Often Partisan

Jimmy Mac, when are you coming back?

Today was the day that the Blues players arrived back at Wast Hills for pre-season training. As the photos appeared on bcfc.com though, the focus was on players who weren’t there more than those who were. One of those players, James McFadden, has been a focus of attention and I thought it was worth jotting down some notes to clear up some misconceptions.

Whilst it’s true that James McFadden is now out of contract with Birmingham City as the two year option that was on his contract has not been taken up, he has not yet been formally released. Birmingham City are currently trying to negotiate a new deal with McFadden, but the Glaswegian left forward is also free to talk to any other club that he wishes.

However, until such a time as James McFadden is either released by the club, or he signs a new deal with another team, his playing registration remains with Birmingham City and his wages as they were prior to his contract expiring. This is as per Rule C, 1.j.ix (PDF link, page 4) of the FA rules governing football:

An existing agreement shall continue and have full force and effect between the parties on the terms and conditions as those pertaining prior to the expiration of the initial period of employment, or the option period if appropriate, and the Player will continue to train and play as instructed by the Club until 31st August, or the date on which the Player registers for another Club, whichever is the sooner.

Having had a flick through transfer rumours online, I can honestly say I’ve not seen anything regarding James McFadden since a brief rumour about him going back to Glasgow and joining Celtic, which was quickly shot down by Neil Lennon. Either McFadden’s agent has been very quiet about where his client might end up, or there is not a surfeit of offers on the table for the 28 year old Scot.

I think we should do what we can to offer McFadden a one year deal. I didn’t really rate him that much as a player until I realised last season how much we missed him; Jimmy Mac offers the team balance in midfield and a bit of much needed guile and flair. However, it has to be said you never really know how a player will come back from a serious injury like ACL damage, and I think this might be why teams are reticent to come forwards with a deal. I think a 12 month deal, with maybe a 12 month option would give McFadden a year to prove himself whilst protecting the club against having to make a massive payout should he break down with injury again. If we didn’t go up at the end of the season, McFadden would have the chance to fix himself up somewhere else; if we did we’d have an extra year to hang on to him if we desired.

Obviously, football isn’t as easy as that; if it was that easy to sort contracts we’d probably have done it by now. I’ll be disappointed if Blues do have to let go of McFadden, but I accept there will probably be sound economic reasons if we cannot agree a contract. What’s certain is though for now he’s with us, will be training with us and can even play for us until he’s sorted out.

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15 Responses to “Jimmy Mac, when are you coming back?”

  • almajir says:

    As much as I’m loathe to argue with you Thongsy, I’d have thought if he was in demand he’d have signed a pre-contract with someone else before July 1 and moved on. I won’t deny that I think he will move on but the longer it drags on the less I think he is going to get that lucrative move, and the more he’s going to be ready to accept something lower.

  • PeteB says:

    Let’s not forget that whilst several players have hinted (or blatantly said) that they want to leave, they only met Hughton yesterday. Hopefully now everyone’s back together, we may be able to convince a few, such as McFadden, to stay on realistic Championship wages.

    Perhaps we could add to his 1 year deal that he is guaranteed an improved offer if we get promoted? Give him an extra year extension at his discretion on better wages providing we get promoted…

    Hopefully he’ll stay because at the moment, we’re only going after free transfers and we aren’t going to find someone as good as McFadden.

  • TR7 says:

    It has been very quiet regarding McFadden , something that surprised me because as soon as he was injured last season we suffered immediately from the loss of his natural talent. We had no one that could try ( let alone do ! ) the unexpected quite like he does.
    Fans can quickly forget all to easily the deft touches and inovation that some players have that stand them apart. McFadden is definitely is a cut above , I’d love to see him back.

  • Billy Blue says:

    McFadden is going to find it hard to find another club who will pay him the wages Blues have done for the last 3 years.
    Although still only a 28 year old, McFadden has consistently failed to perform at the level expected, or at the level his skills would indicate he is capable. His workrate can leave a bit to be desired and that can only be compensated if he regularly ‘performs’ by utilising those skills – however, imo, he does not.

    McFadden’s career injury record is not good, Since joining Blues in January 2008, he was immediately injured and missed a significant number of games in the 5 months left of that relegation season. In the 2008/09 season in the Championship, he was again out injured for a numer of games, missing a total of 18 games that season. Back in the Premier season 2009/10 he maintained much better fitness being available for all but a couple of games, although not always in the starting line up. Last season 2010/11 he was again injured only 4 games into the season and missed the whole of the rest of the season. It is not a good record at all. He had also suffered a ‘not so good’ injury record at Everton previously.

    In his 12 full seasons of playing 1st team football, Mcfadden has averaged only 21 games a season (includes substitute appearances). This track record speaks for itself. In 3.5 seasons with Blues he has made 82 appearances (includes sub appearances) out of a possible 144 total games played during his period here – an appearance record of only 57% (including substitute appearances).

