Often Partisan

Moving On Up

It was confirmed yesterday by Blues and the player himself that Ben Foster has completed his drawn-out permanent transfer to West Bromwich Albion for an undisclosed fee. It’s the end to a switch which has been rumbling on since about April and has outlasted managers at both clubs.

It has to be said that this is the least surprising transfer of all time. Whilst there had been mutterings in the national press about Foster going elsewhere, it was never going to be the case – it’s well-known that Ben wanted to stay in the midlands and that he had enjoyed his time at WBA. Colin Tattum tweeted that the deal was for circa £4million – which happens to be the downpayment that Blues made to Manchester United to sign him in the first place. I’m curious as to how much of that will be made in one go and I hope that with £6.5mil ish banked from the sales of Ben and Jordon Mutch (plus moving Fozzy’s hefty wages from the wagebill) will decrease the need for further sales this summer.

With Colin Doyle now being offered a new deal it would appear next season will be a straight up choice between the long-serving Irishman and the young pretender, Jack Butland. There’s been a lot of rumour in the press about Butland’s possible exit but there does seem to be a genuine will to keep him at Blues. Furthermore, I’m told Jack is the kind of lad who realises that a year or two with Blues – especially if he’s getting regular games – will do more for his career than sitting on the bench or worse at a top flight club. I think it’s worth pointing out that Joe Hart’s career came on leaps and bounds because he had regular football (and not just because it was with us/Dave Watson) and I’m of the belief it’s made him a better keeper.

I’ll be interested to see if Blues do look to bring in a third keeper should Doyle and Butland both stay. I’ve heard good reports about Nick Townsend, who is the Academy keeper and it could be that Blues will promote him to the fringes of the first team squad as bench cover in the case of injury/suspension. Blues are lucky that goalkeeper is one of the positions where they have a surplus of talent and it’s made the sale of Ben Foster ultimately painless.

The sale of Foster has capped off a fairly profitable week for the club; admittedly, I wasn’t impressed with the sale of Jordon Mutch at first last week but Blues now have cash in the bank which will surely help guarantee their short-term future; they’ve sorted out the kit deal mess which can only be positive as any money Blues get from Diadora will be more than the zero they got from Xtep and a manager is now in place along with a backroom staff. If we can get rid of the transfer embargo next week we’ll really be ready to roll.

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58 Responses to “Moving On Up”

  • Macc lad says:

    I think it’s the honesty and frankness of Pannu’s comments that have got me back on side. Still not happy with Mutch being sold, but needs must.

    • john says:

      Glad to see Mutch go. A senior player has said that Mutch was too full of himself on the training ground, a know it all who wouldn’t listen to the more experienced players.

  • GoodyBlueShoes says:

    A
    Once again a good and balanced account.

    Question for you. Let’s dream the dream and imagine we lose no more of our squad before the season starts. How many new players and in what positions do you think we require to have a half decent season (Finish in the top ten)?

    I look forward to your educated thoughts.

    Best

    GBS

    • almajir says:

      Cover at left midfield and left back; maybe a striker, maybe a central midfielder.

      So I’d take four and then blood some of the kids into the subs bench and see if we can help improve the club that way.

  • only-me says:

    I must admit, I’m feeling a little more optimistic lately, I was shocked, like most at the sale of Mutch, but from a broader perspective, I guess it made sense. The stance of rebuffing offers for Butland and Redmond gives hope that we are thinking longer term, we must keep hold of a good core of youth.
    The coming season I predict we wont be pulling up any trees, but a mid table campaign is where we will finish, but that will be another year past, and hopefully most of our current problems will be sorted.

    KRO…..

    • nicky wicky says:

      we finished fourth last year and thers no reason to think we can’t finish there or higher this year!

  • Matt says:

    Just renewed Six season tickets! Going up as champions i think! KRO!

    Butland

    Carr Caldwell Davies Murphy

    Burke Gomis Fahey Redmond

    King Zigic

    Bench Doyle Elliott Spector Ibanez Rooney Jervis Asante

  • Dave Green says:

    Thumbs up from me Matt, injuries aside, that’s a cometetive starting 11. King Clarke to pull off a few master strokes on the loans and free market and were ready to roll. Bring it on. KRO.

