Often Partisan

Humble Pie

Diego Fabbrini became Birmingham City’s biggest signing in five years, signing for the club in a £1.5million deal that is the largest transfer fee Blues have paid out since they signed Curtis Davies on this day five years ago.

I can imagine for Gary Rowett that there was a bit of relief when this one was done having taken more than a week to sort out the complications surrounding Fabbrini’s loan to Middlesbrough along with waiting for Boro boss to start the transfer merry-go-round by signing Gaston Ramirez on loan. It was vindication for Rowett too, with critics including myself worrying that he was struggling to close deals of this nature – apparently my worries were misplaced somewhat.

Actually, I probably owe Gary two apologies. When we loaned Diego Fabbrini last year I was concerned we were loaning a player that we had no chance of owning and that it was to the detriment of developing our own players; now it turns out we’ve bought in Fabbrini and we’ve secured what could be a massive talent not long before you would think he would hit the best age of his playing career.

I have to admit though, that as exciting as the Fabbrini deal is I don’t think our transfer business should be over. Blues have lost two defenders in this window – Greg Halford (not the lead singer of Judas Priest as I mistakenly first wrote yesterday) and Shane Lowry leaving Blues a bit shy of cover at the back. I know people have been saying that the defence have been more than good enough – and it is hard to argue with the stats – but it’s foolhardy to believe that we won’t be hit by injuries and suspensions in the remaining four months.

There are rumours coming out of Blues that we are linked with at least one defender. I’m interested to see which way Rowett goes; his current crop of defenders have served him well and it would be hard to break up a partnership to bring new blood but is he going to be able to bring someone in who is going to be patient and wait for their chance?

I’d like to see us bring in someone tall – we are lacking height at the back – and possibly as a more long-term permanent solution for when Robbo’s legs properly go but I’m willing to accept that this window might not be the chance to do that and that a loan of someone with experience who is willing to cover is more than adequate.

One thing is for sure; my wavering faith in Rowett’s transfer abilities has been restored somewhat by this week’s work. I hope that come February 2nd it remains firmly in place and we can concentrate on getting the promotion disco bus ready – I really believe that the playoffs are achievable and that this year is our year.

In other news, the competition winner has been notified and I’ll be posting something on that at some point today along with some interesting stats on who guessed correctly when…

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95 Responses to “Humble Pie”

  • Mitchell says:

    I agree with you Daniel and big,strong defender is a must now if we are to get into a strong play-off position. I understand totally commenters such as Julian stating that Robbo.should start etc.-but this is pure romance and although he is playing well-we are awaiting an exploration by a team that can take advantage etc. GR will not let this opportunity pass I am sure. Safety first with our defence now and the rest will take care of itself with quality all over the pitch.

  • Mitchell says:

    exploitation not exploration Apologies.

  • Lee says:

    I do like this post a lot, loving the positive vibes and anticipation for the remainder of the season, it’s been a long time coming, I think rowett is proving he’s very shrewd with his money, people say he’s indicisive but I think if a player he likes is available he’ll want to throw caution to the wind and ensure the money spent is protected, but when a player he wants becomes available he’ll go out and get him, going forward now he’s given himself a nice headache with so many options or the plan b others want to call it, really exciting stuff as we are now a much better side than at the start of January, with the additions we should be able to throw plenty of problems to other sides as apposed to looking very predictable, I think at times rowett is easy to read regards to what he’s looking at next, clearing the decks ready for a defender to come in as well, id be very surprised if we didn’t sign one before Monday

  • edd77 says:

    Fabbrini could prove a bargain at 1.5m he’s potentially a premier league player all day long ,and at 25 his best years still ahead of him ,I expected this to be on going to the end of the window and maybe not happen ,so well done Gary and everybody else involved in making this happen KRO

  • Tony E says:

    Although I’d prefer a big, commanding, left footed, central defender this might prove difficult. Possibly a right footer might be more achievable, what about the lad from Swansea, Kyle B, not getting a kick for them and just the type of player I would love for us to sign. Not sure about his contractual situation, but I like his aerial ability and he’s quick. Just a thought.

  • Brian says:

    So everyone who got their knickers in a twist telling Rowett how to manage and who to sign might actually button it for a while and leave it to the proper expert? Probably not. Even in this blog you criticise that he hasn’t got a defender in. Correct me if I am wrong but hasn’t Rowett said in his interviews that he wants an attacking player and defender once Vaughan and Buckley came in? I wonder if you will let him carry on and manage without so much negativity every blog?

