Often Partisan

U18s Hope for Further FA Youth Cup Glory

Birmingham City’s u18 squad travel to the King Power stadium tonight to take on Leicester City in their FA Youth Cup quarter-final tie. Steve Spooner’s charges reached this stage after overcoming Liverpool 3-2 after extra time with a plum semi-final tie against giants Manchester City or famed producers of quality young players Crewe Alexandra.

With everything that has gone on around the club I think it’s important to seize on what is positive at St Andrews and for me this is most definitely something that deserves a wider audience. The Blues Academy have produced quite a lot of first teamers over the past few years – sometimes out of necessity – and I think it shows the great work of Steve Spooner, Kristjaan Speakman and the Academy staff in producing teams that have done well in this competition over the past few years.

While people tend to look for a standout player that is going to crack the first team at a very young age in the way that Dimmi Gray, Koby Arthur and further back Nathan Redmond did, I think it’s worth emphasising this year just how much of a unit the team are. There are players in it who have attracted attention of other clubs; Josh Martin, who has a first team number and has signed a pre-contract prior to his first professional terms on his 17th birthday being one of them but it’s unfair on the other players who have performed well together to concentrate purely on him.

Of course it’s tough for players to make the step up from the u18s to the u21s and then the first team but the fact that the club are continually producing players who are performing well in this competition gives further indication of the massive amount of potential that there is at Wast Hills. For all the money worries that surround the club there has been continued investment into the academy structure and with the club now reaching out to grassroots teams as well (something I’m going to be covering in the next few weeks) it all bodes well for more homegrown talent making it into the first team.

If Blues are to be a self-sustaining successful team in the future, then a good base of youth is absolutely essential as I think with the money pouring into the game through TV deals it’s going to become ever harder not just competing with the “big” teams but even established Premier League sides are going to be light years in front of us until we make it back to the promised land of the top flight – and this doesn’t mean just the u18s. Blues have youngsters coming through from 8 years old and from what I hear the u9s are one of the best groups in the country, regularly beating opposition by double figures. For the Academy to keep on growing, the youth setup needs to be able to hold onto these players and develop them further, building on the inherent skill these young players show.

I’ve not heard of any streams for tonight’s game but I will post on Twitter if one becomes available. If you can make it to Leicester, kick off is 7pm and entry is free for Season Ticket Holders (although you will need to present your season card at the Fan Store beforehand); otherwise tickets are £3 for adults and £1 for children. 

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3 Responses to “U18s Hope for Further FA Youth Cup Glory”

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I shall be cheering on the lads tonight at Leicester. We have an exceptional squad this year with the likes of Perry Cotton, George O’Neil, Wes Harding, Kyle McFarlane and captain Dominic Bernard.
    Two under age players are Jordan Potter and Josh Martin. In fact Martin is eligible at 16 to play in this competition for the next 2 seasons.

  • Eric says:

    KRO Under 18s and staff….

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Just come back from Leicester. Let me say first of all Leicester were the better.bigger,stronger side and deserved their victory. Blues rarely got their passing game going and only threatened spasmodically. Individual errors were costly and Weaver in goal will have nightmares about Leicester’s winner.
    On the positive side the back four all played well, but it was in midfield where Blues were second best.
    Leicester’s number 4 Choudhury was outstanding in the middle of the park and ran the show.
    Leicester’s big central defenders hardly gave McFarlane and Popa a kick.

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