Often Partisan

Renewing Cause for Optimism

Jonathan Grounds became the fourth player in the close season to be signed to a new, longer team deal at St Andrew’s yesterday with an extension of his deal that keeps him in B9 until 2017 with a further year’s option.

I’m pleased Grounds has been tied to the club on a longer deal. He’s been one of the most consistent players under Gary Rowett – and one I think who is under rated by many because he’s not a tough tackling Bluenose like Mitch Hancox. In the prime of his career at 27, Grounds played in every league game bar one – more than any other outfield player for Blues last season.

This of course comes in addition to the recent signing for an undisclosed fee of Maikel Kieftenbeld from FC Groningen. From what I saw of the Dutch team forums I don’t think it’s beyond the realms €5k per week at the Eredivisie club and I doubt he came to Blues for a pay cut – all of which for me points to evidence that Blues are as they said they would be, in a better position financially this year than they have been previously.

Part of this has come from extra funding from Hong Kong. On June 30, it was confirmed in an announcement to the stock exchange that a sum of HK$9,813,600 (about £811k) was to be lent to BCFC to allow them to secure loan/banking facilities with HSBC. This was necessary due to the ground (which was the previous collateral) now being in hock to TTA under the terms of the larger loan of HK$153million.

Documents filed with Companies House by BCFC obtained by this website yesterday confirm that those banking facilities are now in place with HSBC – meaning that the smaller sum of money from TTA has definitely landed in Birmingham. The corollary of that is one would think that the larger sum has also been secured against St Andrew’s – and hopefully this will be used to help the club further (as Ernst and Young advised in an email I mentioned in a previous article)

The next update in the long running takeover saga is due to be made by Birmingham International Holdings by close of play tomorrow (11pm HKT, 4pm BST). Hopefully that will outline more of what is happening with respect to the negotiations between EY and Trillion Trophy Asia; I hope we’ll even find out more about their identity but I’m not holding my breath on that front.

In the meantime, let’s hope Blues are able to make the “couple of signings” that Mark Sale mentioned in the report for the friendly against Benfica B fairly quickly. One player who likely won’t be at St Andrew’s next season is Denny Johnstone, with reports north of the border saying he’s agreed a season long loan with Greenock Morton.

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52 Responses to “Renewing Cause for Optimism”

  • Eddie says:

    positive news.
    Sun’s shining, players are arriving and to top it all we’re gonna smash the Ozzys at cricket

  • Sounds like a striker is signing on ,things are looking good , while Denny gets more experience. …kro

  • Tony E says:

    It’s great that for the first time in too many years we are actually planning for the future. Players contracts are being renewed, both established and youngsters. Previously these contracts would have been allowed to run down ensuring that any offer, no matter how derisery, would be accepted. Everything was short term, no future planning. I just hope that we can continue along this path, headed by Gary and build a solid foundation upon which new owners (eventually) can expand. I can dream.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Leicester will be a great test for us in front of some of our own fans and the we’re see what’s missing and needs fixing , I expect kieftenbeld to start and get at least an hour if not 90 mins and he should pick is strongest team, kuszczak , Caddis, grounds, Morrison , Edgar, Davis , kieftenbeld , cotterill , Arthur, Gary , Donaldson .. I will be supprised if that is not the starting line up but what the hell!! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I agree. The time for p*ss*ng about with different teams is over. We want to see our first XI in action.. only then can we see what our are chances of getting a good start to the season. If we don’t put out our strongest team against Leicester, then we deserve what we’ll probably have coming frankly.

  • swissjonny says:

    In light of what you say Daniel I suspect the delays in signings have been caused by all the necessary paperwork ,valuations etc needed to secure banking facilities of this kind-especially during the holiday season.A Dutch chap that I spoke with last night said that our latest signing was a bit of an enforcer and really played for the shirt. If this is true then he could really become a firm favourite at St Andrews and is exactly what was needed ,in part.Now for some creativity and a goal scorer to cover Donaldson.Im still apprehensive about this season but at least there appears to be a disciplined approach to our acquisitions .We need a good start to get us all excited and bring some better gates and some old style atmosphere back to the ground.Fingers and all other crossable digits crossed. KRO

    • almajir says:

      Tesche was purely down to Forest from what I know. Fabbrini wasn’t actually as much of a target until Blues were encouraged to go for him, Boro were in for him all summer.

