I didn’t realise how much I’d been affected by the uncertainty about Birmingham City’s sanction until it was over and we found out we would be docked 9 points. My main feeling was one of relief, that I knew the decision and it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. That made me wonder how the uncertainty might have affected the players and hope that they now feel ready to ensure we won’t be relegated. The calm confidence displayed by Garry Monk in his press conference yesterday helped me feel that we could get a result against WBA this evening.
I also started to think about the contrast between us and another Blues. Birmingham City doesn’t have enough first team players and had to promote some Academy players to the first team. Chelsea has the opposite problem. It has too many talented players to fit into the first team and loans them out to play for other teams. While checking on their players I came across a list of 29 loaned out this season. Callum Hudson-Odoi started for England before he had started a Premier League game for Chelsea. One article I read said that he had “excelled in pre-season only to be consigned to the subs bench once the real action began.”
Another article said, if young players get a chance to go to Chelsea they should take it because they will get excellent training. But they shouldn’t “stay beyond their 16th birthday” because they need to play games and Chelsea doesn’t have a good record for promoting Academy players into the first team.
I think that Birmingham is a good place for young players. Those that are good enough are given a chance in the first team. And I’ve heard, that young players who don’t get contracts are given help in finding somewhere else to go. On a recent We Are Birmingham podcast, Chris, Matthew and Daniel talked about Reece Brown, who was released by Birmingham but is now doing well at Forest Green Rovers, and talked about how with some young players it takes time for the penny to drop and for them to put in the necessary effort to succeed. It was an interesting podcast and well worth a listen. I was also encouraged that all three of them thought Blues would get a draw this evening. Made me feel I wasn’t being completely crazy to hope for a win.