Date:Monday May 29 2006
Birmingham City's chairman David Gold has told Graham Hill, in a report in the Sunday Mercury, that he thinks Emile Heskey will be 'absolutely awesome' in the Championship.
The Board have backed Steve Bruce and Gold says that the manager is the main reason Blues have attracted top players over the past few seasons. He also says he is confident the manager will be able to persuade the likes of Jermaine Pennant and Emile Heskey to stay at the club for the forthcoming season.
Gold said: 'I think Emile would be absolutely awesome in the Championship and defenders couldn't contain Jermaine in the Premiership so think what he would be like if he dropped down a division.'
'The great thing about Steve Bruce is that people want to come and play for him. He has great persuasive powers as he showed when he got Dugarry to come here. He did it with Chris Sutton but it didn't work out because he was injured so much. So we hope he can get Heskey and Pennant to stay. And if you throw a fit-again David Dunn into the equation then we can finish top of the division, provided we get about 35 matches out of him. And Mikael Forssell would also do well.'
He also says that he hopes that no one bids for Pennant or Heskey but again re-assures fans that if any players are sold, the money will go straight back into team rebuilding.
He also explains a shift in policy at Blues after the board decided they needed to build on youth not necessarily big names.
'I think it's clear that we will need more dynamic and athletic players at Blues next season. We need players who can not only cope with the rigours of a 46-game season, but who can also raise their game even at places like Colchester and Southend. That is vital if we are to be promoted.'
Laying it totally on the line he adds 'We won't be having the Mario Melchiots or the Chris Suttons of this world at Blues. There will be gaps of course and I expect us to fill them before the start of the season.'
Only time will tell what happens this summer, I am glad that they won't be looking at 'big names' for big names sake, especially as we won't be able to attract the big guns to the Championship anyway, but I'm also not convinced that the likes of Heskey and Pennant really will stay and fight for us next season. I hope they do, but I have my doubts. What both players should do is commit themselves to Blues for one season, if we don't get promotion then fine, look for a move.
Pennant has already said he is willing to stay and fight, I wonder when and if Emile Heskey will say the same?
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