    • Luke says:

      I think you’re confusing criticism with debate and good old-fashioned banter. Fans suggesting what they’d like to see is not a criticism of the manager.

      There’s only one person commenting on here that seems to have their knickers in a twist, and it’s not Dan.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I agree. If everyone thought the same, there would be no point in the comments section being activated.

    • almajir says:


      I also said in this blog that I believe we’re getting one in, and that I am interested to see which way GR goes. I suggest that you might be better off actually reading what’s there and not what you think is there before getting your knickers in a twist and posting…

    • ChrisG says:

      Brian do you actually know what “Humble Pie” means?. Do you actually realize that this is a Birmingham City F.C fans blog, written by a Birmingham City F.C fan, read & commented on by Birmingham City F.C fans? (Mostly). We all have our say on here & we’ve all argued the toss on here & there have been a lot of conflicting opinions on here. But we all have one thing in common & that is for “our”” team BCFC. Now is not the time for pointing fingers, for all you know Daniels comments could have sparked a reaction from GR. Dan is only pointing out the obvious above, we are light on cover for our defenders & is hoping that something gets sorted before the deadline, surely even you can see that

    • TBone says:

      You’re right Brian. Same as those who got their knickers in a twist calling for a Director of Football to be brought in, eh?

  • David L says:

    Slightly off at a tangent, but another thing I like about the Fab deal is the honesty with which it (and our other dealings) have been declared. None of this “undisclosed fee” nonsense. There it is – plain as you like – £1.5 mill.

    Now I don’t want to push this “We’re a hard working team who play the game right and pay our money up front – good honest working professionals with a straight-talking manager playing for a blue-collar audience” image too much but it does make me feel good to be a fan of a club who seems (Carson notwithstanding) to be trying to work that way.

    The feeling’s a bit like the good parts of Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang, before that Watford under Taylor, and right now the Leicester lads.

    Early days yet of course, but if the current management and squad could deliver the kind of success those clubs had for the next few years, it would be quite a golden era.

    Sorry, no input on a defender – except to agree a new decent one would be a good idea!

  • AdamTrueBlue says:

    It will be interesting to see what the foreign scouts have turned up? Kro

  • Luke says:

    Good post Dan.

    Just looking at the fixture list – currently, we only have four occasions in the remainder of the season when we’re scheduled to play twice in a week so, god-willing, we might be able to scrape through with the defenders we have.

    I agree though, that ideally we should have at least one more CB. Difficult to be sure as an expat, only seeing highlights and reports, but it seems Robbo is actually more mobile and consistent this season than he was last season. Another MM-type would be great though, as cover in general, but also to be able to be swapped in for those midweek games.

    Looking forward to seeing how DF settles in.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    We definitely need that height in defence. It’s often squeeky bum time when high crosses and lobs are played into our box. Although Kuszczak has improved a lot this season, you still feel you want to close your eyes when he comes out for a cross. We’ve not really had that height in defence since Bartley and Burns… and that’s a long time to go without it. A tall, strong left-sided centre back-cum-left back would do nicely thank you very much.

  • Cornish Bluenose says:

    Keep the faith. Keep positive…keep believing in GR….and KRO

  • blue says:

    Dear Gary, great bit of sh*tting in the potty lol

  • Grant Newman says:

    Dan Burn is avalible on loan after the manager at fulham is bringing in a centre half from austria. Fits the whole criteria. Tall, left sided, avalible and know the blues. Gerrrmmin.

  • BillyBow says:

    The recruitment of a defender is a bit of a dilemma. I agree it’s necessary for cover but how do we attract a player to fit our wage budget who will know they are just going to warm the bench? Another Rowett rabbit out of a hat I hope.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Another defender is a must. Expecting Spector to cover all 4 defensive positions would be out of the question… especially if 2 of our defence were injured which, with our injury history over the past 2 or 3 seasons, isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.

    • ChrisG says:

      Oh staffs, I hope Brian don’t read you posts, according to him you are NOT allowed to mention what players we need. Staffs……i’m here for ya mate, just so you know!!!

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I never worry about people who disagree with me Chris, it’s all part of the fun. For anyone who wants to throw out insults, water, duck’s, back come to mind. Thanks for your support though. :)

  • Shirley Blue says:

    I’m not sure the height issue is as big a deal as some others do. At set pieces Ground’s aerial ability makes up for the fact that Robbo isn’t the tallest. You take Robbo out of the team then you also take out the natural leader and organizer on the pitch. I agree we should get a centre back in for cover and I am sure GR will but for me that is more in case something happens to Morrison. If Robbo was in his mid twenties rather than thirty-something nobody would be saying he should be replaced because he is playing more than well enough to deserve to be in the team on merit.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      That doesn’t mean we can’t have someone we can utilise when we play teams who like to play aeriel bombardment. A quick instance, although the win at Fulham was brilliant, if we could have brought a tall, strong centre back on to cope with their substitute Matt Smith, we might not have let 2 goals in. Just a thought.

