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Dark Days to Clark Days

Tuesday 26th June 2012
Finally, Birmingham City have found a replacement for Chris Hughton. Lee Clark has been confirmed as the new manager after a fortnight of negotiations and talks with acting Chairman Peter Pannu. Birmingham's supporters seem torn, some in favour of the new boss, but a minority who seem unhappy.

Out of the four names on the shortlist confirmed by the club (Clark, Roy Keane, Phil Brown, Alan Curbishley) Clark is certainly the most attractive.

The Geordie is young, hungry and has a point to prove. He was the only candidate who openly came out and expressed his desire to land the job. He turned up at his meeting with Pannu with folders and notes he had made on the club, which is fantastic.

Speaking to Huddersfield fans has helped me a lot in my view. Many said that Clark, when first appointed, bought entertaining and attacking football to the Galpharm. Then after a year, fans were crying out for a bit of experience in the team. Clark responded by bringing in three players and that's when the football took a slight turn for the worse. After he led the Terriers to the third longest unbeaten run in football league history, he was eventually sacked. The one statement they ALL agreed with was that he bought the club a long way, before being replaced by Simon Grayson.

Peter Pannu today made a statement regarding the clubs position and he came out with a few key points-

• During the most recent financial year, of which accounts are currently being prepared, the club Birmingham City (not parent company BIHL) are reporting a profit.

• Potential investors who have been working closely with the club have been scared off because of media reports exaggerating the clubs bad financial state

• The club still need to find funds. They will do that by either player sales, or investment.

• Pannu "ensured" the playing squad will be as competitive as possible.

• He stated, Nathan Redmond and Jack Butland, the club's young gems, will NOT be sold unless the club are subject to "an eye-popping offer".

• The transfer embargo is still in place, but the club are hopeful it will be lifted so they can bring players in.

This is promising in many ways for Blues fans. The mention of profit isn't a surprise seeing as the club sold players last summer, and took part in Europe. Some people see this as a cry for season ticket sales, but it does appear that Pannu is doing his best for BCFC. Its worth noting that he has no financial say in the club, but works as a go between for the owner and staff / fans. He also has his hands tied, just like Clark will with the current implications on the club, and has even advised majority shareholder Carson Yeung to listen seriously to any offers of a buy out.

So, where does all this leave Lee Clark? Hopefully, he can build a team, like Hughton did, under the financial constraint. It will be a very difficult job to say the least. But Birmingham fans who are not keen on Clark taking over, really, should be thanking such a young and hungry manager for taking over a job that could ruin his reputation if it goes wrong. It could also be the making of him, admittedly. But for the fact he has got the willingness to find out, he deserves our gratitude.

Player sales? Our most valuable assets (excluding the afore mentioned Redmond and Butland) are Curtis Davies, Chris Burke and Ben Foster. The latter will be sold, no doubt. But the other two, I hold hope. But, if the worst comes to the worst and we do sell them, we still have some decent players left. Add to that Clark's new signings (the embargo has to be lifted in order for us to get enough players to field a team) then, I trust his ability to move us forward.

I would consider a top half finish in the Championship next season as an achievement. To get us into the top six would be nothing short of miraculous to the heights that Clark would go down in folklore.

It will all be clearer come August.

Keep the faith.

Rob Wildey

Total articles: 27

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