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Reflections on the window

Posted: Fri 01 Feb 2013

Jack Butland

Image by: Roy Smiljanic

Lee Clark has praised the club's hierarchy for not selling the club short on the final day of the transfer window.

Despite feverish speculation in the media over the past few weeks suggesting there would be numerous players leaving St. Andrew’s, Blues sold just one player yesterday - Jack Butland.

As part of the deal which saw him join Premier League side Stoke City, the Potters immediately loaned the goalkeeper back to Blues for the remainder of the season.

With the additional loan signing of striker Wes Thomas, Clark actually finds himself a man up for the season run-in.

"I’ve got to be honest in that I didn’t really know the situation of who was going or who was staying," said Clark.

"We did turn down a lot of bids yesterday because the clubs that came in didn’t meet our valuation which is fantastic testimony to the people behind the scenes at St. Andrew’s. 

"I had a tough day being on the end of the phone and not knowing who was staying or who was going, but the people down at St. Andrew’s – Julia Shelton and Gary Moore and Roger Lloyd were inundated with emails and texts and phone calls and they should give themselves a pat on the back for how they’ve handled the situation.

"They’ve obviously got the club in a situation where it wasn’t just sell anyone at any price. You’ve got to get value for money and if people want to take them away from us they have to pay the going rate. I believe and thankfully the people that make the decisions as well believed those offers weren’t acceptable. That’s a great thing for me as the football manager."

Although Clark was delighted to hang onto the services of Butland until May, he admitted he was massively disappointed to lose the England keeper in the long-term, but he understands the financial situation.

"I'm gutted," he added. “We’ve got him back for the rest of the season which is great, but in my eyes he’s the best young goalkeeper in Europe. I think Stoke City will be patting themselves on the back this morning. 

"I always wanted to work longer with him and develop the ability and talent he’s got and have him at the football club for longer. I think he could have been part of a very, very successful Birmingham city. But it wasn’t to be. 

"I think what came out of it is that he’s not just an unbelievably talented young man but he’s also a very mature young man. Jack took the process that the football was number one and that’s very rare in today’s game now and I think it shows you that not only are they getting a talented footballer but they are getting a very mature footballer."