Often Partisan

Squad Analysis

This time last year I took a lot at the squad and how it was fixed up, to try to identify the areas where Blues needed to strengthen most. Obviously things are slightly different this season as we have fewer players but I’ve tried again to work it out.

At the moment the current contracted squad list looks like this:


Ben Foster, Colin Doyle, Jack Butland

Right Backs

Stephen Carr, Jonathan Spector

Left Backs

David Murphy, Mitch Hancox, Amari’i Bell

Centre Backs

Curtis Davies, Stephen Caldwell, Pablo Ibanez, Fraser Kerr, Will Packwood, Jack Deaman

Right Midfielders

Chris Burke, Nathan Redmond

Left Midfielders

Callum Reilly

Central Midfielders

Morgaro Gomis, Wade Elliott, Keith Fahey, Fisayo Adarabioyo, Brice Ntambwe, Eddy Gnahore


Marlon King, Adam Rooney, Nikola Zigic, Akwasi Asante, Jake Jervis.

The players marked in red have expiring contracts
The players marked in blue haven’t started a league game for the club

As you can see, Blues are a bit thin on the ground – there are a grand total of 16 “senior pros” at the club, with two who have contracts that expire on Saturday. There are 12 young pros that have professional contracts but have not played for the club; these range from Jack Butland who was with the England team at Euro 2012 and will be playing for Team GB in the Olympics through to Fisayo Adarabioyo who is barely seventeen and has only just signed his first pro deal.

As it was at the end of last season, the left side is where Blues are weakest and once players are allowed to be signed it’s where I think Blues have to bring someone in first. After that it comes down to how much squad depth is required, how many players need to be replaced and how much the kids will be trusted – particularly with seven on the bench this season. I can see Blues maybe blooding one or two with places on the bench here and there to try to bolster the squad somewhat but I’m sure Lee Clark will not want to be in a position whereby he’s having to rely on 17 and 18 year olds week in, week out.

Another worrying factor is that of those 28 players, only seven of them have contracts that continue beyond the end of this season – David Murphy, Nikola Zigic, Nathan Redmond, Curtis Davies, Fisayo Adarabioyo, Eddy Gnahore (all expire 2014) and Jack Butland (2015). Admittedly, this doesn’t take into account any options and I’m waiting for confirmation from the club on which players have these appended to their deals; for example I believe Ben Foster has a 2 year option but I am unsure as to whose favour that is in.

In saying all that, as the Nikola Zigic situation has proved it might not be such a bad thing that Blues have kept contracts shorter because it means that the club has less money tied up in players that it might want to move on in the future. It’ll be intriguing to see how the club deal with the situation as the season progresses.

As ever, it’s down to the embargo which Blues have now been under for 119 days. The sooner that they can get that lifted and enter the market to balance up the squad, the better. Pre-season training starts very shortly and the club need to start getting into shape for the tough campaign ahead.

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55 Responses to “Squad Analysis”

  • Mike says:

    All I want is a Blues team that’s worth playing as on FIFA 13.

    • EverBlue says:

      My life im so confused right now….chuffed to bits cos i got on offer on a season ticket from a mate for next year i cant refuse. Im so happy, thought i would only be able to make a handful of games like last year after many years of never missing any. Massive weight off my shoulders! After reading all the gloom day after day on whats going on, and resigned to the fact i wouldnt be able to afford to go anyway, im on cloud nine. It aint just about clocking through the turnstile, its the whole deal, my love for Blues will never fade no matter how shit we are, im just chuffed i’ll be a regular down there next season….. and yet theres the confusion..only a couple of days ago i was nodding my head at comments to boycot the blues to get the liquidation/administration thing going….now im just chuffed cos i can get back into the routine of it……..

  • maurice walters says:

    Almajir thanks to your web-site i can keep in touch with thing at blues,as an expat living in asia and a blues supporter for nearly 70 years i have seen and have a lot of memorys (9-1 win against liverpool i was there)as i said i live in asia have an asian wife (23 years married)and feel i should comment on our owners ,
    Asian people are very different to western people they will not lie (just stay sillent)so look for that,
    As for Peter Panu give him a chance he must being given the silent treatment from Hong Kong i think he is doing a great job at blues under a lot of stress.
    good appointment with Clark for manager KRO

  • KiwiJohn says:

    Agree with Maurice. As an Expat in NZ your website keeps me upto speed with all things Blues – I ‘m often better informed than my brother in Leeds! Great work Al. KRO

  • Geoff corvette says:

    Disguted with the choice of manager. Should have been mcleish!!!

