The incessant commentary provided on Sky Sports by overexcited Scotsmen and the Chief News Correspondent and his little touch screen computer. Magic. The excited reporters standing outside grounds with expectant fans looking for their ten seconds of fame...and then you hear it.
“Exciting news for Birmingham City fans, let’s go over to our correspondent in the Midlands who’s outside St Andrews..”
You jump up. Your heart is in your mouth. You race for the remote and turn the volume up and up and up. The room falls silent apart from one man in a suit holding a microphone.
“Yes, I’m here at St Andrews, the home of Birmingham City...”
Yeah...get on with it!
“Manager Alex McLeish has endured a frustrating transfer window, missing out on the likes of Delembee and after the whole Charles N’Zogbia debacle, he has been left high and dry..”
Grr, get a move on!
“That was then.”
You take a deep breath. You open your eyes are far as they’ll go. The world stops turning and all you care about are the words that you’re about to hear. Please don’t be another Marcus Bent. Please.
“...But that was then. Birmingham City have signed Alexander Hleb.”
You hit the roof. Jackpot. Magic! Would you believe it?!
“That’s not all too. They’ve also signed Chile winger Jean Beausejour, and defender Martin Jiranek”
Oh well, you can do nothing but punch the air in delight and anticipation. Hleb. Alex Hleb. The Arsenal magician..at our club. But then...
“However, that’s not all.”
Your head jolts back and your eyes become once again fixated upon the strange man in a suit.
“Alex McLeish has done one last bit of business...”
Oh man, don’t waste my flipping time again.
“He has used the loan market to send....”
“...a striker on loan to near neighbours Wolverhampton Wanderers”
What?! Someone wants one of our strikers?! Oh no...can’t be?!
Hail Mary. There is a God. You hit the roof harder than ever before and you take your place upon Cloud 9 with about 30,000 other Blues fans. He’s gone! Finally! And who was stupid enough to take him?!...The Dingles! Magic! Happy days!
What a deadline day, and what an end to a transfer window that has been full of built up hopes and disappointment (not much new there, then.). However, Alex McLeish has once again caught the eye of Blues fans, and no doubt numerous pundits up and down the country with the acquisitions of particularly Hleb, the Barcelona midfielder, and Jean Beausejour, the Chile winger who excelled at the World Cup. The signing of defender Martin Jiranek should help to ease the burden on the talented if inexperienced pairing of Johnson and Dann, and all-in-all, Alex McLeish can look back on his dealings with more than an ounce of pride.
I mean, come on, how many of us could have predicted this? Ben Foster, England keeper. Nikola Zigic. Matt Derbyshire, fox in the box. Alex Hleb, Barcelona midfielder and ex-Arsenal star. Jean Beausejour, exciting and talented left winger.
Add in Jiranek and Enric Valles, and Blues have done some good business. McLeish has long spoken about enhancement instead of just replacing like-for-like, and on the whole he’s done that this term. Foster may not quite be at the level of Joe Hart, but what some Blues fans haven’t quite acknowledged is that this boy is ours. No loan. No going back to United. He’s ours. For good.
While we can’t yet say the same about Hleb, both the club and player have a tremendous chance here. Hleb has endured a difficult few years since leaving Arsenal, being frozen out at Barca before spending last season on loan at Stuttgart. He needs to re-ignite his career, and Blues need a star. We need a Dugarry-type player to give us flair and create something out of nothing. When McFadden doesn’t sparkle, Blues lack a cutting edge, and with Hleb being only 29, he should be there-or-thereabouts with regards to the so called ‘peak’ of his career.
The good thing about signing Hleb and Beausejour is that now the likes of Seb Larsson and James McFadden have genuine competition for a place in the starting line-up. Where McLeish will deploy Hleb is up for debate, but having already admitted that he still does not know James McFadden’s best position, maybe McLeish should look towards a 4-5-1? The performance at Bolton was nothing short of excellent, and I’m sure that Faddy would relish the opportunity to link up with both Hleb and Seb, with possibly Gardner and definitely Ferguson filling in across the middle.
What about if i say that Blues could then turn to the likes of Zigic, Bowyer, Beausejour, Fahey, Super Kev, O’Connor and Derbyshire from the bench?
My my...We’ve made some progress.
Long may it continue. Keep Right On.