Darren Carter, the teenager who will be forever remembered for providing the finishing touch to Birmingham City's play-off miracle, yesterday ended his association with the club he has loved since childhood, when he made the short cross-city journey to join West Bromwich Albion.
The 21- year- old, who assured promotion as he scored the decisive penalty in their Millennium Stadium shoot-out with Norwich City in 2002, yesterday became the Baggies? first permanent signing of the summer when he completed a #1.5 million move to The Hawthorns.
The midfielder has agreed a three-year deal - plus a further year?s option in the club?s favour - and Blues could also receive a further #250,000 depending on appearances and on Albion?s on-field success.
It ends speculation about the transfer which began when the clubs agreed a fee a fortnight ago and Albion manager Bryan Robson was clearly pleased his first new body had arrived.
?I?m really pleased we?ve added Darren to the squad because he is a very promising youngster who has a big future,? Robson said.
?He has very good stamina and is very much a box-to-box player who can play in the centre of midfield or wide on the left.
?He is also left-footed which gives us good balance in the squad, he has a good presence and he?ll also make improvements when he gets a run in the team.
?Like Richard Chaplow, who came to us from Burnley in January, he has a big future if he keeps his feet on the ground. He is a good investment for the club.?
Carter, who played at Under-20 and Under-21s level for England, came through the youth ranks at St Andrews before making his debut for Steve Bruce?s side in a 1-0 defeat - against Albion - in January 2002.
Four months later, his winning spot-kick seemed to assure a glittering future for both club and player but Carter found it difficult to force his way into the Blues side in the Premiership.
In the first half of last season, he impressed during a three-month loan at Championship winners Sunderland before a run of injuries prompted Bruce to recall him and he responded with four goals in 14 appearances, including two against Leeds in the FA Cup.
But by the end of the campaign, Carter was again struggling to hold down a regular spot and the signing of Mehdi Nafti from Racing Santander and the availability of fit-again Muzzy Izzet further increased competition in the City engine room.
Solihull-born Carter made a total of 53 appearances, including 21 as a substitute, for Blues, scoring five times.
Robson is already set to sign Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland on loan for next season and is closing in on Everton utility player Steve Watson.
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