    The above is his injury record, so what does he do when actually on the pitch?
    His goal scoring record is abysmal at best; a total of 13 goals (includes 5 pens) in 82 league games, 8 goals in open play alone can’t justify his £28k a week wages. So what else does he do on the pitch? He can display ‘silky’ skills, but too often he tries to do too much and loses the ball. He can put in decent crosses and corners, but rarely gets to the bye line to cross the ball because he lacks the pace to run past a right back. He does have a good shot on him, but that happens only rarely. He has at times been missed when not in the team, but that has been down more, imo, to the type of system McLeish insisted on playing when McFadden wasn’t in the team. When he has been in the team however, it has appeared to leave Blues short in covering opposing team’s midfield, due mainly to Mcfadden’s reluctance to track back, although that did improve somewhat after time.

    All in all, what will Blues, or any other team, get if he stays or goes?
    1) A good penalty taker (although another player could take that responsibility)
    2) A bit of excitement when he gets on the ball and tries to beat a man or two or three or……
    3) A decent crosser of a ball from corners

    1) Injury prone
    2) Not a natural goal scorer in open play and never converts chances at a percentage rate that should be expected from a player with his skill.
    3) Does not put as a high work rate as his teammates, which can lead to others getting frustrated with him
    4) Tends to blame his teammates when he loses the ball
    5) Can go on a sulk, and go missing during a match
    6) Appears to think he is a superior player compared to his teammates (even if is he, he shouldn’t sometimes display his contempt at their on field efforts)
    7) He appears to need to be handled with kid gloves by his manager (McLeish pandered to him, but will another manager? Moyes didn’t and he kept throwing his toys out the pram when at Everton)

    I am all for Pannu playing hard ball with Mcfadden. His initial contract has ended and taking up extension option would have meant Blues continuing as is with his wages and terms; i.e £28k a week plus bonuses, with 50% reduction on relegation. Even with his 50% reduction he would still be on £14k a week. Not an unreasonable amount some may think, and they may be correct if that was all he was entitled. Mcfadden received the same bonus as the rest of the team for winning the Cup, even though he didn’t play a single game. This is just one of the bonuses built into his initial contract that Blues would have remained liable if we had just taken up the extension option.

    What should Blues do?

    Pannu should continue to play hard ball imo.

    Mcfadden is still not 100% recovered from last season’s injury – he soent yesterday’s training session with the physio’s, not on the training pitch. Blues should only enter into a pay as you play offered contract until Mcfadden at least shows he has totally, or is getting close to being totally, recovered from his injury, and that there do not appear any knock on effects resulting from his injury.

    Mcfadden needs to demonstrate he actually wants to play for Blues, before we offer new contract.

    Final decision should be made by Hughton, and not Pannu who started negotiations with Mcfadden because McLeish wanted to keep him.

    My own opinion is that we should let McFadden go. His attitude and goalscoring record when we were last in the Championship were not what Blues need right now.

    McFadden is an enigma. In many ways he is as Frank Worthington was an enigma, except he is not fit to lace the boots of Frank, even though McFadden himself may believe otherwise!


  • bluenose08 says:

    definately should try and keep fads he might not score many goals but has plenty of assists and is able to make that telling pass. you wont get a better player on a free.

  • Tony says:

    Agree about Jimmy Mac but what abour zigic? where was he yesterday its all well and good his agent saying hes going to get out of there, but we are paying his wages still and he is under contract.
    As far as Im concerned if he did not turn up for training then fine him two weeks wages, players are not treating to club with respect.
    This whole thing looks very bleak for blues, I cant see us getting back for years we had seven or eight genuine premiership players two have left and more want to go, there should be a clear strategy drawn up decide who we will sell and do it as soon as possible, the nearer it gets to deadline clubs will realise we will be desperate for the cash and the bids will drop.

  • marko says:

    Jimmy Macs house is up for sale so maybe he is off?

  • AR says:

    Keep up the good work almajir ! You are a breath of fresh air as well as writing well thought out stuff on Blues. Without you we wouldn’t know half of what is going on in Fragrant Harbour.

  • Sparky says:

    From what I hear Faddy is off to Celtic, injury prone & doesn’t have enough days. What a bottler is Zigic though, didn’t fancy a relegation dog fight, pulled a sickie & we never saw him again after Wembley. I say good riddance & lets have players who want to fight for the royal blue – KRO

  • steven price says:

    Almajir, as a villa fan who takes great interest in all midlands football I have to stress what a breath of fresh air you are to the bloging world..I suspect you have a trade in the law profession but I imagine that is why you have such a rounded opinion. Anyway my point is that it is nice to see somebody reporting to his fellow supporters the state of your fine club. The extent of the flipancy shown by so many head in the sand fans lead by a all is fine at st Andrews columnist from the Birmingham mail defies belief. Anyway I will look forward to reading your well informed posts and hope bluenoses will do to.

    • almajir says:

      I am in no way at all in the legal profession, I can assure you of that.

      I also think you’re being unfair to Mr Tattum; he does a very good job IMO with reporting on Blues but I think he’s been let down a bit by the reporters that aren’t on the sports section; there doesn’t seem to be much backup from the business dept for example.

      • steven price says:

        I Did not mention Mr Tattum. However your web page is fascinating reading and it is great that you dig deep to find out information about your beloved club. It is better time spent here than spending 45 pence on reading no news in the mail.

      • viperblue says:

        I am a 1st time reader of your blog.
        I found your coments & insghts clever and informative.
        count me in as a fan
        In Chris we trust K..ro

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