Birmingham City were one of the busiest teams on deadline day with no less than three additions to their ranks but perhaps the crowning glory for Blues fans’ would be renewing the services of their manager Alex McLeish.
He may not be a “Jose Mourinho” but the meticulous Scotsman has been excellent for Birmingham in the Premier League and it seems that no more than ever, Blues are a club on the up. Such a notion means that the club getting the deal right is made all the more important.
The new signings at St Andrews seem to have taken priority over ‘Big Eck’s’ new contract in recent week and if those additions showed anything – it was a vindication of the former Rangers boss’ worth.
Veteran Kevin Phillips has reiterated the squads desire to see a deal which has been “imminent” for as long as the Blues faithful can recall to finally be done.
He said: “I know that every player at the club wants the manager to stay.
“He is a fantastic manager and he has worked miracles here, getting us out of the Championship, helping us finish 9th in the Premier League in our first season.
“You look at the signings that have been made now as well – everything is in place.”
And the squads’ backing speaks volumes about the quality of manager they currently have at the club. As a Birmingham fan I have never seen a team with such evident grit and determination, which is exemplified by the early season comebacks against Sunderland and Blackburn and was prevalent in the unbeaten run of last season – there is no doubt that McLeish has instilled it.
A glance down the road to Villa Park a few weeks back would have also highlighted the paucity of the board’s options if McLeish does not tie up a new contract. Alan Curbishley, Sven Goran Eriksson and Gareth Southgate were being linked with their rivals hot seat and although they have Premier League experience, they are all dare I say it, inferior to McLeish. It is every Blues’ fans wish that McLeish signs a new deal, in order to conquer the media exploitation of the board’s comments surrounding it.
Peter Pannu’s recent comments lead some media outlets to convey a breakdown in relations between board and manager, something which was far from the truth.
The acting chairman said: “We are just perhaps inches away from Alex signing a contract, possibly by next week.
“Our relationship is phenomenal, we are very strong and close, and I want to dispel this notion that there is anything wrong.
“In fact, I spoke to Alex about the Mourinho reference and we laughed about it.”
Unfortunately though, until McLeish has signed on the dotted line, rumours of unrest will continue to stalk Birmingham City but when he does Blues’ will look all the more a Premier League side for the future.