Archive for July, 2011

The Perfect Exit

As you would expect there has been more news about players leaving St Andrews rather than players coming into the side. This is a given as a Cup winning side being relegated is bound to attract interest from bigger clubs, especially when a large part of the squad is Premier League quality.

Nikola Zigic is a name which has always had questions over his future after relegation.  Unfortunately, this week has only confirmed that he will at some point be leaving Birmingham City as Nikola Zigic’s agent had said this week;

“The only thing that is sure is that Zigic is going to leave Birmingham this summer. There is still a long time left to decide, so we are not in a rush. Nikola’s wish is to continue his career in England or Spain.”

This is extremely disappointing to hear as I’m sure it’s not just me who feels this but I really liked Zigic. He may not have been Lionel Messi with the ball but he was by far our most effective player we had all season.

When he came off the bench against Blackburn at Home he seemed like a 6ft 8 (I’m going for the taller measurement) rabbit caught by an oncoming headlight, stunned and quite confused in how to work in the Premier League as it was a style of play he was not used to. It seemed as if he did not know how to use his height and size to take advantage, something the Birmingham fans instantly noticed. Zigic would hardly jump for the ball thinking he was tall enough to beat defenders standing and if he did jump he would lean forward only reducing his height only making it more frustrating.

As games went on Zigic had started to learn the style of play in the Premier League, making himself a lot more effective scoring 5 goals in 25 appearances. Yes you can say goals were not his main attribute but his size and his knowledge was enough to break down any defence, which would open opportunities for the team to score.

Against Villa

When he did score, it would be at the most important times for Birmingham city. Who can forget the goal against the vile in the quarter final of the Carling cup or the first goal against Arsenal in the final? He made the Arsenal defence look even shakeier, breaking it down and scoring from that corner which gave us the advantage to go on and win.

What happened to Zigic after the cup final, I do not know. He apparently picked up an injury from that game which put him out for the rest of the season. This seemed odd as during the time he was ‘out’ for Birmingham city he had played for Serbia on International duty, questioning the actual seriousness of the injury. If he was fit and had played the remainder of the season for us, would we still be in the Premier League? I think it would have enhanced our chances greatly. As I’ve said before we had been relegated due to the lack of goals and with Zigic in the side the team would have scored a few more, especially in games at home where 3 points were needed (I.E WBA).

Anyway, what’s done is done but one thing for sure is that scoring the winning goal in a cup quarter final against your greatest rivals and then scoring again in the Cup final which you go on and win, only puts him straight into the hero category for many Birmingham city fans.  The last we saw of Zigic was that Cup Final and if he does leave now he has probably left in the greatest way possible. Leaving where the last memory we have of him in a Birmingham city shirt is scoring in a cup final…perfect.

@Solihull_Cllr had said to me on twitter “@Keeprightonblog I want the big man to stay! He is a gentleman and a hero!” I don’t think I could have summed it up any better.

Hughton has said he would have liked Zigic to stay but with bigger clubs interested in him, he is certain to go. Teams such as Bologna, Everton Racing Santander and Malaga have all apparently shown interest. With Zigic signing for 6 Million pounds last summer I would like to see the same return for his sale and as Zigic being one of the highest paid players in the squad at 50,000 pounds per week, I think a sale is needed quickly. Hughton will need to sign sufficient cover for Zigic as that’s another player who will be leaving the squad in an area which we really need to bulk up on.

I hope Zigic gets the move he wants as he was a vital member of the cup winning squad which brought me and thousands of other Birmingham city fans a memory which is priceless.

So long Zigic and all the best. Thank you for the goals and that unforgettable memory, you will be missed.

Oh and finally, To all Birmingham City fans, I had found this Video on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyhdpVyXs7E
It’s a Great video which brought back a lot of memories.  Enjoy Bluenoses!

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The lies keep on coming…

Craig Gardner (picture from bbc.co.uk)

So the deal is done. The contract has been signed, the fee has been agreed and the hands have been shaken. Gardner is now officially a Sunderland player. Treachery is one word to describe it but I’ll say no more on his move as my opinions were clearly stated on my first blog post which can be found Here. https://keeprightonblogging.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/blue-or-not-blue/.

I will however comment on what he had to say about the move and how some things don’t seem to add up.

