Often Partisan

The Reece Brown situation

Less than two weeks after Reece Brown was taken on extended trial for a month by West Ham it’s been revealed the 19-year-old has interested a top four Premier League side – thought to be Manchester City – having also spent the last week at AFC Bournemouth.

Birmingham Mail reporter Brian Dick wrote yesterday in his transfer rumour mill piece how Brown has been looked at by various teams as Gary Rowett “believes both club and player need to resolve a situation where he is not playing regularly or contributing to the play-off push.”

Rowett is quoted as saying

“The point for us is we have had a lot of interest over the years from these Under 21 groups that have got money to burn on young potential players for the long term.

“At the moment we are trying to find the best solution for everybody.

“We felt initially West Ham wanted to have a look at him over a period, nothing financial is agreed so certainly we are not going to be letting him go to places or selling him for ten bob.

Rowett is in a tough position with Reece Brown. If Blues are to receive money for Brown then I think he would have to be sold in this window as the 19-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season. As he is under 24, Blues would be eligible for compensation via a tribunal – but only if they meet the criteria of rule 64.3 of the Football League regulations, to wit:

64.3    Subject to the provisions of this Regulation 64, any Club which makes an offer in accordance with Regulation 64.2 of re engagement to a Contract Player who is an Under 24 Player and which is in the opinion of the Board not less favourable than the Player’s current contractual terms, shall be entitled to a Compensation Fee in respect of the loss of the Player’s registration, should the Player sign for another Club.  In order to comply with this Regulation, the annual value of the terms offered must be at least equivalent to the most favourable year’s terms in the Player’s previous contract.  The terms offered to Players for re engagements must be as favourable overall except that a signing on fee included in the previous contract and stated to be a once only payment need not be repeated.  Copies of all offers of re engagement made to Contract Players must be sent to The League.

In other words, Blues would have to offer Brown a new deal that is equal to or better than the one he is currently on – and I have to be honest, as things stand I can’t see that happening.

Despite his obvious talent, Brown has failed to make the same sort of impression on the first team that Viv Solomon-Otabor has with the Dudley-born midfielder only making two sub appearances this season. There have been longstanding rumours that Blues management have been unimpressed with a lack of professionalism from Brown and that this failure to understand what is required to become a first team player has held Brown back with some rumours suggesting that Brown’s career with the club is finished.

I’ve long held that making the transition from teenage wunderkind to first team pro is the hardest step for young players to take; having seen a fair few groups of academy scholars graduate it seems obvious to me that Thomas Edison’s maxim of genius being “1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration” holds true; while talent on the pitch is of course absolutely necessary there needs to be a lot of work done to bring that talent to fruition. If a young player doesn’t have the drive to push themselves as hard as they can, it won’t happen for them – the sad reality being that almost all academy graduates will not make a career in professional football.

While Brown is trialling with these Premier League clubs I think he needs to take a leaf out of the book of his contemporaries such as Demarai Gray. Gray improved exponentially over the last few seasons from when he broke into the team and I think that there was an element of wanting to stay local and grounded in his move to Leicester. I’m of the belief Brown needs to do the same because if it is true that he is struggling to deal with being a professional in his home town it’s only going to get worse a long way from home without his friends and family around him.

I think going to another team to spend time out on loan or in a development squad isn’t going to be conducive to his professional career – although in the short term it might well be better for his bank balance. I may be wrong, but I think it’d be in his best interest to think about going somewhere of the ilk of Walsall – somewhere where I think it would be likely he’d get first team game time (which I think would  help him to find his path as a footballer) while remaining in the locality and with the support of those close to him.

Truth be told, the Brown situation is frustrating; for him as he’s not getting the football his talent deserves; for Rowett because he may well lose out on a talented player because Brown can’t get his head in the game and for us Blues fans because we’re robbed of seeing another local boy come good. I know that I’m not the only one who hopes that this situation can yet be saved – but as it stands Brown might just be the latest statistic of another Academy graduate who failed to make the step up.


