Often Partisan

The Rise of Nick Townsend

With David Lucas having departed for Fleetwood Town, young Blues keeper Nick Townsend has been given a squad number as he is promoted to third choice within the Blues squad. Given the possibility that Jack Butland could well be moved on this window to bring in much-needed funds in this transfer window, there is every chance that the young Brummie could well be at least on the bench regularly by the time February rolls around.

It’s been a meteoric rise for Townsend and once again has underlined the importance of the academy providing players who can cover for first team places. Admittedly (and without wanting to be unduly harsh on the lad) had the financial situation been better at Blues Townsend would probably still be undergoing his footballing education with the Academy and Development Squad teams but it isn’t and thus the keeper, who turned 18 in November has been thrust forth into the senior squad.

I’m lucky in that I’ve seen Townsend play quite a few times already this season for the Development Squad and I thought that as not many people can make Wast Hills on a Monday afternoon I’d share my thoughts on the youngster. Blues have been blessed over the past few years with some good young keepers and whilst not all of them have made it coming through the ranks for Blues there are a few about in the league – Adam Legzdins at Derby County and Artur Krysiak at Exeter City to name but two.

My first impression of Townsend is that he reminds me a lot of Ian Bennett – maybe not as tall as some keepers but an awesome shot stopper. The first time I saw Townsend play was in the first Development Squad game of the season, which was a 4-1 win over Huddersfield at St Andrews. Whilst the score sounds a bit one-sided the truth is Huddersfield had quite a few chances to score and were denied by a man-of-the-match performance by Townsend. He made save after save, from long-range efforts, set pieces and one on ones. Like Benno I think he struggles a little because of his height to command the area but like Benno Townsend’s reflexes are awesome and I think are the kind of thing you can’t coach into a keeper – you either have it or you don’t.

Since then I’ve seen him play for both the Development Squad and the u18s and I’ve had those impressions reinforced. I won’t deny that he’s still a bit rough around the edges and as an example his kicking has been a bit suspect at times but Townsend has continued to impress me with his shot-stopping. It’s going to be a big jump for the young lad if he does end up sitting on the bench – whilst a sub keeper is rarely utilised it is one of those sorts of situations where you’re only a moment of madness leading to a red card or an injury away from having to play in the first team and then it all becomes very real.

The way finances are I don’t think Townsend will be the last of his age group to be pushed into first team plans – we know that Blues are going to have to sell players to ensure that they remain out of the dreaded “a” word and the fear is that we’re going to be in Gary Pendrey territory again whereby we slide into the third tier with a team full of kids who are trying as hard as they might but who can’t stop the rot. As much as I like seeing Blues playing the youngsters I sincerely hope for them and us it doesn’t end in tears because it won’t be good for them and it certainly won’t be good for us.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials


69 Responses to “The Rise of Nick Townsend”

  • Reeboh says:

    Kwadwo Asamoah is another one to look out for, I’ve seen a little of his brother, nana. If you get the chance to head down to another academy game, take a look at him, very good dribbling skills, and a wide range of passes, a real play maker. Just needs some upper body strength.

  • Letsby Avenue says:

    Well said …(lots of claps)

    My current conspiracy theory is that when Lee Clark kept Jack B and faced down the Saint’s bid last summer, part of the deal was that he would be number one.
    Always first choice in the League.

    Now JB is also young and still learning, he’s had a fantastic year and shot like a meteor into National prominence.

    JB is also still learning. Unfortunately at our expense.

    I am in no way decrying nor slagging him, I never would do that to a blues player.

    Jack has made “learning curve” mistakes, most especially in the games we have lost by just one goal.

    To promise him a number one spot in a way to keep him (if that happened of course) may be costing us long term.
    I know some sections don’t rate Colin D, but in all fairness, Doyle’s Opta index is way ahead of Jack’s. Colin may have made some boo-biis, who knows, but over a half season I think his experience would outweigh Jack’s “learning curve”.

    JB will play for England as a senior – no doubt in my mind – it’s just a shame that he has to learn, and subsequently cost Blues – in this season of need.

    • TR7 says:

      A thoughtful and considered comment I think . Unfortunately clubs like us often are the ‘ prep schools’ for players to then go on and ply their trade further afield ( and certainly further UP the league ! ) I’ve learnt to live with this over the last 40 odd years , but you also make the sad and true point that in this case , as with some I remember in the past , it’s COSTING us now!
      2 or 3 of those one goal defeats avoided and we’d still only be 5 or 6 points off the play – offs ! although in actual fact,promotion is not really on the agenda I know.