Those who read my first blog post will understand that my anger is not about him leaving but it was to do with the lies he told us faithful fans, only making us to believe he was something that he is not.

Reading through his comments on the move, you would have thought with all the Birmingham fans calling him a liar, that all the lies would have stopped by now and he would just tell the truth.

Unfortunately this has not been the case and yet the lies continue. He told Skysports “It’s unbelievable, to be honest. As soon as I found out Sunderland were interested, it was a no-brainer.”

You would think Craig would be smart enough to stick to one story at the least, but reading the birminghammail.net he had something different to say –“At the end of the season I had an open mind about my future, and I was prepared to commit myself further to the club.”

So what is it? Were you actually thinking about committing to the club or was it that as soon as any Premier League club had shown interest in you, you were ready to accept faster than Usain Bolt on a 100 metre track?

To take his interview with Skysports further, he said “It’s such a massive club and their ambitions for this season meet my ambitions and it was too good to turn down. Obviously, we want to finish as high up the table as we can – we want to be in Europe next year and it’s a great task to go and chase.”

Wait, Sunderland’s ambitions are to finish in the top 6 to claim Europe? Realistically will that happen? With teams like Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool who have superior squads to Sunderland, is that ambition even realistic? I’m not Steve Bruce but I would have thought Sunderland would just want to secure a mid table finish, avoiding any relegation battle at the end of the season.

Match that with Birmingham City’s ambitions which are to promote to the Premier League and have a decent European campaign. Why leave to try and get European football when it’s already available to you? Hmm quite odd there Craig. If you can’t wait 1 season to get back into the Premier league that’s fine, but wanting European football? It was already available to you!

“For anyone to say I left simply for money, they are way off the mark.” He stated in the Birmingham mail. Hang on, in the same interview you said “However, everybody is aware of the financial cost for any club that is relegated and Blues made it clear they were not in a position to renew or improve my contract”.

So wait, you didn’t leave because of the money yet you wanted an improved contract? So why did you move? We can offer you European football this season and if money is not an issue for you then why on Earth did you go? Premier League football for one extra season?

 “To the fans who got behind me and sang my name, who backed me, I thank them”.  Oh don’t worry Craig; we will still chant your name. The lyrics will change slightly however but they are too explicit for me type on a blog post.

I think Craig Gardner is trying to please everyone and as we all know it’s not possible. I think its time to move on anyhow (I think most blues fans have), especially me as this is my second blog post about this and he is no longer a blues player. Onwards and upwards and forget about the past. So goodbye Gardner, you will not be missed.

You are Scott Dann, Dann!

Scott Dann. (Picture taken from skysports.com)

I think we all know as Birmingham city fans is that in terms of our squad, the strengths lie within our defence. With transfer rumours floating about almost every player in our defence, the most reoccurring name coming up is Super Scott Dann.

With teams such as Sunderland (slowly becoming Birmingham City no.2), Stoke, the Vile, Liverpool, Arsenal and now Chelsea all seem to be interested to capture him. I’m sure at some point we have all thought,  “oh if Scott Dann didn’t get injured, we would still be in the Premier League”. Personally I disregard that comment as to put it simple, we got relegated because we did not score enough. Unless Scott Dann was going to net an extra 7-10 goals, I highly doubt his injury was a key factor to our relegation. Especially how Martin Jiranek provided excellent cover for the time Dann was out. (I have considered the time Jiranek was out and Davies had covered but there were many other games where we should have picked up points).

Anyhow, it seems Stoke have been the only team who have formally put in a bid and clearly it was not strong enough to persuade us to sell. It was reported it was around the £9-10 Million mark which I believe the club rightfully turned down.

Arsenal and Chelsea also have Gary Cahill in mind at the same time and estimates on him have been around the £20 Million mark. In my opinion that is an outrageous amount of money for Cahill and if that is the correct valuation for him in today’s looney toon transfer market, then Scott Dann should be valued equal to or above that amount. I can admit Cahill is better than Dann on the ball but in terms of defending and positioning, Dann exceeds Cahill’s ability in those areas.

Quoting Skysports they said “It is believed Dann is desperate to stay in the Premier League and could represent value for money at around the £10million mark making him a better option than Cahill because of his price tag.”

