Tag Archives: birmingham

Scott Dann could join Chris Samba in Blackburn exit

Liverpool and Arsenal on alert as Dann seeks urgent talks with Kean over Blackburn future

Scott Dann could be the next high-profile defender to demand to leave Blackburn following Chris Samba's transfer request.

Dann, 24, was given assurances when he arrived from Birmingham City in a 6million deal last summer that he was being signed to play alongside Samba and not replace the 6ft 4in Congo centre half.

Demand: Dann wants urgent talks with Kean over his Blackburn future

Demand: Dann wants urgent talks with Kean over his Blackburn future

But, with Blackburn ready to listen to offers in excess of 12m for Samba, Dann is seeking urgent talks with manager Steve Kean.

The news will alert Liverpool and Arsenal, who were both linked with Dann in the summer, while Aston Villa and Everton are also keen on the former England Under 21 centre back.

His former Birmingham boss Alex McLeish would like to take him to Villa Park in a swap-plus-cash deal with James Collins, but the Villa defender is said to be reluctant to join Blackburn.

On his knees: Samba has handed in a transfer request

On his knees: Samba has handed in a transfer request

Samba went into training on the players' day off yesterday to hold talks with Kean and reiterated his desire to leave.

Blackburn also face a battle to keep Junior Hoilett, 21, although the winger's father and agent believes the Samba situation means his son will not be able to leave until his contract runs out at the end of the season.

ITV to show Wolves v Birmingham replay

Why, oh why ITV to show bore draw re-match and overlook Wrexham's game with Brighton

Television viewers will have to choose between DIY SOS or FA Cup SOS next Wednesday after bosses at ITV Sport astonishingly opted to screen a third-round replay that was devoid of any entertainment the first time around.

The network will broadcast the rematch between Birmingham City and Wolves in a prime-time slot on ITV1, despite the fact that the goalless draw last Saturday was a huge turn-off.

Rival bosses Chris Hughton and Mick McCarthy admitted the clash fell way short of the exciting fare for which the world's most romantic club competition has drawn acclaim.

Better second time round Mick McCarthy and Wolves will have another chance to impress the TV cameras

Better second time round Mick McCarthy and Wolves will have another chance to impress the TV cameras

And there were raised eyebrows at both when news filtered through on Tuesday that their date at Molineux would be televised live on the flagship station, causing irritation to fans who bought tickets for a tie that was due to be played 24 hours earlier.

The replay between QPR and MK Dons at Loftus Road on Tuesday will be shown on ITV4.

Incredibly, the tie of the week between non-League Wrexham and Brighton has been overlooked.

Dull derby: Neither Midlands clubs were able to find a spark in the game at St Andrew's

Dull derby: Neither Midlands clubs were able to find a spark in the game at St Andrew's

Leicester City and Nottingham Forest will try to find a winner after a poor tie at the City Ground before an audience on ESPN.

At least those tuning in to Birmingham v Wolves can see some appetising fare if they switch channels to BBC1.

Masterchef follows DIY SOS. However, the club with the greatest gripe – Wrexham – took the news graciously, despite missing out on a much-needed 62,000 windfall that all clubs receive for being shown live.

Chief executive Dave Roberts said: 'Naturally, we are a touch disappointed. But we are being shown on S4C which will hopefully give us some coverage.'

Liverpool eye Birmingham winger Nathan Redmond

Liverpool are the latest to show interest in 10m Birmingham winger Redmond

Liverpool are interested in Birmingham City winger Nathan Redmond.

The 10million-rated 17-year-old has two years left on his contract but has attracted strong attention from Manchester City.

Potential: Birmingham's Nathan Redmond

Potential: Birmingham's Nathan Redmond

Gary Ablett dies at 46: Liverpool and Everton favourite loses 16-month cancer battle

Liverpool and Everton favourite Ablett dies after 16-month battle against cancer

a year after Ablettleft the post, said: “It”s devastating news. He”s a very highly regarded and respected man on Merseyside and a true legend.”

Paul Walsh, who played alongside Ablett at Liverpool in the 1980s, described the news of Ablett”s death as “absolutely tragic”.

