Often Partisan

Fifty Up For Doyle

If as expected Colin Doyle lines up between the sticks for the second leg of the playoff on Wednesday night, then the Irishman will be making his fiftieth appearance in the royal blue of Birmingham. For the keeper who has been with the club for ten years it’s a long-awaited landmark appearance and possibly one he thought he might not reach.

It’s been a tough season for Doyle this year I think. It’s one thing to be playing second fiddle to current or ex-England keepers of the calibre of Joe Hart and Ben Foster but I wonder how he took the news that Boaz Myhill was coming from the Baggies and being handed the number one shirt he may well have thought was his. In fairness Boaz has been a decent keeper for Blues but I don’t think he’s much different to Doyle and it must have been a tough one for Doyle to take on the chin.

Doyle really needed first team football this year too; with just a one-year deal from Blues this season was to be a real make-or-break year for him. After a run out in a decidedly-fringe XI that lost to a second string Manchester City side 2-0 in the cup, Doyle’s next appearance for Blues was out in Maribor in the Europa League where he encountered a horror back pass from Jonathan Spector which he completely missed to allow Dalibor Volas to nick in and score for the Slovenes. He came back well from that to perform fairly well in the game which Blues of course came back to win.

That being said, despite being out of the team most of the time, Doyle has come in when asked and performed well. Against Wolves he made a double save at the death to give us a replay, and at the Molineux he shut them out again to help us to a good win over our rivals. He saved pens from Juan Mata in the original match and replay against Chelsea, and saved another one at a crucial time from Ian Harte against Reading to keep us in front. With the potential of penalties in our next two matches I’m actually confident should we end up having to decide ties on them that we have an ace in the pack.

Doyle has come back in for criticism for the manner in which Blues conceded against Blackpool, with the ball seemingly going between his legs after he moved one out of the way. However, I have to say I think this is incredibly harsh bearing in mind he was moving in the other direction at the time – the deflection completely wrong-footed him. In making that criticism people gloss over the good saves he did make that helped keep the Seasiders down to a single goal lead.

It’s been reported that Doyle may move on at the end of the season; something I can hardly say I blame him for. With Jack Butland having England u21 recognition and potentially Team GB caps too from the Olympics you’d have to think the young shot-stopper would be pushing for the number one shirt himself next year. Colin needs first team football now for his own career, and if that lies away from Blues then that is the path he must pursue. I hope however that should he leave us he does so with his head held high (and with fifty-one appearances to his name), having helped us to promotion glory.

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3 Responses to “Fifty Up For Doyle”

  • Stevie Blue says:

    I think Doyle’s attitude and application should earn him another one year deal. For me it’s simple. If we go up he’s number 2 to Foster (a season long loan deal for Butland with an immediate call back clause). If we stay down he and Butland fight for the number one spot. Myhill in my eyes though decent, is no better than either of them and certainly isn’t good enough to be commanding the No.1 slot unchallenged!

  • Leigh says:

    Absolutely Stevie, I took a bit of stick earlier this season for singing his praises, as a stopper he is excellent, all round game perhaps not quite so good, but definitely man for the job.

  • Paulo says:

    Colin Doyle is a belter of a keeper, and why oh why do we have a hardcore bunch of critics ready to blame someone! 1st leg on Friday ..we didn’t turn up as a team ..full stop! It takes a team to keep the ball going in the right direction, and Doyle isn’t a super hero by the way!

    Always said Doyle should be our no1, and I point blank think he should stay and be offered the slot.

    Finance and politics will dictate what will happen with regards to Doyle, Butland, Myhill and Foster though (sadly).


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