Often Partisan

Good and Bad News for Young Guns

Young Blues striker Ronan Hale scored five times for Blues u18 side on Saturday against Leeds at their Thorp Arch training ground in a 6-2 victory. His goals took his personal tally to nine in two games and 17 in 14 this season.

It’s always impressive to see young Blues players doing well and Northern Irish striker Hale certainly seems to have hit a rich vein of form. From watching the highlights there seems to be a variety in his finishes from poaching in the six yard area to something a bit more creative and longer-range which suggests there is a lot to come from him.

I know Blues chased him hard prior to signing him from Crusaders in the summer; from what I heard Hale was seen as a hot prospect and Blues were keen to tie him down to a two year scholarship. The Northern Irish teenager has football in his blood; his grandfather Danny is a legend at Crusaders having scored 143 goals in four seasons and his brother plays for the mob across the expressway in their academy.

He’s capped at u18 level for Northern Ireland and I suspect if he keeps this sort of form up he’ll be knocking on the u21 door at least at Blues very soon.

Meanwhile, the u21 side lost 2-1 to Hull City at North Ferriby United’s ground last night. Blues took the lead through Liam Truslove but late goals from Ben Hinchcliffe and Jarrod Bowen consigned the young Blues side to defeat.

One u21 striker who has had some bad news is Alex Jones, who last night had confirmation that his move to Wellington Phoenix was off after FIFA refused to ratify the transfer due to a delay in receiving the paperwork from the New Zealand football authorities.

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45 Responses to “Good and Bad News for Young Guns”

  • Retroblue 73 says:

    From looking at the highlights you are right Dan, Hale has a variety in his finishes, he looks as if he has that strikers instinct of remaining calm when having the opportunity to score, very early days yes, but as you say from his family he certainly has the knack of scoring in his blood. Someone to keep an eye on for sure….

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I predict that Ronan Hale, although not 18 until September, will make his first team debut by this time next year.
    He is without doubt the most exciting prospect I have seen at Blues since Trevor Francis.
    I have commented before that he reminds me in his style of play of a young Michael Owen.

    • Des says:

      I certainly hope yourrght Richard, only heard about the kid l;ast week for first time but to be honest I had NEVER heard of TF when chosen as sub V Cardiff, I waqs at that game when he came ion and hit post but for some reason lost in the mists of time I wasn’t at stans to see his scoring full debut the following Saturday, didn’t miss many more of his appearances till we sold him to Forest!


  • Lets have him on a long contract as we seem to be feeding the rest of the other clubs top players with very little gain to ourselves ,we must keep hold of HALE if he does turn out that good , , as there seems to be a difference of opinion between the fans and the board on a handful of rice and a handful of gold dust in pricing our young stars…

  • Art says:

    I agree entirely but think your comments will fall on death ears.

    I just can’t get excited about young players with great potential being sold for a couple of bob when the needs be.

    It’s scandalous.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Have you got any suggestions as to how a club in the situation we are in with our useless owners generates funds other than developing young talent and then selling them? £3.75m for Gray is not a “couple of bob” by any means. That money has allowed GR the opportunity to strengthen the squad recently and hopefully he will be able to again in the summer. I would like to think the ownership situation might change one day so we can keep our promising young players but we are where we are and I would argue that finding and developing young talent has never been more important for the club. We are from being the only club who have to do the same.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        True. Most clubs, from the middle of the Championship down have to generate money by selling players. It’s not a modern thing.. I remember Burnley doing it in the 60s and 70s. They produced some excellent players… went on to be internationals too most of them.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    It’s a shame for Alex Jones, but there’s no reason why the lad can’t go out on loan to a League 1 or 2 club. I think that would do him more good than playing for some obscure team out in NZ.

  • Tony says:

    If he’s good enough he is old enough, fast track him into the first team squad, Francis, had been doing the business for two years at Hales age.

    • almajir says:

      Don’t you think they would have if he was…

      Why can’t people be patient and watch a proper steady development? Why the fascination with dumping players in at the deep end?

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I can understand to a certain extent. People would like to enjoy our younger players for a while before they’re invariably sold. But not every 16-18 yo is ready for the step up… that’s why the bigger clubs wait until they’ve played a few first team games before they pounce. It’s a vicious circle, but an inevitable one for a club like us.

      • Singapore Brum says:

        Trevor Francis was dumped in the deep end when he was just 16 – and he turned out alright.

  • Big Al says:

    Lets not lump any pressure on the lad. Andrew Barrowman was supposed to be the next big thing a few years back and last I heard he was plying his trade in League 1 in Scotland. Meanwhile the Scottish Wayne Rooney has just walked out on the loan deal in Kazakhstan after one day. I reserve complete judgement until such time as I see him play in the first team.

  • I to voted to sell gray for £3.75 mil Shirley blue but was very angry for us not excepting £5 mil around 16 weeks earlier , is there any reason why we can’t play HALE in the first team to secure him and then loan him out ..

    • StaffsBlue says:

      We may see 3 or 4 of the U21s in the first team squad next season, with the loan window finishing. I can see at least 6 players, who are out of contract, leaving in the summer. With those and possibly a few more leaving, I doubt all of them will be replaced with signings, so the U21s will be an important source of new squad players I reckon… so the more experience they get now, the better, whether that be out on loan, or 10 or 15 minutes here and there for the first team.

    • almajir says:


      The money Bournemouth offered wasn’t £5mil. Headline figure was that but that included ALL add-ons.

      Hale isn’t ready for the first team… if he was, I have no doubt he’d be in the squad…

  • I for one Staffs Blue can see blues benefitting from such a move as long as GazR and co stays true to blues .

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I don’t think it particularly matters who the manager is tbh William. Any manager worth his salt will use youth players if they’re first team ready. Our last batch of youngsters were thrown in through necessity.. and look what happened. Where are most of them now? Patience is a virtue.

  • Kazakblue says:

    Have him on the bench against one of the weaker clubs we are due to play at home, then possibly bring him on with 20 minutes left, as long as we are 2 goals in front.

  • Thank you for that Almajir , I think….

  • I agree with you kazak blue ,you never know until you try it .

  • Dan Hickman says:

    Look back not too long and even clubs like West Ham were selling players to keep them with enough cash to stay in the PL, Ferdinand, Carrick, Lampard, Cole. Different amounts of money granted but they still sold half and England team to stay afloat. Truth is the good young players we had would have meant nothing without a club to play for. Hopefully we will change hands and be able to develop players for longer, and give them Premier League football at St Andrews, until then it’s pointless getting worked up that we had to sell players, it was a means to an end

  • Matt says:

    Surely Hale will next be introduced to the u21 team? Or has he already done so? Correct me if I’m wrong. The lad is a natural goalscorer by the looks of it, a fantastic thing to have. The best players don’t fluff the chance to shoot and Hale doesn’t seem to either!

  • Mitchell says:

    It would be nice to see Hale go to Walsall or Burton on loan. That would give him a real chance to see exactly what stage he is at. Clough or O’Driscoll would be ideal foster guardians for him and keep him ‘within the family’.

  • There was a suggestion not that long ago about clubs being youth training grounds for the better premiership clubs ,I have seen blues to many times in the top tier to except blues being one of those clubs period , but I get the feeling that these shareholders of ours are quiet happy to do that with blues permenantly . …No spending large amounts so no risks. So safe shares .

  • Dan Hickman says:

    He might be good enough but also you have to make sure he is physically ready for the senior game, he is only a young lad and a few years away from physical maturity. Michael Owen was a shadow of himself at 29 because he was mismanaged as a kid, Joe Cole another who fizzled out after breaking into West Hams first team at 16. Let’s not break him for the sake of impatience, I’m sure when the manager thinks he will affect the first team he will include him. I would have him step up to the 21s and see how he copes with the slightly bigger lads and if he isn’t fazed then have him on the bench next year. Could be a good Owen to Donaldsons Heskey given a bit of time.

  • Mitchell says:

    I think Richard Cranfield’s observation about Ronan Hale and TF.is both exciting and a little bit fearsome. Mainly because of our inability to keep hold of our young talent. We watch them and we buy into them and just as they are a fixture-off they all go. My real hope however is that things may change if new ownership ever happens- but sadly I cannot get too excited about new gems purely for the reasons said.

  • For me its not just the losing of a young player , its the loss of gate money that such a talent will attract over the years , its the loss of the possible success that a quality might bring , its the loss of the possible entertainment over the years to come , and its that feeling that once more we have been cheated ., sure we could do the same to other clubs ,if we had the same pulling power ,if we could offer a large wage , or afford to buy the family a manor house ., but what is stopping the top clubs doing us again 6months down the line ….

    • Mitchell says:

      That is why William it is all so sad.I know nearly all clubs are in our position but we appear to be more vulnerable than most. Just supposing Richard Granfield is right and Hale is another TF-how many games will we see him in a blues shirt. Development stages possibly with a few starts but a couple of seasons in our first team very doubtful. What is frustrating is that we appear to have an abundance of talent coming through and if these players make it and play for us -then super times ahead-but as always we don’t have a figurehead as an owner whom we can relate to or glean a bit of clarity as to our future vision. TTA at the moment is all we cling to.

  • Dave Mann says:

    It’s never changed in my lifetime so can’t see it changing in my death time , we gave got to come to terms with the fact that we are not good enough , big enough or rich enough to compete at the top level and it’s been like that for 140 years so let’s just enjoy our young players when we have them . KRO

  • Blooming hell Dave don’t start talking about death time I am happy go lucky bloke always laughing .and I am trying my hardest to have one more charge for glory , doctors have told me I have 7 years to live , I will take that at my age , let’s not fade away Dave , let’s help right the world for our grandkids.

  • atko says:

    He looks a talent for sure but those calling for him to be thrown in to the first team squad need their head examining. It would make absolutely no difference to us as a club and possibly do HIM more harm than good….have you seen how many chances we create our strikers? Throwing him in there is likely to get a young kid frustrated and disillusioned. Whilst a player like him has goals in him, this is just one game, one season against similar age groups on the whole. Week in week out against Championship players with experience with few chances if any created for him is sure to hinder him. We might need goals but as I’ve said before, they won’t come without creating chances or shooting no matter who is up front!!!

  • Dave Mann says:

    Are you serious William ? .. If that’s the case then we must have a serious plan to get promoted and do you and your family proud .. our grand kids will pick it up without our intervention , it’s in the blood and we will go on no matter what , mate I hope your joking !! . about the 7 years ! KRO

  • No it’s true Dave but I don’t give in that easy I intend living longer than a doctors graph statement says .one good cup year will do me , and a trip to Europe again .come on blues…

  • Tony says:

    Sam Alardyce when playing against Trevor Francis and by his own admission would have kicked lumps out of him t if only he could have got near him. BUT HE COULDNT. Trevor was 17.

  • Tony says:

    Hales is not a centre forward hes an old fashioned inside forward a number 8 just like Trevor, he could avoid taking the crap Donaldson takes

  • Mitchell says:

    I notice that GR is almost certain to play Toral and Fabbrini next week against Bolton. ‘More creativity’ needed he says. Well that’s what Fabbrini has been brought in for surely. Against Wednesday and Rotherham was an opportunity lost after securing Fab. Let’s hope now that players brought in are players to enter the fray straight away without the dithering around. Annoying really.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      If he intends playing both, then one of them will probably be shunted out to the wing, Toral maybe. I can’t see him dropping Gleeson of Kief. You never know though I suppose.

      • Mitchell says:

        Staffs. MK will stay with Davis alongside. Gleeson I would expect to drop to bench. Time has now run out with the current midfield and Fab/Toral have to start. Without this change we will never be creative. Will give the team and fans a lift and hopefully get a better service to Don.

  • David L says:

    Just as a point of info re Andrew Barrowman as mentioned further up on the thread.

    He’s now at Albion Rovers in Scots Div 1 – and was first choice to lead the line in their successful first half of the season, but a mate who follows AR tells me he wasn’t much appreciated and his game time has become more limited.

    Must admit I wasn’t aware of his BCFC links

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