He said: “I”m absolutely stunned at the news, I knew he wasn”t well, but 46 years of age is absolutely tragic.

“Hewas was a hell of a nice person. He was a top lad. Just wanted to get in there and do well, didn”t do anything fancy but a great pro who trained hard with a great attitude to everything he did.

“There was also a steely determination about Gary. You don”t get in the Liverpool team and come through the ranks at Liverpool and play 100 times for them if you haven”t got that little bit of steel.”

Michael Owen said on his Twitter account: “So sad to hear the news that Gary Ablett has passed away today aged 46. He played for some great clubs and had a career to be proud of. RIP.”

HAVE YOUR SAY… Leave your tributes to Gary Ablett: 1965-2012Gary Ablett has passed away after losing his long battle with cancer. Ablett enjoyed a successful playing career which covered spells with Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton. He also played for Birmingham, Hull, Derby, Sheffield United, Wycombe, Blackpool and Long Island Rough Riders. How will you remember himGary AblettTELL US WHAT YOU THINK

Former club Birmingham have announceda minute”s silence will be observed before their npower Championship match at Peterborough on Monday with another held at St Andrew”s on Saturday prior to their FA Cup third round tie with Wolves.

“Thethoughts of everyone connected with Birmingham City Football Club are with the friends and family of Gary Ablett,” said a Blues statement.

“Justlike he battled as a fierce competitor on the pitch, Ablett fought non-Hodgkin”s lymphoma for over year before passing away peacefully lastnight.

“Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to Gary”s wife Jacqueline and his children and everyone else that knew him.”

Ipswich”s players will wear black armbands for this afternoon”s visit of Nottingham Forest and Ablett will be honoured with a minute”s applause.

“It”s desperately sad news,” Town chief executive Simon Clegg told the club. “I stayed in touch with Gary as he battled his illness over 18 months, which he did with bravery and dignity and our thoughts go out to his wife Jacqueline and their children at this very difficult time.”

Ian Rush, who played alongside Ablett during his two spells at Liverpool in the 1980s and 90s, said Merseyside will be united in their sorrow today.

“He sums up what people are like in Liverpool, In 1989 (FA Cup final) when Liverpool and Everton fans were together, this will be exactly the same for Gary,” Rush said.

“He”s a true Scouser and when things are going wrong people stick together, they get together, both Liverpool and Everton supporters will support each other. That”s what people on Merseyside will be doing today.”

Up for the cup: Ablett won league titles with Liverpool, and the FA Cup with Everton

Up for the cup: Ablett won league titles with Liverpool, and the FA Cup with Everton

Up for the cup: Ablett won league titles with Liverpool, and the FA Cup with Everton

He added on Sky Sports News: “We”re absolutely gutted, Gary was a gentleman both on and off the pitch. When I received the news this morning I just couldn”t believe it. It was terrible news and my heart goes out to his family.

“What you saw is what you got with Gary. Whoever he played for, be it Liverpool, Everton, Birmingham or whoever, he always gave 100 per cent. That”s very rare these days.

“In those days people just saw him as a normal player, but I think in today”s game he”d be right up there because these sorts of players don”t come by anymore.”

Rush also praised Ablett”s coaching ability, adding: “People don”t realise what a good coach he was.

“I remember him when he was managing Liverpool reserves, he put his voice across in the right way. He wasn”t a shouter or a raver, he put it in the right way. His knowledge of the game was getting better all the time.”

Kevin Phillips, Steve Claridge and Iain Dowie on best and worst fans to play for

Fever pitch! So, who are the best and worst fans to play for

Believe it or not, there was a time when Robbie Savage was more noted for his midfield dynamism than the quality of his quick step.

In an interview recently, he named Birmingham City supporters as the least demanding he had played for – on the basis that they were happy as long as the club defeated Aston Villa. He named Derby County”s as the most difficult to please because he felt they thought they should be playing in the Premier League.

Neil Moxley, Colin Young and Alex Kay tracked down some other well-travelled players and asked who were the most – and least – demanding set of supporters in the country.

