Often Partisan

Squad Analysis

With Blues scheduled to play friendlies against Cork City and Worcester City this weekend, I thought it might be worth having a look at the squad as it stands just to see exactly how thin it is and where I think we will have to strengthen if we’re to have a hope of doing well this season.

First of all, let’s take a look at all the players we have (nb I’ve omitted Roger Johnson as I expect him to move to Wolves today, and James McFadden as he is no longer listed on the BCFC squad page):

Goalkeepers: Ben Foster, Colin Doyle, Jack Butland

Right Backs: Stephen Carr, Alpaslan Ozturk

Left Backs: Liam Ridgewell, David Murphy, Mitch Hancox

Centre Backs: Curtis Davies, Scott Dann, Steven Caldwell, Fraser Kerr, Will Packwood

Right Midfielders: Chris Burke, Nathan Redmond, Luke Hubbins

Left Midfielders: Jean Beausejour

Central Midfielders: Morgaro Gomis, Barry Ferguson, Jordon Mutch, Enric Valles, Keith Fahey, Michel, Ashley Sammons, Brice Ntambwe, Eddy Gnahore

Strikers: Marlon King, Adam Rooney, Cameron Jerome, Nikola Zigic, Akwasi Asante, Jake Jervis

That makes a grand total of thirty-two players. Of these, those I the seven that I have colour coded red could possibly be leaving Blues, and the thirteen colour coded blue are “kids”. This leaves twelve who should be staying as first team players. Of those twelve, only three have made more than fifty league appearances for Blues, and five more than ten. This is not just a team in transition, this is a team that has been ripped apart and rebuilt from scratch.

From the list above, it seems obvious to me that Blues need as a matter of urgency a right back as cover for Stephen Carr, and a left midfielder as cover/competition for Jean Beausejour. That’s before we sort out at least another striker, a central midfielder and a centre back, and before we replace anyone else who may be through the exit door.

I think Blues fans need to adjust now to the fact we won’t be challenging for automatic promotion next season; the playoffs may be beyond us without a good signing or two. However, I don’t believe this is a bad thing. As pointed out by Scoobers on the smallheathalliance messageboard, if we don’t go back up we shouldn’t be further in a financial mess next year if Blues ensure that they take control of things like wages. A year of consolidation and of bringing through some young talent could be a good thing for Blues as it could mean we have more saleable assets that have cost us nothing in transfer fees; more importantly it could be the foundation not only of an assault on promotion but of ensuring once we’re up that we stay up.

As of the time of writing I’ve not seen the squad to go to Ireland – I think this could be very illuminating because if a big hitter is left behind they could be very soon on their way; likewise if a young player is taken (especially as there is a reserve friendly on the same day) it could mean that they’re in the running for a first team slot next season. Obviously, we have four weeks until the new season starts and as such we have plenty of time to bring in more players – but this should tell you if you didn’t already know it’s going to be a very different Birmingham City side next year.

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19 Responses to “Squad Analysis”

  • Ste manders says:

    I thought enric valles was a left midfielder and ozturk was an attacking midfielder??

    • almajir says:

      Nope.

      Enric Valles is a midfielder who can play anywhere in the middle, but like Keith Fahey is best in the middle.

      Ozturk is defintiely a right back

  • Helmet says:

    Jerome has been left off the squad list for COrk as announced on Twitter this morning

  • Billy Blue says:

    Parnaby should be brought back ASAP as cover for Carr, and can also cover left back at a stretch.
    Top man imo, who never let Blues down when on the pitch. Sadly he had injury problems, but seems to be fit now and has yet to get fixed up with a new club.

    KRO

  • Pot Noodle says:

    More like a broken flask

  • Blue Michael says:

    I’m seriously worried that we’re going to do a Coventry and, having gone down, will stay down.

  • delboy says:

    I seem to be in a minority of one but whilst I can still see some players leaving I’m not convinced they are all going to get fixed up, so the situation at the start of the season may not be as bad as a lot of noses seem to expect. OK so I’m a glass half full person but CH has had a chat and maybe a few of them have said they are happy to stay, even if only until January to see how things go. Like yourself promotion to me is not the be all and end all but we must be compeating or complaicency (? spelling) as a Championship side may creep in and we may get bogged down at this lower level. Trust in CH I think he has got his head screwed on properly.

  • alexjhurley says:

    For once, I don’t entirely agree with almajir……

    I don’t believe all 7 of the players shown in red NEED to be sold (see my detailed financial assessment of the clubs finances below !!!!)

    I accept that we may CHOOSE to sell them all but if we were to do this, there will be a reasonable amount of money for significant re-investment in the squad – (as my detailed financial assessment also shows !!!)

    Either way we will end up better off than the doomsday scenario outlined in the article i.e. 12 expereinced pro’s and a load of kids.

    It’s NOT in the owners interest to asset strip and leave us doing a Cov (albeit a financially sound one). The value of BCFC will be higher if we are be realistic challengers for Premier league status with some debt financing this.

    Financial assessment as follows (for those with nothing better to do and / or insomnia)….

