Since hearing the news of senior staff departures, I’ve been thinking more about the Birmingham City staff team than the team on the pitch.  The administrative staff team are just as vital as the players; without them games could not be played.  Someone must arrange for tickets to be sold and for stewards and kiosk staff to come.  And they all, from the players to the people who sweep the stadium, must be paid. The volunteer Supporter Liaison Officers who aren’t paid have to be given the information they need and thanked for what they do. During the upheavals following the arrest of Carson Yeung, it was the staff team who kept things running and games being played; in April 2013, I expressed my gratitude that they were “keeping things ticking over”.

It seems so sad that the transfer embargo and staff departures have come at a time when some other things are going well. Garry Monk has the ability to organise and inspire players; he also understands Blues fans and can communicate well. The open training event on July 25 was well organised and provided an opportunity for fans to get close to players. It also seems like a good idea to hold Under-23s game at St Andrew’s; I enjoyed seeing our young players beat Watford on August 11.

I’d like to see us win this evening. I’ll be taking my cheat sheet, my list of players that helps me identify who the new ones are. And I’ll be going with the usual mixture of hope and fear about how the game will go. I will also be hoping that the administrative team that remains at the club is managing to keep things ticking over.