Blue for you: Kevin Phillips celebrates in front of the Birmingham fans

Blue for you: Kevin Phillips celebrates infront of the Birmingham fans

Steve Claridge

I was lucky to play for some down-to-earth clubs with working-class fans who valued the fact that, wherever I went, I gave what I could.

On that basis, it”s difficult to separate teams I played for at my “peak”. I”m talking about the likes of Birmingham and Leicester, both of whom treated me well. I won at Wembley with both of them, too, which helped!

But when I started out, Cambridge United”s supporters were brilliant – mainly, I think, because the team at that time exceeded all of their expectations.

We reached the FA Cup quarter-finals twice and were promoted twice. They couldn”t believe their luck, they were so grateful to us. We could do no wrong.

But I have to say Portsmouth are the best – not because they are my team but because they did show outstanding loyalty when the club needed it most – towards the end of the 1998-99 season when we played Stockport at Fratton Park.

We were struggling to stay in the Championship. There were 11,000 people inside the ground and they kept up a chant of “Alan Ball”s Blue and White Army” for 90 minutes. When one side of the ground would get tired, another one would take it up. I recall it vividly because it was a seminal moment in the club”s recent history.

The most difficult – although it often happens that they would be among my best as well – were Millwall. You need character to play for that club, and I didn”t think I did too badly, either.

I scored 19 goals in 37 games on loan. But at least they chanted my name in a positive way at times, which I”m told is quite a compliment!

* Claridge played for Bournemouth Aldershot, Cambridge, Luton, Birmingham, Leicester, Wolves, Portsmouth, Millwall, Brighton, Brentford, Wycombe, Gillingham, Bradford and Walsall in a career spanning 22 years.

Pressure point: Iain Dowie suffered at West Ham

Pressure point: Iain Dowie suffered at West Ham

Iain Dowie

In my early days, the Luton lot were a good bunch. Kenilworth Road is tight and even with 8-10,000 in, they made a lot of noise. We fed off each other.

But I would have to say West Ham”s fans were about the best I played for. I think it helped that I knew what they were about.

When I was playing for them, we won a promotion tussle 2-1 against Swindon and I scored. They were flying that day – as we were as a team. It remains one of my fondest memories there.

As a coach, I”ve been on the sidelines and a couple of groups of supporters have really impressed me. I think what they say about Newcastle fans is true. It”s a goldfish bowl where everyone has an opinion.

When they are behind you, it can be awesome. I remember standing alongside Alan Shearer during a relegation battle against Middlesbrough and the roof nearly came off St James”s Park when Newcastle scored.

West Ham were probably about the worst, too, as well as the best. I went something like nine games without a goal and, blimey, did they let me know it They knew the statistic better than I did.

I had a similar experience with Southampton. It didn”t help that, when I arrived, the manager, Ian Branfoot, was under pressure and strikers are expected to help ease the pressure on their managers.

Sadly, I didn”t find the net for a good few games, so I got a bit of stick for that but I”ve never held it against them. That”s what happens if a forward doesn”t score.

* Dowie played for Luton, Fulham, West Ham, Southampton, Crystal Palace and QPR in a career spanning 15 years.

Stuck on you! Kilbane enjoyed the atmosphere at Goodison Park

Stuck on you! Kilbane (second left) enjoyed the atmosphere at Goodison Park

Kevin Kilbane

It was not until I got to Sunderland that I felt I was at a big club. I was only a kid at Preston and West Bromwich and it took me a year to settle.When I arrived on Wearside we were in the top three of the Premier League. We were playing Southampton and Peter Reid was getting terrible stick from one fan and I was thinking, “What more can he do” It”s still like that there.

How do you know a club is “big” I understood what it meant when I went for a drink or to the supermarket. People would follow me round. I was only 20 and I probably wasn”t prepared for it.

So, when we all got stick on a pre-season tour and I stuck two fingers up at the Sunderland fans, it was not the greatest moment of my career. I can laugh about it now but I am not proud of it, it was just an honest reaction.

The funny thing is I had my best season for Sunderland after that. I admit I didn”t play well every week, but it was an unforgiving place. I would say Sunderland fans are the most demanding I”ve come across.

