Often Partisan

New Boys

As the Guinness ad used to say, “the best things come to those that wait”. One signing in yesterday, one due to come in today (Andros Townsend), and still the potential to sign Caleb Folan next week. After a few weeks of the squad looking scarily thin, it really does seem Hughton has pulled some rabbits out of the hat and made on the face of it a couple of very good signings.

I must admit that I was starting to worry myself that Blues weren’t going to make the additions that have been so sorely needed to boost the strength of the squad. I knew that things were afoot, but as always a deal is never quite complete until you’ve got them posing for the picture with the shirt or scarf.

The Huseklepp deal caught all of us by surprise, including Erik himself. The first I heard of it was about ten minutes before I posted it on here, and within two hours he was our player. Blues have insisted over the last few years that they don’t conduct their transfer deals in public and the deal for Erik proved just that. Whilst I do like the fact that we don’t have owners making comments in the public arena that they’ve bid for a stack of players, or offered loan deals to players that are never going to come (like Torres or Tevez picking two examples out of thin air) it requires patience and belief that the deals are going to come off.

With Huseklepp being on a reported £20k per week when he signed for Pompey I’m intrigued as to just how much of that Blues are paying – we may not be in the kind of financial mess Portsmouth are but I didn’t think we were able to spend a massive amount of cash. Interestingly, I picked up from one Norwegian newspaper that Hughton had been interested in Huseklepp when he was manager of Newcastle United and Erik was with SK Brann Bergen.

Then there is the loan signing of Andros Townsend, which barring any last-minute hitches will go through today. Whilst I’ve known for a long time that Hughton has admired the Spurs winger I assumed that when Leeds took Andros on a standard loan during the January window until the end of the season that was the end of it. That being said, Tatts has mentioned Townsend as the kind of player that Blues would be looking for in every webchat I can remember – maybe he was on to something? I was sceptical when Nursey opined that he thought Townsend would sign for Blues (knowing that to cancel a standard loan requires the consent of both clubs and the player), but it very quickly emerged that Townsend was leaving Leeds, and bang – the deal is done.

Leeds fans will point to Townsend being a moody type (three training ground bust-ups in a year or so, two in the last three months), being a “hot and cold” player who was a bit full of himself. Warnock (who I will confess right now I cannot stand) slated Townsend in his press conference yesterday, making out that the player wasn’t interested at Leeds was being selfish in wanting to leave Leeds immediately rather than after the weekend’s fixtures.

On the flip side, you have to wonder how much the change of manager from Grayson to Warnock has affected things. It might be that Townsend had decided he doesn’t like the new setup, and he’d be aware Blues wanted him; throw in an alleged dose of homesickness and boom, you’ve got the current situation. All in all, it’s a good situation for Blues and a bad one for Warnock – so I’m happy both ways, as selfish as that may be.

Blues go into the game with relegation-threatened Forest with new blood – however I think it’s important that we don’t interrupt the momentum Blues have by changing things massively straight away. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Huseklepp and Townsend on the bench for that game, and then brought into the full rotation of the squad after the international break. Both players are cup tied, but will be available until the end of the season including playoffs. Let’s hope they make a success of it, and I wish them all the best.

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26 Responses to “New Boys”

  • geodude says:

    I could never imagine Blues loaning an enigmatic World Cup / Euro winning forward *whistles La Marseillaise*

  • JohnR says:

    Strange people us fans, well at least I am. We all know we require some more bodies because the squad is very thin but as soon as we bring in a couple of loans i worry about how they will fit into the team.
    Will it upset the momentum, will it put some noses out of joint, will they bring something to the team we haven’t got.
    I’m sure it will all be fine and I have the greatest faith in CH. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Blue Boy says:

    Id guess we are paying all of his wages…..if u think about it the chelsea game will more then cover it. 3 month loan so £240,000, its a reward for getting a draw at chelsea.

    Ive never heard of him before, and his goal scoring record isnt fantastic, but i cant wait to see him in a blues shirt.

  • bassman says:

    If you look at the way that our owners have conducted themselves although naive in the amount of money they paid out to buy us and throwing the kitchen sink to eck in the form of expensive loans, even after that disaster they have gone about their business in a dignified manner to keep the club operating this season, in the face of a lame fans revolt, shouts of where’s the money gone etc, maybe just maybe having the sense to employ CH and at the same time make some funds however meagre available for loans, they have done enough to convince the majority of fans of their serious intent towards the club in the face of adversity.

