Transfers, Friendlies, Etcetera!

I shan’t pretend to have an excuse why this place has been all but abandoned over the last few days. I’ll only shuffle past with my head bowed muttering a muffled ‘I’m Sorry’ to those who check here daily for the latest Blues news.

To those of you who only pop by occasionally when seeing Joys & Sorrows on ‘Newsnow’, hello and welcome back. If this is your first time here… where have you been? We’ve been worried sick about you.

Right. On your marks, get set… all the latest Blues news (in no particular order!) … BANG!

Blues close to Ridgewell capture – According to an Aston Villa blog. I must confess I find it amusing that the writer says that we’re not on his radar and then spends almost two paragraphs talking about us and how he personally sees us!

As for Ridgewell, I believe he’ll be a very good signing and will also go at least some way to calming people down over the current state of the defence. With Schmitz still yet to play, Jaidi not getting any younger, Tiny not being anywhere near proven at Premiership level and Sadler still the only recognised left back, it’s looking a bit sorry back there.

Talk of swoops for Yakubu of Middlesbrough and beating Newcastle United to the signing of the Chinese captain (midfielder) are great but let’s really focus on the weakest point of the squad now. Bruce has at least recognised that it needs sorting and I’d expect some sort of move within the next week… hopefully for Ridgewell, maybe for someone else.

I’d like two, ideally. One centre half, one left back. Anyone disagree?

Classy Kapo pleases boss – Well it’s certainly more pleasing to hear that Kapo’s impressing in these games rather than fading into the background. Always nice to win games, always nice to score goals, always nice to play well. It’s a habit and regardless of level of opponent, it’ll do the squad good.

I’m still worried about the tags of the news players. I don’t care if he can play here, there and everywhere. I want each player to have one – maximum two – positions and have them stick to it.

Have to admit that I’m still very excited at the idea of Kapo in a Blues shirt.

Bruce : We were too good – What I’d give to be typing the same headline the morning after our visit to Chelsea…

Bruce : Mikael can be a Forss – I think we’ve all allowed ourselves that guilty pleasure of imagining a fully fit Mikael Forssell taking to the field on the opening day of the season, haven’t we?!

What would I give to see him fully fit? I’d go as far as to say that he’d be our most important signing of the summer. Everyone needs a goalscorer.

Bruce likes Blues on the attack – I like that Andrew Cole wasn’t signed because he won’t fit in with the way we want to play. It sounds very promising. It sounds like it’s going to be foot on the ball, along the ground, high tempo stuff. I just hope it sticks this time.

The wounds and memories of what happened last time we changed our umm… abrasive style for a much more flair orientated one are still fresh. I remember us signing Gronkjaer etc and thinking that we’d at last get to see some good football. The first two years were magic but every fan wants to see his team beat another by playing football the way it should be played.

It went wrong and our last season in the Premiership looked as though we’d made a quarter of a transition, realised it wasn’t working but couldn’t revert to what made us into a decent Premiership team in the first place. We were stuck. We couldn’t move forwards and we didn’t know how to back up.

Even last season gives me the shakes somewhat. In the end, the football was being played but we were losing exciting games. It didn’t work and we ended up going back to being difficult to beat albeit with some good football played at times. I think you could possibly say that we found a balance, based on a toughness.

Now we’re signing young, hungry and talented players. Many have different attributes but collectively, they share a profile. They’ve all got good injury records, want to prove themselves and want to play football. On the pitch, their talents will hopefully mesh and we’ll see something from a Steve Bruce side that we’re yet to really see… consistent performances with attack minded football.

As I look back on what Bruce has learnt and how this season’s squad is shaping up and the vibes coming from the club, I can’t help but believe that he’s learning. With each passing year, he is learning. Very few managers make a success of their first Premiership experience over an extended period and very few get the chance to prove themselves with the same club a second time around.

Bruce has been given that and with Eric Black now assisting, I can’t help but think that he’s going to give us a season to be proud of. Especially bearing in mind that 17th is going to count as ’success’ for us.

Going back to the article, the piece about Sullivan at the end seems to be a strange one… it sounds as though Mr Bruce knows something that we don’t. Or at least, that hasn’t officially been released to us yet anyway.

Blues 5-2 FC Schweinfurt – The latest friendly match report courtesy of BCFC.com

Blues interested in China captain – We’re supposedly set to be fighting Newcastle United for the player. From a brief Google search, it looks as though he built his reputation as a defensive midfielder although moulded his game to take advantage of the comfort at which he moves with the ball at his feet.

