Former Birmingham City captain Martin O’Connor has listed ‘experience, knowledge and desire’ as three key attributes new signing Troy Deeney will bring to St Andrew’s, in an interview with Birmingham Live.
The 33-year-old, who is notoriously a fan of the Blues, arrived back in the West Midlands on the penultimate day of the transfer window after falling out of favour at old side Watford.
He established himself as a legend at Vicarage Road in the 11 years he spent there, guiding the Hertfordshire-based side to the Premier League and scoring a remarkable 140 times in 419 competitive appearances for the Hornets.
26 questions about Birmingham City’s managers from over the years – Can you score full marks?
Although he turned 33 in the summer, he retained his goalscoring instincts last term despite his limited opportunities on the pitch, scoring seven times and setting up three goals in 19 Championship appearances as they were promoted back to the top flight.
His goals and success last season has seemingly been his own downfall though, with Josh King, Emmanuel Dennis and Ashley Fletcher all arriving in the summer and were all set to limit his time on the pitch further.
After initially releasing a statement saying they were engaging in ongoing discussions with the former captain, both parties agreed to terminate his contract shortly before deadline day and he wasted no time in signing for second-tier side Birmingham City, playing for neighbours Walsall earlier in his career but never joining the club he supported up until the summer.
Former Birmingham skipper Martin O’Connor, who played for the Blues between 1996 and 2002, has had his say on the 33-year-old’s arrival in the West Midlands to Birmingham Live and believes he will be an invaluable asset to Lee Bowyer’s side, saying: “I know there has been a lot of hype about him coming back to Blues, being a Chelmsley boy but he is a footballer at the end of the day – and a good footballer at that.
“He has had a good career so far and he is going to bring all that experience, knowledge and desire, because obviously he is playing for his beloved club. He is going to ruffle a few feathers but in the right way.
“I think he can still do a job on the pitch, he has done it for Watford over 12 years, scored goals in the Championship and Premier League. “There was one time I tipped him to play for England because he was that good.
“I hope he has still got it in him and is effective enough on the park, I think his experience will get him through it. I think he will be a massive addition to what Blues are all about now.”
For signings like this with the amount of expectation on the player’s shoulders, you would usually say his ability to settle in quickly would determine how successful this move would be.
But after being born in Birmingham, it should take him no time at all to adapt back to life in the West Midlands despite spending so long at Watford and becoming accustomed to the players, staff, coaches and other officials at Vicarage Road.
As O’Connor said, he will bring experience, knowledge and desire. Experience due to his time in the top two tiers of English football, knowledge because of the experience he has in both leagues and desire because this is the club he grew up supporting and continues to support to this day.
Not only will he bring those three things – but also goalscoring prowess to help the likes of Scott Hogan and Lukas Jutkiewicz and the team in general to become a formidable attacking force.
And after spending much of their recent history battling near the bottom end of the Championship table, this signing could be a game-changer for the Blues even if he only stays for a year or two.
He’s still got it though – and for as long as he can continue to retain his mojo in front of goal – it would be hard to see him away from the second-tier side’s starting lineup.