  • Birmingham City Nil says:

    I hope the Townsend deal goes through okay as he’s exactly the kind of player we need – a left sided midfielder who can also play left-back.

    Huseklepp’s salary is an interesting question. The press releases talked about an option for a permanent move in the summer and Erik has a contract with Pompey until June 2014. Assuming Birmingham have agreed to potentially sign him for nothing or a small fee in the summer, I’d guess that they’ve also agreed to pay 100% of his wages until then. Certainly if Blues do sign him permanently, it’s difficult to imagine that he’ll want to accept a pay-cut for next season anyway.

    Financially, Blues are treading a highwire. Zigic £50k, King £30k, Huseklepp £20k etc. The Portsmouth administrator this week described the madness of Pompey having one player on £30k and how that is “unsustainable in Championship economics.”

    If Blues don’t go up, next season’s parachute payment is not only less than this season’s, but it’s also the last. Portsmouth’s financial collapse just now has come from failing to achieve re-promotion during their parachute period, whilst retaining highly-paid players. Assuming a deal can be done with their creditors for them to stay in business, they can rebuild in League One with players on lower salaries – their size of support will give them an advantage and they’ll flourish again in years to come (like Southampton and Norwich).

    Blues could face the same fate in the long-term, if we don’t go up either this season or next. To make matters even more urgent, if we don’t go up this season I’d put money on a Premier League club poaching CH in the summer.

    • Matt says:

      I was under the impression that parachute money is 16 million again next season, then 8 million in both the seasons after.

    • You make some good points but I don’t think King is on anything like £30,000 a week is he? I thought it was more like £13k.

      I imagine the Huseklepp signing has been made with promotion in mind. If we do manage it, then he stays. If not, then back he goes to Portsmouth. Seems eminently sensible to me.

      As some of the earlier commenters have pointed out, nobody has a problem with Blues selling players and cutting their cloth for the Championship. We have owners who aren’t billionaires and I appreciate that they had to make changes. That’s the nature of the situation we are in. I also think Pannu is doing his best under the very difficult circs and is working hard to try and make things better.

      I agree entirely with the original post that there is no problem at all conducting transfer business out of the public eye, it just can be a bit scary when you hear nothing! I have been following Blues for long enough to always fear the worst!

      I suppose the issue is that lots of players have been sold and little or no explanation provided about where the money has gone. If there are debts to pay, and players are sold to cover it then fine. Just say so. It isn’t a sign of weakness to admit that we cannot spend like we used to.

      Selling Beausejour and getting this guy in instead seems like a good decision in any case.

      • Birmingham City Nil says:

        I remember when King signed, it was reported as £30K. Whether it was true is different matter, but I guess the readiness with which he backed out of his agreement with Coventry suggests that a large-ish carrot must have been dangled in front of him.

        As for trading behind closed doors, I don’t remember much of that during negotiations to sign N’Zogbia, Babel or even Nile Ranger.

        Matt, I stand corrected – you’re right about the third year. Portsmouth’s final instalment has just been paid to them, so their demise coincides with the end of this support. I’d revise my original comment to be that we need, preferably, to go back up by May 2014 latest.

        As Blues fans, we know what League One is like. And, whilst there’s the romance of wiping the slate and rebuilding, we have to remember that the games in that division are awful.

    • Rich says:

      King is on £15k.

  • paul snowden says:

    As a Leeds fan, I have to say good luck with Townsend! He’s got pace but that’s pretty much it. In fact, headless chicken springs to mind.

    I really can’t see him adding anything whatsoever to the squad you already have. Also, he clearly makes a habit of storming out as soon as he’s not having it all his own way – not the kind of player a squad with promotion ambitions really needs. He won’t be missed up here for sure!

    • noobloo says:

      Your grapes seem to be a little sour to me. The lad obviously found it difficult to settle in Leeds and you have to accept he didnt want to be there. I mean, you cant force someone to work for MacDonalds when they can work in a 5 star restaurant.

      I watch many championship teams during the course of my work,not just Birmingham and have seen him play at Millwall and Watford. He is better than you indicate. He is no world beater but can be a great impact player from the bench. he struggles to last 90 minutes but if he is used predominantly as a substitute then he will do well for Birmingham.