He is 26 years old and currently plays for Shandong Lueng. He spent several months on loan at Charlton Athletic last season. He played 12 times and scored one goal, against Newcastle United.

Surely, surely we aren’t after another midfielder? I can see the link with Yeung hoping to promote us in the Far East etc but at this moment, there’s more important areas of the team to focus on.

The more interesting piece in the article are the comments from Yeung. I don’t like the comments about bringing players over – unless they’re primarily for Bruce to cast an eye over and make the ultimate decision on – and re. the takeover, he’s “considering it. It’s a matter of timing.”

I seem to remember that when questioned here, he said that “We will see” when questioned on the same subject. Either things have moved on or he seems to have a slightly different story for each press conference! To me “considering it” is different to seeing how things work out.

Or perhaps I’m just paranoid and looking for anything that might cause harm to Blues… I don’t know. Things have been so stable for so long that I’m still very cautious about Yeung.

Gold : Bruce is reason for Mido signing – Well actually, Dave, I think it’s the fact that Mido hates being at Tottenham Hostpur and was looking for an out!

We haven’t heard from Gold for a while, have we? When he does finally pop up, he does that defending Steve Bruce thing that he’s so good at. In this case, I don’t think Bruce has anything to defend himself against. He’s been superb since the season ended in terms of the way we’ve gone about things.

Gold is also bang on about Bruce. Like him or loathe him, he does seem to have that ability to sell the club to a player.

Parnaby : I’ve got point to prove – Save say, Kingson and Schmitz, Parnaby’s signing has probably been the most underwhelming signing of the summer. However, whenever I’ve heard him interviewed, I’ve been impressed by him and what he has to say. The more I read, the more I think that we could have someone tremendously motivated on our hands next season.

Mix in a bit of talent and he could prove to be the stand out signing that will take the tag of surprise fan favourite.

Jerome up for the fight – Nice, positive interview with Jerome. A lot of people are expecting big things of him this season and it’s a surprise that he doesn’t seem to think he’ll be automatic choice.

When I read the interview, I then thought of who he’ll be up against and when you consider some of the attributes that he can bring to the table, you realise that our squad’s not in bad nick at all.

DJ says goodbye – As with Clemence and Bruno N’Gotty before him, DJ had some nice words before departing for Leicester City. He’ll always be remembered for his attitude as much as his ability with a football at his feet and in a way, I’m glad he’s going now and not staying on for another year just to warm a bench.

Bruce denies striker link – From what Bruce is saying, I’d say that we enquired about Yakubu just in case the Mido thing didn’t happen for us.

I personally don’t know which one I’d like more. Yakubu would be my instant snap decision choice but I must confess that I like the idea of having a maverick on board in the shape of Mido. It always make things slightly more exciting, doesn’t it?

That’s all your news but just a couple of quickies:

Joys & Sorrows Fantasy Football League – Already 40 people have signed up. It’s free, it’s easy. Have a go. £20 music voucher (or something similar) up for the winner.

BCFC season preview at GloryFootball – I was asked to preview the season by the editor of Glory Football. So I did. Have a read.

Players In; Players Out; Players Trying To Prove A Point

The last two days have been a bit, shall we say, busy. I’ve spent more time away from my PC than at it – which is unusual – and unable to keep up to date with the latest Blues happenings. And now when I check Newsnow, I see that players are close to signing, players have left and players who are still here talking a really good game.

It’s time to blog all that.

Mido close to signing for £6m – Well, the fee has been agreed and Mido himself has said in the press that he’s keen to join Blues. It looks a done deal despite personal terms needing to be agreed. Everyone thought that a loan would be agreed this week and then, subject to us staying up, we’d sign him in a year’s time.

Having read back what I’ve previously said about Mido, I believe this blog still accurately sums up my feelings. £6m is a big, big fee for a club of our size and I’ll be edgy when the transfer goes through because for that sort of money, we could’ve done some damage elsewhere – most notably at the back.

As I also said in that blog, Mido needs to feel wanted and like he’s the star. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve heard a lot about this so called ‘Big Un’. The message boards were awash with the idea that it was Christian Vieri! (Vieri today signed for Fiorientina, by the way.)

