Often Partisan

Quartet Retained

Birmingham City have today confirmed that four players have been offered contracts while a further three have had options on their deals taken up. Jonathan Spector, Koby Arthur, Nick Townsend and Charlee Adams have all been offered deals of varying lengths while Viv Solomon-Otabor, Liam Truslove and Connal Trueman have all see options taken up on their contacts.

Blues have also confirmed that Colin Doyle, Will Packwood, Callum Reilly, Olly Lee, Matt Green, Gavin Gunning, Nikola Zigic and Kamal Guthmy have been told that they will not be offered new deals.

I have to say that in the main I’m unsurprised as to who is staying and who is going – and that I’m not massively disappointed with any of the people who are leaving. It’s sad that Colin Doyle is leaving the club having been associated with it for 13 years but in truth I think for his own career he should leave to get some first team action. It would be nice if the club could play some sort of testimonial for him as a thank you – particularly if the money can go to his charity “Liam’s Smiles” – as I think that kind of loyalty should really be rewarded.

Of the retained players the only player that I am mildly surprised about (although it has been talked about for some time) is Jonathan Spector. While he has had some good games this season and his versatility is a bonus he has had continuing injury problems for so long I wonder if he will be able to string together a spell of appearances should we need them. He is currently the highest paid player at the club and I would imagine any new deal would be at a lower level to reflect the change in the financial landscape at St Andrew’s – which I guess would mean that there are no guarantees he would sign it.

I’m pleased that the club has exercised it’s options on Solomon-Otabor and Truslove. Solomon in particular has been impressive in recent weeks in the reserves and if he can continue his rate of improvement over the next twelve months he could be the next winger to emerge from the ranks of the Academy to follow in the footsteps of Nathan Redmond and Dimmi Gray. Truslove hasn’t progressed as much this season as maybe he or the management would have liked but there is no doubt in my mind that he has some talent and if that can be brought on then it offers the club another option in the middle of the park.

One question I have is whether Doyle will be replaced – or if Blues will trust Townsend enough to be #2 next season. I honestly believe that the young keeper is good enough; while he’s in no way as tall as the Irishman, Townsend reminds me of Bennett with his reflexes and shot-stopping capabilities. He showed this once again on Thursday night at the Birmingham Senior Cup game when he made a save very early on from close range, tipping a goalbound shot onto the post when it looked that there was no chance of keeping it out.

With the retained list now sorted let’s hope Gary Rowett is able to bring in the players he wants to build the team next year – and I sincerely hope that starts with a permanent deal for Robert Tesche. The signing of Tesche on loan changed the way Blues played and gave us much better possession in the middle; if we are to push on next season we will need similar quality there to enable the team to properly attack and win when they have to take the game to their opponents.

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79 Responses to “Quartet Retained”

  • Dave Mann says:

    As expected to be honest but that’s a great shout about giving Doyle Some sort of testimonial for his loyalty and patience with some of the old players from those 13 years coming back and taking part , yes I would support that! Kro

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Gary and Kevin Poole must rate Townsend highly to give him a 2 year contract with options.
    I agree with the sentiments that Doyle should get some recognition for his service to the club.
    I remember him coming to the fore in 2003 when his physique alone gave Blues fans hope that the club’s goalkeeping position was secure fore the next 15 years. Unfortunately the promise never materialised and with him approaching his 30th birthday he needs to find a club which will give him first team football.
    The most impressive goalkeeper I have seen at St Andrew’s this season was Emiliano Martinez, Arsenal’s third choice goalkeeper, when he played for Rotherham. A season long loan at Blues would be perfect.

  • ndf says:

    Two names stand out, the first being Callum Reilly but if the ambitions are to gain promotion, I think he would struggle at a higher level so possibly best that he seeks a position in an appropriate team now.

    Does the imminent departure of Doyle mean that the services of Randolph are secure and the backup is considered adequate for a push towards and into the premiership? I think Doyle is an excellent number 2 and if he has to be let go then fully agree with the idea of a testimonial not just for his long service but to support his family too.

  • Jaffa says:

    The hope now is will GR be able to keep those players he want’ to retain?

  • Big Al says:

    I think the decision regarding Doyle is a clear vote of confidence in Townsend as number 2. I really hope all of them fund new clubs very soon. Packwood and Green were very unlucky injury wise. If Reilly could improve his distribution he could easily make it at this level.

