1. Alex McLeish – Arguably one of the best managers in the league is currently orchestrating things at St Andrews and despite a recent sticky patch Blues’ fans now have a manager who they can trust in order to set them on the road to Premier League recovery.
Many people now associate Blues with a sense of solidarity that has been absent in recent years and if a Premier League club vacany became apparent it would be no surprise should they come knocking at Big Eck’s door. Fans have recently been urged to trust him due to the loyalty to a preferred 4-5-1 but there has been a burgeoning endearment to their manager as time has gone on and the club shop have even released shirts saying “We’ve got the Eck Factor”.
2. The acquisition of an ambitious board who are passionate about the club and willing to fund proposed transfers and the infrastructure of the club at a steady pace. Peter Pannu recently told the Birmingham Mail that: “Carson Yeung wants to build the club, but he’s also equally mindful of the pitfalls of improving at a pace that could cause problems for the club. It has to be done at a more sustainable level, step by step.” Fans and the previous board had a volatile relationship with their desire to buy boyhood club West Ham often bringing into question if their mind was elsewhere due to a lack of investment at times and thus was exemplified by the on-field protest against Blackburn in 2008 upon being relegated. Now, they can feel safe under their leaders.
3. An improved Stadium is now also on the agenda and knocking down the rather shabby Garrison Lane stand to build a new one, thereby increasing the capacity from 30,000 to around 38,000 is becoming a viable option. The £20 million redevelopment is currently being discussed with Birmingham City council and if the recession subsides and Blues fans who have been crippled financially in the region participate in making the dream a reality then this would be good for the club moving forward.
4. New signings – Despite Blues hitting a poor patch of form, the quality of their summer acquisitions is undoubted. Martin Jiranek, Jean Beausejour and Alexander Hleb in particular are all players of international pedigree and when they do eventually gel and become used to Birmingham’s style of play they should instigate a reflection of their ilk.
5. Premier League sustainability looks all the more achievable – In recent years, Blues have fluctuated from great to heartbreak. Their seasons in the Premier League following promotion in the Play-Offs in 2002 consisted of a 13th place finish, another mid-table finish and then relegation, promotion and relegation then another promotion. But now under the board and McLeish they look all the more a Premier League side. Teams now come to St Andrews knowing they will not get an easy ride if they want to go home with any points at all.