When it was announced that Mido was indeed the ‘Big Un’, a lot of people felt a little let down. After all, Tottenham Hotspur aren’t what some consider to be the Premiership elite and Mido certainly hasn’t got proven Premiership pedigree in terms of how long he’s looked a genuinely classy player in this country.

But Mido needs that. He needs to feel like he’s wanted and by building him up and making sure that he knows we want – need? – him here, he’s got more chance of signing. Of course, Bruce was perhaps playing a dangerous game. He might well have incurred the wrath of the fans if they thought that he was trying to pull the wool over their eyes. In this case, I can forgive him.

Mido is a very good player. He’s previously got experience in Holland, Spain, France and Italy (with Ajax, Celta Vigo, Marseilles and Roma respectively) and has scored goals wherever he’s been. His league record at all clubs stands at a goal just over every 3 games and despite being 24, he has nearly 50 international caps to his name.

He’s going to be a massive player for us, especially if Bruce can do what he’s previously done so well and gotten the best out of a so-called ‘bad-boy’. He has a habit of making sure that difficult players feel important and I’ve no doubt that he’s a massive reason why we’re all even talking about Mido coming to St Andrew’s this season in the first place.

His signing certainly gives the forward line some punch as well with Jerome, O’Connor, Vine and Forssell all now battling it out for a starting place. Not forgetting that Kapo can also operate as a striker. If you’d have told me that these players would’ve been our strikers come the start of the season, I’d have laughed at you.

Especially when you consider that Clinton Morrison was the big name last time we were at this point.

Forss talks up Mido – Mikael Forssell gives the Mido signing the thumbs up. Interesting to note about his book too. Hands up, who’d buy it if he released it in English? I must confess that I probably would. After all, he probably hasn’t slept with one of Girls Aloud so you have to say that it’s already a couple of notches better than Ashley Cole’s effort already…

DJ Campbell Signs For Leicester City – With progress comes casualties in football. DJ Campbell is most definitely a big loss for Blues. Not just in what he can do on the pitch, albeit primarily from the subs bench, but in terms of personality too.

DJC was one of those players who fans immediately took to. He tried for ninety minutes, never stopped running, understood how privileged footballers are, popped up with important goals, spoke like a fan… basically a football fan in a footballers position. You don’t get many of those any more.

There seems to have been a big outpouring of love for DJ since it was announced that he was leaving. I can understand that. A lot of people have also expressed disappointment that it was DJC who was leaving and not Rowan Vine. I like DJC and I like Rowan Vine.

Out of the two, I firmly believe that Vine is the more rounded player and will do better for us in the higher league. He simply has more about him. But my big worry is that he won’t get a chance – and perhaps he shouldn’t considering who he’s got in direct competition – but it seems more than a little unlucky that if (when?) he goes, he’ll have gone without a proper chance to prove himself.

Still, like Robbie Blake, when the opportunity comes along, he might decide to join a ‘big’ club like Leeds United! I’d love to see Viney prove a lot of people wrong. Sadly, I can’t see it.

Back to DJC, he represented Blues on 50 occasions, scoring 12 goals. We signed him for just £500,000 and have sold him just over a season later for £2m (£1.6-2.1m depending on which site you read) having had him score some vital goals for us. Is he four time the player now that he was when we signed him? I’d say no and that the club have done a good job in turning in a very good profit.

I’m sure all Blues fans wish him – as well as Stephen Clemence and Bruno N’Gotty – well at Leicester City in their battle for promotion this season.

Southend United take Oji on trial – This kid supposedly had a big future in the game. I don’t watch the reserves so can’t really comment. Either way, good luck at Southend, Sam!

Sidenote : Isn’t the IcEssex site ugly compared to IcBrum?

Mikael : I’m Still A Forss – Wow.

Now be honest. Have you ever, in your life, wanted a Blues player to play to his full potential as much as you’d like Mikael Forssell to do this season? Always been a fan of the Forss and always will be, regardless of where he ends up.

Kapo likes French connection – Another positive interview. It sounds as though the club really is coming together as far as the squad is concerned. For a player of his calibre, he talks a good game and talks as though he genuinely wants to fit in and not stand out as the superstar. Looking forward to seeing him play this season, that’s for sure.

That’s your lot…

Blogs planned for the next couple of days:

- Where will the goals come from?
- Who will be the new captain?

