Although this is a season away, with the appointment of Lee Carsley as head professional development coach I thought the rule changes were worth looking at.
As of this moment, the current rules state that clubs must name six “home-grown” players in their 18 man squad. To quote the rules:
33.8 ‘Home Grown Player’ shall mean a Player who irrespective of his nationality or age, has been registered with:-
33.8.1 his current Club; and/or
33.8.2 a Club and/or any other football club affiliated to the Football Association or the Football Association of Wales,
for a period, continuous or not of three Seasons or 36 months prior to his 21st birthday (or the end of the Season during which he turns 21). For the purposes of this definition of Home Grown Player only, a Season will be deemed to commence on the date on which the first Transfer Window in that Season closes and expire on the date of the final League Match of the Season.
33.9 For the purposes of Regulation 33.8.2, but not otherwise, a Player who was at all times registered with a Club (or club) affiliated to the Football Association of Wales shall be treated as having been registered with a Club (or club) affiliated to The Football Association, and vice versa.
There are by my reckoning currently ten players in the Birmingham City squad that do not meet these criteria.
They are Emilio Nsue, Maikel Kieftenbeld, Robert Tesche, Diego Fabbrini, Kerim Frei, Andrew Shinnie, Tomasz Kuszczak, Cheick Keita and Nicolai Brock-Madsen.
Of course, some are these players could well be moving on – I imagine that Fabbrini, Shinnie and Brock at least have no future at all at Blues and I can see Frei and Tesche leaving the club too.
So for this season, Blues shouldn’t have an issue with these rules.
The problem as I see it is next year. A “club-developed” player will be a player who meets the conditions above for Blues only. Right now, in our first team squad I can find five players who meet that requirement: Adam Legzdins, Viv Solomon-Otabor, Josh Dacres-Cogley, Connal Trueman and Corey O’Keeffe.
Of those five players, it’s hard to pick who will be regulars in the squad under Harry Redknapp. With the signing of David Stockdale both Adam Legzdins and Connal Trueman’s place in the first team squad is on the line while Viv Solomon-Otabor seemingly regressed last season.
What this means is that it’s even more important for Blues to get players from the u23s to break through. Under the previous regime it was my understanding the club wanted to try and get two players to debut from the Academy/u23s per season.
I think now the focus has to be on getting at least one player into a position where they can happily pick a home-grown player in the squad; the alternative being that Blues forfeit one of their substitutes.
For all the talk of big money transfers and splashing the cash, I think it’s important that we understand things have to be done for the longer term too. Home-grown players aren’t just important for the rules – they can be assets that help the club grow.
Imagine how much money Blues could have got for Jack Butland, Nathan Redmond and Demarai Gray had they not been forced into selling them due to financial constraints.
It appears those financial constraints are gone now so now is the time to develop assets like that because it’s very possible they could be very valuable in the future.