September 25th, 2016

True Blue – Sentimentality and football do not mix

True Blue – Sentimentality and football do not mix True Blue – Sentimentality and football do not mix
Updated: 10:27 am, May 07, 2015

THERE is no such thing as sentimentality in football.

It’s a harsh truth and one that Blues players such as Colin Doyle, Matt Green and Gavin Gunning will no doubt be reflecting on this week with the public confirmation that their respective careers at St Andrew’s have come to a close.

For Doyle, it ends an association with the club that has lasted for 13 years and spanned five managers.

As a goalkeeping understudy it must be hard. To be always on the bench but rarely to come on, to know that you will only gain a place in the team due to the misfortune of others (who no doubt you are closely bonded with) and yet Doyle has always undertaken that role with great dignity.

It’s made doubly difficult for the Irish keeper due to the illnesses that have befallen his son Liam which has meant the lad has had to spend time in and out of hospitals for most of his young life.

The security of being with the same employer for a long period of time must have helped and I imagine that for Doyle the future might be a slightly scary place.

For Green, the step up to Blues marked a massive upturn in his career after a successful spell with Mansfield Town in the Conference.

There was talk of how humble Green was, how excited he was to have the opportunity to showcase his talents at a much higher level and to have that robbed by injury is almost cruel.

For 14 months Green remained on the sidelines and by the time he was back and fit enough to play his contract had almost elapsed.

Yet he remained pragmatic when talking about his future to reporters after the Birmingham Senior Cup final, confident enough in his own ability that should he be released from Blues he would able to pick up his career elsewhere.

Gavin Gunning’s playing career at B9 lasted precisely 38 minutes – the time between kick-off and being taken off with a serious injury sustained during the Capital One Cup clash with Cambridge United.

It seemed a cruel blow. Having lost a move to one club through a failed medical, he had been thrown a lifeline by Lee Clark with a one-year deal at St Andrew’s.

The Irish defender now has to contemplate finding another contract having had another serious injury and the worry has to be if anyone will take a chance on him again having had so many problems.

Yet, through all this, no fault can be laid at the door of the club. Football is a business first and foremost and, with Birmingham City still operating to fairly tight financial constraints, there cannot be any room for passengers.

As much as I think it would be nice to offer deals to give people a second chance, or to give them some security, Blues cannot do that, and it’s in the interests of the players and their professional careers for them to find first team football with a team that wants them for footballing reasons rather than sentimental ones.

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