    • maurice walters says:

      O Geoff please dont go back unlss it is into the 1950s What a team

      BEAT Liverpool 9-1 aug 1953
      now that would be worth going back for kro

  • Pete says:

    Simple really- we need a lot of loans! Most decent free signings have gone. I mean, if we could get Townsend again for the year that would be a decent midfield of A.T., Fahey, Spector/Elliot, Burke. I would like to see King with Redmond up front in the hole.

    It is thin though, but if we have just 2 or 3 youth players come in and some decent loans then who can do a decent job then we have a squad which can compete.

    I do love how Pannu reckons self-sustainable means having no staff and that we are making a significant profit, but cannot afford £500k for the manager that everyone wanted (as he says he was listening to this).

    • Gareth says:

      Just a heads up, not everybody wanted Holloway (me included).

      He’s an absolute hypocrite, an attention seeker, and his teams couldn’t defend if their life depended on it. Let’s look at his record under Blackpool. Finished lower than Blues did under Mcleish, finished lower than Blues did under Hughton, didn’t get promoted in the play offs. Just because he occasionally says something funny in an interview, doesn’t mean every blues fan wanted him.

      Maybe time will tell I was wrong, but I much preferred Clark over Holloway.

      • maurice walters says:

        i agree with you Gareth much prefer Clark to Holoway and after watching his interview i am even more sure come on the blue boys feeling better already KRO

      • Cleggy says:

        Yep, couldn’t believe Holloway emerged as the fans favourite. He’s a mediocre manager at best and not even that funny (people just think a west country accent is ‘endearing’ *wretch*). Much happier with a young ambitious manager like Clark whose previous team not only scored a lot of goals but didn’t concede many either, unlike Blackpool.

    • nicky wicky says:

      Your wrong about the bosmans. We could have got parnaby,and Carter in october last year so you can’t say mostof the decent bosmans have gone. did you know that last year there were over 400 players without a club just in scotland. You’ll find there’s plenty of decent players looking for a club even at christmas!

  • Mark says:

    Problem is we cant even loan anyone until the embargo is lifted. Check the wording on how Pannu talks about the embargo:

    (a) It appears that he is deluded enough to think we can still sign players during the embargo
    (b) Also the wording appears to point out that he dont sound like a man concerned about it…

    HE SHOULD BE CONCERNED the football league aint stupid they dont invent embargo’s that allow signing players, otherwise where is the incentive for club adherence.

    Sad thing is if the league allow it without the BIHL accounts then in my opinion, we will never see BIHL accounts.

    Even now Vico has probably carried the can for one of the elements so that’s probably the clubs viable excuse that a member has stolen it and therefore thats a legitimate reason to say he has now been removed from all dealings!! Doesn’t mean to say he has not just taken the funds and still has contact with yeung!!

    • Gareth says:

      Portsmouth signed 2 (maybe 3) players in January whilst under a transfer embargo.

    • TonyB says:

      Wrong! The terms of the embargo are that Blues need to seek FA approval for signings which will not be unreasonably withheld. It’s one extra step to go through in a signing but not the end of the world. Stop looking foir the worst case in everything.

      • almajir says:

        Tony – you are in fact in the wrong.

        I’ve checked this out fully now and I have the full SP on the Embargo factfile page.

        The league will only give special dispensation in very special cases.

        • Blueboy 88 says:

          Peter Pan does not see it that way –

          The embargo is not a catch-all measure.
          “In any event, the embargo does not cripple the club’s activities but just requires the club to seek approvals in our transfer activities,”

          • almajir says:

            I don’t necessarily believe everything Pannu says, and in this instance I think he’s wrong…

          • Blueboy 88 says:

            Well if PP is wrong – then that’s a seriousl error of judgement…
            because the impication then is that Clark can not strengthen the squad anytime soon…

  • nicky wicky says:

    If Blues are making a profit,but they can’t afford to pay compo to get a decent manager I don’t see how they are stillpaying Nikola Zigic £2-3million per year. It doesn’t make sense.has PP got a special liking for Zigic. He has moved out most of the other high earners why would he keep Zigic? Zigic is not being difficult so his wages must have been reduced when Blues were relegated for him still to be at the club.

    • almajir says:


      Try the fact that noone else will pay ziggy’s wages. If no one will take them on, we can’t sell him and we are stuck with him.

      • nicky wicky says:

        surely a premier team would have come in for him PP has got rid of all the other big earners. How can they be making a profit and paying him £2-3million. Judging by PP actions with all the other big earners l suspect he had a relegation clause in his contract. It doesn’t make sense.does PP have a special liking for Zigic? Zigic was getting the same as Craig Gardner wasn’t he?