  • Barry says:

    While the sales of Mutch and Foster relieve the pressure to sell other squad members would you think the sale of Zigic might be a good bit of business (at the right price). While at times he can be a handful for defenders his form is a bit inconsistent.
    With respect to Xtep, ok, so the contract has been terminated and we can look forward to a more profitable future there as you say. I would be surprised though if this sorts out the auditors questions though – your thoughts appreciated.

    • matt says:

      Zigic is a hero! Short memory! We haven’t had many hero’s over the years at blues yeah i know he gets paid a mint but he’s the only player to publicly say he wants to stay in two or three years!

      • Barry says:

        Matt, not a short memory, just being practical. We are likely to be a bit short on numbers so we need the ones that we have to be as consistent as possible week in, week out. If he can do that, great. If not, we need someone that can. No spare cash for sentiment.

        • matt says:

          short on numbers so lets be practical here and sell another player! good idea!

          • Barry says:

            if we can get someone better is my point

          • Steve-0 says:

            Selling one player on 50k per week for £3m (for example) and bringing in two for 1.5m on 20-25k is practically adding to your squad. Not sure what is wrong with that.

    • James black says:

      Barry, this has been raised previously and as Al pointed out at the time, there are no takers for Zigic. Whether he is a hero or not is not the issue neither is it that he is inconsistent. Fact is nobody is offering any cash for Zigic and maybe that tells its own story maybe it doesn’t, but frankly we could do with him off the wage bill he is on far too much money considering our present position. But all these factors and opinion mean nothing when nobody wants to buy him and not prepared to pay those kind of wages.
      For those that say the owners have never backed us then can i ask them how come Mcleish got what he wanted in terms of stupid wages for Zigic? if they wasn’t backing him (Mcleish) then why did they agree to this signing which is now stretching the bank balance. Not the greatest of signings in my opinion but all the same the board backed it and backed the manager of the days wishes. A wish we are now stuck with. His here to stay and we simply have to make the best of him.

  • Blueboy88 says:

    I agree lose the transfer embargo & we can all look forward to new season.
    Lee Clark is talking up that possibility , so lets hope it happens next week , as the window opens.

    Also did we receive a loan fee from WBA for Foster last season ?

  • I.Roth says:

    Looking better now. We could do with getting rid of Ziggy. what with his wages and his contribution it is a case of get him off the pay. Never liked him too slow too lazy. With Championship you need some movers.and youngsters. Hope we get rid of him . I feel he holds the team back. With his sale we could afford a couple of good ones from div1 or Championship. Come oncity.

  • jay sidney says:

    Almajir.

    I see Lee Clark has “intimated” (the term employed by the “Mail”) that the transfer embargo may be lifted soon. Whilst accepting the fact that new faces always want to talk positively, Clark is clearly no fool so what might he know on the inside that we don’t? Also, would he (or any other person in their right mind) have taken the Blues job if he really thought the complete meltdown of BCFC was on the cards?

    What do other people think?

  • skareggae72 says:

    So we received allegedly £0 from xtep,when we were due to be receiving £7m,maybe you can enlighten me on that Almajir,but i`m amazed that this issue seems to be have `swept under the carpet` especially when we are in at the financial deep end.Surely part of these monies could be recovered,because as far as i know,the company is still in business.
    Doesn`t sound right to me?

  • jay sidney says:

    Skareggae makes a good point. Not withstanding the scams that do go on in the big business world, the whole Xtep thing stinks and Blues cannot be any worse off with Diadora (a firm the club has had playing kit from before).

    Also, the “Mail” taking credit for forcing P Pannu to make a statement? Really? So why the deafening silence from this rag for the past 16 months and more?

    And where is the “new investor” Pannu said had been “identified” about two months ago? There’s no proper future for Blues under the current ownsership.

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    Maybe all the unease and ill-feeling that fans had against how the club was being run, has had some positive effect in the last week or two. There is no denying that it was deeply concerning with some developments that were taking place.

    Suddenly, PP makes a lengthy statement covering many facets of BCFC, we get a manager and a backroom team in place, two players go – bringing in several million to go with the contractual fee received for CH and co, the kit sponsor gets its marching order and there are senior resignations from the board – both here and in HK.

    All that is needed now is the embargo to be lifted fully, and then we can look to make some sort of progress as a whole. Do not be surprised to see 3-4 players coming into the squad in the next week or so…..

