Often Partisan

The Case for Defence

One of the biggest tests for Lee Clark this transfer window will be to remould the Birmingham City defence ready for the new season after the departure of senior pros Steven Caldwell, Stephen Carr and Pablo Ibanez.

It was a tough season for the Blues defence last year, with the team conceding 69 goals in 46 league games – eighteen more than the previous season under Chris Hughton. Serious injuries to full backs Stephen Carr and David Murphy didn’t help; Blues went through various options in both full back slots and in the heart of defence before settling on Caddis, Davies, Robinson and Hancox in the run in.

This season will see a vast change in the defence at Blues, with only two senior pros in Curtis Davies and David Murphy definitely contracted to the club next year, along side rookies Ryan Higgins, Will Packwood, Mitch Hancox, James Fry and Amari’i Bell. Blues have also offered contracts to Paul Robinson and Jonathan Spector (who can slot in at right back) but these have not been confirmed as accepted at the time of writing. With Curtis Davies a very realistic candidate to be sold on, Blues are going to need to bring in some cover for defensive areas quickly.

However, it’s not just defensive players Blues have lost – it’s influential ones. Both the club captain and vice-captain have left the team and again, with Davies likely to go too Blues are going to have to look at the amount of leader-types are within the team. It’s my belief that if Paul Robinson accepts a new deal then he could be a candidate for captaincy but I also think that Clark needs to try to bring in a centre back with a similar air of authority as a matter of urgency. Of course, Clark is operating in much reduced terms – Blues at the moment are solely looking at free transfer players and can’t really offer vast amounts in wages either – and it’s going to be a test of his scouting team to see if he can find a player who can slot straight in in that vein.

Blues are probably going to be heavily reliant on their younger players as cover for positions, and as such this season could be a big one for players like right back Ryan Higgins, young centre back James Fry and Will Packwood, who is returning from injury and should be available some time around the start of the new season. Mitch Hancox showed last year that despite being raw when first thrown in at the deep end it is possible for a young player to grow and learn whilst playing in the first eleven. It’s going to be an interesting season for Mitch as he’s going to have to deal with being pushed back down to second choice with the return of David Murphy – however I suspect the young Solihull-born left back will continue to work hard and show the excellent attitude that has propelled him into the first eleven over the last twelve months.

The important thing to remember is it’s still May – there is still plenty of time for Blues to pick up players and as such we shouldn’t panic about the team as yet. However it’s my hope that Clark is given the tools (and wage structure) to bring in someone quickly who can help lead the defence and give Blues a solid backbone to build from in the new season.

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84 Responses to “The Case for Defence”

  • Richard Granfield says:

    The interesting outcome will be to see whether Elliott,Spector and Robinson sign on for next season or not.
    Obviously the terms they have been offered are either the same as their existing ones or less than they have been on. Their respective agents will be endeavouring to obtain better deals from other clubs.
    But do the offers mean (whatever LC says) that they don’t figure in his plans for next season?

  • Paul Carter says:

    Renewed tickets, booked Irish trip. Can’t wait for the new season. Well done to the club for making it so cheap to watch games next season. Lets take up all the season tickets and her behind the team cos they’re sure as hell gonna need it next year.

    • toby says:

      they froze the prices !!! only west brom despite selling 96% of its season ticket allocation have reduced their price by 50 quid. How can you say well done to blues when its the same price and one of the most expensive in this division.Congratulations on informing us your going to Ireland .Remember to get wifi so you can slag off every post on here that doesn’t fulfill your requirements to be called a blues supporter.

      • Pete says:

        The prices have a 5% reduction if booking online, so they have frozen them, Also, I now get to take my son for free, where as before there was his ticket price too. Is that not making things cheaper?

        I dont like the board one bit, but this is something of an improvement with regards to prices.

  • Quokkasskip says:

    badly need a BIG centre half as we have been exposed with our lack of height from corner last season.
    Agree that we could also do with a commanding presence/captain figure there.
    Robinson was great as a stop gap. Not certain about him being the long term solution.

    • John says:

      Maybe Zigic could be transformed into a centre back. Mind you his lack of skill and pace,would probably find him out anyway,whatever position he plays !

  • Dan says:

    I sometimes worry about our financial situation, but I can clearly see a few good sides in this as well. This happened to loads of clubs in Germany during the last ten years and their financial situation forced them to rely on young kids brought up through their own ranks. I must admit I sometimes dream of pulling a “Borussia Dortmund” who 3-4 years really suffered, but kept going on with their new philosophy and strategy. Of course I am not dreaming of a Champions League final including the Blues (well, only sometimes), but sometimes I quite like the idea of storming into playoffs and Premier League with a bunch of academy youngsters.