    Time to start looking for a first choice keeper if Randolph doesn’t sign pronto.

  • JohnnyZulu says:

    Why exactly should Doyle be given a testimonial?

    • Jimbob says:

      I agree,some see his thirteen years at Blues as loyalty,I see it as lack of ambition,successive managers have not seen enough in him to make him number one,his only run in the team was due to injury,31 league games in thirteen years ?.

  • tmsblues says:

    Whats happened to Reece Brown?/

  • LJ18 says:

    Disappointed to see Matt Green being released. He’s had an horrendous time with injuries so i can understand the decision but i think there’s enough about him to be able to offer an option upfront. I’d certainly take Green over Wes thomas!!

  • KC says:

    Assume Edgar, Novac, Eardley, Duffy still under contract and similar with Thomas, Duffy and Hancox if they came in to the equation.

  • Mineheadblue says:

    I should like to wish Callum Reilly and Colin Doyle good luck for the future. Callum is one of our own and probably bleeds blue. All the best guys!!

  • jonno11blue says:

    It would be interesting to known which of the players that are still under contract Gary has told they can find another club. Surely Eardley,Duffy, Hancock Edgar, Brown and perhaps Novak and Thomas have little place in Gary’s plans in view of their involvement this season.

  • Bluenose1 says:

    I was reading yesterday that West Ham want Randolph if that’s true can’t see him staying at blues.

  • Mitchell says:

    Novak I would imagine will be useful next season. He is good cover and physically what we need. Duffy, Eardley,and Edgar will be loaned out depending if Keirnan signs. If not then Edgar ideal to keep. As regards Emanual-Thomas, not sure why Bristol keen to unload him. However,how can one question GR. I know the following comment may not go down well, but two players are out of contract and are VERY combatative in midfield..Barton and O’Hara. First may be out of our price range, but second one wouldn’t be. New challenge and all that. Need a bit of nastiness in our side at the moment. Fabbrini and the likes of Gleeson and Shinnie would benefit.

  • Andrew says:

    packwood?… the only reason i can see to let someone go who is proven at this level is because you have better replacements waiting.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    This summer is when Rowett will really prove himself. The next 10 weeks will be very interesting.

    Imo, we need a reliable goalkeeper, a left back to challenge Grounds, an established centre back to partner Morrison, a proper right winger and a striker to push Donaldson. These have to be first team ready.

  • JT says:

    I’ve heard that Townsend will be loaned out again and GR is already looking at GK options in terms of a back up and first team as Randolph has had interest from Premier League teams.

  • Craig says:

    I think Rowett has already proved himself!

  • Tony says:

    Agree Rowett has nothing else to prove..

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I meant in the transfer market. He’s only bought one player so far. I’ll be interested to see who he brings in over the next few weeks. Tesche would be a great start.

      • Hillfield Blues says:

        Staffs-What we want and what we get are two very different things. I can’t see that our situation is any more different than what it was this time last year. So it could be bargain basement again and if GR matches LC on his signings last summer he will have done a good job.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          It didn’t do us too bad this season HB. I’m afraid that, unless we get significant investment, this is the market we’ll be in for the forseeable. But, it’s already been proved, with the previous manager and the present one, there are gems to be found if you know where to look.

          • Hillfield Blues says:

            Agree. Trying to find the gems for peanuts is an art in itself. I suppose GR has at present a 100% success rate with Morrison being a hit. Getting Tesche is the big one for me this summer.

        • Shirley Blue says:

          Not sure I agree with that. He will be looking to offload enough of the current squad to release wages to bring in better players on higher wages and operate with a smaller squad. I don’t reckon Tesche and Fabbrini will have been paid £5k a week. We won’t be paying any big transfer fees that’s for sure but I think he will be setting his sights higher than Bosmans from FL1. He will supplement that by using the loan system to the maximum possible effect. By finishing tenth he can attract better players to the club rather than expecting to be in a relegation battle.

          • Hillfield Blues says:

            I think that has to be the philosophy of most managers this summer. Get rid of the dead wood and replace it with better quality. Trying to do that with no money and a wage cap in place isn’t going to be easy. To me his work this summer is pretty much mapped out already,get Tesche and Fabbrini.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            I do agree with SB, that the more players he can unload, the more wriggle room he’ll have. We’ll know more in the coming weeks.