St Andrews News Round Up

I know I said I was going to try and stop doing digest news style posts but I saw a big bunch of articles grouped together earlier today and figured that there was too many to blog individually. So here they all are – including some rumours from yesterday:

Blues interested in Ipswich Town striker – Sunday tabloid rumours. I like and rate Haynes – he’s a livewire – but I can’t see this one happening. I think we’ll be selling DJ to Leicester City and then bringing in ‘The Big Un’ and that’ll be our lot as far as strikers are concerned.

Clem set to be named Leicester captain – Leicester could do a lot worse. From the sneaking around I’ve done on Leicester sites, they’re very happy with the acquisition. And I’m glad about that. He’ll do a sterling job for the Foxes and I’m sure Blues fans wouldn’t be too upset at seeing them have a tilt at promotion.

After all, they’re actually like us from last season with N’Gotty, Clem and DJ Campbell in the side!

Bruce : We’re after Ghaly – First time Bruce has officially admitted it although I’m sure I may come across more in depth quotes in a Mail article somewhere. I was at that particular Tottenham friendly and I don’t remember Ghaly playing particularly well… that said I was trying to explain to Mrs Aff who was who. Women and football… they really don’t mix although to her eternal credit, she knows more than quite a few Blues fans I’ve met over the years!

Berbatov scored a stonking volley that day too.

Blues set to miss out on striker – As I said in a blog the other day, I’m delighted that Wigan Athletic were set to sign Marlon Harewood over us. It appears though that another club has come into the reckoning for the striker. Step forward, Aston Villa.

Harewood was at Bodymoor Heath today…

Bruce closes in on ‘the big un’ – If you’re a Blues fan – and you probably should be if you’re on a site like this – you’ve probably been spending too much time thinking about who the big signing who be. It’s all terribly exciting.

I just hope it isn’t Marlon Harewood. Imagine being promised a big name player or 2 and then ending up with Harewood…

First of all, is it a striker? I – and someone else on the Joys & Sorrows forum – reckon I’ve read a quote from Bruce saying that this player was a striker. But logical guesses on several forums point to centre halves.

I personally think it’ll be someone in the Andy Cole mould. A touch of class, a lot of experience and someone who’ll marshall the youngsters in the side. I doubt he’ll cost much but the wages, I fear, will be astronomical. A leader, an obvious captain would be great since I can’t think of too many candidates for that role in our current squad.

Blues kick off pre-season campaign – From the sounds of it, we’re playing the Ant Hill Mob.

DJ future set to be decided – Yes, who is going to be the premiere shirt thrower when we sign Hossam Ghaly?

Actually, the article is about DJII’s move to Leicester City. Watford are showing a late interest but it’s looking more than likely that it’ll be the Foxes picking up a third player from us.

Blues set for Ghaly swoop – Same quotes as above but this time from the Birmingham Mail. How do we feel about this one, folks? I can’t quite make up my mind one way or the other. I think it’s a bit of a Parnaby this one. Everyone will be a bit underwhelmed by it until we see what he can do.

Bruce : Losing out on Konchesky was a blow – Curtis Davies, Paul Scharner, etc, etc! If we were prepared to stump up the cash anyway, why didn’t we at least try and work towards a resolution?

We’ve missed out on a very good left back for the sake of a few hundred grand… again. People aren’t happy over this one, and quite rightly so.

Clem : I didn’t save gaffers job – Ha! Come on Clem, we have to blame someone.

Blues in for Charlton full-back – I’ll blog this one if/when there’s more details. I don’t believe Tribal as far as I could chuck them.

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Explanation!

You have arrived at the archive site of the Birmingham City blog Joys & Sorrows. If you were looking for fresh, meaty stuff then this way, please.

This section of the site covers the blog portion of J&S from 26th April 2006 - when the site returned after a catastrophic hosting failure causing the loss of over 500 articles - to 28th April 2008 - when I decided to have a prolonged rest from the site.

Here, if it so takes your fancy, you can find every single article, totalling over 1,000, written by myself and many others over that two year period.

Unfortunately, the formatting on some of the posts is a little rough but since this is an archive, it doesn't matter too much. Nothing is unreadable although a great deal of the links will now, sadly, be broken. So internal Joys & Sorrows links will lead you to 404 errors.

I decided to archive them in this way because I wanted to start something fresh for the main part of the site. Hopefully you'll be able to see that up on the main portion of the site now.

Commenting for the archive section has obviously been switched off. You can flick around the archives by using the 'Find It' function in the middle column or the respective 'Categories' or 'Archives' headings in the sidebars

- Aff, 03/08/08.