Often Partisan

Letting Go Of Ol’ Faithful Ferguson

So, it would appear the next player through the St Andrews exit door could be 33 year old Scottish midfielder Barry Ferguson. Sky Sports understands that Blackpool have agreed a fee for him, and whilst I’m told Fergie is still with the squad out in Ireland I believe it will only be a matter of time before Peter Pannu is cashing another cheque.

Of course the news our influential Scot may be leaving Blues has been met with more cries of doom and gloom on the Birmingham City messageboards. It’s understandable there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth; the sales have now properly started and Blues have yet to actually purchase a player – currently relying on Bosman frees. To sell a player who underpinned our fifteen match unbeaten run in 2009/10 and has been a key to everything Blues did right for so long sticks in the craw for many.

However, not for me. It’s not that I think Ferguson is or was crap. Whilst he wasn’t effective (due to injury) as the season ended, I think Ferguson had a presence on the pitch; he’s a born leader, an anchorman and a guy that dictates the play. However, his age is advancing now, he’s slowing down and his value is dropping dramatically. He’s likely to be on fairly decent wages too, and it all adds up to a prudent financial decision to cash in.

It’s not only finances though; we need to move on from the McLeish era and it’s essential that Hughton stamps his own mark on the team. Ferguson was very much a McLeish player, and it just might be Chris Hughton wants to do things differently. I’ve talked often on here of a new broom sweeping clean, and this is just more evidence of it. With Gomis, Michel, Mutch and Fahey we still have four central midfielders who should be more than good enough for this level. Furthermore, we have four midfielders under 28 – which hopefully means that they all have a little way to go to hit their peak.

I know that there are a lot of unhappy fans out there; I’ve only had to see some of the posts on the Often Partisan Facebook wall to see accusations of asset-stripping amongst other things. This season isn’t going to be easy for any of us; we’re going to see more sales I would think and Blues aren’t going to spend a lot of money unless one of the directors finds a few million quid down the back of the sofa. It’s going to be a season of consolidation and hopefully of rebirth. As much as there has been talk of administration, I honestly do not believe it will happen, and I don’t think the sale of Barry Ferguson indicates it either. When we start selling players like Jordon Mutch or Nathan Redmond for small sums is the time to worry – they’re our true assets right now as they have bags of potential and age on their side. Losing Ferguson is going to be like putting a dying old faithful dog down at the vets; you don’t want them to go, you’re going to miss them like hell – but in the long term it’s the only solution that’s right for you and right for them.

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14 Responses to “Letting Go Of Ol’ Faithful Ferguson”

  • GrumbleGob says:

    Pretty much spot on assessment. It will be a shame to see him leave but as you say we have plenty of decent options in midfield at the moment and much younger options too.
    Im actually looking forward to this season and dont think its going to be half as bad as some are making out.
    We have a decent squad and a very good manager. You do not need a team of superstars to do well in the Championship. A well motivated and properly organised team is key and i think that we will have that.
    The likes of Blackpool and Swansea have both gained promotion without a team of stars and the main factor in both teams in my opinion has been the manager.
    KRO

  • Billy Blue says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Ferguson won’t suit the expected Hughton style of play, so it’s a good thing he’s moving on imo.

    Ferguson played well in his first season, but the second season was nowhere near as good imo. He may have had one of the highest completed passes % in the Premier, but 90%+ of those passes, were safe passes, either sideways or backwards, and it led to a definite slowing of the pace played by Blues.

    I strongly feel that Ferguson will struggle in the Championship. He needs time on the ball, something he won’t be allowed. Whereas Phillips might benefit from Blackpool’s style of play and end up scoring quite a few goals, Ferguson ino, will struggle and could in fact have a negative effect on Blackpool’s play.

    I appreciate what Ferguson achieved for us at Blues, but it is definitely time for him to move on, and the saving on his £25k a week wages is an additional plus factor.

    Ferguson leaving is a no brainer imo, and I’m just hoping the deal with Blackpool goes through quickly with any hitches.

    KRO

  • Bluehobba says:

    I agree and it would be good to give Mutch and Michel a real run in the side. Would also be good to buy a midhielder thats hungry and established like the Charlie adam ilk just to get us through this season. I think the key is to have a leader in the engine room and while its good to have 11 leaders, One needs to stand tall above the rest.