    • nicky wicky says:

      Apart from his kicking colin D is a much more consistent goalie than Butland. He made his debut at the same age as Butland and got Blues promoted. making a penalty save. i don’t think Butland could save a penalty to save his life! He got dropped after making his debut in the Premier league after being conned by craig bellamy into giving away a penalty. All the teams he faced were top 10 teams but he didn’t concede that many goals even so! He played chelsea,sunderland and West Ham.

      He has since played against chelsea last year and held them to a draw by saving a penalty, and then he did it again in the replay,and then he saved one in the league,. so that shows that he has improved.

      People keep going on about his mistake in the play-offs last year but the pitch was a mud bath from all the rain. The players could hardly stand up. Doyle slipped trying to make the save and dropped the ball, so i don’t think it’s fair to blame him!

  • Berkshire Blue says:

    It’s encouraging that the Academy are producing talent and encouraging that Lee Clark is not afraid to play some of them – although there is a strong case of “needs must” at present. However it is important to continue to encourage and manage the youngsters thoughtfully when they get into the team and experience difficulties. I have to say I was extremely disappointed by Clark’s comments on Jake Jervis yesterday in the Birmingham Mail (“People talk about Jake Jervis being a striker but these are the facts: Jake has been to League One or League Two clubs seven times and those clubs haven’t decided to keep him.”) which have had an impact on the lad and ,in my view, were totally uncalled for in a public forum. We have some potential talent here – it needs to be cultivated not just in the Academy but in the first team too. Redmond is another example – someone who had promise but seems to have lost his way a bit.

    • Grimlin says:

      At risk of sounding overly negative, this is a common mistake made (most often by fans of the vile). Just because Academy products are playing, doesn’t mean they’re any good. Most of the academy players are only playing out of necessity, not because their talent merits it.

      Harsh but true.

      re: The Jake Jervis incident, it might not have been tactful, but it was honest. He was asked why Jervis wasn’t playing, and he gave an honest response, a rarity in this day and age.

  • Masaccio says:

    Will JackB get the games if he’s sitting on the bench of a PL team?

  • […] was astonished to read in a discussion forum that the accusation that he had publicly criticised one of his young strikers, Jake Jervis. I […]

    • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

      Maybe not the best choice or combination of words on LC’s part but do we know what the question was??

      Was LC attempting to justify why he felt Hall, Morrison and Redmond were a better combination up-front against Cardiff??

      Or was he trying to state why he felt Jervis was not upto the standard he felt was needed in the Championship??

      • It doesn’t matter what the question was. Slagging off your own player in public like that is a) totally counterproductive and indicative of why he is unfit to be our manager and b) contemptible on a human level. Jervis is 21 and needs constructive criticism and encouragement not humiliation.

        • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:



          Let’s us look at this from another perspective.

          You claim it does not matter what the question was. Of course it does and it is known LC was being asked by reporters why Jervis was not likely to play in the team. He simply gave an honest assessment based on what he had seen as manager on the training field and had reports sent back to him from the clubs Jervis had been loaned to. Hardly slagging him off; more being brutally honest when questioned as to why he was not considering Jervis. If that is “slagging him off” then no doubt you have been praising LC when he has been talking about how well Reilly, Hancox et al have been doing and how he would like to build his team and indeed the club around such youngsters at the expense of the senior players.

          Wait. It slipped my mind that you are a self-admitted and confessed LC ‘hater’.

          You also called him “contemptible on a human level” – for giving a refreshing opinion about one of his own players?? Was he lying or taking the truth out of context?? Please, by making such accusations you compromise your own credibility. Personal character assassinations never helped anyone’s cause – especially when they are used ridiculously.

          If “Jervis is only 21 and needs constructive criticism” then surely he is not ready for the rough and tumble of being a main striker at BCFC and should be held back until he develops a stronger mental attitude which will allow him to brush such comments off. Who knows, maybe he will respond as Morrison did when he was “slagged off” by this “unfit” manager.

          By the way, I am not a LC ‘supporter’ merely someone who believes that once you appoint someone to the position of manager, you should trust their judgement and let them carry out their duties.

          • A couple of questions.

            Do you think that Clark would have been so brutally critical of a player he had brought in himself?