  • Lich Blues says:

    Really chuffed with the Fabrini signing. Done and dusted and hopefully turns out to be a cracking addition. I agree more defensive cover would be nice. I personally do not mind if they are initial loan signings to hopefully give permanent deals in the future. Quality not quantity for me.

    As for you Dan I do not feel humble pie / apologies are due from you at all. We all have opinions and to be fair the transfer window has been so stressful for us Bluenoses for so long now that I think a bit of panic is natural.

    In reality If you had said to most people at the beginning of the season we would sign Fabrini outright and quite possibly make the play offs (god wouldn’t that be great) lots of them would have said you were Ga Ga. It’s all opinion. It’s a great blog and that is due in no small part to your passion and anxieties coming across.

    We are all Bluenoses and I for one am really enjoying this season. Going home and away and of course watching the Vile suffer has mostly been pleasurable. Long may it continue.


  • Jim says:

    Bang on quality Centre Back to partner Morrison and who knows what we can achieve this season!

  • Jaffa says:

    Rowett just want to get the best players he can.In my opinion he has class.

  • John Ramsay says:

    Dan, good to see a bit of humble pie being eaten. Usually I agree 100% with your musings but I wasn’t so impressed with your blog on Gary’s transfer dealings, Ruffled a few feathers with that one didn’t you. I actually think GR knows what he’s doing and who he wants, pretty certain a defender will arrive before deadline day.

  • Womble Joe says:

    Seemed natural that Blues would have to wait towards the end of the window as all footballers would probably wait to see if any better offers came in. Strongly fancy 2-1 Saturday with Fabio first scorer. The best thing for me is the fee. It’s a signpost and an indicator of the clubs current position which appears healthy so we can park those concerns for now and concentrate on cementing a play off place.

    One question for you Almajir if I may. Should Blues achieve the impossible and go up who would the Sky money go to and who would manage that fund? Thanks in advance – Womb

  • Dave Mann says:

    How the hell can Bristol city be favourites against us Saturday 13/10 and we are 2/1 .. Rediculous and I will be having a bit of that I can tell you , there at home yes but our away record speaks for it self and the odds to me our favourable for us as fans but out of contex for the team itself … Anyway a centre half in the Dan Burn mode would be great as mentioned , I would be happy with that . KRO

    • ChrisG says:

      Stick your house on us to win 3-1 Dave. KRO

      • Singapore Brum says:

        It’s quite simple really. This is Blues and whenever things start to look good, like now for example, Blues will always go and screw it up. Always has been, always will be. So it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Bristol City end up pooping on our parade.

        Dave – I tried but that’s my New Year’s resolution out the window.

    • steve says:

      It can only be because they are the home team surely. It also means we win more dosh if you have a bet.

    • Bluey says:

      Their last home game in the league was a win over Middlesbrough and they followed up with a victory at Leeds.They`ve also added some quality in the window so don`t count them out Dave.

  • Texas Pete says:

    I am amazed that the club with its current difficulties, has achieved all of this. The commitment to hiring GR, the support of his vision and the availability of funds are all jaw dropping for a club who’s fans have a cynical inheritance that has been justified. It is incredible that GR has been able to pull off the fab signing with its obstacles and GRs determination to get his one proven target that meets his high standards and it also must give him and the staff and the club as a whole a big lift in confidence. Besides that the Fab through media intros is now a star player that the fans are looking for. Not that all of the others are not, because we have a really exciting forward pack now.
    The defence addition is next. Perhaps a loan is best and that would fit with GRs philosophy of courtship before marriage and looking to the future a player nearing the end of his contract could come in for nothing in the summer or go back if it doesnt work out. I am sure someone is coming in. For GRs sake I want january over with.
    Can’t wait for Saturday!

  • dino tiltoni says:

    sorry to be a pedant but we BORROWED Diego Fabbrini last year. I’m very pleased that we have him now. He looked like he really enjoyed playing for us last season.