73 Responses to “The Reece Brown situation”

  • Big Al says:

    I can’t see a situation where we wont get compensation. If he’s got lots of better offers lined up, simply offer him the contract? What’s the worst that can happen – we get a talented young player for another 12 months that we send out on loan if he doesn’t fit in.

    • AdamTrueBlue says:

      I have to agree, it would be a crime to just let his contract lapse when we know that ‘others’ have an interest, or is this interest only being generated because the contract is ending? The lad is still young and I hope that his attitude matures enough for GR to give him another chance and we get a star in the making.

    • Des says:

      I think people often over estimate the amount of time GR can spend with players, we have 25 first team squad plus 15 good academy players, now on top of all his other myriad duties are we expecting GR to nursemaid Brown every step of the way.

      If Browns attitude isn’t right as a teenager drop kick him out the door, there’s a 100 desperate to take his place!


  • Tony E says:

    Walsall’s a good shout, as part of a deal for one of their young stars sounds even better. I can dream.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I ask myself why are West Ham, Bournemouth and possibly Man City interested in Reece Brown?
    The answer is that he is one of the top English talents of his age group in the country.
    It would be a triumph of Gary’s man management skills if he and Reece could sit down together and resolve any issues they may have and for Reece to sign a new contract with the club.
    The alternative is for Brown to be the latest Blues young talent to leave the club for less than they are worth. Following the likes of Mutch, Redmond, Butland and Gray.
    We need to acquire young talent not lose them.

  • Womble Joe says:

    Richard that’s rubbish. He’s shown nothing when he’s played and are you telling me Rowett wouldn’t play a kid who’s one of the best in the country. Also if he was that good where are the offers? Have all the clubs missed this massive talent you claim? Course not.Truth is there is no place for his kind of attitude at the club. He’s been told enough times but thinks the club rules don’t apply to him. Great management once again by Gary.

    Clubs in great hands


    • Richard Granfield says:

      Womble Joe……To take your points in order –

      1, It’s not rubbish, you may not agree, but it’s my opinion.
      2, He has not played enough first team matches to judge.
      3, He is a current England Under 20 International.
      4, He has had offers to train with at least 2 maybe 3 Premier League clubs.
      5, He is only 19 and can be rehabilitated.
      6, Great management is to do all you can to retain talented players.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Sometimes, you just have to hold your hands up and say it’s just not going to work. Both Man Utd and West Ham did it with Ravel Morrison and, like Brown, no one doubted his ability. The non-league game is littered with players who failed to take their chance, then eventually, come back into the lower leagues, regretting messing up their careers. At the end of the day, it’s entirely up to Reece himself how his career progresses (or not) from here.

  • swissjonny says:

    I think the point about it being a feather in GR,s cap if he can sit down with the lad and sort things out is very valid.We cannot afford to lose home grown talent-especially not on the cheap. If Gary can sit down and have a full and frank conversation with the lad and really clear the air and get a commitment from Reece to change his ways then it may well be worth trying to keep the player for another year.Talent is difficult to find and sometimes it is a case of better the devil you know.Maybe GR has already tried this-who knows? Perhaps its just gone too far-which is a pity for all parties.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Rowett has been at the club for over a year now. I’d be highly surprised if he hadn’t had that talk already, maybe more than once. There comes a point where the onus is on the player. I think the manager and the club have maybe reached that point.

    • DoctorD says:

      Yeah agree with Staffs. Rowett’s no fool and I’m sure he’s tried different avenues.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        The manager doesn’t seem the type to make a knee-jerk reaction. I’m sure he’s explored every avenue. I for one will support whatever he chooses to do with the lad. I hope he knuckles down and earns a new contract, but if not and Rowett cuts his losses… so be it.

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      Do you think he has not done this already?

  • Gerry says:

    Perhaps it is not so much about relationships with the manager but perhaps with his fellow team mates.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      That might well be the case. One bad apple can cause a lot of problems within a team and sometimes it just gets to the point where it isn’t worth the time dealing with the problems any more and its time to get rid despite the potential. I have only seen him play a couple of times (same as Koby Arthur) and I have got to say in both cases I didn’t see anything special.

  • jimbob says:

    I agree with StaffsBlue, people are saying the GR should sit down with Brown and sort out there differences!!!
    How do we know that that has not happened on a few occasions already and brown has told GR to shove it!!
    There comes a point in all walks of life involving family, friends, work colleagues etc etc… that you have to put you’re hands up and say you know what I tried to help but the lad don’t want my help so best for all parties to let someone else try.

    P.S we are not doing to bad without him :-)

    In GR we trust!!!!!

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Developing promising youngsters into professionals is an art and for the individuals to progress they need the ability to listen and learn. As a kids football manager in Chelmsley Wood in the 80’s, I saw a small group of lads go on to become professionals but I saw many, many more who had exceptional talents and potential who fell by the wayside. You can be the best man manager in the world, but if the kids do not have the desire and humility to take the advice, then sadly the world of work awaits them as it does for the rest of us.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Reece Brown has the opportunity to have a great career, with a great lifestyle to go with it and all the dosh he could hope for. If he can’t be bothered to grasp that with both hands, then it’s his loss. There are other kids who are worthy of the time and effort put into their careers and appreciate it.

  • Blue22 says:

    Don’t agree with the argument that if he can’t be a pro in his hometown it will be harder elsewhere. Sometimes being in the home town is the problem. People need to stretch their wings (or legs) so to speak, a move away may be the fresh start he needs

  • Pods says:

    Could call again Staffs.

    I would suggest we offer him a new contract and hope he develops in the way of others Gray and Solomon. He may be a late developer should we take that risk?

  • ChrisG says:

    I’ve been suffering from a split decision on Brown, part of me saying stuff him he’s had enough chances & he’s blown it & another part of me is saying someone needs to grab this lad by the neck & shake some sense into him as it would ge a shame to let a tallent like his to go to waste. At the end of the day this is an important time for the club & we can’t have one bad apple upsetting the cart so to speak & for the sake of the rest of the players I think it would be best he was on his way, that way as well it shows a statement of intent to younger players.

  • andy says:

    I think Birmingham should offer the kid a new deal, see if he is at all interested in staying with the club first and foremost, it could be he wants out. If the club and the player want a new deal to happen then I think it would be a terrific call to let a club like Walsall have the kid on loan.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    He seems quite happy to go on trial at West Ham, Bournemouth and (maybe) Man City. Could it be the lad thinks “well, it’s only Birmingham City?” Probably not, but, with kids today, you just don’t know.

    • swissjonny says:

      Good point Staffs-maybe the bright lights of the premiership are dazzling him.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        Like a lot of young players unfortunately. I often wonder what motivates kids to go into football these days. Is it the footy and the chance of medals? Or is it the money, the girls and the fast cars? I know which one I think it is.

  • Dan Hickman says:

    Can’t imagine that GR hasn’t tried a few different approaches with him, but if he keeps letting the club down, and then gets offered a new deal and a place in match day squads, what does that say to the even younger guys? What does it say to his peers that work their socks off and toe the line to only ever play u 21 football? GR is planning for the future, and that has to include drawing a line in the sand and sticking to it. If Brown moves on he may just realise he is a good player, but he isn’t Leo Messi, and pull his socks up, and if that happened then to be fair you would have to say that Rowett had done his job for the player and the Blues. KRO

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      I get the feeling that is exactly what has happened tbh.GR isn’t going to let good talent walk out the door unless he has explored all avenues.
      The only thing to do now is to make sure we can get some decent money for him.Wheather that’s by actually offering him an improved contract or not I don’t know.

  • MA24 says:

    Probably shouldn’t be saying this. But I met Wade Elliot after he had signed for Bristol City and he mentioned the clubs financial issues and how it had impacted on new contracts. Apparently Blues could only offer Brown £400pw and at the time, he had Man City chasing his signature. To be fair to the lad he stayed and signed with us, has trained (and played) with other reserve players earning almost 10 times as much as him. He’s been touted as the most naturally gifted footballer to come through our academy and has not been offered the same rewards as other players. It was also mentioned that not so long back, the players weren’t always paid on time and had to go a couple of months without pay. I would imagine for someone like Jonathan Spector it would have been ok, but it would certainly have made a difference to the likes of Brown – including his attitude.

    I would like nothing more than to see him re-sign, become a regular first team player and move onto bigger things when then time is right. Sadly it’s not going to happen I fear.
    And some of the comments about him going from Blues to Walsall are hilarious, Brown’s eyes are firmly looking upwards. Whether he’ll make it though is another question entirely.

    KRO – we still have Viv and Koby

  • Mitchell says:

    Maxwell signing indicates to me that GR own commitment to Blues is strong and looking to build long term.

  • Perhaps he’s to good for some players to except him, perhaps he calls GR behind his back , perhaps ,perhaps , perhaps , there must be something very heavy to let a good player go when we are in need of a couple o players , Once again the fans seem to be left out of hearing distance , chucking somebody out of the family has to be drastic when we have had wayward loanies change and do well for us , and could be loaned out until he commands a good fee , is Maxwell deemed his replacement , has he been sold for £75,000 already ., once again my head hurts ,

  • JbfromOz says:

    Bournemouth want him.
    From the horses mouth.

  • swissjonny says:

    With the signing of Maxwell it further underlines GR,s commitment to the longer term.Thats admirable but when are we going to get him on a longer term contract? Whats happening with that?

    • ChrisG says:

      Sometimes these things can be rather drawn out as certain assurances & demands have to be agreed. I honestly don’t believe contracts in football are worth the paper they’re written on anyway. Getting him signed up for 5 years for instance means nothing

  • Captain Blues says:

    I agree with Blue22 that staying in your hometown can be a hinderance for some and moving away can be the making of a player. I’m not saying this is or will the case with Reece Brown but it may be and its obviously not really happening at the Blues for whatever reason.

  • Mitchell says:

    I feel GR is rapidly becoming a very unusual football manager. He has total control of what is now becoming a Rowett empire which I personally embrace. He left Burton to better himself and with Panos he has been given the freedom to plan and execute the resurgence of the club. Exciting times for him and security for us. Perhaps play offs and promotion is not the most pressing item on his agenda,albeit welcome if it comes earlier than planned. It has taken me a while to work GR out but imo we have a man who wants total control as opposed to 99% of clubs who just want short term coaches. Maxwell,Jones good examples of his long term tenure to see his vision come good.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Does anyone know how these trials work? For instance, if Reece trials at West Ham, Bournemouth and (maybe) Man City, do they wait for all the trials to finish, then negotiate if the clubs are interested… or is the end of each trial the end of the interest?

  • Texas Pete says:

    Let him go, wish him well and try to get some money back.

  • blueshark says:

    I understood that Reece and the Club had a long standing agreement with Man City (first option I believe) but I’m going back 12 months.

    Certainly Patrick Vieira watched Blues on and off since he played for the under 21s.

  • Buckley is on loan for a month , why ,? We won well against Derby , but we still need a couple of quality players in , and I just ain’t getting vibes from the uppers to suggest we are going to buy anybody of quality in , I hope I am wrong …

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Once the initial loan is up, we can take him on loan for the rest of the season. It makes sense to see how things go before either party commit themselves to the longer deal.

  • Dan Hickman says:

    Washington gone to QPR then. Probably him and Stokes from Celtic to Hibs on loan are the only two so far that I have thought we should have looked at, though fees and wages were realistically a little much for us.

  • Andrew says:

    Whatever happens I just hope Gary thinks of the club’s best interests in dealing with this and get the best outcome possible.

  • Thanks for that loan info staffs blue that’s made me feel a lot better ,have we got him on a buy option also at seasons end , Washington seems too much money for what his stats technical ability implies he is worth .

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I have a feeling that a permanent move it’s an option. I suppose it depends if this loan spell is a success. He’ll probably cost upwards of a million, so I think it’s sensible to see how he fits in before you lay out that kind of money. That might be why Rowett’s trying to save a decent amout of ‘the pot’ for the summer.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    A great attitude from 17 yo Academy striker Ronan Hale:

    “I feel comfortable, welcome here, and I have got a chance, hopefully, to progress into the 21s and hopefully First Team some day. There’s no point going to a bigger club and not getting an opportunity. You are better off starting at Birmingham. I really love it here, the lads are great and there’s a really good bond between us.”

    That’s what you want to hear from our young prospects.

  • atko says:

    Get rid of him….simple as! Blues are spending too much time (and money) on someone that obviously cannot knuckle down & push on. Surprised they haven’t torn up his contract already to be honest & saved the club some money. The situation isn’t helping either party & I’m surprised it has been allowed to get as far as the final transfer window before his contract expires.

  • We seem to be getting some old faces starting to reappear with comments ,that is great to see , GR it seems is starting to put pride back at Stan’s , its time GR was signed up on a better contract , lets hope Gary does a fergie and stays to enjoy a long enjoyable journey all the way to the top , as WE HAVE A DREAM , let’s take a step back take a breath of fresh air and move forward , its nice to see Robbie trying to wind blues fans up again , good on you rob , once a bluenose always a bluenose , you were never as good after leaving brum………one all….KRO

  • Blooflame says:

    If we can’t afford it he’ll just have to go. We are a victim of our own precarious financial position. Gary Rowett has more to worry about than just team selection. I would have thought all this juggling would keep him awake at night!
    To compound things, I read in the Mail tonight, probably the most negative report regarding the best manager this club has had in years!! Who the hell is Chris Quinn and where does he get off trying to pull us down after (probably) the biggest win of the season away?? We neither need nor want this. We should only have positives. It’s for that reason we lost the Golds and Sullivan (whinging abusive fans and their big gobs!!). Get on board and lets give the team and manager the respect and support they need.

  • wanchaimassiv says:

    Problem is with Reece Brown’s situation is that so many experts saying we should keep him because he’s a brilliant talent have never seen him play and have no idea what his character is like. I would trust Rowett’s judgment. That blog by Chris Quinn was shockingly bad and error strewn. I thought Matt Kendrick had written it to undermine Blues and Rowett because of his beloved Villa are complete toilet

    • Dan Hickman says:

      It is an awful piece of writing, that Chris quinn blog. By contrast though, the Brian Dick piece on the transfer window was well balanced and a good read

  • Mitchell says:

    As regards the concern with GR and the need for a long contract. I feel convinced that Gary will want to commit to Blues as he literally ‘has it all’. He is Mr. Birmingham City with total control via Panos. No other club would offer themselves in this way-more head coach and 4/5 loses and you’re out etc. If I have a concern it is with Derby County who could be a ‘pull’ should they fall out of favour with Paul Clement. This is why I wish Derby promotion.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Rowett has gone on record as saying that he doesn’t like, or agree with the ‘head coach’ or ‘director of football’ roles. He likes to be a manager. He’s a very modern thinking manager… but he’s a traditionlist in that respect I believe. Derby would have to change their management system if they wanted to hire him. Of course, he won’t be here forever, but I believe personally, that he’ll be manager of Blues this season and next, at the very least.

  • I agree with GR only one man can control the team and transfers , but a manager does need a scouting team studying stats plus personality plus his dark side , plus when all deadwood for buying is crossed off the computer and all youngsters tracked for improvement , with consistency being the first quality to be excepted ,

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I read somewhere today, that we have about 5 scouts… apparently, most clubs have 25-30. If that’s the case, I think we’ve done well with the players we’ve brought in.

  • Stevio11 says:

    The lad is my 2nd best player on football manager but IRL I would like him to succed where ever he plays

  • RichD says:

    Apologies if I’ve missed it on the comments thread, but I wonder if we’ve all missed the point. GR has given Brown an opportunity and insight into what he can achieve if he knuckles down. It may be a very clever way of giving him some focus and motivation from a different perspective. Maybe.

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