After the game on Saturday, Demarai Gray and Darren Randolph walked off the pitch with Nathan Redmond. And I couldn’t help wondering if that might be the last time I would see Gray in a Birmingham City shirt. Seeing Redmond in a Norwich shirt on Saturday had started me thinking about young Blues players who have been sold: Jordan Mutch in July 2012, Jack Butland in January 2013 and Nathan Redmond in July 2013. I remember Mutch being in the Cardiff team that beat us in January 2013 and walking off after the game with Butland, who was about to be sold. No news on transfer deadline day was good news as far as I’m concerned. It would have been nice to get some more defensive cover but I’m glad we didn’t sell Gray. I hope that means the club is thinking more long term than it has in the past.
I was also pleased that Josh Martin has agreed to sign professional terms for Birmingham City in October when he will be 17 years old. It’s another indication that the club is trying to hold on to its young talent. Martin hasn’t played for the first team yet but was given a squad number when he was 15. At that time he was given number 19 but Zigic took that number back when he returned to the club and Martin’s number is now 35.
As well as being good for the club, I think it’s good for many young players to stay with clubs they know. That view is probably coloured more by grandmotherly feelings rather than any knowledge of football. I do tend to think of the players as my children and grandchildren, which makes me one of the least critical of spectators at matches. I’m probably unwise to admit that since, as noted in a recent article about gender and football, Your Nan is often used as a personification of ignorance about football. Nan is also the person that that could have made the easy shots missed by players or decisions the referee got wrong. That’s definitely not true of this grandmother. I may not understand all the finer points of the game but I do know my limitations. I know that the referee and players have a greater understanding of the game than I do. Of course that doesn’t stop me giving them unsolicited advice at times.