Why Lee Clark deserves a round of applause tomorrow night9
March 3, 2015 by bluenosebible
By Nat Peters
Lee Clark; ridiculed by many, reviled by others, pitied by few and applauded by even fewer. Yet I will be giving him an ovation when he turns up in the away dugout at Stan’s on Wednesday night. The man deserves nothing less for his efforts whilst Birmingham City manager.
Many blame him for the fact that we have now become (at best) Championship also-rans. I don’t buy it though; I honestly don’t think we’d be much higher up the footballing scale no matter who had been in charge the past couple of years. People say that he squandered what Chris Hughton left behind, but if what Chris Hughton had left behind was that good he would never have left in the first place. He didn’t go to Norwich because he saw Norwich as an unbelievable career opportunity he couldn’t pass up as even with Premier League status at that point they weren’t and aren’t a club any bigger than the Blues. He went to Norwich because he saw what a basket case of a club we were becoming. He knew that after the unbelievably exciting 2011-12 season there was only one way the club was going.
That 2011-12 season made Lee Clark’s job even harder when he arrived. He came into a club where the expectations had risen as a result of our European and Domestic cup runs and nearly missing out on promotion. He also came into a club where many of the players were exhausted from playing in forty, fifty and Chris Burke’s case sixty odd games in league and cup and where morale would have been fairly low after missing out on said promotion. We aren’t the only club to have struggled after missing out in the play-offs; look at Wigan being rooted in the relegation zone for most of this season as proof of that. I honestly think finishing twelfth in 2012-13 wasn’t a bad season, particularly when you look at the fact that sides like Blackburn finished way below us and when you look at a team as good on paper as Wolves actually getting relegated. Many were disappointed with mid-table and the fact that we weren’t able to kick on from the previous season, but I was content enough with safe position and what had been a decent end to the season.
But it was the following season which really saw a lot of people turn against him. He was in charge of a team which was seconds away from the Third Division. He did make mistakes, particularly towards the end of the campaign when you could see the pressure visibly getting to him, but I also think there was a lot of upheaval surrounding the team which was totally out of his hands. I thought at the start of last season that we would do well to stay in the division (take away Nikola Zigic’s wages and we had the second lowest playing budget in the division), and what was already a tough task of keeping us up got even tougher when half the team was taken away at the turn of the year. In my opinion, overall he did fairly well to keep us up. I appreciate that I am a minority in thinking that and everyone else is entitled to their own view, I do however believe that history could judge him more favourably than the present does.
He had to go in October. The strain of all that had gone on had made him a bloke who was becoming almost neurotic. The last interview he did as Blues manager was painful to listen to as he sounded like a man broken by the sheer frustration that he couldn’t get it right at Blues. His decisions were becoming more and more based on impulse rather than rationale; it was management by scattergun. It’s that sort of impulsive behaviour which sees him return to Stan’s with Blackpool – he took the manager’s job soon after leaving us when anyone who thought about it for more than five minutes would have stayed well away from Bloomfield Road. Maybe impulsivity will always be a trait of his that he will never be able to harness.
But I can forgive a manager being impulsive. Anyway results aren’t the primary reason why I will be one of those giving him an ovation on Wednesday though. I will be giving him an ovation because of the effort he put in whilst he was manager of my club. He tried so desperately hard whilst manager of the club in what were constantly very trying circumstances. He so desperately wanted to succeed; in fact that desire probably hindered him a bit, in that when we were struggling you could see how much it was affecting him and that must have affected his decision making.
He was never deliberately bad for us though, and even after his sacking he still talks about the club and us as supporters in glowing terms (something that hasn’t exactly gone down well with the few still following the team at Blackpool). In my opinion he always behaved with dignity whilst managing my club and treated the club with the utmost respect and reverence. I’m not someone who boos players or managers coming back to the very club very often, but I will give the bird to people who have done the club over; McLeish got it for committing the ultimate betrayal, Savage got it because he lied, lied and lied again on his way to moving to Blackburn and someone like Nicky Butt has got it because his feckless performances showed the level of disdain he viewed Birmingham City in despite being paid extortionate amounts of money. Lee Clark relatively speaking is so far removed from that sort of company it’s untrue.
It’s been cringe worthy how many Blues fans have been following Blackpool’s results since he became manager in the hope that they lose week in week out. If nothing else they were doomed well before he took over and they’ve been just as doomed ever since so hoping that they are going to be defeated every Saturday is a waste of time and effort. But I just don’t see why people hold so much hostility towards a bloke who tried his best even if he did come up short. Whatever his limitations as a manager, Lee Clark was and is a top man as far as I’m concerned. Whatever happens to him (I get the feeling he won’t be in charge of Blackpool for much longer) I wish him all the best.
i agree with most of your comments nat only one i dissagree chris houghton was more or less told to leave if he wanted to the club needed the money. chris really enjoyed it at the blues agree with butt savage and mcleish no loyalty there kro
Ill be giving him a round of applause too. At the end of the day he showed great passion for this club even though he came up short in terms of management. His run towards the fans at Bolton proved that passion and at that time he was one of us. A genuine hard working lad overjoyed at keeping us up and wanting to clelebrate with his friends. A picture and moment of BCFC history I will ever forget.
As stated his dignity towards Blues was never in question, still speaking fondly of his time here.
I hope he gets beat on Wednesday but I wish him well for the rest of the season and for the rest of his career.
Keep Right On Lee
I shall certainly give him a round of applause.He did the best he could have.
And by the way I am holding thumbs for Villa,we need to play them in the Premiership.not the Championship.
Are you looking for a presenter job on Talksport? You know as the one who says something so ridiculous and full of nonsense it’s barely believable – then the other presenter says you are crazy and says the opposite so that loads of angry mental london taxi drivers ring up the premium rate lines to argue with you without realising it’s just a wind up to pay your wages? If you are, bravo, this is yet another excellent piece. Masterful. Good luck with the interview – you’ll breeze it.
If you aren’t, then I would seriously reconsider writing a blog. This is utter nonsense.
Just a shame the previous three commenters disagree with you. I guess you must be a poster on SHA.
I’m not a poster on SHA, I don’t post anywhere. However just one specific point, you mention Nicky Butt’s “feckless” performances yet ignore your beloved Lee Clark playing FIVE, yes FIVE, outfield players out of position in a professional football match at home against Blackburn and being forced to change it after half an hour when we were 3 down already (may have been 2). That has to be the absolute unequivocal definition of “feckless” surely?
Why is it a shame?
I did not regard Lee Clark as a good manager, but people should not forget that he didn’t have very good players at his disposal. The same goes for Gary Rowett , the players he has to pick from, are at best, average championship players, but Rowett , with his tactics, has got the best out of them. It amazes me, that some Blues supporters , have forgotten that this club has been brought to its knees, by the greed of Yeung and Pannu. Until we are rid of these parasites, the club will stumble along, just about keeping its head above the water. Let no one forget, every problem that exists at St. Andrews, at the present time, is totally the fault of the owners of the club.
Very good article