Often Partisan

Mulling over Mullins

News broke this evening that Blues were close to signing 33-year-old Portsmouth midfielder Hayden Mullins. The player, who would cost Blues at most a nominal fee has been training with Birmingham City at Wast Hills on Wednesday and seems poised to join the club.

With Blues having already signed two players over the age of thirty in the last few days there have been the predictable mutterings of “Dads Army” from some quarters of the fanbase. I will admit that it was my hope Blues would look to younger recruits to beef up the squad and I have some mild concerns that we seem to be going down the “proven player” route that hasn’t always worked for us in the past.

However, the fact is we must be realistic as Blues fans. We knew prior to this season that there was no way we’d be laying out big fees or wages – indeed, I have said previously on here that I would be surprised if we paid out any fee for a player at all. Despite the signings of Løvenkrands and Lucas Blues currently stand at eighteen senior players – which isn’t enough. If Blues are to bring that up to the kind of number that they will need for the new season then the money that they do have is going to be spread across a few players and thus they will have to sign players that fit into the “cheap and experienced” category – it’s just economics.

It’s also a disservice to Hayden Mullins to write him off prior to him kicking a ball. He’s had a fairly solid career – he has played for just four clubs and in reality had it not been for Portsmouth’s crippling financial problems last year it would have been just three. In the fourteen seasons he’s played football, it’s all been in the top two tiers and there has only been one where he has not played the majority of games. You have to infer from that that he has some consistency and that he hasn’t had any major injury problems. He was voted player of the season by Portsmouth fans as recently as the 2010/11 season which surely must point to a player who performs to a consistently good level.

Mullins might not be the inspirational signing that people are maybe hoping for but the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced he could be a good one. With Jordon Mutch departed for Cardiff and Guirane N’Daw returned to his parent club at the end of his loan Blues are lacking a bit of experience in the middle – particularly if you bear in mind Keith Fahey won’t be fit to start the season due to his groin injury. Whilst Blues don’t have the distractions of the Europa League this year it’s still a long season – a minimum of 48 games after all – and it’s for the best if Blues can bring in players of the calibre of Mullins.

There has also been a tweet from Tom Ross that Blues are interested in Darren Ambrose (28-year-old central midfielder from Crystal Palace) and former striker James McFadden (I will confess that I had thought he’d signed for Motherwell). Clearly the next few days could be busy and it could be a somewhat larger squad that heads out to Austria than started the week at Wast Hills.

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65 Responses to “Mulling over Mullins”

  • Harry says:

    Let’s be honest, out of the starting 11 at wembley , who would you class as young? Johnson 28, larsson 25, ridgewell 27, we didn’t really have a young squad at wembley

  • KRM says:

    Mullins offers what no other Blues first team midfielder offers, and is just what the midfield needs… He’ll sit in front of and protect the back four, he’ll distribute well from the holding/defensive midfield position, he’ll win tackles, he’ll break up opposition attacks, and his presence will help Blues control and win the midfield battle (he’s also capable of playing a few other positions as needed). He’d be a VERY good signing (as would Ambrose). Clark is targeting and signing the right players for the promotion push, and I’m looking forward to learn who else he’s after.

  • maurice walters says:

    i must admit the idea of a fit and hungry McFADDEN back at blues excites me,trust our manager untilproven wrong KRO FANS

  • Jamie says:

    not too sure about McFadden myself as he never did anythin great for us! he seemed to disinterested too often and certainly had many injury problems! and most importantly never scored enough goals for the type of player he is! too slow to play effectively as a wide man and too goal shy to play upfront! so where does his benefit really come from? I think he was overhyped to be honest and wherever he’s played he has never really been that great in my opinion

    • Dino Tiltoni says:

      Totally disagree. He added a huge amount of creativity to the team.

      Jimmy Mac, when are you coming back?

