Relegation inquest will be uncomfortable for Birmingham City board members

“Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be, we’re going to Shrewsbury…” When that started to ring around St Andrew’s in the final 10 minutes of the victory over Norwich, it was clear that Birmingham City were resigned to relegation.

Hull City’s play-off race was run at half-time on the final day. They were never going to peg back Plymouth Argyle. It was over from the moment Sammie Szmodics scored Blackburn Rovers’ first at Leicester City.

We all turned up at St Andrew’s today knowing that this could happen. We hoped a Blues victory would be enough, but there were never any guarantees that it would be.

Relegation was only sealed today, the wheels were set in motion long before the players took the field. Gary Rowett can sleep easily after accumulating 11 points from his eight games in charge.

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The only blotch on Rowett’s record is that Rotherham game, where he inexplicably changed a winning team to start Oliver Burke. That doesn’t make Rowett in any way culpable, though.

The inquest will begin in the boardroom as to how Blues suffered relegation in their first season under Knighthead’s control. Those sitting in on those meetings will have to take some accountability for the decision to fire John Eustace and appoint Wayne Rooney in October.

Before Eustace’s departure Blues were sixth in the Championship with 18 points from 11 games. Blues have statistically been the second worst team in the Championship since that day.

In many ways Eustace managed to mask the flaws in Blues’ summer recruitment during the first two months of the season. While there were successes for technical director Craig Gardner and his recruitment team, there are several signings who haven’t delivered regularly enough.

Knighthead wanted the recruitment to be geared towards becoming a possession-based team. Based on the metrics since Eustace departed, possession-based football hasn’t suited this group of players.

Recruitment is one of the areas Blues need to get right this summer. Their budget, we’re told, will be top end League One. If they recruit correctly, there is no reason why they shouldn’t make an immediate return to the Championship.

League One will not be easy, however, Blues will be every single team’s cup final and that is never an easy obstacle to overcome. Wolverhampton Wanderers bounced back immediately in 2014, others – Portsmouth, Ipswich and Sunderland to name a few – have struggled.

Tom Wagner insisted relegation will change nothing last month. He still plans to build a Sports Quarter, including a brand new stadium, in the heart of Birmingham.

The American and his investment firm Knighthead must now make smart decisions to ensure they have a football team fit for that stadium when it opens.

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