        • almajir says:

          You don’t do the simple stuff do you Nicky?

          No one wanted Zigic. He’s quite old for a footballer, he’s had a few injuries and he’s on a wedge. No one wanting him equals no one signing him equals Blues being stuck with him.

          Blues made a profit last season cos they sold 22million quids worth of players. The profit is a bit of misdirection anyway; the profit was required to counterbalance the hideous loss of the previous two seasons.

          Take it from me. Zigic is on a butt load of cash, and no one wants to sign him. I like the lanky Serb, really I do, but Blues CANNOT afford him.

  • Chris says:

    Just watched the Lee Clark interview on BCFC.com & from what he was saying it seems he’s determined to carry on the good work started by CH & his aim is to go one better & get us promoted.
    I was a bit scheptical about him but after one interview he’s won me over!!.
    Hopefully soon we’ll get some more good news & get that darn transfer embargo lifted & we can move onward & upward.
    Here’s to winning!! KRO

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    When is an embargo not an embargo ?

    Peter Pan – The embargo is not a catch-all measure.
    “In any event, the embargo does not cripple the club’s activities but just requires the club to seek approvals in our transfer activities,”

    Almajir – You were trying to find out if Coventry City’s owners SISU had filed their accounts with the football league to lift CC’s transfer ban , or if the league were satisfied by just having the clubs accounts filed.

    Any Luck ?

  • Masaccio says:

    All we need is a bunch of players who want to play for the club.

  • KeeprightCroydON says:

    I occasionally comment on the Birmingham Mail site, but this is the first time that I’m doing so here. Only started visiting this site recently and must say I’m very impressed. Well done Almajir, and keep up the good work. The other thing I like is that the comments in this section, in the main, are constructive and in the spirit of sensible banter. Yes there is the occasional personal attack, this is inevitable, but it is very rare.

    I would like to add a warm welcome to Lee Clark, and hopefully he’ll be true to his word of building on the foundation laid by CH.

    As for PP, I’ve blown hot & cold in my views of him. I have now come to the conclusion that he genuinely tries to keep fans informed, but he is so often kept in the dark by the BIH board, which he is not a member of, that he is forced into silence. His last missive on the club website would appear to bear this out. Even if the lawyer in him is careful to give himself “get out” clauses such as considering to “eye-popping” offers. He did say that it is afterall a business, but I hope he also realises that businesses need to hold on to their prime assets at they bring higher rewards in the long term. The two main assets the club has are its players and fanbase. Look after one, and it benefits from the other, and vice versa. Something PP should take into account if he receives any “eye popping” offers for the likes of Redmond and Butland.

  • theurbaneguerilla says:

    I think Clark was the standout candidate and I for one back him to the hilt for wanting to lead the Blues.
    Pannu got us Hughton and now Clark, so kudos to him on another solid appointment. I also think the fella deserves a bit of credit for his statement yesterday on BCFC.COM.
    At least he’s making an attempt to engage with the issues, unlike what is looking like a shady collection of opportunists in HK.
    If he is to be taken at face value, he is doing a decent job of protecting the club’s interests in the face of what appears to be a boardroom struggle.
    Perhaps its time for the uninformed doom mongers to sod off and leave the club to the diehard supporters who support the club, not the board, Pannu or Clark in particular.
    I say good luck Lee, well done Pannu and let’s look ahead to better times.
    The negativity is getting boring now.

  • Alan Francis says:

    At least 5 new players needed. There is in effect currently no left midfield apart from an untried youngster, no ball winner in midfield, no cover at left back, just one cover at centre half and possibly no cover at right back unless Stephen Carr plays for another season. So will we have the resources provided and what quality will these players have? Another unanswered question from Mr Pannu’s statement.

  • alexjhurley says:

    Never a dull moment as a bluenose, eh ? great innit !?

    A couple of thoughts from me on recent events

    1. Jordan Mutch. I see the anti-Pannu brigade have quickly grasped this particular strawer as thier latest and increasingly contrived attepmt to convince all reasonable fans that PP is still a dishonest, scheming liar as they have been telling us, rather than starting to give the guy the benefit of the doubt which to me he increasngly deserves. Allow me to enlighten them.

    Cardiff’s manager and staff know mutch from previous. CArdiff’s owner gives them £100M to spend. Cardiff ring Pannu and make a generous offer for a player who has had at best an average season and is unlikely to ever become a Premiership player. CArdiff then offer Mutch a load of money we can’t compete with. All parties are happy so the deal happens. End of.Neither Mutch nor Pannu have lied in public. BOth have put a little spin on events to suit thier purposes. That’s football, happens in every single deal these days. If Mutch hasn’t come through our academy people wouldn’t give a stuff. “replacable” was the word Pannu used. Absolutely.