    Relegation loses us £24M in SKY TV and the consensus is a further £5M in commercial and gate revenue. That’s £29M. If you drawer up a worst case scenario and add a further £17M (our accounts showed we had a shortfall of £24M needed to keep us going, but Mr Yeung raised £7M of this) then the club needs to find £46M.

    13 players (if you include McFadden) have come off the wage bill since end of last season. 6 of these were High earners who we can reaosnably assume were on an average of £25K a week. (bently, hleb, larsonn, johnson, martins, gardener) the rest (mcfadden, parnaby, jiranik, phillips, bowyer, taylor, derbyshite) probably averaged £10K a week. Net that out against the 5 new players so far so assuming they earn average £10K a week, NET saving per annum = £8M. Plus we got £3M for our ex manager. £3M from TV for championship, £7M for Johnson and £6M for Gardner. All of which comes to £27M in the plus column.

    So we’re in the region of £19M in the red – worst case. So selling 2 or 3 more of the red players is enough. The most likely contenders appear to be Jerome, Zigic and Dann. They would clear somehwere around £22M in fees and getting on for £4M per annum on wages (I think I read big Zig is on £50K a week).

    So I think we’ll end up with little or no debt, £7M to spend and a squad which on paper will challenge for automatic promotion, with a VERY strong 1st 11, thus.

    Foster; Doyle, Buckland
    Carr, Cladwell, Davis, Ridgewell; Murphy,
    Burke, Ferguson. Mutch, Beasejour; Michelle, Gomis, Valles, redmond, Fahey
    King, Rooney; Asnate, Jervis

    so there. KRO and SOTV.

    • almajir says:

      I didn’t say that they WOULD be leaving Blues, only that they could possibly go.

      I think it’s also going to be more than money that motivates Blues to sell – some players just don’t want to play in the second tier. I suspect myself that Jerome, Zigic, and Dann will definitely go; Michel will probably go, and the remaining three are possibles.

      It’s conjecture – we’ll know more as the transfer window progresses.

      • BlueSteve says:

        I agree with Almajir that we are looking at losing Dann, Zigic and Jerome before the window closes. Foster is not making many I want to go noises but tbh if we received a great bid I would sell. Goalkeeper is not the most influential position in the team so almost an acceptable casualty providing we get the right money. After this mass cull who will be left of the players not marked red or blue are high wage earners?? Maybe when the wage bill is controlled we can start to re build….

    • glyn rees says:

      A good post Alex but i do think you have underestimated all the wages by 5 to 10k imo Kro

      • alexjhurley says:

        good ! If i have underestiamted wages that’s even more money we can spend on players. At this rate messi will be wearing royal blue before we know it……KRO SOTV

    • Ben says:

      I think many blues fans under-estimate the brains behind our organisation.
      95% of our players had relegation wage drops in their contracts. And I also think many underestimate the amount of money the likes of Bentley, Hleb, Martins, McFadden, Phillips, Gardner etc where actually on when at the blues.
      Now you could look at it 2 ways;
      1) we spent over our budget to get these players.
      2) we paid up to our means but now due to relegation we are looking to lower the wage bill.

      Now personally I think it’s number 2; and think that Jerome, Zigic and Ferguson will leave and we will sign 2 players in there place.
      Now I expect the club to recieve over 10m for the 3, + I expect it to take over 50k a week off the wage bill; if not more depending on the wage drop on Zigic.
      Hence I think we might have 2/3mil + 20-30k of wages to bolster the squad for a long hard season.

      But no matter who stays and who go, or who may arrive we are still Birmingham City are we must KRO!!

  • glyn rees says:

    Everybody seems to think Foster is going but imo i think not.Foster has stated he wonts to stay near his home. So it would have to be a local team, Vile have got Given, the babbies cant afford him and the same with the dogs heads so he stays end of KRO

  • First, thanks to almajir for this site which has grown to be the best Blues site since Joys & Sorrows started to degenerate. Reading Often Partisan and reading Colin Tattum, then you know what you need to know about the Blues.
    I also don’t think all the red ones will leave. Let us assume that Chris Hughton, who seems to be so popular among fans and players, has convinced some of the players to wait until the year-end or next May, like some of the fellow commenters write, and then perhaps we could be the ones being promoted while teams like Wolves or Stoke may be the ones being relegated. You’ll never know …
    A real pity, though, with the loss of Roger Johnson. He has been my favourite player in Blues with his never give up attitude.

  • AR says:

    I felt Colin Tattum today undervalued the great value Roger Johnson is to any team, top six or otherwise. He damned him with faint praise by saying he was a last ditch defender. I bet Arsene wished that he hadn’t been at Wembley on 27th February; can you imagine if he had been wearing a red & white shirt, they might have won the Premiership as well. Who would you rather have in a Blues’ shirt, Upson,Taylor, Collins,Lescott? Johnson has hardly missed a match in 2 seasons, & as long as he can pass to a midfielder, I for one don’t want to see a centre-back go forward (to pretend that they are “ball-players”). So many often give the ball away when they try to do so; Roger Johnson will be greatly missed and is a snip for Wolves.

  • […] Analysis Pt II Yesterday I took a look at the Blues squad, highlighting who I thought was likely to leave, the shallowness of […]


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