’s colours.
Also I hate preaching but just a reminder that not everyone has family with them at this time so pop in to wish season’s greetings to any neighbours who may be on their own.