Moving forwards with those lads who have got contracts, we feel if they have a good pre-season then they can get in the Manager’s thoughts, which is the main aim.Richard Beale.
But the Blues Under-23s coach also admits that informing players like Kyle McFarlane and Josh Martin that they would be released at the season’s end ‘hurt’.
“We are really pleased with all of those lads and happy to give them that news, we would like to extend their contracts,” said the Senior Professional Development Coach.
“It is a tough time of year as well because on the flip side of that some lads don’t get contracts.
“We have told those boys early so there is the best opportunity for them to go and find another club. There are a few who have already gone out on trial and will hopefully get fixed up.
“We will give those lads all the support in the world.
“Moving forwards with those lads who have got contracts, we feel if they have a good pre-season then they can get in the Manager’s thoughts, which is the main aim.”
Ability, attitude and mentality all come into the thinking when deciding who to retain and release.
Beale continued: “My thoughts on it, when the lads get to 16, 17, first of all they need the opportunity and they get that if their attitude is spot on and they have got a work ethic. A mentality that is rooted in being humble, coming in every day and doing your job, trying to get better and not worrying about some of the trappings that can go with football. Not getting caught up in the things that are going to negatively impact on them.
“So, yes, just focusing on the positive. Focusing on the right mentality and sometimes you can all it the mundane part of football, coming in every day and striving to get better and better and not fall into a comfort zone, which players of that age can do.”
Blues have been despatching many of their young players on loans to help try and enhance their football and mindset.
Odin Bailey (Gloucester City) and Caolan Boyd-Munce (Redditch United) both admitted to having eye-opening experiences which resulted in them returning more rounded, knowing and determined players and personalities.
Bailey has been offered a two-year contract as has Boyd-Munce, who is a third year Scholar.
“They embraced a loan, saw the benefits of it and developed from that,” said Beale.
“Not all of those players next year are going to go straight into the First Team so that loan route is a fantastic route for young players to go and learn their trade and be in a changing room where it’s ultra-competitive football, ultra-competitive to get a shirt and those two certainly benefitted from that. And if it is again needed with some players, then it is something we will definitely utilise.”
From the Under-23s regulars, Blues opted not to give new deals to McFarlane, Martin, Kieron Dawes, Dominic Bernard and Tommy Anderson.
The disappointment, one both sides, is all the more acute when players like McFarlane and Martin have come all the way through the Academy from the Youth Development phase.
Tough decisions, not taken lightly?
“It is the hardest part of the job,” admitted Beale.
“When you have worked with these lads since the age of nine and seen them develop and grow from kids into young adults it hurts, to be honest, when you have to inform them they won’t be retained.
“Both Kyle and Josh are Birmingham lads, both love the Club as well.
“With the qualities they have got and the way they have developed over the years, I am sure they will have no problems finding another club.
“I’d just like to thank them, too, and say just how good servants they have been. The pair in particular have worked very hard every single day and their attitude has been first class.
“They have developed into really good footballers but, unfortunately, you can’t take everybody. Not everyone is going to go and play in the First Team.”