    Long-term, BIH will still have to relinquish the reins. There is simply no mileage with them being in charge. The last and final challenge is going to be CY’s trial in November. Whatever way it ends, the end is nigh for BIH and even CY has to recognise this. They simply do not have the funds to continue. Even when the shares are re-listed, the interest was/is not there and that is why he got into a pickle with getting high-risk loans.

    There is much to be optimistic about going into the pre-season training for the squad in just over a week, and we should ensure that all the work that has been done recently is not over-shadowed by more off-field shenanigans. I for one do not believe it is impossible for the team – with additions – to attempt to again achieve a play-off place.

    We should not claim that the developments would have happened regardless of any action that has taken place. Those that have done something to highlight concerns should be applauded for their efforts.

    Now should be the time when we unite and get behind LC and the team.

    • B91blue says:

      Good post……but just what is PP up to ?

      Since the furore after the JM sale, clear effective communications, new manager, sponsorship deal, board clearout. He certainly seems to have decided to distance himself from the key members of the various boards linked to BCFC.

      Anyone would think he is positioning himself for a Chairmans/CEO role with a new owner. should we expect an announcement shortly ?

      Whatever the case is we like the new improved PP…keep it up.

  • DoctorD says:

    Well said Atahualpa. It’s been a positive week all round. I am so glad the Xtep kit deal has been ripped up — it’s amazing to think this was the brainchild of Mr Hui, who has now gone. Two-nil to Pannu I think.

    • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

      Doc

      Its good to know that the chancers are being expunged from BCFC. Whatever anyone views PP as, I don’t believe you could consider him as a lightweight.

  • jay sidney says:

    Sober and measured remarks from Atahualpa.

    However, as far as the Xtep farce goes, Almajir recently (and helpfully) posted a pic on one of his blogs clearly showing the official Blues world and ball crest bearing the words “XTEP SOCCER” and “I LOVE BM.C” where the words “BIRMINGHAM CITY FOOTBALL CLUB 1875” are supposed to be and indeed have been since the club first adopted that crest in the 1970s to replace the old interlocked BCFC letters.

    Surely that crest is club copyright (or whatever the correct term is). There must surely be enough legal muscle at St Andrew’s to challenge Xtep here over breach of copyroght and the matter of where two years’ worth of contracted monies have gone.

    Or have I missed something here?

  • jay sidney says:

    Or even breach of copyright.

  • DoctorD says:

    To be honest, chasing a copyright claim through the Hong Kong and Chinese courts would take up so much time and effort, with little chance of success. that I’m sure Blues would rather just write things off. You’d only enter a costly legal battle with Mr Hui. In fact, I wonder if Blues agreed with Hui that if he bogged off they’d not chase him up for cash. Sounds plausible to me.

    • Blueboy88 says:

      Can’t see BCFC pursuing a court case against a subsidiary of their parent company Birmingham International Holdings Ltd , especially as they are hugely in debt to BIHL.

      Mr P would require balls of steel to get involved..

    • almajir says:

      Exactly my thoughts Doc…

  • andy says:

    Zigic is still a big plus for Blues and it will be good to see him come into pre-season fit and ready to go,unlike last season. He loves it at Blues and as pointed out above, one player that is commited to the club.

  • DoctorD says:

    It’s funny but this whole Birmingham saga seems so real, vivid, bizarre and topsyturvy that, to me, it has pushed the whole Euro2012 competition of the radar. And as for the Olympics, I couldn’t give a toss if I’m honest. Someone some day should turn the whole story into a film – or a soap opera. MInd you, if you think we have it bad, I have a fair bit of sympathy for Rangers supporters, even if McJudas did used to manage them.

  • Steve-0 says:

    After getting relegated I really felt depressed about our future. Our top players sold, financial problems, Championship survival the main target. One man turned that around and gave us all something to look forward to. I can’t think of one instance in the history of football where a manager walking out on a club after just one season has been received with such empathy and understanding. Onec CH left though most will agree that the depressing reality was similar to the previous season, yet once again we get a lift with the introduction of Lee Clark. Incidentally Clark has wanted to be a manager since he was 20 ish and ha started taking his coaching badges from that age. He may have little experience, but he’s been watching and learning under the likes of Keegan, Reid, McDermott, Roeder.

