Category Archives: Birmingham City

Carabao Cup: Round One Draw Announced

The Carabao Cup Round One draw was made on Thursday evening from Morrisons, Colindale, North West London.

There were two stand out ties from the draw with AFC Wimbledon playing MK Dons, while newly-promoted Salford City will face Leeds United.

The draw was conducted by two former England internationals in John Barnes and Ray Parlour and was split into two regions – North and South.

Huddersfield Town, the hightest-ranked team in the Northern Section, will face Lincoln City while the highest ranked Southern side, West Bromwich Albion, will face Millwall.

Every club from Sky Bet League One and League Two enter the Carabao Cup in Round One, along with 22 Championship clubs.

Only Cardiff City and Fulham – who finished 18th and 19th respectively in the Premier League last season, will enter in Round Two, alongside the clubs from the Premier League, not in European competitions.

The first round matches are scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 12thAugust, with the final due to take place on March 1, 2020.

Full Round One Draw can be seen below:

North Draw

Tranmere Rovers v Hull City

Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers

Wigan Athletic v Stoke City

Port Vale v Burton Albion

Nottingham Forest v Fleetwood Town

Bradford City v Preston North End

Blackpool v Macclesfield Town

Blackburn Rovers v Oldham Athletic

Mansfield Town v Morecambe

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland

Scunthorpe United v Derby County

Rochdale v Bolton Wanderers

Huddersfield Town v Lincoln City

Middlesbrough v Crewe Alexandra

Shrewsbury Town v Rotherham United

Sheffield Wednesday v Bury

Salford City v Leeds United

Barnsley v Carlisle United

South Draw

Colchester United v Swindon Town

AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons

Oxford United v Peterborough United

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City

Plymouth Argyle v Leyton Orient

Wycombe Wanderers v Reading

Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers

Gillingham v Newport County

Stevenage v Southend United

Luton Town v Ipswich Town

Walsall v Crawley Town

Bristol Rovers v Cheltenham Town

Brentford v Cambridge United

Coventry City v Exeter City

Swansea City v Northampton Town

Monk To Potentially Replace Lampard…

As the speculation, grows over whether or not, Frank Lampard will leave Derby to Join his beloved Chelsea as a replacement for Maurizzio Sarri, it was further added to yesterday, when Gary Monk, was sacked by Birmingham, due to differences with the chairman at City.

Almost Immediately, he was linked with Derby County, who themselves were putting out a statement, stating their desire and intent to keep Frank Lampard.

Though Monk, does have history, with leaving football clubs due to disputes with owners over various aspects of the clubs policy combined with transfer budgets, it does open an intriguing possibility should he take over at Pride Park.

The reason for that is this…

Monk has openly stated his desire to both manage a club in the Premiership, but currently finds himself becoming tagged as an EFL high rated coach, with a passion for developing young players, by helping them to break through the ranks and progress to first of all first team football and then moving on to a bigger stage.

Which is why, should Frank Lampard leave Derby, then it might just be, that Derby and Monk, could be an equally good fit. Derby are aiming to return to the premiership and have a very talented young squad, with ‘lots of potential’ which were ironically the words used by Lampard at a press conference, when asked about the Chelsea Job.

At this stage, Both Derby and Chelsea are very quiet on the progress in respects of whether Lampard does make the move.

As for Monk, what is clear is that he has a good track record in management, since taking the Swansea job initially and doing a brilliant job with them, in his first season, before, leaving them, allegedly because of his man management style.

Succesful spells have followed at Leeds, Middlesborough and finally Birmingham.

So watch this space on whether Monk will replace Lampard

Birmingham City| 9 point deduction

Birmingham City have been hit with a 9 point penalty for breaching profitability and sustainability rules. The rule was introduced at the start of the 2016/17 season.

Why did this happen?

It’s understood that Birmingham exceeded the £39m allowable losses over a three-year period (up to the end of 2018 financial year).

Under the EFL’s profitability and sustainability rules, Championship clubs are only allowed to lose £39 million over three years.

Birmingham’s accounts for the 2017/2018 campaign showed a loss of £37.5m for that season alone and so the EFL warned Birmingham they were likely to surpass the permitted limits.

It is also understood that Birmingham City were not showing any signs of curtailing their spending as they chased a return to the Premier League.

The club argued that they should not have been given the penalty. However, a three-person Independent Disciplinary Commission heard representatives from the club, and also from a lawyer representing the EFL, who argued that Birmingham’s repeated breaches of the rules deserved the stiffest possible penalty. The conclusive decision was that the club was to be handed a 9 point penalty.

So what does this mean for Birmingham?

They will remain with an ‘Imposed Business Plan’ for the remainder of this season, meaning they have to share and discuss all significant financial dealings with the EFL.

It is understood the club are not now under a ‘soft embargo’ and they will not face a transfer window ban this summer, but discussions about their future will continue with the EFL.

They can also enter into contract negotiations with their captain Michael Morrison for the first time with the ‘soft embargo’ now lifted. Morrison’s current deal expires in the summer.