      Every where neil Warnock goes he claims that referees conspire against the team he manages. I look forward to hearing his conspiracy theories against Leeds in the week to come :-)

  • Stephen Hayes says:

    If Townsend has left leeds for the lure of being managed by CH and a promotion challenge then I would hope that he would have respect for a manager that he would have known as a kid coming through the Spurs youth ranks, CH I’m sure knows what this lad is all about and I have faith in his choices of signings so fingers crossed this will be another good one (if it happens).

    The one area that I am slightly worried about is the full back position, we have Steve Carr on the sidelines which leaves our only 2 recognices full backs in Murphy and Spector under immense pressure to stay fit (and Spector has a niggle at the moment).

    I would have loved to see CH try to bring in Greg Halford from Pompey on loan as cover for both left and right backs, Halford is the only full back that I’ve seen this season that has matched Chris Burke and made him look average and i think with his defensive ability, good crossing and long throw he would be a great addition, plus GH would probably prefer a promotion push than a relegation dog fight, I suppose hoping is all you can do though.

    Any other shouts for full back cover?

    • Birmingham City Nil says:

      Townsend can cover left-back if he does sign.

      As for right-back, Spector is cover for Carr, so unless we get into cover for the cover, I think that’s about it.

      Greg Halford might prefer to be a first-choice fullback at Pompey than a 2nd or 3rd choice for us. Although with us, he might get paid occasionally.

      • Stephen Hayes says:

        Good points and i didnt realise Townsend could play at full back.

        On the subject of Pompey, if they go under before the end of the season (which for the Pompey fans I hope not) well the whole team will be picked off for next to nothing i’d expect.

        Lets hope they are able to stick it out and survive because I would hate to be in their shoes right now.

  • Stokie Blue says:

    Bring Olivier Tebily in for full back cover, out of retirement! What a player lol.

    What are people’s predictions for Saturday’s game???

  • Julian Glass says:

    Would not surprise me if he is Pompey’s 30k per week man. Could he become Carr’s replacement

  • Birmingham City Nil says:

    How come we’re only “often” partisan?

    Why aren’t we always partisan?

    I see other clubs’ fans being partisan all the time and I think to myself, “we should be like that – partisan all the time, not just often”.

    Of course, some clubs’ fans are rarely partisan, which is even worse.

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    Well done to CH and his team , not forgetting the club, in securing two good loans.

    Some were getting slightly apprehensive, but of course, as has already been shown on many occasions, CH knew what he was talking about and refused to panic. Whilst I do not believe either will make a massive impact on our results or performances, it will be reassuring and psychologically positive to the team in that competition will remain very healthy, and it will keep the current squad / team on their tip – toes.

    My opinion regarding Huseklepp is by listening to CH, who has said that he is suited as a link or just playing off the front striker position, where he believes this player to be most effective. CH also stated that EH can if required, play on the wing. Good news in that it provides cover and options in multiple positions.

    With regards to Townsend, he is obviously a raw young talent, and with CH’s north London connection, he will have some background details, and could be the sort of influence that brings the best out of this player. Even so, I do not believe he will be starting more games than coming of the bench and having the last 1/3 to make some sort of impact. Maybe wrong. But am excited by the direction we are taking – two attacking players – even though we are scoring for fun – although have been short since CW’s and JB’s departures and injuries to NZ and MK, it proves that CH does not want to let up with his ‘proper’ footballing philosophy.

    With the above in mind, we may not now go for Caleb Folan, and instead look at full – back cover which might become an issue in the forthcoming weeks. Whatever the scenario, it is going to be an extremely exciting last third to the season.

    The signings also show that the finances might not be as dire as some predicted and the board / owners will still sanction signings which will help the club in attempting to secure promotion at the first attempt. Perhaps PP thought it more wise to secure the players and then announcing it as oppose to what has happened on previous occasions. Fast learners hey?

    Again, well done to Almajir, for keeping the rest of us so well informed and we continue to look forward to your blogs.

  • bluenoseneil says:

    I think we have a right to be encouraged by these signings. My mate is a Pompey fan and has said on a few occasions that Husseklep has been their best player this season in terms of affecting a result. Let’s hope he and Andros can add to our continued success.


  • DoctorD says:

    Why does CH seem to be such a great manager? He has identified a need for someone, got them in, not panicked and tried to maintain team ethos. What I find interesting from the bcfc website is that Townsend will be given squad number 11 — is that a sign he’ll be in the first team more often than not?

    By the way, have you noticed his name contains the words “St Andrews”?

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