    Who knows? Overall I am quite positive about next season again. We will get our fair bit of sorrows again for a few years, but there will be joys again as well.

  • MattNL says:

    Seems to me that if Davies goes then we should try and get a decent centre back in part-exchange – with the Norwich deal that almost happened in Jan they proposed throwing in Barnett – he would be good enough for this division (was good enough to get them promoted), though not sure about his leadership qualities.

    Similar with Hull or other teams supposed to be interested, see who they think is not quite premier grade, but good enough to get you up.

    2-3million cash and a good replacement, maybe save 10-15k week on wages is a pretty good deal I’d say.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Sorry to disagree… but I wouldn’t touch Barnett with a barge pole. He was dire at the Albion (even my mate thought so and he’s a baggies fan.) When they tried to offload him on us in January, I thought “Nooo, please don’t.”

      We need a tough, commanding centre back and a younger mobile partner. I would only make Paul Robinson Club Captain, (if he signs) because I doubt he’ll play every game.

  • mark says:

    Until Davis move on or not maybe this situation can become more clearer imo

    • Ali Duncan says:

      I think it’s only a matter of time before a mid-table Premier League team come in for him. I’m sure LC’s radar is operating on overdrive right now alreading plotting to get a replacement in.

  • Evesham blue says:

    Not to mention LC’s plans were dealt a blow with no deal for Caddis. The Bosman frees tend to be in the young hungry energetic 24 ish ambitious bracket. I think Packwood would be good in centre defence. Also, the goalkeeper is a key position in defence. This is now sorted. Dare I say but I never thought Butland came for crosses enough or commanded his area.

    I think we have enough senior pros already at the club without resigning Elliot, Robinson,Spector. The terms would have been reduced due to their age or injury record.

    • Evesham blue says:

      Besides why are they taking so long to sign their contracts? Obviously looking for better deals elsewhere? Think I would rather have their wages freed up as well

      • mark says:

        Imo I am glad bcfc has put foot down any way with regards wages, if players dont like it move on ( this is regardless of our financial situation). Noted zigic in mail is happy at birmingham of course he is he on 65.ooo who would be…….imo myself rather have a forward who can score more goals for a lot less money….

  • Black Country Blue says:

    Good article, but Robinson DID sign a new deal already.

    • almajir says:

      Did he? Can you link me to where he’s listed on bcfc.com as having signed please?

    • almajir says:

      Ahem.

      Lee Clark on bcfc.com today

      “At the moment we’re waiting on three lads to see if they’ll be re-signing – Jonathan Spector, Wade Elliott and Paul Robinson. I’m hoping it will be positive with those three and also that we’ll have two or possibly three other permanent signings.”

  • dave mann says:

    we are strugling at centre half more than anything especially if
    davies is sold. were only have robinson 1st team wise so that
    is defenetley a major concern.KRO.

  • dazabcfc says:

    Think we might go back for Caddis when Davies is sold. Also I wonder if Hancox could play left midfield in front of Murphy? Not a bad crosser and would also offer defensive cover. kro

    • bluenoseneil says:

      Yeah I thought that as well Daza….good ideas!

      No sure that many Prem teams will be falling all over themselves for Davies actually, as much as we think he is great and moreover we need him off the wage bill. He never really made the grade elsewhere and whilst he’s been a decent servant for us he’s only as good as who he’s got next to him protecting him….and that was exposed with Caldwell earlier in the season and ‘rectified’ to an extent by putting Robinson in instead.

      I would rather see us maybe start with Packwood and Robbo and perhaps get one or two in on loan or free, as we have cover with Fry but need more substance there and it will be a steep learning curve for Will.

      There’s more to come that’s for sure.

  • mark says:

    Hopefully with the irish tour, and the amount of pre-friendly games we may have already couple young defenders who can be play without the fear factor, and prepare them for the championship.

  • Tony says:

    Davies is not as good as he thinks he is, sell him for 4 mill

    • Dan H says:

      Davies is as good as gone, Clark’s latest interview with Tatts talks about senior players and he doesn’t mention Davies once.

      Elliott Ward and Gonzales Jara are available on free transfers

    • Ali Duncan says:

      Perhaps you’re not as miserable as we all think you are Tony ;)

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Davies makes the odd good interception… but he gets caught out of position, chasing back (half-heartedly) and is often found out with a ball over his head. But his worst trait, is stopping and putting his hand up for offside, instead of playing to the whistle. Basic schoolboy stuff.

      I’ll happily wave goodbye to Davies for £2.5-3m and welcome any new players that allows Lee Clark to bring in.