  • Dr Peter says:

    What pleases me most about this transfer window is the optimism for the future it brings – we really do seem to be trying to sustain the forward momentum – managerial team signed for another year, sensible loan players in, some midfield creativity (and not a loan!) and a youngster.
    I agree with comments the back 4 – I posted the other day that I would love to see a Kenny Cunningham type capture at some point soon – Robbo can’t last for ever. King Kenny held our defence together when we made it to the Prem via Cardiff – masterminded the defence through a game and was a superb player in his own right. Might Dan Burn fit this bill? But as ever it’s money.

    I now live in Devon but have my ticket for the Leeds game – let’s hope we can all generate a sparkling St Andrews atmosphere!!

    • dino tiltoni says:

      The Leeds game will be re-arranged if they beat Bolton in the cup on Saturday.

      Dan Burn has faded since he left us. The poise and skill that he usually showed has disappeared.

      • Dr Peter says:

        But under our coaching team he could flourish – Fulham have had all sorts of issues over the past few months.

        Take your point about the Leeds game.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          It was the same with Will Buckley at Sunderland and Leeds. Didn’t pull up any trees.. but, who at those two basket case clubs did do well? Burn might improve by having the same coaching staff for more than a few months.

  • ndf says:

    Hate to be a doom merchant as I agree we need Fabrini but does his signing mean that we will lose the chance to sign Toral and he will return to Arsenal. Hi is getting a lot of praise and has improved whilst with us to the point where they can fit him into their first team now.

    • Luke says:

      I think you’ve answered your own question.

      • Dr Peter says:

        If we’re not in the Prem next season, I doubt we’ll have the money to sign Toral permanently?
        If Arsenal are willing to let him go out on loan again, much will depend on where Arsenal have finished this season and what transfer business they conclude by next September. Given how he has come on unlikely to be season long loan?
        I think that the next few months will be ‘interesting’ times at Arsenal for all sorts of reasons.

    • AdamTrueBlue says:

      I agree with your sentiments and I am a big fan of JT and would be very sorry to lose him if there was half a chance we could retain his services, our team is where it is because of team work, be that on or off the pitch and we have a few key players that bring the best out of the others, JT being one and Robbo the other and I believe that its their influence that has helped us push on and up. Kro

  • ChrisG says:

    We’ve been linked with a loan for Derby defender Ryan Shotton

    • almajir says:

      I could see that being accurate.

      I also wonder if we’d go back in for Jake Buxton.

      • ChrisG says:

        Apparently GR is a big fan of Shotton, if so I wonder if it would be a loan turning to a permanant signing in the summer, that would be a good bit of business

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Shotton can play full back, centre back and defensive midfield.. so he would fit the Rowett criteria I think. He’s only been used off the bench lately at Derby. I’d say good choice if it’s true.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Can play right back or centre half , could be !! KRO

  • Art says:

    This is a very significant signing which for the first time in 3 years underlines the boards commitment to investing in quality players and supporting a very good manager.

    I’m beginning to see light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

  • river says:

    excited about fabbrini signing,what a move by GR now go get us kyle bartley he would partner Morrison very well I think.then its left back cover and striker but I suppose this window is too soon and us blues fans r used to being patient.well done all stans staff.great blog dan as per usual

  • Mitchell says:

    As regards Jon Toral. I would expect one of the promoted teams to sign him up next season. Hopefully ourselves. As regards Shotton-good shout but has to be in team straight away. No point otherwise.

  • Andrew says:

    Great signing, diego was great inpact player last year starting or on the bench. shame to lose shinniesta because i think Claits and others last year had a lot of goals due to him and i think its good to have some players with vision in the team, only just wish he had goals to his game. jon toral has the goals so i can kinda see why shinnie lost his place in the team.

  • Bluey says:

    I think we should go for Gary Cahill on loan.They can pay his wages,it will keep him fit and enhance his England chances.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Never in a million years Bluey , leave Chelsea come to Blues and play in the championship and they pay is wages and the fact he slated us when we tried to sign him a few years ago , more chance of signing Vincent company !! KRO

    • ChrisG says:

      Agreed Dave, I wouldn’t want Cahill if we were doing well in the prem let alone the championship.
      I wouldn’t mind getting Nemanja Vidic if we could afford his wages, I reacon he could do a good job at this level & also stick 2 fingers up at the vile who were linked with him.

  • The Flying Pig says:

    I’ll be interested to see how/if GR accommodates both Fab and Toral in the team. I don’t see how he can do so without losing some of the width. Perhaps we could play narrower if we had an attacking LB in the team? Grounds played pretty well on Saturday, but I still think we have to improve on him if we are to reach the play-offs.

    I know the stats suggest we do not have a defensive problem, but that is down to the overall set-up of the team so far. If we do go more attacking (hope so), this will increase the burden on the defence. In any event, we are susceptible to injury and so we have to strengthen.

