Written by: Mitchell Bray
With only a month to go before the first Championship game away to Brentford, I for one admit to feeling a little concerned. Perhaps this is a needless worry as Clotet’s squad may well be capable of holding their own with the new strategy of playing younger players. All great if it goes well.
My concern is that this brutal division is tough and unrelenting and has little regard for bright young players who have skill. We have players like Dean, Pedersen, Juke, Gardner etc. who can hold their own but with Adams and Morrison now gone I feel replacements with muscle must be brought in.
Recent ‘headline signings’ of young players is encouraging but hardly reassuring that this coming season is going to be comfortable. In my opinion, the Jude Bellingham signing is a different matter as this player, like Francis, appears almost ready to enter the fray-especially off the bench. Age in his case is irrelevant as his rare skill is a one-off, very similar to what we are now experiencing at Wimbledon in the shape of 15-year-old Coco Gauff. Gifted players will always rise no matter how early in age.
At Blues, in the past, we have had the tendency to hold players like Redmond, Butland and Gray back, only seeing them play irregularly. We all desperately want a new hero at St.Andrews with Adams now departed but above all, we need additional signings of strength in order to allow the likes of Bellingham to play to his talented best. Many supporters, like myself, would have liked a couple of signings completed before the Portugal trip on Sunday. This could still happen.
Basically as usual at Blues we don’t know what is around the corner and whether it is joy or despair. I guess that is all part and parcel of supporting Birmingham City!?
What I am reasonably sure about is that if the season was kicking off today, many supporters along with myself would be very worried. Questions raised like the future being planned around youth is confusing as although it sounds good and logical is the Championship the place to start? Then again if the Club intends to ease the youth in then fine but in small numbers surely.
An argument could be that in previous decades we had Joe Gallagher, Trevor Francis, Julian Dicks, John Frain, Jimmy Calderwood, Paul Tait, Mark Dennis etc.. all teenagers playing regularly and nobody worried at all. However we are in a new era at Blues and in my view, still fortunate to have a club at all in view of the turmoils since 2011. My hope is that our talented youth does get the chance this season and that Pep Clotet is the ideal man to make it a success but my concern still centres around the new signings who should possess that strength of character and toughness that Adams and Morrison had.
We now have to rely on the hierarchy getting it right with the coaching staff and the new recruitment policy. More importantly, I really wish for stability at Blues and the feeling that we as BCFC are safe. Not much to ask or is it.