  • AR says:

    Any news on whether Michel has changed his mind about leaving?

  • BluePenguin 1976 says:

    Totally agree Ferguson has done a fantastic job but im not gutted by his loss,no doubt he will do a good job in the championship,he’s slow but can still pick a pass!.

    However im getting slightly worried about the numbers we have in the squad. Lets hope we can get a few more players in over the next few weeks to give the squad a bit of depth and*CH can stamp his own identity on the team…Its gone quiet on the transfers in front at the minute??.

    Im not overly looking forward to next year but think we have enough to compete non the less.Lets not be too despondant,we have a good manager with new ideas and its a brand new era.

    KRO

  • Tony D says:

    Looks to me like the Board and CH are letting go of players who would prefer to be elsewhere (Ferguson, Gardner, Johnson, Zigic, Jerome), who are too expensive (Zigic, Gardner), and who might not fit into CH’s style of play. This is fine by me. We clearly need to raise some cash to balance the books, and hopefully a little of that will be reinvested.

    If we can start the season with Dann, Foster and Ridgewell, then I think we will have done extremely well. I would stress to him that he is young enough to invest another season in his own development, is coming off the back of a serious injury, and as a nailed-on first choice pick will get more game time than if he were to leave for, say, Liverpool. I suspect that he has been promised a move if we don’t make promotion first time. Foster seems to rate family life and working in a happy environment as more important that shedloads of money and trophies (see his coments about life at Manure and his ‘international retirement’). The retention of our fantastic goalkeeping coach may also be a factor. Ridgewell is an improving and verstile player with a knack of scoring important goals from defence. As far as I know, his only suitors are the Baggies, and he could be persuaded to stay on the same basis as Dann.

    If these three stay, plus Michel, whose obvious class was overlooked by McLeish, then I will be happy that Board and manager have done the right thing.

  • SussexWill says:

    Spot on I am all for the purging of anything McCleish although I am a fan of Barry Ferguson, but Gomis is the natural replacement, which is why I believe he was bought in. Large wages need to be culled in line with our new position. Back in the Championship.

  • P.J.Nicholls says:

    There were two events that occurred lat year that contributed to our relegation both made through defensive thinking with poor passing involved.
    (1) We were 7 minutes into injury time in the first half leading Blackburn.
    Ferguson had the ball on the half way line & we were down to 10 men.
    Instead of hitting the ball into row z or even running it up the line Ferguson elected to hit the ball back into our own penalty area to Ridgewell who consequentially lost it & the ball finished in the back of the net.
    (2) with 3 players congregating for a mothers meeting Foster passes the ball weakly to these 3 players where a wolves player in chasing it down is upended by Foster for a penalty.
    The passing back to our keeper was an achilles heel which always put us under pressure.

  • HopeofGlory says:

    If I’m honest I find myself both in agreement and disagreement with it. In the general sense I hope your predictions are correct, but filling the gap Ferguson leaves may be more difficult than you think.

    Genuine class cannot be taught it just is. That is what BF has in abundance and I don’t believe many would argue with that. It is his influence on the players around him which could be the very thing we need competitively to get us through, what is going to be a tough long season. And therefore a mistake to let one of our rivals snap him up for what will probably be peanuts in the great scheme of things.

    In principle I agree that CH will need to stamp his own mark on the team and BF is very much a McLeish player. However, the four players you mentioned as replacements, three of which are also McLeish signings and the fourth, Mutch, is a young player who would have been influenced mostly by AM over the last few years of his development.

    I believe there is a large disparity between being ‘good enough’ and being ‘fundamentally influential’ and at this level in order to get out of the division I fear the former will not be enough.
    BF’s age resulting in him slowing down is not important as his intelligence will buy him two yards head start in the Championship at least.

    In respect of BF’s wages, a small price to pay compared to the financial implications of not gaining promotion at the first time of asking. Although, am I right in thinking your usage of the terms ‘consolidate’ and ‘rebirth’ suggest promotion is unrealistic this year? If so longer lasting stability will be unobtainable due to CH being pushed out the door, deemed a failure by the owners, resulting in another new manager with new ideas, new players etc.

