Rowett’s revenge is oh so sweet
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.
WOOD YOU BELIEVE IT? Jacob Butterfield fires a shot that hits the post and goes in off the back of diving goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak