How we use Cookies

Golden time to talk up Blues

David Gold says that it is time for Birmingham City to start seeing themselves as a Premiership force next season and to dismiss all negative thoughts about the prospect of being top-flight also-rans.

David Gold says that it is time for Birmingham City to start seeing themselves as a Premiership force next season and to dismiss all negative thoughts about the prospect of being top-flight also-rans.

"It's time to shrug off that fear of relegation and start talking about being as good as anyone outside the top three or four," said the Blues chairman, in the week when his playing staff reassembled to start their preparations for a fourth season in the Premiership.

"There is always that thing you feel about 'it's somebody's turn'. And I just feel a buzz around the place, from the directors to the kitman.

"There is an optimism and enthusiasm. For three seasons I've talked the usual cliche about our first priority being to avoid relegation. But I'm actually more positive than that now.

"We're established. We're entering our fourth year and Steve Bruce has gained all of that experience and is a special manager. Add that to the belief of we've got the best squad of players for 25 years, and we should start looking up and stop looking down.

"Are we capable of winning the FA Cup? Yes I think we are. Are we capable of winning the League Cup? Yes we are.

"You can have great teams but if you've got niggly things going and people not wanting to be there and you get cliques of players, it doesn't work. And we haven't got that.

"You can have the best squad in the world on paper but, if you don't have that camaraderie, you're going nowhere. And we've got that camaraderie. I'm very optimistic for the season ahead. Mikael Forssell is a fantastic signing for us, we've got David Dunn and Muzzy Izzet back and we're still not finished.

"We're still pursuing quality players for the best squad we have had in 25 years."

Matthew Upson, linked with big moves at home and abroad, has dropped the biggest hint yet that he's going to stop. He and team-mate Dunn have hired a private box each for the season at St Andrew's at a personal cost of £22,000. Their grateful chairman is insistent that Upson is going nowhere.

"Matthew will be with us for many seasons to come," Gold said. "I'd like to think he will spend his whole career at St Andrew's.

"He's the sort of player you want to build your team around, a superb professional. It's just media talk that people are saying he's unsettled. It is such a cliche that is easy to trot out. Where in heaven's name people get the idea that he is unhappy from, I just don't know.

"Of course, Matty is ambitious and that is an admirable trait to have. But so are Birmingham City and I think we can look upwards rather than over our shoulder at the bottom part of the table this season." Meanwhile, unsettled Aston Villa midfielder Mathieu Berson was at Bodymoor Heath yesterday after reporting on time for pre-season training.

The French midfielder had been expected to return to the European mainland this summer after a frustratingly inactive first season at Villa. Following the breakdown of his mooted move to Espanyol, Berson had been reported back home in France as being reluctant to return to the Midlands.

But, following the summer loss of Thomas Hitzlsperger, the fight for midfield places is not as intense. Berson's agent Olivier Journneaux says Berson is keen to stay and fight for a shirt, dismissing reports that he is desperate to leave the Midlands.

"The situation has not changed," he said.

"Even if the probability of not making part of the first XI is high, Mathieu will fight to play.

"If he had a concrete offer from a serious club which would be able to seduce Villa, Mathieu would like to go.

"As it is absolutely not the case, this wish does not exist."

 

Journalists

Graeme Brown
Regional Head of Business
Enda Mullen
Business Reporter
Cillian O’ Brien
Business Reporter
Jon Griffin
Business Reporter
Alison Jones
Features writer
Ben Hurst
News Editor
Jonathan Walker
Political Editor