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The Reece Brown situation
Less than two weeks after Reece Brown was taken on extended trial for a month by West Ham it’s been revealed the 19-year-old has interested a top four Premier League side – thought to be Manchester City – having also spent the last week at AFC Bournemouth.
Birmingham Mail reporter Brian Dick wrote yesterday in his transfer rumour mill piece how Brown has been looked at by various teams as Gary Rowett “believes both club and player need to resolve a situation where he is not playing regularly or contributing to the play-off push.”
Rowett is quoted as saying
“The point for us is we have had a lot of interest over the years from these Under 21 groups that have got money to burn on young potential players for the long term.
“At the moment we are trying to find the best solution for everybody.
“We felt initially West Ham wanted to have a look at him over a period, nothing financial is agreed so certainly we are not going to be letting him go to places or selling him for ten bob.
Rowett is in a tough position with Reece Brown. If Blues are to receive money for Brown then I think he would have to be sold in this window as the 19-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season. As he is under 24, Blues would be eligible for compensation via a tribunal – but only if they meet the criteria of rule 64.3 of the Football League regulations, to wit:
64.3 Subject to the provisions of this Regulation 64, any Club which makes an offer in accordance with Regulation 64.2 of re engagement to a Contract Player who is an Under 24 Player and which is in the opinion of the Board not less favourable than the Player’s current contractual terms, shall be entitled to a Compensation Fee in respect of the loss of the Player’s registration, should the Player sign for another Club. In order to comply with this Regulation, the annual value of the terms offered must be at least equivalent to the most favourable year’s terms in the Player’s previous contract. The terms offered to Players for re engagements must be as favourable overall except that a signing on fee included in the previous contract and stated to be a once only payment need not be repeated. Copies of all offers of re engagement made to Contract Players must be sent to The League.
In other words, Blues would have to offer Brown a new deal that is equal to or better than the one he is currently on – and I have to be honest, as things stand I can’t see that happening.
Despite his obvious talent, Brown has failed to make the same sort of impression on the first team that Viv Solomon-Otabor has with the Dudley-born midfielder only making two sub appearances this season. There have been longstanding rumours that Blues management have been unimpressed with a lack of professionalism from Brown and that this failure to understand what is required to become a first team player has held Brown back with some rumours suggesting that Brown’s career with the club is finished.
I’ve long held that making the transition from teenage wunderkind to first team pro is the hardest step for young players to take; having seen a fair few groups of academy scholars graduate it seems obvious to me that Thomas Edison’s maxim of genius being “1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration” holds true; while talent on the pitch is of course absolutely necessary there needs to be a lot of work done to bring that talent to fruition. If a young player doesn’t have the drive to push themselves as hard as they can, it won’t happen for them – the sad reality being that almost all academy graduates will not make a career in professional football.
While Brown is trialling with these Premier League clubs I think he needs to take a leaf out of the book of his contemporaries such as Demarai Gray. Gray improved exponentially over the last few seasons from when he broke into the team and I think that there was an element of wanting to stay local and grounded in his move to Leicester. I’m of the belief Brown needs to do the same because if it is true that he is struggling to deal with being a professional in his home town it’s only going to get worse a long way from home without his friends and family around him.
I think going to another team to spend time out on loan or in a development squad isn’t going to be conducive to his professional career – although in the short term it might well be better for his bank balance. I may be wrong, but I think it’d be in his best interest to think about going somewhere of the ilk of Walsall – somewhere where I think it would be likely he’d get first team game time (which I think would help him to find his path as a footballer) while remaining in the locality and with the support of those close to him.
Truth be told, the Brown situation is frustrating; for him as he’s not getting the football his talent deserves; for Rowett because he may well lose out on a talented player because Brown can’t get his head in the game and for us Blues fans because we’re robbed of seeing another local boy come good. I know that I’m not the only one who hopes that this situation can yet be saved – but as it stands Brown might just be the latest statistic of another Academy graduate who failed to make the step up.
Tags: Reece Brown