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Back to Basics - Birmingham City Story

bcfc1

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May 27, 2013
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BCFC.png


Welcome

As I said at the end of my PSV story, my next story is to go back to Birmingham City and turn around their fortunes. I was born and raised just a minute or 2 away from the stadium and would go and watch plenty of games as a child. I remember watching Barry Fry’s and Trevor Francis’ teams and thinking how incredible it is to have thousands of people there all watching the same team.

I no longer live in the city and do not get to the games anymore which is disappointing, but I will be playing this save as a man who is very much in touch with the club and the city, Geoff Horsfield. For those who are unaware of ‘Big Horse’, Horsfield was a striker who played for Birmingham for 3 or 4 years but he was extremely well liked as he always gave everything and scored some important goals including in both games against Aston Villa in our first season in the Premier League. In his retirement he has set up his own foundation that is looking to tackle the homelessness problem in the city.

The aim is to turn around the fortunes of Birmingham City but doing so in a way I haven’t done before, by playing with a 442 tactic that relies on direct football. For many years I have been a 433 manager that relies on possession football to win games. I’ve now set myself the challenge of trying to be successful with a completely different style of play. Imagine telling Guardiola he now has to play like Big Sam and you get the idea.

The idea of this save is to take the club as high as I can but I want to do it by following some other rules/conditions as well just to make it a little harder for myself.
  • Get the club on strong financial ground by selling on top talent and signing young, cheap players to develop
  • Create and use a 442-tactic based around direct football and wing play
  • Develop players using the youth system making sure there is at least one player from the youth system involved in every match day squad.
St Andrews.jpg


Club Overview

Year Founded – 1875
Stadium – St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium (What a mouthful)
Capacity – 29,805
Nickname – The Blues

Trophy Cabinet.jpg


Club Honours

Second Division Winners – 1921, 1948, 1955
League Cup Winners – 1963, 2011
Third Division Winners – 1995
EFL Trophy Winners – 1991, 1995

 
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bcfc1

Member
May 27, 2013
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BCFC.png


Pre-Season

Birmingham City_ Club Vision.png


The first thing to look at is the club’s vision and what they are expecting from me. There are 3 elements to the club culture that we need to meet, develop players using the youth system, play attacking football and play entertaining football. Developing youth players is one of my own rules so that should be easy to meet but the others may be harder due to the direct 442 tactic I am looking to use. I am not sure how the game decides whether we are playing attacking or entertaining football but we will see whether we meet these targets.

The main target for this season is to reach the play-offs which I think will be difficult to achieve considering that the league has predicted us to finish in 12th position. Hopefully we can build up some good form and go on a good run to try and make sure we meet this target.

Squad Photo.jpg

(Geoff Horsfield is in this picture but not the one the arrow is pointing to. 3rd from the left in the back row if you are interested)

Squad Overview

Goalkeepers – Lee Camp will be the number one while youngster Connal Trueman will be his backup. This is probably the weakest area of the team and the main position that will need to be improved on when we can spend some money.

Defenders – From the weakest to possibly the strongest area of the team. Maxime Colin and Kristian Pedersen are two of the best full backs in the league while Marc Roberts, Harlee Dean and loanee Jake Clarke-Salter provide good quality for CB. Wes Harding, Jonathan Grounds and Cheick Keita provide depth and cover here as well.

Midfielders – Another area where the starting players are really strong but the depth is not as good as the defence. Jeremie Bela, Gary Gardner, Ivan Sunjic and Jude Bellingham will probably be the starting 4 while the cover is provided by Jacques Maghoma, Josh McEachran, Craig Gardner and Dan Crowley. We also have Maikel Kieftenbeld but he is injured for 7/8 months so he will barely be involved this season.

Forwards – The partnership of Lukas Jutkiewicz and Scott Hogan should be really good for us for this season but there is very little depth here with the only possible option being Kerim Mrabti who is more of a number 10 anyway.

Transfer Centre.jpg


Transfers

I set it so clubs were unable to make transfers in this window so I assumed that we would fly through pre-season, but then a couple of weeks into it I saw that clubs were still making loan signings so I went out and made a couple of temporary signings to boost the club.