      • Pete says:

        Cannot believe these comments!!! I think we need Davies or a player in the Darren Purse mould.

  • Oldbluenose says:

    As it is only the middle of May, !!. we should not be too worried as yet, L,C. has made some decent signings so far with the constaints [ financially ] imposed upon him, !!.

    Time to panic would be in a couple of months time, ?.

  • Marky mark says:

    We all know one of our better players will be sold this summer, we dont even need to be warned abnout it anymore, and I would sooner see Davies go then Redmond say.

    Lets get him sold and LC will have no problem finding replacements, there will be a lot of footballers without a home this summer you will see.

    Look at Ebanks blake and Hunt at Wolves, who in there right mind would want them on there wages ?

    • Agent McLeish says:

      I’ve always admired Hunt as a player. Would love to sign him at Blues but as you say wages will be a problem. LC will have to take many gambles this season due to financial restraints, I just hope that supporters will understand that he’s having to work with his arms tied. As it stands it would be an acheivement to just remain in the Championship but who knows what’s round the corner? I think that most fans would never have imagined where we are now when Stephen Carr was lifting the League Cup.

      • Marky mark says:

        To right, seems a long time ago now. But as we all say you take the good with the bad, and the good times will return, hopefully we wont have to wait 50 years for the next one as I for one we definatley not still be here.

  • Carlos says:

    attached is the link to a list of pro’s out of contract this summer
    http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/en/spieler/vertragsende/basics_GB1.html

  • toby says:

    Got my season ticket ,not going to Ireland though so guess im not a proper fan ! lol Although my mrs got me some blues socks yesterday so I must be in line for 2nd best fan on here after carter the voice of dross…

  • The Flying Pig says:

    I’m resigned to Davies going; if so, we need two more CH’s IMO with, perhaps, Packwood as cover? Whilst I thought Robbo was our best player post-Crimbo, I do not think he’s strong enough in the air for this division at CH, hence my thinking we need two.

    Let’s hope Elsie can go and find another Liam Daish!!

    • chas says:

      Liam Daish is out of work..He was sacked last week..Gerrim in.

      • prewarblue says:

        I,m getting in before Tony…….Joe Gallagher !……and he,s working for the club so there would be no signing fee!!!!

        • bluenose08 says:

          I work with martin hicks as a postman and he says he can manage 15mins on the pitch with his dodgy knees !!!

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    On the Scottish theme , Liverpool have a highly rated young central defender Danny Wilson.
    He would seemingly be available on loan…

  • chris says:

    i hope Robbo signs but i doubt it, in the Mail he kept on about how he wanted a contract offer from the club, now he has one he still hasn’t accepted it after two weeks, so it is obviously on less terms or the same as he already has.
    So i bet he’s not as keen to sign, as he said he was, his not shouting in the press now!!

  • Paul Carter says:

    Dan are you going to Ireland mate? We fly out on the Friday come back on the Tuesday. Great place for a friendly although I enjoyed Germany last year.

    • almajir says:

      At this moment, Paul, I’m not.

      HK wiped me out financially somewhat

      • Paul Carter says:

        Understandable, very expensive place

        You did good work out there though son and will be remembered for it.

      • bluenose08 says:

        I would have thought your mate p.v.o.r. would have treated you to a w.end away so you can be a proper fan !!!!

        • almajir says:

          Hey, if anyone (business or otherwise) wants to sponsor the site for me to go to Ireland I’m willing to talk… ;)

  • dave mann says:

    id kike to put my self forward for best supporter.
    41 years attending, 22 years season ticket holder.
    silver away ticket holder.
    wife and son both season ticket holders.
    most away grounds in england visited.
    wembley on 3 occasions( 1991,1995,2011)
    mmilenium stadium on 2 occasions(2001,2002)
    ireland 2 seasons ago.
    brugge .
    and to finish joe bradford lived across the road from me.KRO.

    • Ali Duncan says:

      Quite frankly a rubbish effort. Get yourself off down Vile Park :)

    • Dan H says:

      We could make a great game of top trumps out of this.

      I’ll see your Brugge and I’ll raise you Ancona Away 1995 Anglo Italian Cup

      • Ali Duncan says:

        Top Trumps – classic 80s game. I’ve still got some of those cards kicking around.

    • Art Watson says:

      Dave,

      As a none season ticket holder for 19 out of your 41 years you would only qualify to be a member of the Moron Club.The club is exclusive to none season ticket holders and to those who miss a game both home and away.

      Welcome to the club.

