Often Partisan

Gray, Brown and Bell

Demarai Gray signed his first professional contract with Birmingham City on Monday which will keep him at the club until the summer of 2016. With Reece Brown close to sealing his first deal and Amari’i Bell being recalled from loan to potentially join the first team group Blues are again showing that they are looking towards their younger players to fill out the squad.

The last few months have been a meteoric rise for both Gray and Brown. I got the sense both were slightly disappointed in the summer not to be offered deals but both have applied themselves well and have forced their way into the first team reckoning with good performances in training and in the development squad.

It’s been a harder path for Bell with both David Murphy and Mitch Hancox ahead of him for his favoured left back position (along with potentially Paul Robinson and Shane Ferguson) but after signing a one year contract with a one year option in May he too has applied himself well out on loan and for the development squad and thus is now in contention to come in if Hancox’s injury is too bad.

One might question how close any of these players would have got to the  first team – especially at the ages they are now (Demarai Gray and Reece Brown are both only 17) – had finances been better but I think we have to look at the positives in the situation. For too long people have decried the lack of talent to come through the Academy and I think it’s unfair on any of the youngsters who have come through to suggest that they are only makeweights due to financial restrictions.

Blues have shown in the past two seasons that they will make short-term signings if they feel they need to – for example Caleb Folan, Cian Hughton, Paul Robinson, Papa Bouba Diop and Dariusz Dudka have all come in at some point to help bulk out the squad but of that list once Robinson has been taken out there have only been four first team appearances between the other players. Young players have come in and seized their chances; Callum Reilly was an unknown when he broke into the team at this point last year but now he is a regular and an u21 international for the Republic of Ireland.

It now looks unlikely to me that any investment will come into the club before the end of the winter transfer window and with injuries starting to really bite at this moment in time it does look like Blues are going to be ever more reliant on their young guns to fill out the squad. As much as the last season and a bit have become ever more painful to watch it does fill me with some hope that Blues are at least able to bring through some talent and that may have the knock on effect of persuading more kids (and thus a better probability of more talent in the future) to join the club’s academy as they can see it is successful. I will also readily state that I feel happier if Blues have a team full of kids who are at least trying to improve and make their way in the football world than a team full of jaded journeymen.

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3 Responses to “Gray, Brown and Bell”

  • mark says:

    this is brilliant news for bcfc, and for our future………..not sure brown has signed yet, all three imo will make excellent acquisitions………………

  • mark says:

    my other point is am extremely glad Clark will loan them out to gain experience in the lower leagues as well as giving them first team experience………….kro

  • mark says:

    this academy deserves all our plaudits our quality will rise…………………………


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