Martin O’Connor named Blues Loans Manager

Martin O’Connor named Blues Loans Manager

18 January 2022

Blues are proud to announce that Martin O’Connor has been named as the Football Club’s Loan Manager.

54-year-old O’Connor has previously occupied a number of scouting roles, operating as a senior scout for both Bristol City and Brighton & Hove Albion since his retirement and fulfilled coaching roles at Walsall – where he was also the caretaker manager in 2019 - and Halesowen Town.

Critically, for the last eight years, he has been managing director of a football and education programme based in Walsall. Aimed at 16-19-year-olds, O’Connor’s work has helped to educate young players and arm them with qualifications to pursue a future career in the game.

Now appointed Loans Manager at Blues, where he spent six years as a player, O’Connor spoke about his vision and aims in the role.

“I’ve got a strong affiliation with the Club and the fans, so to be asked to come back after going through the interview process and being offered the role is great news.

“It’ll be my job to try and help the young players coming through. Primarily by helping them gain competitive First Team experience and finding them the right Club which matches their ability.

I have to make sure the asset, because our young players are all assets, are treated properly, get experience and a feel for what it’s like to be a professional footballer in a competitive setting. Where Saturday afternoon at 3 o’clock is the most important thing.

A lot of work goes into making sure they go to the right place. The host club has to look after them correctly, physically, mentally and professionally. Loans are an opportunity for young players to showcase what they can do whilst gaining experience of competitive league football. If you send a young player out, you want them to come back with all that experience and knowledge to playing for three points, in front of crowds and where matches count for something.

This Club has produced some fantastic players down the years who have gone on to have great careers. It shows that the process is working but when you blood a young player through, they have to know what it’s like to go and earn the right to play.

“Hopefully, I can use my network and my little book full of contacts because it’s got to be the right club for the right player. It can’t be one size fits all.”

Technical Director, Craig Gardner, also commented on the appointment.

"I am pleased to welcome Martin back to the Club. We want, where possible, to have Blues people involved and working within the new framework, trying to produce younger players for the First Team and creating that pathway.

"Martin has been around the game for a very long time. He is well versed in what it takes to succeed and his connections in the game make him an ideal fit for this position.

"I know he is committed to developing young professionals and the loan system is a big part of their education, exposing them to competitive senior football."

The former midfielder represented Birmingham City with distinction during his playing days, recording more than a century of appearances wearing the famous royal blue.

His six years marshalling the middle of the park saw him earn the respect of teammates, staff and fans and included him captaining the team in the 2001 Worthington Cup final against Liverpool.

Welcome back, Martin!