    • prewarblue says:

      Well I used to get out and away from the synagogue and nip into his cafe for a good bacon and tom buttie…….you must have lived in the “Mermaid” on the Warwick Road to have been across the road from him

  • Mike says:

    I understand that Matt Kilgallon is available on a free transfer this summer from Sunderland. He is a decent player and would be a much better option than Leon Barnett (shocking player) who a few people have mentioned. Clark seems to want to go down the total football route and if that is the case, Kilgallon would be a good acquisition. Although I’m not sure how big his wages are, which might be a stumbling block. Aside from the defence, I’d like to see us sign Will Grigg who was at Walsall last season. He is only 21/22 and is available on a free this summer. Promising young player who won almost every award at Walsall’s end of season awards.

    • Dan H says:

      Mr Ivery informed us a few weeks ago that Grigg used to place as a Youth player for Blues and he’s banged in the goals for the Saddlers this season.

      One may have slipped through the net there, looks like a good prospect to get back.

      We need the Centre Back spot filling now. I would say Kilgallon is on more than £5k per week which would be our wages ceiling

      • Mike says:

        Oh right! I wasn’t aware he was at Blues as a youngster. Typical Blues ay!?!

      • jason says:

        While he is on a free bosman, because of his age i think any club looking to buy him would still need to pay a fee to walsall wouldnt they?

        • almajir says:

          Only if Walsall have offered a deal equal to or higher than the one he is already on.

  • Marky mark says:

    Dave Mann would get my vote normally, but apparently Tony has slept with Trevor Francis,Kenny Burns and Bob Latchford and you just cannot top that.

    • mark says:

      Marky- feel sorry for the lads wifes……..i bet never they never got a word in edgeways lol

  • dave mann says:

    tony can have my vote to then, he deserves it after that lot.KRO.

  • mark says:

    Joking apart on bcfc season tickets sales still 73% still declining-

  • dave mann says:

    IT MUST BE A BIG CLUB THEN ART!

  • Paul Carter says:

    Or the Wembley 100% attendees club

  • Paulo says:

    Curtis Davies has put one hell of a long term performance in this season, so he really needs to be replaced like for like if he goes. For me, only one person deserves it, and deserves the captains armband as well …Paul Caddis.
    Absolute shame on those that made that decision to not spend the £250K on him. Both him and Robbo have put more into this club than certain others, (even through Caddis’ injury) and they were not even on a lucrative contract.
    The defense is obviously going to take a pounding, so it’s kind of obvious what we need.

  • prewarblue says:

    Silly little story I was told regarding “Joe Bradford”……most clubs when a good servant retired helped the player to buy a pub….”Joe” was a lifelong teetotaller and asked if the club would help him buy a cafe instead of a pub…..and thats how he got his cafe “Joe,s Place”.

    Well off thread I know….but thought it may interest some

  • Tony says:

    Dan can you tell me why My earlier post was deleted please?

    • almajir says:

      Yup

      It was nothing personal, just that it had reference to events of last night which I have decided are absolutely off limits on here – in any way shape or form.

      Thanks

  • Tony says:

    Marky can you verify that vile slander?

  • Tony says:

    ok thank you

  • oldburyblue says:

    Funny how you read and reply to SOME comments Tony.

  • Tony says:

    old I have just arrived on the site if you are to make assumptions then make correct ones o

    • oldburyblue says:

      Oh I’m sorry.Tony…I thought that was you at 11.30am then 5.09pm onwards. I see you have now answered my questions on Tuesday’s “Three more academy starlets sign up” blog on which you were particularly scathing of our young kids. Anyone who followed that blog (and there were a lot of us) and might be interested, can find our comments at the very end of that blog.

  • Stephen says:

    Free transfers:

    Matt Kilgallon Def 29 – needs to play 1st team football again, would be a decent addition.
    DJ Campbell ST, 31 – QPR contract ended – wages a problem. Would like to see him back though
    Jay Tabb Mid 29
    Frazer Richardson, Def 30
    Simon Davies Mid 33 – wages a problem I’m sure

    Loan:

    Would love to get on loan either of the youngsters Wilson from Liverpool (CB) Michael Keane from ManU (CB) or both and to get Ferguson (LW) from Newcastle again.

  • Stephen says:

    Just seen that Krystian Pearce is now out of contract from Notts County.

    He’s an ex Blues youngster who’s from Birmingham who is still only 23 and plays CB, he played up to England under 19/20’s.

    I’d like to see him back at the club as I was disappointed when we let him go in 2010 & his wage would be affordable.

    • oldburyblue says:

      I’d love to know the story behind us letting Krystian Pearce go in the 1st place. I understand even 1st Teamers called him “The Chief”. A few years ago I was as certain that he WOULD become a star player as Tony is certain that our present kids WILL NOT. Might be worth a shot.


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