            Rather than saying to all intents and purposes that Jervis is rubbish, do you not think it would have been more helpful to show a bit of diplomacy and say that he had gone for a particular tactical approach based on what was available to him?

            Do you honestly think that Chris Hughton would have said something like that?

            What exactly is ‘refreshing’ about humiliating one of your own players in public? And one that right now Clark has no choice but to include in his plans?

            And if it is ‘refreshing’, aren’t my honestly expressed opinion of Clark’s talents also by your own logic ‘refreshing’?

            You’re right by the way, I am a ‘hater’ and I make no apology for it. I want him gone. But the reason I want him gone is because of episodes like this.

            And I find all this ‘straight talking’ shtick that we hear from some managers tiresome. Graeme Souness used to do it too. He used aggression and bad-mouthing his own players to cover the fact his own inadequacies. Clark is doing the same here.

          • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

            You ask would LC do such to one of his ‘own’ players??


            Look what he said about Morrison after bringing him in and look what has happened to Ben Gordon.

            You say that he could have used diplomacy and suggested that tactically he was going to use this or that formation. No doubt he then would have been accused of being tactically inept when things didn’t go to plan.

            CH is gone and so is Brady, the Golds and Sullivan. Really is pointless making comparisons. The past is precisely there and we cannot influence it.

            You also say that LC “humiliated Jervis”. According to who??
            Maybe you find the comment that LC made more offensive than perhaps Jervis did himself. We all get shit from managers in all walks of live and you simply try to prove them otherwise.

            I say that LC made a “refreshing” comment and why do I not consider yours in the same vein??
            He has access to evidence and first-hand experience, and more importantly, is paid to make those decisions. You admit yourself on another comment that Jervis might not make it but deserves a chance. We cannot make those calls unfortunately.

    • Blue in Spain says:

      Very mature user name!

    • Paul Carter - The Voice Of 2013 he says:

      He didn’t.

      He said that no club had shown an interest in Jervis although he’s been on loan to many.

      In other words Jervis would not normally be in the side. Very good way of portraying the lack of options I thought. Well said Lee and well done for motivating the team to such a battling performance on Saturday.

      I agree with Lee. Jervis aint ready. I’d go further and say he wont make it at this level of football.

      • Lets look at what he said:

        “People talk about Jake Jervis being a striker but these are the facts: Jake has been to League One or League Two clubs seven times and those clubs haven’t decided to keep him.”

        So in Clark’s opinion he’s rubbish basically. He’s even questioning whether we have the right to describe Jervis as a striker. On what planet does that not constitute criticism?

        I cannot believe you are defending him over this. A 21 year old guy who is on our books and has committed several years of his professional life to this club, and is right now literally the only striker we have available is being told *via the press* that he is a complete waste of space.

        In the first instance, if that is the case, why bother recalling him from his loan? In the second, how is that a reasonable way to treat a player who it looks like we will need?

        I have no idea whether Jervis will make it at this level, but he deserves a) a chance and b) a little respect from his manager rather than a very public humiliation.

        Paul, there is nothing noble or valiant about blind loyalty. You seem totally oblivious to the fact that Lee Clark is hopelessly out of his depth (leaving aside his tactical ineptitude it has now been demonstrated that he has the man-management skills of a troglodyte) and instead you seem determined to tell us that things are actually pretty good and if they aren’t it is simply the fans fault.

        It is supremely arrogant and supremely naive.

        • Paul Carter - The Voice Of 2013 he says:

          You know nothing of his man management skills.

          You know nothing of what the players think of him.

          Pretty hard to be a tactical genius when you’re playing kids cos of injuries.

          KRO Lee. We know the situation we’re in and we’re right behind you.

          • Bromsgrove Blue says:

            Well said Paul. I was at the game – we should have had a clean sheet – and some of the approach play was breath taking. Did I hear LC praise every single player – YES I did. Including those who sustained injuries when fighting for our cause. I’d say LC is fighting for our club and like i’ve said before we don’t know what he can do becuase the club is in turmoil – no organisation can function properly for long with strong leadership – CY is a prisoner in HK and PP is invisible – try running a company without a CEO or Director. Sometimes LC is too straight talking for his own good – he is refreshingly honest. LC did NOT insult or state negative criticism of JJ – he simply outlined the facts relating to JJ’s current stage of development. Mumboloid might like to take a leaf out of LC’s book – and refrain from pointless preudicial remarks about someone who is actually trying to keep the team afloat whilst the club is sinking. For what it’s worth, Mumboloid is Villan who is trying to wind us up – just ignore the comments in the future – they’re immature and pathetic – like his user name. KRO

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Talking about the Garry Pendrey era everybody relates the date of 15th April 1989 with the Hillsborough disaster. I was at Barnsley then and that date was a disaster for Blues as it was on that day we were relegated to the third tier of the league.
    Blues were skint then and had to play many of the youth team who were not up to it. I only hope history is not repeated.

