Things were looking very rosie for Birmingham City as they approached December in the 2016/17 season.
Under Gary Rowett, the Blues found themselves in a surprise tussle for a top-six spot thanks to just three losses in the opening three months of the campaign.
But inexplicably, on December 17, and with the Blues sat in seventh place, Rowett was sacked by the club’s new owners, with Gianfranco Zola taking his place.
It was an utterly baffling decision. The Italian picked up just one point from the remaining three matches of 2016 as an ominous feeling took hold at the club.
The January transfer window would be a chance for Zola to begin shaping the squad to his liking and on January 20, a big money move was made.
This is FLW Rewind where we take a look back at a big decision made by a club, analyse the initial reaction and document what happened next.
— Birmingham City FC (@BCFC) January 20, 2017
The man in question this time is Besiktas winger and former Fulham player Kerim Frei who made the move to St Andrew’s for just over £2million.
He arrived at the club having only made seven appearances for the Turkish giants in the first half of the season but still remained highly rated as he was still only 23.
The fans were certainly very excited with his arrival…
— Kane Styles (@KaneGStyles) January 20, 2017
great signing ????
— Owen Smith (@OwenSmith99) January 20, 2017
— Gary Marston (@MisterMarston) January 20, 2017
— Jamie (@JamAlexanda) January 20, 2017
ra that's s signing!!
— Ciz (@C_Ellis94) January 20, 2017
Unfortunately, he probably could not have joined the club at a worse time. The feeling of animosity between the fans and the club was reaching fever pitch as Zola continued to struggle.
Frei ultimately failed to make an impact at the club over the course of the second half of the season, rarely playing more than 45 minutes.
With Zola sacked in April his chances became even more limited under Harry Redknapp as the Blues only just scraped to survival, finishing 19th.
A route back to Turkey was granted in the summer with Basaksehir paying £1.3million for him and in the process securing himself the status of a massive flop.