I felt Everton fans connected with the team and always got right behind them. Opposition players mention it at Goodison. They”ll say it”s a horrible place to go because the fans are united with the players and manager.

They can still get on your back, but give them everything and they will support you. It was at Everton that the Zinedine Kilbane T-shirts and nickname came out, and I don”t know if it was Everton fans or Irish fans who made it up. I was never sure whether it was mickey-taking, or a form of endearment.

But so many people still come up to me and call me it with a smile, so hopefully it”s not all in jest.

* Kilbane played for Preston, West Bromwich, Sunderland, Everton, Wigan, Hull, Huddersfield and Derby over 17 years.

All or nothing: Townsend knew he had to deliver

All or nothing: Townsend knew he had to deliver

Andy Townsend

Chelsea fans were fantastic to me and I loved playing at Stamford Bridge. I played there during some fallow years so if we gave them anything to shout about they were happy.

I used to love the London games because we”d take so many fans away with us. But you have to remember that in those days Stamford Bridge was often half-empty so, if things were not going well, you could hear the abuse.

I remember them turning on Dave Beasant during a game against Norwich – it was pretty nasty. Villa fans were similar. They would back you but they would let you know if they felt you weren”t giving 100 per cent. Though they were generally pretty good because we were winning things and in Europe most seasons.

At Norwich, we were pressure-free because we were punching above our weight and Dave Stringer had the full backing of the fans – the polar opposite of what is going on at Blackburn.

Equally, at Middlesbrough, the fans were so happy because we won promotion and had a good couple of years in the Premier League. It saddens me to see the ground not full now.

* Townsend played for Norwich, Southampton, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and West Bromwich in a career spanning 15 years.

Too close for comfort: Keeper Poole often copped an earful

Too close for comfort: Keeper Poole often copped an earful

Kevin Poole

After being an apprentice at Aston Villa, it was great to get a chance to play for the club but it wasn”t until I moved to Middlesbrough that I understood the difference supporters could make.

As a goalkeeper you hear more than the odd comment. The Holgate End at Ayresome Park was full of characters who”d let you know if you”d made a mistake or done something right. To a young (-ish) keeper, though, they were pretty supportive.

The terracing wasn”t always full, so that only magnified what they said. Believe it or not, it wasn”t always criticism, the odd thing would make you smile, too.

I wouldn”t say I had a strained relationship with any fans. They all want what”s best for their club.

But, if you are talking about places to go where you would get stick, I”d single out Newcastle. Whether it was because I played for Middlesbrough or not, I always copped an earful there.

* Poole played for Aston Villa, Northampton Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Leicester, Birmingham, Bolton, Derby, Burton Albion in a career spanning 30 years.

What a feeling: Kevin Phillips celebrates scoring in front of Sunderland fans

What a feeling: Kevin Phillips celebrates scoring in front of Sunderland fans

Kevin Phillips

I don”t think my answer will surprise many – Sunderland were the best just for the passion and love of football. There wasn”t much like it, playing in front of 40,000 Mackems with them willing you to score.

It remains one of the proudest milestones when I broke Brian Clough”s goalscoring record.

However, there is something different about that part of the world when it comes to support. The Newcastle fans had their moments, too. The derbies are full-on affairs.

I played in a Wear-Tyne dust-up 10 years ago. Newcastle went two-up and we pulled one back before half-time. There was pretty much relentless Sunderland pressure after that.

I managed to score five minutes from the end. I”ve never heard anything like it. I suppose I”ve been lucky. Goalscorers are held in high regard at most clubs and I”ve managed to find the net at all of mine.

I would say Villa didn”t see the best of me and that might have been my most difficult time – but only because I had a lengthy spell out with injury.

But I think I”m right in saying I scored the winner in a derby against Birmingham for them. So I”m hoping that makes up for it – although now I”ve gone and upset Blues” fans by mentioning it!

* Phillips played for Watford, Sunderland, Southampton, Aston Villa, West Bromwich, Birmingham and Blackpool over 17 years.

West Ham have Edson Buddle on trial

Hammer time for Buddle as West Ham weigh up an offer to trialling USA striker

West Ham are ruuning the rule over USA international striker Edson Buddle who has been on trial at the club.