    • SirHarry1875 says:

      I missed 3 games that season and one of them was Barnsley. Crystal Palace on the last day of the season remains one of my most memorable away games of all time for many reasons!!!

      • Ali Duncan says:

        I ‘ve heard legendery stories about Palace in 89. Was it that crazy?

        • Bluenosesol says:

          It was hilarious watching half a dozen Bluenoses in Max Wall tights scampering away from the ground. I believe that this was the birth of the last game fancy dress tradition as I had not seen it before.

          • Paul Carter - The Voice Of 2013 he says:

            It was.

            The idea was Tunnys from Stirchley.

            The maddest day out we ever had.

    • Paul Carter - The Voice Of 2013 he says:

      Remember it like it was yesterday.

      All the old bill disappeared from Oakwell to assist and when we got in the car they were saying 9 had died and the number was going up all the way home. Plenty of grim faced Liverpool fans on the motorway also some of who must have lost loved ones.

      A chilling journey home and made us all think hard about things.

  • prewarblue says:

    i understand there is another young keeper in the Development Squad who is good as well as a prospect,,,,unfortunatly I cannot remember his name,,,,maybe you can remind me,,,,?

  • Dave says:

    Callum Preston

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    I believe we also need to know who of the senior players LC wishes to retain. Working on that premise maybe the picture will not be as bad once we have some of the regulars returning from injury and suspension. With Caddis, Lovenkrands, King, Zigic and maybe Diop back in the near future, we could again be looking at far less of the newbies having to play. I really do not think that in his first-choice defence, LC would play Packwood, Hancox or the others but would prefer to have them as an option on the bench.

    In centre-midfield, the wings and up-front is where they may be asked to make much more of an impression but this should be where we still have decent senior players who can support, advise and assist them with their intergration and lessen the burden of responsibility and expectation on their young shoulders. King, Lovenkrands, Zigic, Spector (if he’s not covering at R/B), Mullins and the like have vast experience between them and will make things a whole lot easier. Players like Hall, Morrison and Redmond can only benefit from such colleagues and team-mates. But we really need to know who is wanted and will stay, and who will go – regardless of whether LC wants them to or not, when we all know what our current financial predicament at the club is. Then and only then can we try and create a small amount of stability and try and salvage something from this bullshit (so far due to the shenanigans at the top of the club mainly) season and hope to achieve some sort of continuity.

    But at the end of the season is when we will really need to be concerned, players out of contract, again no money, nobody realistically left to sell, reduced income, loans due to be repaid or converted, players returning to parent clubs and still uncertainty if CY and PP haven’t sold-up.

    I do not accept we will be relegated because there are far poorer and inconsistent teams than us and we can always rely on Wolves to do us a favour. Anyway, results will pick-up and even a couple of wins on the trot changes the dynamics extremely quickly in this league.

    If/when JB is transferred, CD will do a good job between the sticks for us and has many years of loyal service under his belt and this should not be forgotten.

    • bluenoseneil says:

      We – and the wider world – wont be told who is staying and who is going as this seriously affects likely market value of any players about to be sold.

      It’s safe to say we will lose one or two but I don’t think it will necessarily be the players we all expect. So far Gordon has gone back to Chelsea and Lucas has gone to Fleetwood. Neither is a great loss and I think there’ll be more of that going on (stripping out the chaff) rather than getting rid of players we want and need to keep the club challenging to stay in the Championship.

      You heard it here first :p


      • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

        If they’re placed on the transfer list we’ll know.

        The ones who are ‘in-demand’ we will need to be concerned as regards to transfer value, but all the footballing world knows we are up shit-street so how much this truly affects bids I do not really want to guess at. Plus, it also depends how highly the player involved is rated by the purchasing club. JB was not for sale last season but Southampton still chanced it with a £6m bid for an untried teenage goalkeeper.