Aaron Connolly_ Profile.png


The first loanee is Aaron Connolly who should provide good cover for the front line. With a 2 up top tactic, we need to have 4 players who can play there and Connolly being here means we now do have a 4th option.

Beni Baningime_ Profile.png


The second loanee is Beni Baningime who should provide good cover for midfield. Craig Gardner and Josh McEachran are not physically good enough to play in a 2 man midfield in my opinion so we needed another option to make sure we are not in a position of having to play those two together. Over the season, Baningime should get plenty of game time.

The transfer ban that I started the game with didn’t affect the MLS apparently as New England Revolution came in and signed Jonathan Grounds from us for £100k. He had 1 year left on his contract and is our 4th choice CB at best so I was happy to move his wages on and bring in a small fee. The other outgoing (kinda) is that I cancelled the loan of Jefferson Montero. He is very injury prone, the second highest earner at the club and I couldn’t see how he fits into a 442 tactic so I cancelled his loan as soon as I could.

 
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bcfc1

Member
May 27, 2013
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looking forward to this as a fellow bluenose,starting my save soon
It has been a positive start so far and I will upload my August update once I have finished the month. Keep me updated on how you are getting on with your own save.
 

leckuno

Member
Jan 26, 2017
1,027
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Will be following this since you beat me to it as I was planning on this for my new story now the update is out
 
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bcfc1

Member
May 27, 2013
1,050
248
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BCFC.png


August

1. Brentford.png


Camp, Colin (Harding), Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Pedersen, Bela, G Gardner (Crowley), Sunjic, Bellingham, Hogan, Jutkiewicz (Baningime)

A nice start to the season with a good win. The tactic looks strong at the back as Brentford struggled to break us down.

2. Bristol City.png


Camp, Colin, Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Pedersen, Bela, G Gardner (Baningime), Sunjic, Bellingham, Hogan (Connolly), Jutkiewicz

What a result and what a performance from Jutkiewicz. He scored every chance that came his way as he scored 4 goals. Clarke-Salter scored again very late on to add some extra gloss to a great result.

3. Bristol City.png


Camp, Harding, Roberts, Dean, Pedersen (Keita), Bela, McEachran, Sunjic (Baningime), Crowley, Connolly, Mrabti

Bristol City get their revenge straight away as they kick us out of the cup in the first round. I rested a few players as we have 7 games this month and it cost us as they ran away with a comfortable win.

4. Nottm Forest.png


Camp, Colin (Harding), Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Pedersen, Bela (Mrabti), G Gardner, Sunjic, Bellingham (Crowley), Hogan, Jutkiewicz

It is Hogan’s turn to step up with the goals. The front 2 are looking an affective partnership already.

5. Barnsley.png


Camp, Colin, Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Pedersen, Bela, G Gardner, Sunjic (McEachran), Crowley, Hogan, Jutkiewicz (Mrabti)

Another good show from the front line. Both strikers scoring is great and another clean sheet is really good as well.

6. Swansea.png


Camp, Colin, Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Pedersen, Bela, G Gardner, Sunjic, Bellingham, Hogan (Connolly), Jutkiewicz

The good form wasn’t going to last forever and we finally conceded in the league and lost a game here. Swansea have some great quality in their team so to be even with them for so long and to lose only to a quality finish by Brewster is still a positive showing.

7. Stoke.png


Camp, Colin, Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Pedersen, Bela (Mrabti), G Gardner, Sunjic (Baningime), Bellingham, Hogan, Jutkiewicz

A goal in the first 20 seconds of the game got us the points here. This is probably the first game I got slightly annoyed as we had chances to make the game more comfortable but the strikers just couldn’t get a second goal but we won in the end so its all good.


Summary

It has been a great start to the season as we have settled into the tactic well and got some great results. There have been two big things to notice so far. Firstly, we have been incredibly tight at the back as we only conceded 3 goals in these 7 games and 2 of those were in the cup where I rotated the team a lot. Secondly, the front pair of Hogan and Jutkiewicz have kicked off on fire as they end the month on 6 and 5 goals respectively. Next month brings just 3 games as the month starts with an international break so hopefully we can keep the good form running after that.

