Steve Bruce has always said that it would be the supporters who got him the sack at Birmingham City, so it's instructive to look at it from their perspective, rather than what the board or media want.
They would have noted that 15 players were shipped out in the summer and ten brought in - most of them young. Nearly all of the departing old sweats weren't cutting the mustard anymore and only one - Jermaine Pennant - could have been described as a player with a bright future.
The summer purchases appeared generally sound, while the capture of Gary McSheffrey was a coup. Shrewd judges would have done their sums and noted that Bruce's wheeling and dealing ended up with Blues £5 million in profit.
Bruce warned at the start of August that statistics were against Blues bouncing straight back into the Premiership and a conversation he'd just had with West Ham's Alan Pardew -'it's a horrible league to get out of' - confirmed that cautious optimism was the stance to take.
After 13 games, Bruce's realism has been vindicated. Once more, he's in the stocks, copping the ripe tomatoes.
Last Tuesday's dismal home defeat by Norwich was an insult to the paying customers. The sort of performance that gets the manager the sack.
At this embryonic stage of the season, it's the performances that are relevant and another like the Norwich one would be unsustainable. But there are mitigating factors.
The defence badly misses Matt Upson, who should be back at last by the end of this month. The younger members of the side are shrivelling in the defeatist atmosphere that's surrounded St Andrew's since relegation. The older ones like Bruno N'Gotty and Radhi Jaidi - bought to provide leadership and experience - seem statuesque, playing from memory.
It's a quiet unit on the field, bereft of talkers and leaders. Why else is Damien Johnson the captain? There are no other contenders. And Johnson didn't help matters by collecting yet another avoidable red card at Leeds and a ban for three matches.
Yet Blues didn't lose until the ninth league game. By common consent, they were unlucky in defeat at Leeds and Luton. Today, they lie one point behind Burnley, the side in fourth place. And it's only October.
They're not playing well. The manager knows it. It's understandable he's dismayed at the blanket condemnations pouring out of the local papers, the corrosive
opinions expressed on radio phone-in programmes - but the media aren't kicking the ball in a Blues shirt. Players and management staff are the only ones who can galvanise the side.
Bruce is justified in pointing to his record since arriving at St Andrew's almost five years ago. Promotion within six months, then 13th, tenth and 12th in the Premiership before relegation. One bad year out of five.
The fact that it's come now shouldn't blind the fans to the respectability Bruce brought to the Blues. Sixteen years out of the top flight, apathetic supporters, low gates, minimal expectations, Villa fans crowing interminably.
Have the Bluenoses forgotten their glee at becoming serial winners over Villa after promotion? The delight at Dion Dublin's sending-off? Peter Enckelman's comic howler?
The orchestrator of those memorable occasions was Steve Bruce. The manager who twice turned down the chance to run his hometown club, Newcastle United, in the space of five months because he owed loyalty to Birmingham City and the new crop of players he'd just bought in the summer of 2004.
Bruce's critics will say that the slate is now clean, because the board repaid that loyalty last March (Blues 0 Liverpool 7), last May (relegation) and last week, after the Norwich shambles.
If that is so, look at the league table and Blues' proximity to a play-off position. Of the teams currently above them, do you seriously believe that Plymouth, Luton, Burnley and Preston will remain there by the season's end?
On the Blues' board, David Sullivan is the key player. He doesn't like schlepping up from his Essex home to watch Second Division football and his incandescent remarks about the modern professional footballer last spring didn't aid Bruce in his battle to revive the season.
Sullivan is not a man for the reflective long haul, unlike his co-owner David Gold. To be fair to them, a total of four managers in their 13 years in charge of Blues reflects well on their support and loyalty.
Sullivan is a businessman, aware ridiculous amounts of money await Premiership clubs next season when the new TV deal kicks in.
Bruce's culling of senior players last summer trimmed the wage bill by around £15 million and that will have pleased Sullivan. But he won't fancy too many disaffected Blues fans ranting in his ear for much longer.
Malcolm Allison once said that the major management problem with players is that, after a time, you ran out of fresh things to say to them. I don't think that's yet a factor with Steve Bruce, especially after such a hefty turnover.
I believe he deserves more time. And who is out there you'd be certain would do a better job? Now that Martin O'Neill's plying his trade a few miles away, there are no outstanding available candidates. The last time I looked at the league table, there were still 33 games left to be played.