        A club who really wants a player and has competition is more than likely going to pay the going rate rather than lose out to a competitor. The ones who will attract miserly bids will the be the ones who no-one else has come in for and we do not really need at the club. The only way I see us getting below market value for our ‘star’ player(s), is if the window is about to close and we still have not sold anyone to raise any much needed funds. Do not see this happening though at Blues as several clubs are suppossed to be really interested in JB and he is most definately available for transfer.

        I repeat we are not in a relegation fight by any stretch.

        • RichardM says:

          Apparently we’ve already rejected a £0.5 million offer already for Redmond! Just shows you, the vultures are circling and knowing the desperate financial problems Blues are facing will chance their arms with some silly bids to test our resolve!

        • After the half way point we are 4 points above the relegation places and averaged little better than a point a game for the last few months and we are slowly dropping down the table. Players could leave over the transfer window weakening the team still further. We have a manager who is self-evidently out of his depth.

          How are we not in a relegation battle? Do you really believe we are too big or too good to go down right now?

          • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

            Because the four points you allure to make a hell of a difference in this division. Those points either way mean Blues could either be in a relegation spot or again just two wins off a play-off spot. If we were in the play-offs at this stage would you take it as given that we woud still be there come the end of the season??

            Sorry to disappoint you but we are not in the predicament that some think or even hope for.

      • almajir says:

        Gordon hasn’t gone back yet, he goes back Monday

  • tamuffblue says:

    SPOT ON GRIMLIN – as you rirightly state it is a Vile trait – THE honest position is that Peter Pann looks at 11 Blue shirts and how many pound signs are on them then get rid of the ones with high numbers and replace with inexperienced but willing replacements nothing to do with ability or forward planning hence we are not just plunging the club nearer the edge but also ruining promising careers of the young uns

  • jazzzy786 says:

    I wonder if PP or LC read this blog as not long ago you publicized the need for LC to blood the youngsters. What are these young strikers like that have just been given squad numbers? Does Hall have permission to play for us in the fa cup?

    • almajir says:

      I know for a fact Peter Pannu read your comments on what he said via email to me and when interviewed by Tatts and Rossy.

      As for LC, no idea.

      Hall doesn’t have permission to play. Hales, Gnahoré and Henry-Francis are all in the squad

  • AL_LAD says:

    We’re in serious trouble now gents. just been on newsnow and the headline for bcfc – offical site is ‘SALE 3 for 2’.

    Does this mean buy Butland and Redmond get Davis free?

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Guys, one thing is for sure, at this stage of the season, love him or loathe him, we need to get behind LC and whatever squad remains once the transfer window closes. LC deserves some credit for blooding youngsters early doors, as without them we would be in the relgation mire by now. Also need to get behind Doyle. In the past, us Bluenoses have taken pereverse pleasure from our relegation challenges. If Coventry can take 4000 fans to away games, then so can we, so for now have your squabbles and opinions, but come Feb 1st for Goodness sake put your heart and souls into supporting the team. KRO

    • Blueboy88 says:

      Your absolutely right Bluenose , get behind the team its not Clark’s fault.

      Like many who have gone before him & I am sure many more after him ,
      he was unfortunately promoted well above his ability.
      He is a symptom of the decay & decline of Birmingham City FC over the past 2 years

      If everything had been equal he would not have got within a country mile of the BCFC managers job
      His appointment said more about the continuing deterioration of a proud football club , rather than Clark’s own competence as a football manager.

  • Blueboy88 says:

    Anybody know how or why Fahey is being
    linked with potential transfer to Ipswich , Norwich or Notts Forest ?

    Thought he was on compassionate leave ?

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of 2013 he says:

    He is

  • oldburyblue sooth says:

    Like VOR’s style….so have copied it. I don’t think I need to be a soothsayer though to predict that things will get a lot worse before any chance of getting better. We WILL KRO as we have always done though!

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of 2013 he lovingly says:

    I like your style too Oldbury x

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of 2013 he says:

    That piece of functionality is pants Dan, is it a default setting or can you change it?

  • DoctorD pointedly says:

    When is Pannu gonna appoint Big Al as the non-executive director of BIH that he is supposedly looking for? He is the perfect candidate for it I think — and so what if he has zero business experience. He can’t be worse than some on the board.

  • Mike says:

    Is the ‘a’ word ‘apocalypse’

  • KeepRightcroydOn says:

    Enjoyed the light hearted comments. Gotta laugh, beats being miserable about our club’s pridicament.

    BTW agree VOR has to be a favourite as he gets to call you Dan.

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