      Kiernan – I don’t know what happened.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I think some people believe we haven’t got extra dosh because we’re not signing players for £500,000/£1m or more. I think it’s more the fact that we may be paying the higher wages that better quality players cost. I don’t think, at the moment, that we can have both.. so, if that’s the case, I’m quite happy with better quality freebies/minimal fee players.

  • rhees says:

    Its looking healthy for the first time in the last few yrs
    Kro

  • Captain Blues says:

    I agree Grounds was a consistent performer under GR and in fact I would take it further and say he is quite possibly the most improved player, at the start of last season to put it bluntly I thought it he was dreadful but improved dramatically under GR.

    Not really sure what to think for the season ahead, my gut reaction is it will be difficult to even match last seasons 10th placed finish but we shall see and looking forward to the talking ending and the meaningful football beginning.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Grounds: yes he is vastly improved since RowettRevolution. Under the previous management no player improved after purchase. Judging by Reading away he’s definitely not a wingback though.

    Maikel Kieftenbeld: He’ll be keen as mustard Saturday but I don’t want him to bust a gut because it is a friendly and we need him for all season. Remember Obina?

    Contract extension: yes thinking medium term for a real promotion push in 2016/7 and yes salary uplifts funded by TTA money

  • Macca21 says:

    Anyone know the sus on Cole ?

  • KC says:

    Another great up date Dan. Good summary of where we are on TWTD.co.uk-Ipswich Town under ” Notes for the new season ” Birmingham, Wolves and Milton Keynes.

  • duchess says:

    I think Kieftenbeld will really do well, no pressure and no big price tag and Dutch players, apart from a few with high price tags, have always done well in England.

    Gary Rowetts first signing was Micheal Morrison and if he is the level of player he and his staff go for then I have no doubt anyone who comes in will improve what we have!

    Look at Tesche, he was a free transfer to Forest from a team that didnt want him! a team of lower level than Gronigen!

    We have just signed someones captain who won the countries cup, nothing less than a coup!!!

    Cannot wait to see who the other 1 or 2 are!

  • Dave Mann says:

    A couple of ex premier league winners would do for me but seriously duchess let’s see kieftenbeld in action first to see if he can stand the championship, ime sure he can and if Rowetts as faith in him then ime happy with whatever 1or 2 players we get in! Kro

  • Bluey says:

    Whilst the clubs` finances seem to be stable it is clear we are still having to implement austerity and cut our meagre cloth accordingly. I hope that expectations for the new season reflect our spending power and no-one starts dreaming of promotion because that just isn`t likely. Mid-table would be a good effort.

  • Andy says:

    Looking forward to the friendly on Saturday. I think we will play better than we did at Burton. I hope we sign Andrew Coles son by thjen , He would give us the pace in behind the defence that we need. What do you guys think ? …. ~KRO

  • andy says:

    I anticipate that one of those 2 signings could be Cole and I hope that it is.

  • Mark H says:

    Can anyone confirm our interest in Roystyn Griffiths? A mate of mine said we might sign him. He’s a defensive midfielder, a free agent. A few clubs are showing interest in him. Wouldn’t hurt to give him a trial I suppose.

  • I would try conor hourihane he looks like a young Craig Gardner .

  • Jazzzy786 says:

    Disappointed with the lack of opportunities for Denny Johnstone. He looked really good veesus Leicester u21 a few weeks back. His understanding with Alex Jones looked like the start of a very promising partnership. I think he should have gone out on loan to a League 1 team at the very least. Scottish championship is about conference level.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Agree. The lad has never been given a chance.. but then, neither was Green, or Duffy or Gunning.

      • Geoff S says:

        Didn’t Green and Gunning pick up fairly serious injuries when they were at Blues?

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Yes… but having spent time and money on getting them fit, you would have thought they’d be given a chance.

          • Geoff S says:

            I see what you mean. I know Green scored one of the goals when Blues won the Senior Cup Final fairly recently. The only thing I can think is that, as Green and Gunning were Clark’s signings, they did not fit into Rowett’s plans.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            I just think it’s a sad waste.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    I think Jones has come in to replace Johnstone

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Blues v Derby and Wolves (home) and Burnley and Ipswich (away) all live on Sky before the end of October. Wow! :-O

  • Tom says:

    Shinnie signs new deal.. Now can we start signing players???