    2. The statement. I find it utterly unbelievable that there is still a minority who are disatisfied. WHat more can the guy do ? What more info do people want? all the till reciepts from theclub shop ? for CHrsit sakes, they moan when he doesn’t talk and thenm when he does it’s either “lies” or “not enough info” or both. THese people really ought to bog off down Villa park where they would fit in much better. I’d sooner have 15,000 down Stans next season backing the team and creating a good atmos, than 18,000 with 3000 negative tw&ts bringing everyone else down. What lies has Pannu ever told ? According to Tom Ross he promised to do a radio phone in and then didn’t. Cardinal sin that, eh – clearly not a fit and propor person.

    3. The future. We are one of the bigger championship clubs. In terms of our history and current support levels I guess we rank between 20 and 30 in the list of english clubs. We get gates of 20,000. When things go really well we get 27,28000. The last 10 years have been one of the best decades in the clubs history (in terms of success rather than entertainment!), so we are finding it hard to accept our natural level right now. I honestly beleive the club is in good shape. Financially we are one of few clubs who have handled relegation appropriately by quickly cutting our cloth and getting good prices for our players (anyone using the term “firesale” needs to be immediately given a map to Vile Park – it simply wasn’t.). Pannu says we’ve made a substantial profit last season and are self sufficient with no need to sell players unless the offer is too good to turn down. Don’t underestimate what a strong position this compared to many other clubs. I agree that the proof of the puudding is in the eating and we need to improve the squad a lot. But there’s no evidence that says we won;t do this and plenty of time in which to do it.

    4. Holloway. Yes he might have been marginally better than clark, who knows. But his track record isn’t as good as his PR, and the fact he made some kind remarks about us doesn’t mean he’s the new mourinho. As somebody has pointed out above he’s yet to finish above us in the league….

    I think we’ll have a good season. For those who don’t and who don’t like Pannu – fine, your opinion youre entitled to it. Just like your opinion last summer was that we would be falling through the divisions and going into admin. I think you should stop moaning and propounding your stupid conspiracy theories and get behind the team and the club – there’s far more chance of us being succesful if you do than if you don’t.

    KRO and SOTV

    • Alan Francis says:

      So if we dont need to sell, will we keep our better players including Ben Foster, and will the new manager be provided with the resources to acquire the 5 players we need to compete at this level? See post above and I know there is no crystal ball. If another player is sold thenwe need 6 coming in? Totally unanwered in the statement. Perhaps Lee Clark and Terry McDermott will bring their boots otherwise or should I bring mine out of retirement and from Cofton park?

      • alexjhurley says:

        it’s not totally unanswered by the statement. Pannu says the manager will be backed. WHat more can he say ? if he says we’re gonna buy 5 players he’s on a hiding to nothing cos we might only end up bringing 4 in. If he says we’re gonna spend £10M the price of anyone we want doubles. Just take his word for it, he’s never lied before. I’d bet anyone £20 that we improve the squad substantially between now and the big KO.

        • Alan Francis says:

          We need a minimum of 5 unless we are going to have untried youngsters as first team choices. I wait with a level of hope that is somewhat unbelieving. I wish to be proved wrong.

          • alexjhurley says:

            Totally agree we need 5 (or more) more new players. It’ll happen, keep the faith ! Then of course we’ll have to see if they’re any good…..I won’t be making any bets on that just now – down to Clark to cut the mustard.

        • James Black says:

          Your right Alex. The mistake of discussing how much you intend to invest proved to be a mistake before. everyone adds noughts when the enquiry is made as well they heard how much is available.

      • Blueboy 88 says:

        Could you bring your brother Trevor with you & his boots….

        • Alan Francis says:

          Will ask Trev if he will come out of retirement. Found my boots in the back of mum’s garage, old black and white adidas caked with mud from Walkers Heath, Senneleys Park and Cofton etc. Ive got my old Auto Windscreens blues shirt and am ready to answer the cause, Captain Mainwaring.!!!

