Sheffield Wednesday: Owls bid to deepen Blues’ woe

WEDNESDAY will go to Birmingham on Tuesday bidding to cash in on what Trevor Francis describes as a state of near-embarrassment at the St Andrew’s club.

The former Owls player and manager and Blues superstar of the Seventies has been dismayed by Birmingham’s slide in the league and, most off all, by the turmoil surrounding the club’s ownership - in which another personality with a Hillsborough link has played a part.

Blues are 16th in the table, only two points above the Owls.

They have been run for more than three years by Carson Yeung, the Chinese businessman who was once pictured in the Hillsborough directors’ box alongside Dave Allen, when Wednesday were looking for new investment.

Now it is Birmingham’s turn to be involved in a takeover saga - with Francis keen on them finding new owners.

Showing a soft spot for the club where he emerged as one of the best strikers in the game, he said: “I think I am one of many suffering Birmingham City supporters who is very frustrated.

“I would love to see some light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, the term ‘frustrated’ is one word but, at times, it has been bordering on embarrassment.

“It is probably looking slightly better in terms of what’s going on on the field, but nothing changes off the field.”

Dave Jones is set to run the rule over the Blues team today by watching them play Watford at St Andrew’s.

Lee Clark’s side had won only once in a recent 10-game spell until they pulled off back-to-back 2-1 victories against Burnley and Forest. That was before a 1-1 draw at Charlton last Saturday.

Francis will see today’s game in the company of friend Jasper Carrott, the comedian who impressed as a rock-and-singer at an evening bash at a London hotel for Wednesday players and staff after the Owls’ 1-1 draw with Arsenal at Wembley in the 1993 FA Cup final.

Birmingham are still looking for new owners after a consortium fronted by former QPR chairman Gianni Paladini dropped out of a proposed takeover.

Francis added: “Obviously, what needs to happen is for the club to have new owners.

“Last week’s draw at Charlton Athletic and the back-to-back victories were important for the league position.

“If I was talking two weeks ago then there would be great concern about where Birmingham are in the table.”

Did you know? When Trevor Francis led Wednesday to third place in the top flight in 1992, after taking over as manager from Ron Atkinson, it was the club’s highest position in 31 years.