  • Dave Mann says:

    We’ve signed five and as many have signed extended deals so let’s not get to down about it … Though we still need that No 10 but I think that Arthur can play there and he’s been by far out most impressive player in pre season so no panic here . Kro

  • pete says:

    Don’t think there is a panic but when looking at our best side that got top 10 we have lost 3 of our better players. For like for like swaps we seem to have only got one new replacement. My concern is that we have a side which might be better prepared BUT has lesser players than we finished with, whilst others are improving. I think the need Rowett mentioned for real quality is huge in these circumstances. Hope Arthur or brown are seen as the answer but am not convinced this is why Rowett has not signed players up.

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    GR has made the point that unless he can get in quality that will improve us then there will be no signings and I agree with his stance. He has also made the point that better quality players become available at this time in pre-season and if he’s keeping his powder dry for a player like Will Buckley for example then I can see the method in his thinking. It’s been a frustrating summer as far as signings have gone but a couple of descent premier league loans could set us up nicely for a crack at the playoffs IMO.

  • atko says:

    Spanish Midfielder John Toral signs for Blues on a Season Long Loan from Arsenal. Blues just announced on the website & via Twitter :)

  • atko says:

    Oh & Toral is described on the Arsenal Website as

    “An expert dribbler who can play on either flank or in the No 10 role”

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Type “Jon Toral scores a hat-trick in Brentford’s 4-0 win over Blackpool” into YouTube.

  • Mitchell says:

    Toral and MK signings may just make the difference from targeting mid table to a few notches higher. Class striker could even better this. What a diff. 7 days make..optimism surely rising.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I don’t think we’re too far away from a decent squad now. Mark Sale said that there were a couple of deals close. Toral was obviously one.. wonder who the other one is? More importantly, will it be a centre back, a left back, or a striker?

  • Mitchell says:

    I am going to stick my neck out here and predict it will be a striker for the ‘final signing’. Too much pressure is now mounting on Donaldson to score goals and really he cannot rely on either Thomas nor Novak for help. Also, I get the surprise sneaky feeling that the 1up front will be dropped with a normal midfield and a good 2 searching in pairs. This would suit the new additions and stretch the opposition. GR would get my backing even it didn’t work out at first. Breath of fresh air for the St. Andrews faithful.

  • Blue Steve says:

    Am starting to get quite excited about the new season with news of Jon Torals signing. If we can get a centre back in (maybe Derbys Jake Buxton) I will start to believe that we can really compete next season…

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Anyone know roughly when the squad numbers will be announced? Just wondering because Ipswich announced theirs yesterday.

  • Tony says:

    Thins looking A lot brighter except I have a ticket for test match tomorrow wont be there long.

    • atko says:

      Never mind, Tony! Blues Ladies are 6-0 up against Villa & there’s still 15 mins to go….all in all, today has been a pretty good day! :)

  • atko says:

    Full Time for the Ladies: Blues 7 Villa 1!
    Who says we can’t score goals? :)

    • Geoff S says:

      Let’s see how that “Mail” rag reports that! That scoreline – villa 1 Blues 7 – marvellous. Mind you, vile must be improving as a few years back BCLFC smashed them 9-0! LOL…

  • pete says:

    Not being negative but am not going to bank on Toral just yet. He started 10 games all last year, so it must be put on perspective rather than hearing about barca or arsenal. However he did show an eye for goal and gives options in midfield and could develop further if staying fit.

    • atko says:

      One thing I will say to that Pete is it is like a club changing a manager. What one manager gets out of a player may be different than another. Hopefully it will work out for him here at Blues.

  • paule says:

    I am sitting in Chablis Bar in Fuerteventura having a drink or 5 !!!
    i must admit i was one of the pessimists amongst us Blues supporters & am happy to admit being wrong, looking forward to the Reading game, i don’t think friendlies are a good indication of how things will pan out. Kro.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I hope Toral can weigh in with a few goals. In over 90 games between them, Cotterill, Shinnie and Gray scored a combined 17 goals last season. That leaves an awful heavy burden on Donaldson.


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