  • Letsby Avenue says:

    Not one of your better blogs mate

    Seemed like you made it up as you went along, then re-circled yourself :-)

    Try these equations Al:

    Cheap + Experience =Over 25 +???? Freebies?
    Young + Hungry = Under 23 ??? Loans? Fees?
    QED !

    Older Pro that fits the dressing room, no villa type ‘superstar brawler’ who is young and hungry?
    That suits me, and that shows me that Lee Clark is knowing what he needs and wants…most importantly, he’s getting them.

    A few one-liners about “Dad’s Army”…so what?

    Hardly relevant and not really worth acknowledging as considered opinions.

    Keep up your good work mate, I do reckon you.

    • nicky wicky says:

      Most of the Blues team are under 30 apart from zigic. so they’ve brought in a couple of quality older pros. whats the problem? They gave 7 academy scholars profesional contracts in june,but you can’t expect LC to go through the season with half a team of kids who have hardly kicked a ball. redmond has only had one season. If blues are going to make a challenge for the automatic spots they need to get the numbers up. they can get some younger players when they sing loans. Blues have 4 years to get back to the premier and then the parachute payments dry up and they’ve got to go back to finding gems to sell on,and using academy players then hope they get promoted, so this could be an important year for blues. They need to make the right signings so that they are challenging for the top 3 spots. I am sure LC knows what he is doing. All these dads army jokes are a bit hasty!

      • tmsblues says:

        Agree with your comments totally. If we think the self sufficient budget is tight well imagine the challenge in in a couple of years when the Sky money drops and dries up. We do need a prompt prem return or a new investor.

      • Pete says:

        And Caldwell…. And King…. And Carr…. And Elliot until we get a left mid….

        • Pete says:

          That said I think Mullins is a good signing and who helped get a team promoted last season. I would like a few youngr players in, but possibly more a concern one or two flair players who can unlock. We dont have that except Lovenkrands, Burke and Redmond. I for one would like to see Townsend back there.

    • almajir says:

      Not one of your better comments mate

      You seem to have started off nicely and then tailed off abruptly ;)

  • chris says:

    loads of time yet and i’m sure / hope the loan signings will be younger / high tempo type players.
    no time for panic as there’s still another 50 days till the window shuts, then the loan window opens anyway, Rome wasn’t built in a day!!

  • Paul Carter - TVOR says:

    I see the Oldham friendlys been called off then?

  • Wayne BCFC says:

    Got to agree with Jamie on this one…. Turning up for 1 in every four games to do a flick pass doesn’t justify creativity, if it does tempt Chris Marsdon back out of retirement !!!!!!
    In reality as we have a lack of funds to buy, the loan market or freebies are our main options to bring in positive young & experienced old Pro’s.. Keep the faith !!!!!! KRO !!!

  • Qatarblue says:

    Can’t find fault with any of the signings so far. Am encouraged by fact that players are signing as they are being mentioned, rather than long drawn out speculation. No doubt we will get that more as we look at younger prospects – which I am sure must also be on the radar.

    Not so sure about McFadden. Surprised when Moyes took him back to Everton, as he was mainly a benchman in his previous time there. Didn’t seem to do anything for us – part injury troubles – but he didn’t set the world alight when he did play. That maybe in part to negative tactics – Brucey expecting him to do his defensive duties – more than his attacking ones. As said not sure… KRO

    • Pete says:

      Bruce never signed him or was there when McFadden was I am guessing you mean the one who came after.

  • Gareth says:

    Happy with the signing of Mullins, another versatile player to add to the books.

    McFadden’s a big no for me. For all the creativity he supposedly bought, I’m surprised he didn’t show it more than 1 game in every 10. He would be an absolute luxury (who would probably be injured most of the time) and we can’t afford that.

  • nicky wicky says:

    Blues have quite a few younger players in their first team,but apart from redmond,and maybe a couplle of others most of them don’t have any first team experience. Blues need to get the numbers of experienced players up,and Mullins seems to be a quality player at this level anyway so it’s not that bad. Darren Carter is training with the Blues at the moment,and they haven’t made any loan signings yet so theres planty of time!