    We lack height at the back and we also lack pace – presumably this is why we defend so deep and allow the other team a lot of the ball in deeper positions. If we can have a buy and a loan, we should be fine; get a proven League 1 /Championship CH who is good in the air and a quick, attacking LB on loan please.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    After Lee Tomlin, Scott Goldbourne has signed for Bristol City too. Seems like they’re trying to sign a whole team before they meet us on Saturday. :)

  • Dave Mann says:

    Wages a massive problem Chris and dropping in to the championship aswell… Stealing him under viles noses would be pretty satisfying though but never mind … Shotton looks a possible as time ticks by !! KRO

  • Mitchell says:

    I would match Fabbrini up with Luke Freeman at Bristol. Good test at the outcome. Fab.needs early impact with Maghoma and Toral feeding off him. Donaldson to get service on the floor please -the guy deserves a bit of decent service. He has it now.

  • Dave Mann says:

    A holding midfield of Gleeson and Kieftenbeld , a three of Toral, Fabbrini and maghoma and Donsldson up front looks very tasty indeed and the bench don’t look to bad neither . KRO

    • Mitchell says:

      Exactly Dave. For the first time in years I feel we now have a normal squad. No more vultures coming in and tearing us apart. Yes, Gray has gone but imo the squad is better than at at anytime with Buckley,Fabbrini and Vaughan all buying into GR. Pulling off Shotton would be a good move also. My sadness still remains regarding our goalkeeper-he is ok but Butland could and should be there -sadly we had a man who loved the pound signs at a time we were at our most vulnerable.

      • Dave Mann says:

        To be fair to Butland he’s come on leaps and bounds over the last two seasons and is now looking a proper England elect goalkeeper , it’s just he’s got joe in his way !! KRO

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Hart’s only 28.. he could play top class footy for another 5 or 6 years yet. It’s a hell of an obstacle for Butters.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Ryan Shotton (SHOTS to his mates) is an ideal defensive acquisition.
    At 6’3″ he is the right height to compensate for Robbos and Caddys lack of height.
    He prefers central defender, but has a long throw which would be an asset at right back.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Central defence it is then ! KRO

  • Graham says:

    Having a medical is SHOTTS so looking good

  • Dave Mann says:

    Just heard that myself , just what we need . KRO

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I would think that concludes our business for this transfer window. It’s been a good ‘un. All praise to Rowett and his backers.

  • Dave Mann says:

    We we not saying that a couple of weeks ago ! KRO

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Like I said before Dave, I had every faith in Rowett, I was just wary that the money men might not back him in his plans. So well done to everyone.

  • Dave S says:

    Done deal, Shotton’s just signed.

  • To be fair to GR we were destined to be short on cover in one area or another and being that goals are what win matches GR went for an attacking set up as it attracts bigger gates and it is more exciting to watch , in my opinion the right call ,…..KRO

  • The Francis Fake says:

    Watch out also for Shottons long throw ins, as he took over Delaps role at Stoke

    • ChrisG says:

      Yes, i’ve heard he has a pretty mean throw on him. We do sometimes seem void of ideas at throw ins so maybe that’s another reason for bringing him in.

  • Mitchell says:

    I would expect GR will now concentrate on getting B-M some match play. Lower league loan urgently required .Also would not be surprised to see Cotts. make a move. No evidence but cannot see a natural place for him now. Like Shinnie who has done no wrong imo does appear a bit ‘old hat’ with GR moving up a better level.

  • Stilflat Shadow says:

    I am very pleased with Rowett he is an alchemist working with lead and turning it into gold, how about we let him do his magic and see where it takes us?
    time to follow the wizard and dress like him.

  • jimo says:

    Good Signing

  • Mitchell says:

    Difficult to work out what GR formation will now take on with Buckley and Fabbrini. Lone forager of Don.will imo be history and also whether Davis,MK and Gleeson form a bit of a diamond with Fab.and Toral as a front three with Don. Then there is Maghoma which we do need. Interesting times for us and hopefully at Bristol we do use Davis as a two with MK. Don’t want Tomlin and Freeman running the game. Talk about a new competition Daniel-it would take some doing to work out our best formation.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Ryan Shotton is the Stoke man with the second longest throw after Delap. Could be a very useful weapon to bring on the missle launcher late on when we’re chasing a game.

    It brings back fond memories of Andy Legg

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    No need to apologise to Gary, Dan. I think Gary and Panos have learnt the lessons now of previous windows although a bit more money to hand has helped

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