BCFC: Decision Time

With the club close season well and truly upon us, the main source of gossip at Birmingham City is the transfer window; who will stay, who will sign and who will go. Lots of attention is focused on Croatian midfielder Alen Halilovic, who has not made a public decision on whether or not he will accept the contract that has been offered by Blues. Time is running out for the club – and Halilovic cannot keep them hanging on forever.


I’m not going to get into the ins and outs of how much Blues should offer Halilovic; Brian Dick wrote an excellent piece on this for the Birmingham Mail yesterday which echoes a lot of what I think about that situation.

What does intrigue me is timings. Contracts have been on the table for a while now and like many fans I’m at that impatient stage where I want to know if players have signed or not.

Apart from Halilovic, three other players with first team numbers have been offered new deals; Amari Miller, Caolan Boyd-Munce and Ryan Stirk.

Three others (Steve Seddon, Charlie Lakin and Tate Campbell) have had option years taken up but as the players have no choice in whether they accept or not in those cases I’m not going to talk about them in this piece.

As per EFL rules, Blues had to notify out of contract players of who they wanted to keep and who they were going to let go by the third Saturday in May – which was May 15.

However, it’s not just the club who are bound by rules on when they have to decide on contracts.

Rule 67.4 states:

The Player must notify in writing the Club holding his registration within one month of the date on which notification of the said terms of re-engagement were sent, whether or not he accepts their offer of re-engagement. If the Player has not replied in writing to the Club’s offer of re-engagement by 30 June, the offer shall automatically lapse. In the case of an Under 24 Player, the Club’s compensation rights shall not be affected.

Taking this information and putting it into context with the final date that Blues could make an offer to players, one month onwards from the notification of terms of re-engagement means that players have to notify Blues in writing one month on from May 15 whether they wish to accept the offer or not. By my reckoning, that date is today.

For players who are under 24 such as Boyd-Munce and Stirk, if they choose not to accept the offer made to them by the club, then provided Blues offered terms which were equal to or better than the ones they were already on, Birmingham City will be entitled to a compensation fee should they sign for another club.

For Halilovic, this bit of information means it’s now shit or get off the pot.

I think this is a good thing As much as I’d like to see Blues keep the little Croatian, I think it’s important that the club is not held to ransom and there is a point where the board need to walk away and say no more.

Of course, there is a possibility that Halilovic has already signed and Blues are holding off announcing it; however I don’t think this is true as I can’t see any reason why Blues would do that.

It’s worth remembering that this situation is going to be replicated at every club in the EFL who did not take part in the playoffs. Players at all of those clubs had to be made offers by May 15, so today is also their day to decide whether to stick or twist.

In turn, what that should mean is that it will become clearer very soon which EFL players are definitely on the move – and maybe give an idea of who Blues could snap up on a Bosman free transfer for the new season.