    I’m all for the ‘new broom’ concept, nevertheless, I believe a club in our financial position can ill afford to make so many changes so quickly and still expect promotion so soon. Promotion being the very thing the owners are demanding, and therefore not to be overlooked.
    By all means, a clean sweep is needed, (quick attractive attacking football is what all Blues fans need to see) nonetheless, I’m just not sure the strokes should be so broad, so quickly!

    Whether Ferguson wants to play for Blues anymore seems to be in question? I am not abdicating it is the end of BCFC (like the doom squad) if he leaves. What I will put forward though, is that selling him to one of our rivals is a big mistake. And we may rue not having BF pulling the strings, by the lack of genuine class and leadership in our midfield throughout the upcoming season. Losing Ferguson might be more like losing the safety and protection of a guard dog; you think you can get by without him, but when the times get tough and you have to dig in to find something extra, you realise just how weak and vulnerable you really are!

  • Dean Giblin says:

    Getting fed up of all the gloom and doom. I’m still hoping Jerome and Zigic will go along with Ferguson. I believe we need 26 players for next season for Championship/Europa. 3 GK 9 Defenders, 9 Midfielders and 5 strikers. For the 1st time in my time watching the Blues I firmly believe we’ve got the best manager for the club. The squad as follows

    GK- BF,CD,JB
    LB-LR,DM
    RB-SC,?
    CB-SD,CD,SC,?,?
    AML-JMF,JB
    DMC-MG,JM,M
    AMC-?,?
    AMR-CB,NR
    FORWARDS-MK,AR,AA,?,?

    Obviously I haven’t included Valles and the academy guys just signed pro deals. As to the question marks RB Nathaniel Clyne (Buy), 2 strikers Leon Best(Buy) Nile Ranger (Loan). 2 AMC’s Lansbury and Ramsey from Arsenal (Loan). The 2 Centre Backs I’m stuck on but with Hughton I’m sure he will find 2 gems! KRO

  • BluenoseArchie says:

    Pretty much agree with the sentiments of the initial post, if he wants to go then fair enough, if he stays i think he’d be a valuable member of the squad still too, but only for this year if we win promotion, he’d be too slow for the prem in another years time….

    In reply to Dean Giblin’s post above, one thing really sticks out to me, Aaron Ramsey on loan from Arsenal…………………… your having a laugh aren’t you? He’ll be staring for the first team at the gunners this season, the lad has a massive future, far too good for championship football.

    KRO SOTV

  • Berkshire Blue says:

    Have to say I’m worried about the level of turnover. A quick comparison of this transfer window with our two previous relegations. In 2006 we let go 13 players and got transfer fees of £12.2m (for Pennant and Heskey), we brought in 10 players and paid total transfer fees of £8.25m (for Jerome,McSheffrey,Kelly and Danns) – so a net transfer income of £4m. In 2008 we let go 7 players and got transfer fees of £8.5m, we brought in 5 players, paying transfer fees of £1m (for Bent!), so a net transfer income of £7.5m). This window we have let go 12 players ( including leased players returning to their parent clubs) and have taken in £13m in transfer fees. In return we have taken 5 free transfers – so there is a significant difference in both net loss of players (7 this window) and net transfer income compared to previous relegations which is doubtless a reflection of our wider financial problems. To be competitive this season I think it’s vital we retain the bulk of the remaining squad ,or if not, a significant proportion of the resultant transfer fees is re-invested to actually buy some players.

  • Blooflame says:

    I’ve said it before and will again…Rejoice… he really wasn’t all that!! He was yesterdays man when a 3rd world footballing nation (Scotland) cashed in on BCFC’s money. Be content knowing we have someone with vision for developing a footballing team and not his own career in charge. I was excited at having McLeish as manager but when one checks his record it is apparent he is found wanting.
    We, as blues fans, should not expect too much from this season…yeah I know…. but this is about developing a sustainable succesful team. If we are promoted then it’s a bonus. Hopefully this manager will develop the youth program and a production line of players therein just like Aston Vile have.

  • Griff says:

    A blend of experience and youth is the key to promotion. A very good manager at Blackpool will get the best from Ferguson who (even at the age of 33) is an extremely useful player to have in a promotion chasing squad. I could have accepted this transfer if Ferguson was stopping in the Premiership for another season with one of the newly promoted sides…….but Blackpool…WHY!! We need to see players coming in! The squad is lightweight and we will struggle. I just hope we’ll have enough to avoid relegation again, but i’m not convinced we will.


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