Chris Hughton took over a Blues side sight set for failure and heading for a dismal season. With a chairman under arrest on suspicion for money laundering, the shares to Birmingham’s parent company were frozen, and the club having to perform a fire sale of players in order to raise funds. All after a roller coaster season of winning the Carling Cup on February 27th 2011 and being relegated on May 22nd 2011.
After Mcleish took the deadly trip across the border to become the manager of Aston Villa in a somewhat controversial appointment it was Chris Hughton that took his place on June 22nd 2011 and he injected some hope into the Birmingham City Fans.
Looking back at the players that were sold and the only players that Chris was able to sign being bosmans or loan players, realistically, Blues were looking at a mid-table finish. So who would of thought they would be where they are right now? I am going to take a look back at Chris’ career so far and where it all started.
When Chris Hughton took over as Blues manager it was pretty much all gloom amongst the fans, the players were leaving, the chairman was under arrest and the fans had no true indication of where their club was heading. In pre-season things started to look up, Chris encouraged the boys to put in some inspired performances and after all, the club had the European Adventure to look forward to so things were slightly looking up. Moving on to Chris’ first Championship fixture, with his aim being getting Blues back to the Premier League, where they belong.
Unfortunately for Chris, the Blues’ start in the Championship was not the dream everyone was hoping for after an undeserved 2-1 defeat away to Derby County. But this was only the first game of the season, a lot can happen between then and now, and it has.
As the games progressed it was Blues’ home form that has made St Andrews a fortress and it has been transformed into a place where teams hate coming. Still to this day (9th February 2012) Blues are unbeaten in the league and it is this that enabled Blues to climb the table in the style that they did.
The club’s away form looked rocky with a 3-1 defeat to Middlesbrough and a 4-1 defeat to Southampton both happening within the first 2 months of the season but the fans trusted Hughton and he has proved that they were right to do so.
Unfortunately for Blues, they heartbreakingly crashed out of the Europa League competition on 10 points, 1 point behind 2nd place Brugge and 1st place Braga. However, Blues gained some valuable experience from this and it provided the fans with lifelong memories that no one will ever forget and this can only help the team.
Back to the league and Blues started to pick up points on the road as well as at home and finding their away form led them to be in 12th place, 6 points behind promotion places with 2 games in hand. Considering the circumstances, surely it couldn’t get better, could it?
The answer to that is yes. After Blues found some astounding form and played some beautiful attacking football they found themselves gliding up the league. On Tuesday February 7th a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth left Blues in 3rd place only 2 points behind 2nd place Southampton! Blues are also through to the fifth round of the cup where they will face Chelsea away after knocking out local rivals Wolves in the previous round.
With Blues having already played an astonishing 41 games with at least another 18 remaining it has most certainly been a long, long road for the players, Chris and the fans but with the recent performances and the mood amongst both players and fans, I am 100% sure that none of them would have had it any other way.
Chris Hughton has transformed this football club and he has utilised the players he had to work with to transform them into a skilful, calm and attacking team with a never say die attitude. No one would have expected the team to be performing as well as or be in the position that they are but thanks to Chris, Blues fans and players can see the end of the road and have hope again.