The USA international has previously had tentative interest from Stoke and Birmingham City, while Sheffield Wednesday made him an offer that was turned down in 2010.

States of the art: Edson Buddle is on trial at West Ham

States of the art: Edson Buddle is on trial at West Ham

West Brom and Wolves want Sunderland"s Craig Gardner

West Brom to rival Wolves in bringing an end to Gardner”s Sunderland stint

West Bromwich are ready to rival Wolves if Sunderland allow Craig Gardner, 25, a move back to the Midlands.

The former England Under 21 midfielder has struggled to settle in the North East and has failed to hit top form since his 5million summer move from Birmingham City.

Attracting interest: Gardner

Attracting interest: Gardner

Blackburn"s Scott Dann out for six weeks

Blackburn”s painful season takes a turn for the worse as Dann suffers ruptured testicle

This season has been full of testing times for Blackburn Rovers.

Not only have they had trouble keeping the ball out of their net but manager Steve Kean is facing the sack.

And the club”s calamitous campaign has taken another twist with the news that Scott Dann will be out for six weeks with a ruptured testicle.

Crocked: Blackburn

Crocked: Blackburn”s Scott Dann (right) will be out for six weeks

The former Birmingham centre-half scored Rovers” goal in Saturday”s 2-1 home defeat to West Brom and completed the full 90 minutes but Steve Kean confirmed he is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Thenews comes as a further blow to Kean, who is under mounting pressure with his side second-bottom of the league and facing a clash with local rivals Bolton, the only side below them, on Tuesday night.

Dann suffered the problem during Saturday”s defeat to West Brom and it was immediately confirmed he would miss the do-or-die clash with Premier League basement boys Bolton at Ewood Park.

“Our physio cannot believe it,” Kean told ESPNsoccernet. “He has two players out with problems that he has never come across before in all of his years experience.

Over and out: Blackburn players (left) look dejected after their loss to West Brom

Over and out: Blackburn players (left) look dejected after their loss to West Brom

“Scott Dann has come in and played sowell to replace Phil Jones, but in our last match he was hurt and it now transpires he will be out for six weeks with a ruptured testicle.

“When you add that to Gael Givet, Ryan Nelsen and Michel Salgado, we are losing defenders at the moment, which is tough.

“But we have to face it up and crack on, although that is a tough one to take.”

Under-fire: Rovers boss Steve Kean

Under-fire: Rovers boss Steve Kean

Itmerely heaps even more pressure on Kean, who was the subject of abuse from a large section of the Blackburn support on Saturday, who abandonedtheir non-demonstration pact following Peter Odemwingie”s last-minute winner.

That has been followed up by a front-page editorial in the local newspaper calling for Kean”s immediate dismissal.

Yet the Rovers boss claimed he spoke to the owners over the telephone on Sunday and there had been no mention of an ultimatum.

Rather, the discussion revolved around future plans.

“I have spoken with the owners for 45 minutes yesterday. There was no suggestion of an ultimatum,” he said.

“We had a real good conversation yesterday.

“We are looking forward to the transfer window opening so we can try and get a couple in who can hit the ground running and make an impact.

“There is pressure tomorrow but we have to enjoy it. From the first minute there will be pressure.

“You have to show courage to accept it.”

Hitting out: Blackburn fans protest against manager Steve Kean and Venky

Hitting out: Blackburn fans protest against manager Steve Kean and Venky”s

The people have spoken: Blackburn fans protest against Steve Kean and Venkys

The one piece of good news for Kean is the return of Junior Hoilett after a hamstring injury.

And Kean confirmed Gael Givet might be back in a fortnight after it has been decided he would have a procedure to rectify his irregular heartbeat.

“Gael is going to have a procedure,” said Kean.

“He was in training yesterday and seemed quite well in himself.

“But it is something you have to take very seriously when his heartbeat goes up to 300 beats a minute.

“He had it once before in France. He also had it 18 months ago in training.

“But it has moved to a different chamber in the heart.

“It is a small procedure. He should be back within two or three weeks.”