Player of the Month
Scott Hogan


Scott Hogan_ Profile.png


New signing Scott Hogan has kicked off on fire after scoring 6 goals in 6 appearances. It was a hard choice between him and Jutkiewicz as they have worked well together but I decided to give Hogan the nod this time.


League Table

Sky Bet Championship_ Stages.png

 
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bcfc1

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Will be following this since you beat me to it as I was planning on this for my new story now the update is out
It is a good challenge as the squad has a decent mix of work horses and playmakers for this division. If you do decide to do a story with them then I will definitely follow.
 

bcfc1

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May 27, 2013
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I will be following, especially after your PSV story, excited to see how you do
Thanks for following this story and the previous one. I'm hoping this one will go on for longer as we won't be winning the Champions League in 3 seasons here.
 

bcfc1

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BCFC.png


September

1. Charlton.png


Camp, Colin, Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Pedersen, Bela (Mrabti), G Gardner, Sunjic, Bellingham (Crowley), Hogan, Jutkiewicz

I’m gutted to not have got the 3 points here. 2-0 up after just 6 minutes should have been enough in itself but we just could not defend today and they kept on coming back at us. Conceding a 90th minute equalizer was really disappointing as well.

2. Preston.png


Camp, Colin, Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Pedersen (Keita), Bela, Crowley, Sunjic, Bellingham, Hogan (Connolly), Mrabti (Jutkiewicz)

Another hard earnt point here. Sinclair had an interesting first half for them as he scored, missed a penalty and then came off injured all before the break. For ourselves though this was the first game that Bellingham really delivered and hopefully it will continue to happen as he develops and becomes better.

3. Derby.png


Camp, Colin, Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Pedersen, Bela, G Gardner, Sunjic (Crowley), Bellingham, Hogan (Connolly), Jutkiewicz

The result here means we finish this month with 3 games and 3 draws. They took an early lead but Jutkiewicz got us back into it, scoring from a long throw, and then we put on the pressure to try and win but couldn’t get that second goal.


Summary

A poor month overall as we failed to win any of the games. The big issue for this month was that we are not as tight at the back as we were in August. We only conceded in 1 league game last month compared to not keeping any clean sheets this month. We are going to have to work on our defending over the next few weeks and hopefully we will begin to keep more clean sheets again. On a separate note, it is the end of September and we have already had our first managerial sacking as Cardiff fired Neil Harris. They are down in the bottom 3 but we have only played 9 games and I think that is too soon.

Player of the Month
Lukas Jutkiewicz


Lukas Jutkiewicz_ Profile.png


This was a tougher month as no player really stood out but I’m giving it to Jutkiewicz based on his overall performances and the fact that the biggest thing I noticed in this month was how poor we were against Preston when he didn’t start.


League Table

Sky Bet Championship_ Stages.png

 

Dan McConnell

Member
May 9, 2015
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Another fellow Bluenose here, great start to the season. Interested to see how Juke and Hogan link up in game as they seem to have hit it off IRL too! Best of luck :)
 
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markbcfc

Member
Dec 15, 2009
78
16
8
got my blues save started just finished the summer transfer window here are the deals
outgoings
Montero loan ended
maghoma derby 2.1m
mrabti nottm forest 3m
davis(loan recalled) wba 2.1m
keita millwall 425k
grounds Rotherham loan
mcEachran hearts loan exchange

incomings
carlgren randers 350k
kishna Lazio 750k
omrani cluj 2.5m
hickey hearts 500k
gelhardt wigan loan
a.milosevic free
t.carroll free
p.georges ntep free

as you can see a few ins and outs but squad looks more balanced also recalled bailey and seddon fron loan
 
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bcfc1

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Another fellow Bluenose here, great start to the season. Interested to see how Juke and Hogan link up in game as they seem to have hit it off IRL too! Best of luck :)
They have hit it off even better on the game. I've never been a fan of route one football but it has been so effective for us so far that I steering into that style of play even more.
 

