I am becoming more and more enamoured of squad numbers; without them, I wouldn’t stand a chance of identifying all the new arrivals at Birmingham City. So for me, the announcement of squad numbers this week was more exciting than the revealing of new kits. My only preferences on kit design are that I don’t like pink (I heard some of our players didn’t like it either when they played in pink at Millwall, in October 2012), I hate having sponsors names on tops and I wish the squad numbers on the shorts were bigger so my old eyes could read them when players are on the other side of the pitch.
There are 28 players on the full squad list announced this week and 24 of them went to pre-season training in Ireland. The 4 that didn’t go to Ireland were:
- Nick Townsend, goalie, who has sat on the bench but hasn’t made his first-team debut yet.
- Charlee Adams, who was given a squad number in January 2014, played a few minutes at the end of the cup tie with Bristol Rovers and then sent out on loan to Lincoln City.
- Amari’i Bell, who is on a youth loan to Mansfield Town at present.
- Matt Green, who is recovering from injury.
Koby Arthur ‘s name doesn’t appear on the squad list but his profile is still on the club site. In a recent interview in which Lee Clark said he was looking for a player to bring in, he said, “But we have obviously got Demarai Gray and Koby Arthur, too, so there could be an opportunity for those boys to show what they can do.” So it could be that the decision on whether to include Koby in the squad or send him out on loan again depends on whether or not Clark gets another player in.
So here’s my list of 29 players arranged roughly in order of how long they have been at the club or, with ex Academy players, when they made their first team-debuts. Only two of them played for us before 2012.
|21||Colin DOYLE||Goalkeeper||Joined as Academy scholar in 2001 and made first team debut in August 2006. Squad number changed from 13 to 21.|
|23||Jonathan SPECTOR||Defender||Joined Blues in August 2011|
|17||Callum REILLY||Midfielder||From Blues Academy; debut for first team in January 2012|
|14||Will PACKWOOD||Defender||Came through Academy and made first team debut in August 2012. Summer 2014 signed a one year contract extension with an additional one-year option.|
|4||Paul ROBINSON||Defender||Signed September 2012|
|18||Mitchell HANCOX||Defender||From Blues Academy; debut for first team in October 2012|
|10||Wesley THOMAS||Striker||Summer signing 2014, signed a two-year deal with Birmingham after rejecting a new deal with Rotherham. Was previously on loan during 2012/13 season and made debut in February 2013.|
|16||Koby ARTHUR||Midfielder||Joined as schoolboy and signed first professional contract 1 April 2013, on same day that he made first team debut. Not on 2014/15 squad list but does have profile on club site.|
|20||Oliver LEE||Midfielder||Summer signing 2013 after 6 weeks emergency loan from Barnet.|
|2||Neal EARDLEY||Defender||Summer signing 2013|
|1||Darren RANDOLPH||Goalkeeper||Summer signing 2013|
|22||Andrew SHINNIE||Midfielder||Summer signing 2013|
|24||Tom ADEYEMI||Midfielder||Summer signing 2013|
|12||Lee NOVAK||Striker||Summer signing 2013|
|25||Matt GREEN||Striker||Summer signing 2013. Injured cruciate ligament in November 2013, on 2/7/14 was said to be 4 to 6 weeks from resuming full training.|
|31||Paul CADDIS||Defender||Signed in August 2013, after previous loan spell.|
|30||Nick TOWNSEND||Goalkeeper||From Academy, has been on subs bench but never played for first team|
|29||Reece BROWN||Midfielder||From Academy, made first team debut in September 2013|
|33||Demarai GRAY||Midfielder||From Academy, first team debut October 2013|
|32||Amari’i BELL||Defender||Youth loan to Mansfield Town until 3 January 2015. Made debut in January 2014. Not on current player profiles list on official site.|
|34||Charlee ADAMS||Midfielder||Joined from West Ham as Academy scholar; first team debut in January 2014|
|3||Jonathan GROUNDS||Defender||Summer signing 2014. Came from Oldham Athletic and signed for two years|
|5||Gavin GUNNING||Defender||Summer signing 2014. Came from Dundee and signed a pre-contract agreement for one year with an option for another year.|
|6||David EDGAR||Defender||Summer signing 2014. Let go by Burnley; he is a utility player who can play in defence or midfield and has signed for two years.|
|15||Grant HALL||Defender||Signed for 2014-15 on a season-long loan from Spurs with no recall option (hallelujah!) He is a centre half.|
|7||Mark DUFFY||Midfielder||Summer signing 2014. Right-winger from Doncaster Rovers, signed for two years|
|8||Stephen GLEESON||Midfielder||Summer signing 2014. From MK Dons and signed for two years.|
|11||David COTTERILL||Midfielder||Summer signing 2014. Wales international midfielder, signed a two-year contract. He scored a late equaliser for Doncaster when they played Blues at St Andrews on December 3rd 2013.|
|9||Clayton DONALDSON||Striker||Summer signing 2014. Brentford’s top scorer last season, has joined on a two-year contract|