    • terryms says:

      Hi I agree with most of your comments. PP has been quite open in many respects and has openly criticised personnel amongst his BIHL owners or implied as miuch . So he’s feeling very confident about his position or has found an interesting way to ‘hand in his notice ‘! His comments on new owners are also surprisingly candid too. Whether his comments re season ticket sales are correct is questionable. If the owners back the manager, the team performs and the results follow then the crowds will turn up and if they pay as they go on the gate then this is actually better for bcfc as they pay more per game ! The clubs problem is they want the money up front (wouldn’t we all) and to be self sustaining and with less games in the year ahead and no UEFA turnover in the year ahead this is a tough challenge ongoing without the sale of key players like Davies or Burke. Ziggy is the biggest squad financial problem and has been throughout as 2.5 m per year goes on his wages. We overpaid for him and gave a silly 4yr contract offer with no relegation clause it seems. So.. We will get no fee for him and our best hope could be to share his wages on a loan deal. That would provide for 2 decent champ players on frees or loan.
      Lee Clake needs to start work on his dossier of players right now and it would help persuade recruits if the club published the latest accounts showing its return to profit. So its going to be another interesting season ahead. i hope we see exciting footie again with a do or die team approach and we might just challenge at the end but the competition is tougher than ever with the likes of Cardiff, Forest, Leicester , ipswich plus the 3 relegateds all ambitious to move upwards. I hope we can rise to the challenge again and start to fill Stans with loyal noisy and enthusiastic supporters again. KRO

    • James Black says:

      Alex perfect you said exactly how it is. Im tired of all these amateur accountants and lawyers and businessmen as well as managers and mind readers too and not forgetting the budding journalists. brilliant post Alex and agree with every word and every comma even. Prophets of doom i cant take them at all sometimes especially when there take on things is so absurd and they don’t know a damned thing and never think anything through before they talk. I understand concerns but it goes too far. Sometimes i think its down to them being Chinese that the negativity comes from. I live in Asia and they have no idea what they are talking about. Mistakes have been made but who don’t make mistakes but the way some call them thieves when they have taken a big fat loss is laughable. If i was Carson i would be pig sick of whingeing brummies by now. his facing possible jail and ruination and they think he should just give it all up. time to be positive now i think and please moaners stop as i get headaches reading the bullshit.

  • BobbyBlue says:

    A good appointment – the best we could hope for given our circumstances. If he is anything like he was a player we have got a gritty, footballing manager.

    Good to hear something from PP too. I not inclined to believe much he says in public about very private affairs (would think the same of any board member at any club) . But it is still nice to be given what are indications even if they are not promises/facts. We are here, we are waiting and watching whilst the club is going through a difficult time – engage with us!


  • skareggae72 says:

    Clarke says he wants to play attacking football,but looking at the squad,particulaly on the left of mid,we need bodies,although Elliott and Burke can play there despite being right footed,we might need to put round pegs in square holes,good luck to Lee.

  • Geoff corvette says:

    Clarke out, mcleish back in for me!!!

  • Geoff corvette says:

    Not a wind up. Clarke is a clown! Mcleish best blues manager by a country mile.

  • melvinlondon says:

    This is my first post on here. It’s an excellent site and the majority of posts are sensible so well done all round. I want to make a point about the comments relating to Peter Pannu. I was a guest in the boardroom at the Wolves FA Cup game back in January along with the Chairman of the Football League. Now, I was as despairing as most about the Chinese ownership, admittedly all from hearsay, and I kind of lumped Pannu in the same bracket. But I was impressed on the following counts:
    1) He knew his football, and he knew the relative strengths of the players pretty accurately.
    2) He spoke and thought like a fan. There was absolutely no doubt that he wanted them to win as much as any other Blues fan in the ground.
    3) He was not happy with Roger Johnson’s comments following his transfer to Wolves. As far as Pannu was concerned, that was betrayal. He was Blues, now he’s Wolves, he’s history, kind of attitude. If he’d not been sat next to the Wolves directors, I’m sure he’d have joined in with the booing of him like many of you did. Now that’s a proper partisan attitude.
    Now, my mate the Football League Chairman was only there because part of his job is to liaise with those clubs in parlous financial states (the majority of the 72 clubs) and I asked him on the way home what he thought of PP.
    “Actually, quite impressed and much better than I’d been led to believe.”
    My own opinion certainly changed that day. I’d give him your support up there; I think he ‘gets it’ and understands what being a Bluenose in Birmingham is all about. I guess time will tell….

  • steve stretton says:

    good appointment does tend to lose it when he is on the touch line but the blues fans will warm to the passion think the backroom staff look good terry mac nows his stuff but some how he has got to be able to sign a few players to have a chance they may be lower league players but clarke will have a good feel for who can step up and make it at the higher level.

  • maurice walters says:

    Al can things get any better Carr and doyle want to stay it carnt be so bad after all happy days maurice

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