Date: 9th January 2017 at 12:03am
Written by:

This was a very important day for myself because like most Birmingham City fans, I was still coming to terms with the sacking of Gary Rowett even though it was nearly a month ago now but it was one that I was keen to embrace.

Last Friday, I was honoured enough to sit in the press conference ahead of the Blues vs Newcastle United game that was due to take place on Saturday, a game that subsequently finished 1-1, and sit in the presence of Gianfranco Zola.

As with most people in life, I believe that first impressions are everything and it was the same with this occasion. I am not one for making judgements of people based on interviews that are shown on screen because they don’t always convey the personality of the person talking.

With that being said, my whole opinion of Zola changed the moment he walked through the door at Wast Hills on that Friday.

I looked out the window as he, Colin Tattum and Panos Pavlakis walked up the driveway as they prepared to enter the press room and it was quite daunting because I didn’t know what he was going to be like.

He entered the room with a massive grin on his face and greeted the 15 of so members of the press who were in the room in a polite manner that was refreshing to see.

As he sat down at his desk, he continued to smile as he started some polite conversations with one of two members of the press who were sat towards the front of the room.

With the chit chat over and done with, the questions started to flow with Sky Sports being the first to ask, ‘so Gianfranco, can you tell us a little bit more about the Craig Gardner situation?’

He didn’t shy away from the situation. He sat up in his chair and simply answered the question along the lines of ‘he is a player we like, he wants to come here, we want him to come here and he is a Birmingham fan’.

Nothing too fancy, just straight to the point and very concise. I liked that and as the press conference went on I started to realise just how much he cared about the club and how important it was for him to start getting things right.

When he was asked about the form of the side, his posture changed, his facial expressions changed. He had gone from being a jolly Italian to a sad Italian.

I immediately saw just how much it meant to him being at Birmingham City. I saw how much he wanted to succeed here and that he genuinely took the job to try and take the club in the right direction.

Although he didn’t directly address the fans, it was clear once again that he was hopeful that everyone would see what he is trying to do and that they would give him a little bit of time for it to come off. (It was clear to see in the Newcastle game in my opinion).

The press conference came to an end as he recalled some of his favourite moments in the FA Cup from his playing days at Chelsea.

As he left the building, he walked down the road in his Blues tracksuit with his hands in his pockets and you guessed it, a big fat grin stretching from ear to ear.

For me, Zola has been largely misunderstood by a lot of fans at the club, myself included until last week, but it is clear that he is here to make a difference and I hope that fans can now start to see that in the way that we are starting to play.

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