bcfc1

Member
May 27, 2013
1,050
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got my blues save started just finished the summer transfer window here are the deals
outgoings
Montero loan ended
maghoma derby 2.1m
mrabti nottm forest 3m
davis(loan recalled) wba 2.1m
keita millwall 425k
grounds Rotherham loan
mcEachran hearts loan exchange

incomings
carlgren randers 350k
kishna Lazio 750k
omrani cluj 2.5m
hickey hearts 500k
gelhardt wigan loan
a.milosevic free
t.carroll free
p.georges ntep free

as you can see a few ins and outs but squad looks more balanced also recalled bailey and seddon fron loan
That is a busy summer. I would have liked to have made that kind of money from Davis, Mrabti and Maghoma.

bcfc1 what tactic are you using
Tactics.png


This is the main tactic that I am using but I am still playing with it to get it right. I'm still not sure on the wide midfielders and their roles as Bela and Bellingham haven't been too effective for me yet. If you have any advice then let me know.
 
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markbcfc

Member
Dec 15, 2009
78
16
8
there is a tactic in the forums called remember kevin francis and the lastest tweak its called oh Nicola zigic its been created by a blues fan try having a look at it.any chance you could upload your tactic so i could try it
 

bcfc1

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May 27, 2013
1,050
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BCFC.png


October

1. Wigan.png


Camp, Colin (Harding), Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Keita, Mrabti, G Gardner (McEachran), Sunjic, Crowley, Hogan (Connolly), Jutkiewicz

We stole a couple of points here as the game was drifting to a boring 0-0 draw before Jutkiewicz got a very late winner for us.

2. Middlesbrough.png


Camp, Colin, Roberts, Clarke-Salter (Dean), Pedersen, Bela, G Gardner (Crowley), Sunjic (Crowley), Bellingham, Hogan, Jutkiewicz

Another good win here as we took a first half lead and then scored 2 late goals to wrap it all up. Bellingham got his first goal for the club which makes sure he breaks Trevor Francis’ youngest goalscorer record just like he has in real life.

3. Leeds.png


Camp, Colin, Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Pedersen, Bela, G Gardner (Baningime), Sunjic, Bellingham (Maghoma), Hogan, Jutkiewicz

A good draw away from home against one of the best teams in the league. They had 12 shots on target to our 1 but couldn’t score due to some great goalkeeping from Camp. I’ve not spoken much about Camp so far this season but generally he has been great for us.

4. Blackburn.png


Camp, Colin (Connolly), Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Pedersen, Bela (Maghoma), G Gardner (Crowley), Sunjic, Bellingham, Hogan, Jutkiewicz

We were really poor here and didn’t deserve anything from the game. It is disappointing that such a poor performance comes against a team we had a decent chance of beating.

5. Luton.png


Camp, Colin (Harding), Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Pedersen, Maghoma, G Gardner, Sunjic (Baningime), Bellingham (Crowley), Hogan, Jutkiewicz

A nice win here to end the month. Jutkiewicz gets a couple more goals to show why he has been so important for us so far. It is pleasing to see Maghoma back as well as he has begun to get his fitness back after missing the start of the season through injury.


Summary

Another strong month overall as we collect 10 points from a possible 15 and keep ourselves fighting at the top of the table. I thought we would be a mid-table team and with a decent run of form maybe push for a playoff place but at the moment we are doing a lot better than that. A lot of that has to go down to Jutkiewicz and Hogan who are fighting and battling to win us games up top.

Player of the Month
Lukas Jutkiewicz


Lukas Jutkiewicz_ Profile.png


It had to be Jutkiewicz again as he has been so key for us. Just like in real life, he is a talismanic figure for us and whenever he doesn’t start it is clear how vital he is to our play.


League Table

Sky Bet Championship_ Stages.png

 
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bcfc1

Member
May 27, 2013
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there is a tactic in the forums called remember kevin francis and the lastest tweak its called oh Nicola zigic its been created by a blues fan try having a look at it.any chance you could upload your tactic so i could try it
I have seen the Kevin Francis tactic but not the latest tweak. I may have a look and see if there is something I can put into my own tactic. I have no idea how to upload tactics but I will have a look at how to do it. I don't use any other instructions than what you can see in the picture though so you can see the tactic from there.

ive had a great start as well 8 wins on the spin youre right the juke is the main man
Juke has been my best player so far. If I could get someone in the midfield to perform half as good as him then I would be pleased.
 
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