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EZE Group XI: Grainger & Carr

Posted: Mon 31 Mar 2014

Blues have teamed up with the club’s diamond partners EZE Group to give fans the chance to pick their all-time Blues XI and win some fabulous weekly prizes.

This week we asked the club's Twitter followers to let us know which two players deserved the accolade of being the first-choice left and right full-backs in the #EZEGroupXI. The pair would join goalkeeper Joe Hart, who was named in last week's #EZEGroupXI

The winner for the right-back position was Stephen Carr, with Martin Grainger getting the nod at left-back. Close seconds were David Murphy, Liam Ridgewell, Jeff Kenna and Dave Langan.

The lucky winner of this week's #EZEGroupXI competition is James Burke - @jamezburke81 - who wins VIP day out for two in the EZE Group executive box for the Sky Bet Championship fixture against Blackburn Rovers on Monday 21 April.

Now Blues and EZE Group are on the search for your all-time favourite centre-halves with the chance to win a signed photo from a current Blues player of your choice to be presented at either the training ground or stadium by that very person. To enter, simply Tweet your top two centre-halves + #EZEGroupXI by 5pm on Wednesday 2 April. The two chosen centre-halves will be included in next week's Flashback Friday piece.
*Please note tweets not including #EZEGroupXI will not count towards the chosen player nor be entered into the prize draw.

Martin Grainger
Born: 23 August 1972, Enfield.
Clubs: Colchester United, Brentford, Coventry (loan), Birmingham City.
Blues career: 25 March 1996 - 1 January 2005. (268 appearances, 28 goals
Martin Grainger 5
Attacking left-back Martin Grainger joined Blues from Colchester in 1996 for a fee of £400,000 and quickly became a firm favourite with the fans for his all-action style, tough-tackling and ability as a free-kick specialist. 

His endeavours saw him pick up the fans' Player of the Season award for the 1999–2000 campaign. Then in the following year his performances were recognised even more widely as he was named in PFA First Division Team. That same season he played for Blues in the 2001 Football League Cup Final defeat to Liverpool, but unfortunately missed the first penalty in the shoot-out, after the game against the Reds had finished in a 1-1 deadlock after extra time.

The 2001/02 season was one to remember for Grainger as he made 47 appearances and scored four goals and his contribution helped Blues gain promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs.

The next two years saw the Enfield born player struggle with a series of injuries, which limited his appearances to just 14. In February 2004 he was loaned to Coventry City, where he made seven league appearances for the Sky Blues, before being recalled to St. Andrew's the following month due to an injury crisis.

He was on the scoresheet with a great free-kick in a 2–1 defeat to Manchester United at St. Andrew's. But it proved to be his last professional appearance as during that same game he badly damaged his knee ligaments and was forced to retire from football the following December.

He was granted a testimonial at St. Andrew's in November 2005 and such was his impact at the club that three of his former Blues managers - Barry Fry, Trevor Francis and Steve Bruce - were all in attendance.

Stephen Carr
Born: 23 August 1972, Dublin.
Clubs: Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Birmingham City.
Blues career: 23 Feb 2009 - 1 July 2013. (121 appearances, 0 goals).

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The former Republic of Ireland international arrived at Blues in February 2009, initially on a one-month contract, after a period out of the game.

The right-back never looked back and went on to become club captain and an integral part of the side that gained promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

Carr’s committed displays for Blues quickly made a mockery of the defender’s initial struggle to get a club.

He went on to make over 100 appearances for Blues, and as captain led the club to a ninth-placed finish in the Barclays Premier League in 2010 and Carling Cup glory a year later.

Carr was ruled out of the 2012/13 season with a knee injury and was finally forced to call it a day with his playing career in 2013.
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