  • Ryan Sellyoakblues says:

    First post on here been a long time reader and long time poster on freeforums.
    Can’t really grumble with the retained and released list pretty much what I expected.
    One player that is of interest to me is Josh Cogley. Any news on his contract situation? Looked a great young fullback in the senior cup final.
    By the way I’ve finished the book now and it was a great read, Wills chapters were hard work but worth persevering with to get an understanding of the situation.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Jay Emmanuel-Thomas would be a great Bosman. He played in Arsenal’s youth team along side Henri Lansbury, Kyle Bartley and Jack Wilshire.
    Wenger was quoted as saying “When his fitness is right, Jay will not only be a good player but a great player”.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Gary is replacing anyone who can’t contribute as a regular starter in a promotion winning team. Of the current usual 12/13 I expect new goalie and full backs are required and successors to challenge Donaldson and Cotterill as well as retaining Gray and re-signing the four loanees

  • swissjonny says:

    Doyle deserves a testimonial.iI wish him well he has been a great club servant.Tesche would be a great signing not only a gifted player but it would appear a man with a very professional attitude.Fingers crossed.For me the latter part of the season has stopped my chest pains.I really thought that we could have ended up down a division at one stage.Lets just hope for a swift resolution on the ownership matter…..I fear this may drag on for another season.Keep the faith its always darkest before the dawn!!! KRO

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Congratulations to Nick Townsend on becoming first team goalie backup

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I said yesterday that, I feel we need a reliable goalkeeper, a left back, a centre back a right winger and a striker. And that’s if we manage to sign Tesche and Fabbrini. If not, you can add another 2 to that list. That’s quite a big ask, to spread the funds to bring in 6 or 7 players of ‘first team quality.’ Looking forward to seeing new players signing.

  • TBone says:

    By all accounts (okay, it’s a rumour) GR’s off to the Netherlands on a scouting mission.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Will Packwood off back home to the US. Good luck to him. I hope he carves out a decent career for himself over there.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Yeah, New England revolution so more chance of games and getting into the USA team , as for Doyle it seems has though rowett was a bit reluctant to let him go but told him he needs to play and he will run the London marathon next year for is kid and there charity so well said Gary and I wish him the best of luck where ever he plays … Now for the changes to the squad to start pushing ahead and lets hope it’s good buisness done by our manager. Kro

  • Tony says:

    Pity about Doyle, but I think he had settled into a comfort zone,he and his family I koiw were very happy in the area bit of a lack of aspiration but good luck to him.

  • Eveshamblue says:

    I think Dimmi Gray will be off when Bouremouth come back in for him? Perhaps that money can be used to pay fees for Tesche. Fab will go back to Prem league team? Either way I’m sure GR knows what he is doing. Not entirely sure Spector or Randolph will be here either next season tbh

    • StaffsBlue says:

      The contacts for Gray and Randolph have been on the table for a while now. For me, if they really wanted to, they would have signed by now. Both keeping there options open I would think. Not too ars*d if Randy or Specs are here next year… and the Gray money would come in handy.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Rumour has it that Rowett is interested in Swindown goalkeeper Wes Foderingham. Isn’t he the one who DiCannio gave the hook to early in a game and had a bust up with on the side of the pitch?

  • Dave Mann says:

    Not sure to be honest but Swindon have a playoff semi final with Sheffield utd this week so I think is thoughts will be totally on that…. Randolph leaving would be a problem if we don’t get in a better replacement because I don’t think Townsends ready to be the No 1 just yet , goalie, left back, centre half , right wing and a front man to go with what we’ve got including Fabbrini, Tesche and Kiernan and I will be happy with that I think… 19 points more than last season so if we repeat that next season we will have 82 so playoffs at least with that total .. Yes I know it’s super optemistic but what the hell. Kro

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Spector’s probably been offered less money so he’ll be looking around; Randolph is looking for a better deal – fair enough but admits been on the table since Jan I would withdraw it now; Gray isn’t out of contract so it’s a case of deciding when to call time-out and entertain bids.

    Earley, Edgar, Novak, Thomas, Duffy will all go if clubs come in for them with some cash even nominal

    Brown needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Before Fabbrini arrived he could have challenged Shinnie if he’d done what the coaches wanted him to do.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Don’t know what to think about the Brown situation. You read a lot of rumours, especially about his attitude. I can’t really comment on what I don’t know, but going on last season, I would have expected him to be at least a squad regular this season… but just a single sub appearance says that something’s amiss with the lad. Shame.