  • Quokkasskip says:

    McFadden added lots of creativity into our team.
    Don’t forget he was playing left flank when we went 15 games unbeaten in the Prem. Good to see we are trying to sign proven quality.

  • Matt says:

    McFadden getting injured was probably what sent us down that season, sucked the balance and creativity out of the team as McLeish just didn’t seem to trust Beasejour.

    Not sure if he’d add much now though, injuries will have taken their toll and I’d wonder on how much he’d want to be paid, it would have to be a big step down from before – although I guess he already took a step down at Everton and to nothing now…worth a pay-as-you-play deal?

  • Paul Carter - TVOR says:

    Hey Al

    How come you’ve let me call you Al when it says your name clearly on the footer of the page?

    Dan the man from now on.

  • Paul Carter - TVOR says:

    BTW The Oldham friendly is off

  • Cleggy says:

    I’m sure we’d ideally be picking up young players but how do you manage that without any money? Even an average 24 year old would set us back a couple of million and as we all know we haven’t got that kind of expendable dosh. Realistically its going to be players from 28-33 I reckon. Ambrose would be a good bet, I reckon.

    • nicky wicky says:

      It’s all very well saying go after young players,but they have to fit into the budget, and have experience. most of the squad are under thirty,and they gave 7 academy players pro contacts. They are still carrying some injuries so they need get some cover in and even Butland may start as no1 but he may need to be rested cause it s a long season for someone of his age and he may also get called up fo england or get injured so they need to look at all angles if they are to make a serious challenge this year!

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Lucas now Mullins and / or Ambrose? We seem to be going down the route of signing players with a career of proven mediocrity, just as TF did.

  • Royalblue says:

    I would have no problem with either of these players to be honest. I think we need numbers and experience. We probably don’t have much if any money so older pro’s and later younger loans will be the route we will have to take.

    Found this link abput McFadden: http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=james+mcfadden&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CFkQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fsport.stv.tv%2Ffootball%2Fclubs%2Fmotherwell%2F108035-motherwell-confirm-james-mcfadden-will-join-club-for-pre-season-training%2F&ei=xIz-T4TCN8OJ0AWAlsSqBw&usg=AFQjCNFc2yAIbZOakSGwYuiiZ-xOzD35Og

  • DoctorD says:

    It’s a bit too soon to cast judgement until the guy’s played a few games. Basically LC needs some extra bodies and, if you’re going to bring additional people in, they might as well be experienced pros. A couple of years back we saw the likes of Lee Bowyer putting in a decent shift when required — and he certainly wasn’t the fans’ number one choice. But, hey, what do any of us know – we have to trust the gaffer.

  • Paul Carter - TVOR says:

    Great post

  • Paul Carter - TVOR says:

    Realise the game we are in people which aint that disimilar to the one we were in last year ie no dough, average signings, players leaving.

    The only chance we have is that Leek Lark tunes into the squad and gets them performing to their max as CH did last season. If that don’t happen mid table beckons.

    Bit of belief is what’s needed.

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    As always, a relative and practical blog connected to all things Blue.

    Out of the signings to date, probably Mullins and Lovenkrands stand the best chance of getting regular first-team action – even more so with Fahey out and Ziggy sometimes picking up little niggles. Lovenkrands can also play on the left, and this versatility could prove to be very important in the forthcoming campaign. Probably still need cover for Murphy – unless LC has considered one of the Academy promoted guys to fill the role. All in all he (LC) is going about his duties in a measured and professional manner – perhaps he noted the way in which CH operated and how well it worked for him at our club – and his signings are steady and realistic to our current status.

    I think it would not be unreasonable to wait until we actually see competitve games before passing any sort of comment regarding LC’s motives, tactics and the performance of any players. I just have a sneaky feeling that B9 will become even more impregnable than it was last season. I do not believe it to be in the realms of the impossible to get moving with solid intentions from the first whistle. Our defence and attack is settled and the only area of concern is half of the midfield. But it is not insurmountable.

