I went to Birmingham City’s friendly game against Hull this afternoon. When the game started I recognised five of the players on the pitch and one of those was Curtis Davies who was playing for Hull. So I spent some of the time referring to the team list1 in an effort to sort out who was who. I am not the most knowledgeable of fans but I do like to know our players’ names.
It’s more important that the players know each other and there were some nice passes that indicated that they did. I just hate those games where the team plays like a bunch of strangers that have never met before. It’s true that some passes went astray today but nobody played badly. There could still be changes to the squad, of course, and that may be the reason why there’s no squad photo on the official site yet. When I looked for it I found a picture of the pitch and underneath it some text saying, “The new 2013/14 Blues first team squad photo will appear here in July.2
As well as some decent play by Blues, it was pleasing to beat Hull. Though that doesn’t mean too much because the Premier League doesn’t kick off until August 17 so they are at an earlier stage of training than Blues.
I’m now looking forward to the game against Watford next week. That club has also signed a lot of players, but under very different circumstances from ours. Last season, Watford got around the rules on loan players, which placed a limit of five loan players in a matchday squad and did not allow clubs to loan more than two players from any one club. The loophole it exploited was the fact that foreign loan players were counted as transfers. So it loaned about ten players from Udinese in Italy and Granada in Spain. This was easy to do because the Pozzo family that owns Watford also owns Udinese and Granada.
The rules have been changed to close that loophole this season so Watford has now signed players from those two clubs on permanent deals. Out of their fourteen signings this pre-season there are nine from Udinese and two from Granada.3 To me, it sounds possible that some of these may be loans called by a different name. Ours are not the only owners who are not totally transparent.