Rowett’s re­venge is oh so sweet

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By John Wragg

GARY Rowett left with applause for his Derby fans. Birm­ing­ham fans were just stunned.

Birm­ing­ham’s own­er­ship said noth­ing and snubbed Rowett. There was no men­tion in the pro­gramme about his two-and-a-half years at Birm­ing­ham City when he took the club from near rel­e­ga­tion to pro­mo­tion chasers.

This was Rowett’s first visit back since his shock De­cem­ber sack­ing but the only men­tion was in the sec­tion de­voted to ‘Our Vis­i­tors’.

“I did no­tice that,” said Rowett, who is now un­beaten in his open­ing four Derby games and with an out­side chance of mak­ing the play-offs. “I didn’t ex­pect any­thing less from some peo­ple at the club. If that’s how they want to do things I’ve got no prob­lem with that.”

Rowett’s re­la­tion­ship with di­rec­tor Panos Pavlakis is said to have bro­ken down and that is be­lieved to have played a part in Birm­ing­ham owner Paul Suen’s de­ci­sion to dis­miss him.

“What I’ve tried to do is keep a dig­nity and I’ve tried to do things the right way,” added Rowett. “I could un­der­stand they didn’t want to make a big thing of it. But that’s not how I would do it. That’s all I can judge it on.”

All Rowett’s back­room staff are now at Derby with a brief to get the club in the Premier League this sea­son or next.

But they were lucky to win this one and maybe the gypsy curse that is said to have been cast on St An­drew’s in 1906 is con­tribut­ing to Birm­ing­ham man­ager Gian­franco Zola’s bad luck. “Only my bad luck like this has been here,” Zola said.

First Birm­ing­ham went be­hind to a third-minute goal that re­bounded in off the back of goal­keeper To­masz Kuszczak.

Then they had what looks on video ev­i­dence a per­fectly good 25th-minute Lukas Jutkiewicz goal dis­al­lowed by ref­eree David Coote on a lines­man’s ad­vice.

Af­ter dom­i­nat­ing Derby and get­ting a de­served 69th-minute Che Adams equaliser, Birm­ing­ham then lost to a 92nd-minute howler. One keeper, Scott Car­son, launched the ball high and an­other, Kuszczak, came chas­ing out like an Olympic sprinter and al­lowed Tom Ince to score.

The gyp­sies might have been hav­ing a laugh, but Zola wasn’t.

“It is a re­sult that is nearly im­pos­si­ble to take. Very, very painful,” he said. “We played well and were de­nied a fair goal. I have seen it three times. The ref­eree gave it then changed his mind be­cause of the lines­man.”

It’s two wins in 20 league games for Zola now, a run bad enough to get any­body the sack, but Birm­ing­ham fans didn’t get on his back.

Af­ter ap­plaud­ing Rowett when he walked out with Derby, they got on the with job of try­ing to in­spire a bit of luck.

Birm­ing­ham are six points clear of the bot­tom three but the em­bar­rass­ment is that 34 of those were won by Rowett when the Blues were sev­enth and three points from the top three.

Blues’ only crime, apart from bad luck, was in not fin­ish­ing what they cre­ated af­ter Ja­cob But­ter­field’s 20-yard drive smacked against the post and, as Kuszczak made the dive,the ball bounced in off his back.

Adams got his sec­ond goal in suc­ces­sive games from a few yards out be­fore Blues fell to the sucker punch.

Rowett said Car­son spot­ted Ince make his move and put his kick be­tween Birm­ing­ham’s cen­tral de­fend­ers for him to do the rest. Zola says it was luck.

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

WOOD YOU BE­LIEVE IT? Ja­cob But­ter­field fires a shot that hits the post and goes in off the back of div­ing goal­keeper To­masz Kuszczak

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