In recent years Birmingham City have produced some of the most promising talent in the English Football League today.
Players like Jack Butland, Nathan Redmond, Jordan Mutch, Demarai Gray, Koby Arthur, Reece Brown, Mitch Hancox and Callum Reilly rising up through the Blues' ranks over the course of the last few seasons and making bright young names for themselves.
The Blues' academy has been second to none in recent years and, quite rightly so, hasn’t gone unnoticed by predator clubs both at Championship and, of course, Premier League level.
It is with great sadness that we see and have seen the club in the financial state it’s in. It is for partly this reason that we were not able to keep the majority of the gems that we had produced and brought up as our own over the years.
We knew for quite a while after the Blues went down that the money was quickly running out and had little funds to invest in fresh talent.
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Selling top players for low prices
However, it came as a massive wakeup call when England Under-21 captain Jack Butland was eventually sold to Stoke City in the January transfer window back in 2012/13 for a measly sum of £5 million, which doesn’t quite cut it if you take into consideration his young age, magnificent talent, leadership and the fact that he will most likely be in the running for England’s future No. 1 spot in the senior side someday.
Nevertheless, we couldn’t afford not to take the offer as it was this money that would go towards keeping the club afloat.
Butland wasn’t the only player to have been sold due to the money urgently needed by the club at that time. There was of course Jordan Mutch who had come up through the youth ranks a couple of years prior and also impressed Cardiff, in particular, who wasted no time in snapping him up for a relatively small fee.
One of the most highly thought of and promising young players arguably ever to wear a Blues shirt, Birmingham-born Nathan Redmond was arguably one of the finest prospects the club have ever produced making his debut at just 16 years 173 days – 34 days older than Trevor Francis was when he first made history as the youngest ever player to play for Birmingham City.
When he was sold to Norwich City for around £3 million it was a dark day in the Blues' history as many considered him to be the future of our team and a true icon for the fans. Sadly it wasn’t to be.
When Lee Clark looked to bolster his squad the following season he swooped in for free agent Tom Adeyemi who had been previously released from Norwich of all places, we signed him to a two-year deal and didn’t look back.
That was until the transfer window the following summer; Cardiff had once again seen the ability of the young talent and sought to snap him up as quickly as possible. So, Blues being Blues accepted his transfer request, saw that he wanted out and granted him a one way ticket to Cardiff, whom of which we drew 0-0 to just last week.
Birmingham did, however, get what was thought to be around £1 million in compensation and spent little time in finding a replacement - in David Davies from Wolves who has since the start of the season, to his credit has been very impressive and reliable on the pitch. He is a player that likes a tackle and will break up the play; he is a good asset to our side.
Then of course we had the sacking of former manager Lee Clark, of whom had an abysmal record in terms of home wins. Since then a positive young manager in Gary Rowett and as things look going into the international break, things may actually be starting to look up for Blues, who have conceded just one goal in three matches under Rowett’s reign at the helm.
Along with new management, we are also seeing the emergence of even newer home grown talent in players like Demarai Gray, Koby Arthur, and Reece Brown. All of which have been very impressive for the blues as of late and are slowly becoming fan favourites down at St Andrews.
If Blues are to survive and thrive once again it is only too much apparent that they must keep hold of their best players and not sell out at the first offer they receive.
We need to understand the financial position we are in as a club but I feel we should also believe in standing up for our right to be competitive once again and look to build a team that will one day be worthy of reaching the Premier League again.
So on behalf of every bluenose I hope that we can now look to push on and move forward as a team, work with what we have and prey that we are able to keep hold of what looks to be the future of our great club in these talented young players.
Until the day the Premier League is back on the horizon, we must keep singing, let our voices be heard and take no stick off anyone.