This is laughable as £10 million is well below the valuation of Scott Dann. Yes It’s granted that we currently have financial issue at the club and we have to sell our prized assets, but flogging them off well below valuation is just idiotic. I would not accept anything below £15-16 Million for him and if the Vile try and snap up his services, I would boost that up to a minimum of £18 million.

I mean Phil Jones was recently bought by Manchester United for £16 Million. If these are true valuations of players,  then £10 Million is way off Dann’s actual value.

Scott Dann is clearly our best defender as he offers his solid defensive attributes along with his forward thinking and good on the ball ability. His age is also a huge benefit as he has a lot of years left and will allow even more improvement to his game. He is a Premier League player and in honesty we should not hold him back in pushing his career forward. He is England quality and keeping him at the club will not help his chances of breaking into the side. (I mean look at Joe Hart, England Number one after two to three games for Man City but not after a great season with us).

With Villas-Boas apparently being interested, I would prefer to see Dann at Chelsea from any of the clubs reported to be interested as I believe they can bring the best out him. My head tells me that if Liverpool put in a strong enough offer, that would be Dann’s first choice as he supported them as a child. This is based on the assumption that he is nothing like Craig Gardner.

I can only wish the best for Scott Dann as he has given everything to the club. All fifty games he has played he has put all his effort in and put his nuts on the line for the club (quite literally at times). He made a great partnership with Johnson and its a shame that it is going to be broken.

For me, the biggest loss when being relegated is losing players like Scott Dann. Players which are pure talent and it’s a shame to lose him. We have to move on though, as does Scott Dann to push his career on. I will wish him all the best if/when he leaves as its the least he deserves after all he has given us.

New Season, New Kit!

Home and away shirt. Picture taken from bcfc.com

“something old, something new, Something blue” is what Wayne Cowen would say.

Yes, that’s right folks it’s that time again where we get to see the new shirt the boys in blue will be wearing for the coming season. A midnight release from head of retail Wayne Cowen on twitter revealed this seasons new home and away shirt. (Picture above).

Personally I really like the away shirt. The stripes from the 1996-1997 away shirts have come back with a more modern style. A very nice shirt which has an Inter Milan feel to it. This can only be a positive as if we feel like Inter Milan, we’ll play like them right? Marlon King is Diego Milito in front of goal and Morgaro Gomis will have the vision of Esteban Cambiasso…

That’s enough dreaming for now I think, so let’s get back on topic. I think blues kit designers have got it correct on this shirt; it’s smart, cool and sexy, just like the football we will be playing this season. (I hope).

With the home kit they have finally listened to the fans and reduced the amount of white used on the shirts. Unfortunately it looks like they have taken this request to the extreme and now have not used enough. The shirt seems too bland due to the lack of white.  After-all we are the royal blue and white arn’t we? Not the Royal blue with a touch of white.

I am also not a fan of the cut around the neck; I would have loved to see a smart little collar just like the old England home shirt had…but this is just my opinion. The cut around the neck may have been a request from the players as I remember reading on twitter where Wayne Cowen had said the kits had been designed around the requests the fans and players had made. I would rather have the players happy and performing their best, rather than me looking cool with an Eric Cantona-esk collar.

We should not forget that our contract with our old sponsors F&C Investments has run out so we are due a new one. I would assume this new sponsor will be applied to the shirts as soon as its confirmed. This can change the whole look of the shirt, so my opinions may totally change when the sponsor is released. A prime example of this is Sheffield Wednesday and their classic ‘Chupa Chups’ sponsor. It totally ruined a decent looking shirt and I’d assume it reduced the number of sales (Picture shown).

S.W Chupa chups

It all depends on the shirt sponsor and how clean the shirt will look. I have always been a fan of clean looking shirts and as long as we do not end up with a sponsor such as Pedigree Dog food, I think the shirts will look okay.

The 3rd kit along with the Goalkeeper shirts will be released sometime in the next few weeks I would think. The 3rd shirt will be used as our European away shirt (i’m going for it to be red).

All in all, the design team have done really well with the kits and its also nice to know the club do take into account the fans views.  I can confidently say I will be ordering one of these shirts as soon as we find out who the new shirt sponsors are. Although I may order earlier to save the few extra quid.

Oh and hopefully I will be adding a special request to add some Europa League badges to it in the near future.


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