Often Partisan

Where Are They Now? Part XVI

With the new season approaching I thought I’d restart this series on former Blues players and where they have ended up in the world. For a change, I’ve decided to go back a bit further than I usually do and have looked at a player who was wearing the Royal Blue of Birmingham when I was barely out of nappies – Colin Todd.

Colin Todd

courtesy www.footballcardsuk.com

I have a confession to make: my earliest memory of Colin Todd isn’t connected to Birmingham City. Like many kids growing up I was given hand-me-down books and whatnot from relatives and friends with kids older than me who’d grown out of them. One of those books was a football annual from 1975 – and it was edited by Colin Todd, who was PFA Player’s Player of the Year that year. It wasn’t until I was much older that I even knew he’d played for us in the early eighties and bearing in mind I didn’t really go to the football regularly until I was in my late teens I can’t remember anything about him on the pitch.

He was clearly a decent player though; anyone who Cloughie was willing to play mind games about signing – he claimed Derby County couldn’t afford to sign Todd from Sunderland before signing the player later that day for a then British transfer record for a defender – clearly was decent. In his time at Derby he won two Championship medals and twenty-seven caps for England and after a year at Everton he came to Jim Smith’s Birmingham City side. He won promotion in his first season with us, and was with us for two more seasons before he once again signed for Brian Clough – this time at Nottingham Forest.

After two years at the City ground and short spells with Oxford United, Vancouver Whitecaps in the NASL and Luton Town Todd retired in 1984 at the age of 36.

Todd started coaching at Middlesbrough, who had just narrowly dodged liquidation and was part of the staff that saw them rise from the Third Division to the top flight. However, Boro only lasted a season in the top flight and in 1990 whilst foundering in Division Two Todd succeeded Rioch to the manager’s seat. After managing to keep them in the second tier, he got Boro into the playoffs in his second season before losing to Notts County in the playoff semi. Shortly afterwards Todd handed in his notice.

Todd went back to his mentor Bruce Rioch who was now at Bolton Wanderers, and was assistant to Rioch until 1995 when Bruce left Burnden Park for the Arsenal job. Rioch was then named joint manager along with his former defensive partner at Derby County, Roy McFarland. Roy however got the boot early in 1996 leaving Todd as sole manager and whilst he was unable to stop the Trotters being relegated from the Premier League he got them promoted to the top flight the year after, ensuring the Reebok would see Premier League football at its opening.

However, the Trotters struggled again with top flight football and again yo-yoed back down within a season, and this time he couldn’t bounce back immediately. After losing the playoff final to Watford (who’d beaten Blues on pens in the semi) in 1999, Todd resigned from his position.

His next manager job was Swindon, who in May 2000 were relegated from the second tier after finishing bottom and having sacked Jimmy Quinn they saw Todd as the man to get them back up. His tenure there was unsuccessful though, and after six months in the role where he had managed just five wins he walked out to become assistant manager to Jim Smith, who was now at Derby County.

A year later, the Bald Eagle resigned and Colin was promoted to his job – but again, it was unsuccessful with Derby losing 11 of his 17 games.

In 2003, Todd went to Bradford City to be assistant to Bryan Robson, and for the fourth time he succeeded his gaffer, replacing the former England midfielder at the end of the 2003-4 season. He guided the club to a couple of midtable finishes in League One but it turned sour in 2007 and after a run of one win in ten games, Todd was sacked.

Todd’s next management job was in Denmark, with Randers FC and he spent eighteen months there before an iffy situation over his intended replacement John Jensen meant that he left the job six months early.

An ill-fated spell at Darlington was next for Todd, who took over in May 2009 after the club had come out of administration under new owners. However, he didn’t take well to it and after just eleven games he walked out again, losing eight and not managing a victory in the league.

As recently as April, Todd was back with Blues having been hired as a scout under then-chief scout Ewan Chester; however he’s back in the managerial seat now having taken back over at former club Randers FC after the sacking of Michael Hemmingsen.

Lets hope this time is more successful for Colin Todd – after all, things can’t be brilliant when even Berwick Rangers refuse to take you on.


11 Responses to “Where Are They Now? Part XVI”

  • Jay Sidney says:

    Colin Todd was one of THE finest players I ever saw wearing the colours of BCFC. Top class. Only Trevor Francis would feature higher IMO.

    Your piece mentioned ex-Blues manager Jim Smith, who signed Todd. He also signed, among others, outstanding players like David Langan, Frank Worthington and the marvellously gritty Archie Gemmill.

  • carlos says:

    Possibly the best defender I’ve ever seen- and I don’t mean just at Blues. Watching Cannovaro when Italy won the worid cup in 2006 reminded me of Todd if you young lads want a comparison.An absolute Rolls Royce of a footballer, made Kenny Cunningham look like Peter Rammage (and I rated KC himself highly).

  • Steve Wragg says:

    He makes my all time best starting X1.

  • tmsblues says:

    Outstanding defender with real class and skill. Like everyone else comments, he would be right up there in the all time best list.

  • Paul says:

    Saying Colin Todd was a ‘decent’ footballer is the understatement of the decade. And to think we ‘only’ saw Todd at St Andrews at the end of his career.

  • Paul Carter - TVOR says:

    Todd was the best defender we’ve ever had and could read the game like a book meaning he hardly broke sweat at times cos of his anticipation.

    Kenny Cunnigham had that same style too and would be my choice as 2nd best defender in my time.

    Was anyone else at Charlton when Toddy got sent off?

    Charlton away, great day out.

  • oldburyblue says:

    Think Bobby Moore with a little more pace and you won’t be far off just how good Todd was.

  • wheresmecell says:

    Todd was stylish and reliable …quite simply one of the best players Blues ever had..

  • Geoff says:

    Colin Todd was an outstanding defender, so calm on the ball. Definitely the best defender we have had at St Andrews ever !

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