A picture paints a thousand words. When Steve Bruce emerged for his first press conference of the season it was patently obvious that he is a different man to the one bearing a haunted appearance in May.
Three youthful signings flanked him to the right and he looked, physically, in better shape and sounded mentally far sharper.
While Birmingham's last league fixture took place less than 50 days ago, it seems light years away, as the relegation hangover has evaporated.
Bruce was back to his affable self as he cracked jokes and warned Neil Danns, Stephen Kelly and Cameron Jerome of the horrors that awaits them, this morning, in day two of pre-season.
Sweeping changes to both his backroom and playing staff have impressed the bookmakers who have already installed Birmingham as favourites to lift the Championship title come May.
That is not a burden to Bruce, however. The new broom is clearing away any lingering cobwebs and Bruce is upbeat and already banging the drum with a little over five weeks remaining before they face Colchester.
"We can't have any hangover, as we need to hit the ground running," said a bullish Bruce. "The message from the training ground was that they are all shocked with their first day back.
"I've already done a presentation to the players on the first ten games of the season highlighting last year where we got one win. We've got to get off to a good start."
Bruce took a long, hard look in the mirror during his traditional summer break in Portugal and realised a change was of paramount importance.
Not only did he need to recharge his batteries and enthusiasm, but the whole ethos of the club had to be different if they were to contemplate what, according to Bruce, only 23 per cent of clubs have hitherto achieved - promotion.
"I looked at photographs of myself at the end of last year and I thought 'Jesus, I've gone ten rounds!'
"Thankfully someone has knocked me out in the end," joked
Bruce. "It was awful but you have got to bounce back. I needed to go away for a couple of weeks and decide whether I wanted to carry on.
"I didn't want to leave the club with relegation hanging over us. I wanted to build a new team and the board obviously felt the same. I have recharged my batteries and I couldn't wait to see the new players training and what they have got.
"We looked at the statistics last season and saw that we could cover the ground in terms of distance, but we couldn't manage intensity.
"Maybe I was guilty of looking after the players who had served the club so well. This has given me the opportunity to bring in some young, fresh, hungry players.
"I enjoy working with young players and making them better, which, in turn, should make the club better as well."
Bruce is adamant that there will be more additions to the squad before August 5; a centre-half is of pressing importance, but he is maintaining the club's mantra regarding player sales.
The rumour mill has been cranked into overdrive all summer
concerning the future of Emile Heskey. Jermaine Pennant has also attracted the attention of Premier-ship outfits, but Bruce is unrelenting in his desire to keep his crown jewels.
"It hasn't really started because the big boys are still juggling the balls in the air," said Bruce responding to whether he thought he would have to fend off any bids for Heskey. "The one thing I have said all along is that if anyone wants any of my players then they are going to have to pay top, top dollar.
"Thankfully with the wealth of my owners we don't have to sell. If anyone has any visions of nicking our players they will have to pay the going rate.
"Statistics say that only 23 per cent have come straight back and it isn't easy.
"Look round the Midlands for a start. We must have seven derbies and it is an absolute marathon.
"It took the club 16 years last time and I hope it is nowhere near that, as I want us back in the Premiership.
"We know it's not going to be easy."