Birmingham, like all clubs, will have to publish their annual accounts later this year, and if they fall foul of the permissible £39m losses over the previous three years again, they may face further punishment.

The points deduction means that the club have gone from a healthy league position to one which now faces them with a relegation dog fight at the bottom of the league. Given their current form (they lie 23rd in the current form table with 4 defeats in the last 6) gives the Blues’ fans a slight cause for concern, considering that just 6 weeks ago they won 4-3 at QPR and were within touching distance of the play off positions.

On the bright side, it appears Birmingham do have a bright and astute manager in Garry Monk, so is he able to steer the club back up the table and salvage Birmingham’s season?

The make-or-break nature of Championship promotion

In recent years, the Premier League has flourished as one of the best leagues in the world, and with its success, the financial implications of the league have grown exponentially. Clubs have started to be managed as international businesses, and team crests have become commonplace icons across all cultures throughout the globe. TV rights have skyrocketed, with the Premier League’s current deal agreed in 2015 worth a humbling £5.14bn.

With all this considered, the gulf in profitability between the Premier League and England’s second division, the Championship, is unnerving. The Championship is considered by many as an unpredictable league, with a handful of teams every year making a push for promotion. However, for their team to compete amongst England’s best, club owners are required to get their cheque books out.

Reports have shown that clubs that successfully achieved promotion from the Championship in recent years averaged losses of £550,000 a week. Current holders of the Championship title, Wolverhampton Wanderers, took the league by storm in 2018, ending their campaign on a colossal 99 points. However, their dominance came at a huge cost, with the West Midlands side reporting a loss of £59.7m throughout the season, an average of over a £1m loss per week.

Similarly, after Newcastle’s promotion back to the top flight in 2017, the Magpies suffered a heavy loss of £59m during their journey back to the Premier League. Add on top the current predicament of Bolton Wanderers and their financial issues regarding players wages, it is apparent that the Championship is an economic wasteland for club owners.

The reason behind such huge losses for Championship clubs seems to lie in the cost of wages and transfer fee amortisation. In 2017/18, Wolves, Birmingham City and Reading all paid more than twice as much in wages and amort than their seasonal income. With the Royals finishing in a disappointing 20th position that season, it beckons the question over the sustainability of a Championship club when promotion is out of the question and such heavy financial investment has been made.

When teams are spending so much in a push for promotion, it seems that going up is a make-or-break situation for clubs in the Championship. However, the rewards for a promoted team are staggering. During the 2017/18 season, the smallest amount of TV rights money earned by a club was the £95.4m granted to West Brom. This figure alone trumps the seasonal income of the highest-earning Championship side in the same season, with Aston Villa reportedly making an income of £68.6m.

A disheartening correlation can be found when comparing the income of clubs in the Premier League, and the losses of clubs in the Championship. The income of Premier League giants is ever-increasing, with Liverpool’s expected profits reaching the eye-watering heights of £100m after their Champions League success last season. In contrast, the combined operating loss of Championship clubs since the 2014/15 season is spiralling out of control. The combined loss of Championship clubs in 2014/15 was £288m. That number has increased annually, eventually resulting in the £391m collective loss in 2016/17.

With the Premier League increasingly becoming a profitable international franchise, should more care be taken with Championship clubs in their pursuit of top-flight football?

Sean Fisher @seanfisher1502

Jack Grealish lands final blow as Aston Villa claim bragging rights in local derby

Jack Grealish has wrote his name in Second City derby history as the local lad scored the winner as Villa triumphed 1-0 over city rivals Birmingham. But it was an incident in the 8th minute that stole all the headlines, as a Birmingham fan stormed the pitch and struck Grealish in the face from behind.

The fan managed to break free of watching stewards and police to enter the pitch, make a beeline for Grealish, and punch him from behind leading to the Villa star dropping to the floor. The fan was then removed from the pitch, being dragged from the pitch to a heroes applause from the Birmingham fans and has since been arrested.

Already facing a hostile atmosphere from the first whistle due to his strong Villa connections, and with his every touch being met with a chorus of boos and jeers, it would have been very easy for Grealish to shrink and go missing under such circumstances.

But the young man took the game by the scruff of the neck and was the best player on the pitch all afternoon. Picking up the ball on the edge of the box and faced with no pressure from the opposing Blues defenders, Grealish simply took his time and fired a lovely left footed shot across the keeper into the bottom corner.

Right in front of the Villa fans the local hero couldn’t contain his joy as he leapt straight into the away end, facing more abuse as he was seemingly kicked by a steward on his way out.

Post-match Grealish proclaimed it the best day of his life, as a lifelong villa fan scoring the winner away at St Andrews in their first ever appearance there, you can see why. In a time where loyalty in football is at premium, there is something brilliant about Jack Grealish’s love and loyalty to his boyhood club. But if he keeps turning in performances like this, Grealish must be on his way to a top club in the not too distant future.