    Just hope that most of the squad business is concluded very soon, and that all the players can then get the majority of pre-season training together, which will allow for patterns of play and understanding to take place. Based purely on the playing team, I believe we all have every reason to be looking forward to a good and progressive season.

    However you feel about PP, the fella does not allow for procrastination and vacillation.

    Keep up the solid effort Almajir – even if you have to deal with a fair amount of idiotic commentators.

  • AR says:

    I’m not sure if Letsby Avenue is praising you or damning you – “Not one of your better blogs” & “I do reckon you”. Brucey didn’t have MacFadden in his team, Qatarblue; our Carling Cup winning manager signed him.

  • BobbyBlue says:

    Mullins, Mcfadden and Ambrose – would be delighted if we got all three of them! Mullins is a ball winner. Experienced. McFadden has the ability to unlock a defence – okay he doesnt do it every game but that is some pretty high exectations! He would be hungry to prove he’s still got it and get his career back on track. I’d hope, however, his wages are heavily weighted on appearances . As for Ambrose, a promising youngester who has developed into a very good championship player.

    Personally, dont think you can knock it!

  • skareggae72 says:

    Personally i`d prefer these older players to untried youth or loans(which often dissapoint)other than a few exeptions Forssel/Dugarry(loan)probably the outstanding ones.
    If our season doesn`t quite happen then maybe the younger players could be drafted in slowly & take the place of these older guys,who can then be released end of season.
    I remember the signing of Steve Bruce from MU,absolutely no pace at all,but you dont need pace if you`use you loaf`although Mullins is clearly not in the same ability as SB.

    • DoctorD says:

      Agreed there. I wonder what the likes of Mullins are getting paid per week. I imagine it’s in the £10k bracket. Anyone know?

  • pughy the blue says:

    almajir do you think we will sign darren ambrose

    • almajir says:

      Personally, I think it’s a surprising one. He’s got a year left on his deal at Palace so he’d cost money – I’m sceptical Blues have money to spend but I’m told that it’s a possible. Be an interesting one.

      • nicky wicky says:

        Is this ambrose a quality player?from my observations LC seems to be trying to bring in as many quality players as he can whether bosman.loans,and i think they have alittle to spend on fees. I have seen some of the comments from blues fans especially about butland. I think they are to busy beleiving the rubbish thats written about blues in the tabloids and not putting their brains in gear. LC and PP want to have a serious crack at getting into the automatic or 3rd place spots this year so they need to bring in the right kind of player. they can’t do it with a team half full of kids!

      • Dan H says:

        Signing Ambrose makes me think they’re looking to get a quality replacement then sell Burke to Norwich !!!!

        No smoke without Fire ! Signing a right winger doesn’t make sense when our best player last season was our right winger

        What do you think? Any rumblings about Burkey?

        • Oldbluenose says:

          I stand to be corrected, Dan, but I think you will find him versatile, likw a few of ours already are,

          Elliot, Fahey, Redmond and Spector, to name but 4,.!!.

        • nicky wicky says:

          been reading the tabloids again. burkes happy at blues.there trying to get the numbers up,and get some quality in to make a serious challenge for the automatic spots.selling burke would put that in jepardy!

  • KeeprightCroydON says:

    As you’ve probably guessed from my moniker, I reside in Croydon so am familiar with Mullins and Ambrose who payed/play for local team Crystal Palace, who have a pretty good academy and churn out quite a few useful players. Mullins a product of their academy. Ambrose came from Charlton but has done a good job in mentoring other youngsters there.

    Mullins was arguably Palace’s best player when he left for West Ham. At the time I was hoping that Blues would sign him especially as Bruce knew him. He was ok at West Ham without standing out quite as much, which is understandable as he was playing in a higher standard and he was there at a chaotic time. Obviously past his best now, but if he is the type who can use his loaf, should be able to do a job for us in this league.