    Some people may not like this greatly, but Peter Pannu has done some great work and made some great choices. He hired a manager who not only built a play-off finishing side from loans, free transfers and dregs from a fire sale, but got that team into the group stages of the Europa League. He has been left holding the baby while all has fallen apart and you can read in his latest statement that he is not happy with certain individuals. He now looks to have another manager (who is likely to stay longer than Hughton) who has the potential and drive to get us into a top 6 position. Let’s face it, things could be a lot lot worse. If he can keep the ship steady and keep us an attractive purchase then he deserves some credit (the only one from the Yeung regime who does)

    Sammy Yu
    Carson Yeung
    Vico Hui
    All disasters of Alberto Tarantini proportions.

    • Jamie says:

      It’s a good point. we do not know the full extent of what has gone on at the Blues but Peter has certainly been responsible for some very good things and he is still fairly new to this whole thing is he not? so we should give him some credit! maybe more than we know in fact!? and I think it fair to say that he gets a lot of stick just because he is associated with the current owners and was put in place by them! it would be interesting to see what kind of job he could do without all this mess going on behind the scenes because to be fair to him hes has really done a pretty good job at times with all the crap going on! and It has to be difficult for him in regards to openly speaking out about his bosses and certainly if he is actually told he is not allowed to talk about these things! He does not want to lose his job after all! and I think we could find out we’d very much miss him if someone else were appointed by the current board who was more of a puppet and slave to their demands! just all speculation of course but as I say, he has been responsible for some good things down at the Blues!

      • DoctorD says:

        Yeah, I agree with you mate.

      • TonyB says:

        And don’t forget how complimentary Chris Hughton was about PP all the way through his tenure. Lee Clark made it abundantly clear he felt he had been given all facts clearly by PP in his press conference so he seems to be a man to be trusted.

  • supert treve says:

    Every one seems to have forgot that Blues hav lost a quality goal keeper hear, Fozzie would still be number 1 if the club was still in the prem top bloke as well thanks Fozzie good luck athe Boingers.

    • James black says:

      Steve Butland will be our keeper and Doyle will be number 2 for a lot less money than Foster would cost in wages. A young lad (Townsend) from the academy will step up to number 3 so why keep a keeper on high wages and turn down 4 million quid.

  • Ted says:

    John: I heard the same stuff about Mutch. Not much liked by a number of senior players. Unlike Nathan who is a top lad.

    • Pete says:

      To be fair though this should not have been an issue, as we dont really have any senior players any more.

      • TonyB says:

        Er what? Carr, Davies, Caldwell, Murphy, Burke, Fahey, Spector, Elliott, King, Zigic aren’t senior players. What are they then? Not exactly youth players.

  • Steve-0 says:

    We lost Foster a year ago. I don’t think anyone has forgotten, we’ve just moved on.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Decided to give the Blues PP and co the benefit of the doubt and stunp up £478 for my new ST. Tried to buy online, but club appear to be sendig my emails to an errant email addres. So tried the 24 hour call centre. After 30 minutes gave up. Tried again, after 30 minutes hit the star button to be transferred to the rip off Ticketmaster agecy. Been hanging on now for 40 more minutes. Dont you love being a feckin Bluenose!!

    • Bluenosesol says:

      Over 2 hours on the phone now trying to renew 4 season tickest, just gave up!!

      • almajir says:

        I had to go to the ground to do it, took four minutes there.

        • Bluenosesol says:

          I work 65 miles away and up to my *rse with family duties this weekend. The club **cked up our online accounts, They have put on 2 x 24 hoour call centres and after 4 hours of trying finally got through, though they said they cant do finance on the phone so we had to stump u the lot. If you have the time on your hands and can get to the ground whenever you like, your a lucky boy! Not sure what that has to do with me????

          • almajir says:

            All I was saying was a counterbalance that I went to the ground and it took no time.

            It’s also worth pointing out (although you’re not going to like this at all) that you left it until the last minute to renew before the deadline. I understand your reasons for doing so (cos I did the same) but it is a risk when you do so because things can go wrong.