  • AaronWFC says:

    Alright lads, Walsall fan here lurking in peace.
    Just having a look at the lads you’ve released, wondering if we’ll do our usual job of picking up the scraps of the West Midlands (although usually Albion). Any that you think could do a job in League One?
    Think a few of us would be happy with Doyle. Reilly and Lee have been mentioned by some fans but don’t know too much about them personally. Are they defensive midfielders or more attack minded?

  • StaffsBlue says:

    For fans who think that we only have one or two players of Championship quality, read Rowett’s comments on the club site today:

    “Do you know the thing I like the most? We have proven that we have got some damn good players. Those players look like very good Championship footballers.” :)

  • Shirley Blue says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much if Randolph goes. With most Premier League clubs having three or four on their books that is where we can use the loan system. We don’t want to lose Gray – he looked good again when Fabbrini came in as the opposition had somebody else to worry about and he got more space. Personally I think he is going to be a top player in a couple of years.
    It will be interesting to see what Watford do with Fabbrini – he might actually be more suited to the Premier League with his technical ability than the Championship. Tesche I think is also good enough to play in the top flight so we might struggle to get those two back which would be a shame.
    They will need to install revolving doors at the ground I reckon as a lot still to go and plenty to come in.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I’m not too worried tbh. The manager will obviously have more than one list of players he fancies. If Randolph goes, or Gray goes.. or we miss out on Tesche and Fabbrini, it’s not the end of the world, there’ll be other players brought in instead. This is my favourite part of the year, when we can just sit back and watch who rolls up and who ships out. :)

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      I’ll be disappointed if we don’t get at least one of them and I’m sure GR will do everything within his power to get both. If Bournmouth come back in for Gray I think he’s gone and the money from that will be used to make sure they’re signed. There is also the fact that they’ve fully integrated into the team and are familiar with GR and the coaches ideas so it’s not like there’s even a gamble involved.
      They are both different gravy to what we have had in midfield for a long time and it exites me to think of them in the starting line up first game next season,let’s hope.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    It’s a shame he can’t build on what he finished the season with or is unlikely to be in that position. I think we were only three or four players away from being a play off team. Fingers crossed anyway – you never know.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      For me, we’ll stick with the tried and tested next season, which means 4-2-3-1. Tesche and Fabbrini, as good as they are, aren’t the only players who can play those two roles. Only a fool wouldn’t have alternatives in the pipeline.. and Rowett doesn’t stike me as a fool. I’m sure by the start of the season, we’ll have all the right personnel in place.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I have come to the conclusion that Blues’ need to make Gray the highest paid player at the club and make him an offer he can’t refuse. We have sold too many of our top youngsters and to retain Gray on a long term contract would give a boost to everyone with the club’s well being at heart.
    Any sale of Gray would negatively effect season ticket sales and signal that blue skies are not around the corner.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I’m sure Gray himself will have more say in it than the club tbh. If the club receives a decent offer.. he can still say no. But, if he’s like most young players and see the £ signs and premier footy, he’ll be off like a shot. I think the club should make a reasonable offer, then move on if it’s not accepted. I think a few quality signings will offset any disappointment.

      • atko says:

        I agree with Staffs. We haven’t got the money to make him an offer he can’t turn down & one player won’t make a team no matter how good they are. I’m happy for Gray to stay as I still think he needs a couple of seasons to develop at this level fully. So far he has done everything right & I hope he continues to improve under the Blues Coaching Staff. If he wants to go then he should as I don’t think it benefits anyone to have a player on the books who isn’t 100% committed to Blues. Any player needs to be fully committed & give everything in any game they play. Next season will be interesting from a personnel point of view but from a tactical point of view. We all saw GR tinker with the formation at the end of the season & I’m wondering if he is thinking of changing things about in that sense too. I think his tried and tested formation was pretty much forced on him from the moment he came here given that we were half way through the season & leaking goals with confidence at an all time low. We may just see a different formation next season which might just suit one or two players a little more too.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          The experimentation with the system is an interesting one. It makes me wonder if he’ll persist with the 3-5-2 during the summer break. I’m not sure how the likes of Cotterill and Gray would fit into that. Wing backs would be the order of the day. Caddis would be fine, but a new left back would certainly be needed. I still think we may see a switch to centre back for Grounds.

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