    Ambrose was excellent at Charlton, and a great buy for Palace. He showed loyalty as stayed when they went into administration, and actually played a huge role in keeping them up as all the big players left what they thought was a sinking ship, and he played another huge role in mentoring Palace’s youngsters – they have some excellent ones in Zaha and Clyne, tho likely to lose latter this summer. They are some sections of Palace who give Ambrose a bit of stick because of his Charlton, but there are idiots like this in every club. Personally I think they should be grateful for the loyalty he showed them when they were in trouble, although Prem clubs showed interest in him.

    I rate him higher that Mullins, more creative, more pace, better at free kicks and can score goals. I know Dougie Friedman would love to keep him. However I think either, or both, will be good signings in our current position. My only concern with Mullins is at 33 it might more of a risk, but hopefully he can prove me wrong.

    Keep up the good work Al. I look forward to your reports every morning.

  • Paul Carter - TVOR says:

    Danny

    Am giving you a scoop here.

    On Oldhams website they say they are playing Man City the night they were due to play us.

    Just cite me when you bang it up :)

    • almajir says:

      1) My name isn’t Danny

      2) It’s not a scoop. I discussed this with the club on twitter yesterday and the club are insistent that Oldham are playing us on that day and the friendly hasn’t been cancelled. It was discussed massively on smallheathalliance.com yesterday.

      Sorry

  • Blue in Spain says:

    Just announced on the Blues website that John Vaughan has been appointed goalkeeping coach.

  • Paul Carter - TVOR says:

    B25dave

    Without divulging our source would this takeover you spoke about involve a company involved in the transport industry?

  • LiT says:

    Hello again Bluenoses,

    Obviously Mullins is confirmed now on Pompey’s OS as signing for you. Its believed he waved any future earnings from his contract at Pompey to sign for you for 2 years. PFC haven’t received any fee for Mullins.

    Unlike the mercurial Huseklepp, Mullins is one of your solid 6/7 out of ten characters who play every game if he can. He’s good at full-back also if needed and won’t complain as to where he is used. He isn’t expansive but occasionally he’ll get a long range shot on target every few games. Play him as the sitting midfielder in front of your back four and allow him to tick over is the best way of getting value out of Mullins.

    The Hayden Mullins Popular Front will not forget his efforts at Fratton Park.

  • Mickey07 says:

    Mayor regarding transfers and carsons bihl debt plus throw into the mix the club is not worth bugger all down in the championship (like most club)….what happens if say Davies and butland have gone by the 1 sept for a fee of say £10 million plus £3 million for mutch=£13 million…..could that go straight to carson so at least he is recouping some form of money back he payed for the club as he will know the club ain’t worth £20 million at present….just thought I’d ask like…..

    • nicky wicky says:

      stop reading the tabloid rubbish. blues are going to make a serious attempt at promotion this year. butland and davies are two key players in that plan and CY’s loans have been deferred to a later date there is no hurry to repay them. get your brain in gear look at whats really happening not just the speculation. most of the tabloids are still rating blues as a portsmouth!

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    I think there is no justifiable business reason to repay the CY and BIH loans. I would expect they would need to get the nod form HSBC

  • sam says:

    Eddy brown true legend r.i.p

  • Euston 9.18 says:

    South cockney paper “Exclusive”…

    Palace have agreed a fee with BLUES,£250`000 for D.Ambrose.

  • Wingman Blue says:

    McFadden? How are his injuries? I seem to remeber he was only a 65 minute player, McJudas allowed him to come off when the rest had to do the full 95. Depends on the terms, I suppose.

  • Darren Ambrose brilliant signing if it comes off

  • bluenoserob says:

    anyone who thinks there will be no more big name sales is kidding themselves , Curtis Davies will go for sure.

  • Jay Sidney says:

    How can you know for sure about Curtis?


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