  • Bromsgrove Blue says:

    To be a successful team you need a excellent keeper. Schmeichel and then Van der Sar when Man U. were consistent, Seaman when Arsenal were consistent, Clemence and Grobbelaar at Liverpool when they were winning things and now Hart for Man City and England. Blues have a great tradition of excellent keepers: Gill Merrick, Jim Herriot, Dave Seaman, Maik Taylor (He was voted Premiership fans’ goalkeeper of the season in Birmingham City’s 2003–04 campaign), Joe Hart and Ben Foster (note the plight of Dann and Johnaon). Boaz Myhill didn’t do a bad job for us either. Is Doyle the 1st choice keeper to get us through a long season ? Is Butland the next excellent keeper to keep the line going – the people in the game think he is ? Facinating season ahead. KRO

    • TonyB says:

      Jim Herrot!!! Did you ever see him play? He was ‘opeless!

      • James black says:

        TonyB you put me in mind of a great line i heard once many years ago on the terraces of St Andrews. Was in the days of Gary Sprake (remember him). He came to us having developed a reputation for making some howlers of mistakes at Leeds and he came to us and continued being a little error prone to say the least. He was on a run of making quite a few errors resulting in opposition goals and in this one game i remember a corner came in and Gary majestically flew through the air and beautifully took it off the incoming center forwards head landed and characteristically dropped it at some forwards feet, boom goal and Blues fans yet again stood there with heads in there hands. Then someone shouted out “Sprake you wanker” and someone else called out “he would be no good at that either his hand would keep slipping off”.

        • TonyB says:

          Oooh Gary Sprake, those were the days!

          One bit of banter I remember was someone shouting out “That ref needs glasses!” and a booming voice responded “Yeah, a pair of pint f*****s bounced off ‘is head!”.

  • swiss jonny says:

    Jim Montgomery,Tony Coton.

  • Jay Sidney says:

    Jim Herriot an “excellent” goalkeeper? Are you having a laugh, Bromsgrove Blue?

    The earlier remark by Steve-O implicating old Tarantini as a bad player is also difficult to fathom as, in the main, Alberto seemed a decent player, although certainly not in the same class as some of his successors, such as David Langan or Gary Rowett.

    • Steve-0 says:

      Must admit I never saw the guy play and was a bit young then. I’m going on hearsay. I am perfectly willing to replace Tarantini with Jesper Gronkjaer to keep my point accurate.

  • Bromsgrove Blue says:

    A hero – yep I saw Jim Herriot – but I was 9 years old and they were my heros. Barry Bridges was my first pin-up – I saved six tokens from the Birmingham Evening Mail. Jim played for Scotland. I was a 9 year Bluenose living in an all Villla family in Aston – dad was a season ticket holder at the Villa until he passed away ! So I have a special memory of that time. I forgot about Tony Coton – he was great – and I remember Hopp’s back pass that secured Altringham a shock win. Some facts about my hero (through the eyes of little boy).

    1966-67 – Goalkeeper Jim Herriot played in all 55 first-team matches over the season; among outfield players, half-back Malcolm Beard and forward Geoff Vowden missed only one. Vowden finished as leading goalscorer with 21 goals, of which 16 came in league competition.

    Jim the Vet (actually he was a bricklayer) KRO

    Herriot is probably best-known today for giving his name to the writer James Herriot, a Yorkshire vet whose real name was Alf Wight. Wight needed a pen-name to comply with professional rules banning advertising and chose Jim Herriot’s name after seeing him play exceptionally well for Birmingham City in a televised match against Manchester United. Jim Herriot is actually a trained bricklayer

  • Jay Sidney says:

    Sounds like Bromsgrove Blues and I watched out first Blues matches at roughly the same time.

    Here’s a stat to bore you with (my first visit to St Andrew’s): 28 October 1967 – 2nd Division – Blues 4 (Vowden, Bridges 3) Rotherham 1 (Galley).

    Blues: Jim Herriot the goalkeeper, Ray Martin, Colin Green, Ron Wylie, Brian Sharples, Malcolm Beard, Barry Bridges, Geoff Vowden, Fred Pickering, the late Johnnie Vincent. the late Trevor Hockey.

    It was quite a magical experience. I could give you the attendance figure as well but I’m off to the dry cleaners to pick up my anorak…

  • Bromsgrove Blue says:

    Nice one Jay. When you’re a kid it’s fantastic to see your heroes play – you don’t think of them as ordinary blokes – they seem so much more magical – it;s bewildering. My lad is 21 now – and he saw his first Blues game when he was 4 years old.

    thanks for the match report. brilliant.

    Don’t you think everyone should stop moaning if they’re supposed to be a Blues fan – we’re born to suffer KRO Jay


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