Fahey & Ambrose- the missing partnership


February 21, 2013 by Made In Brum

The central midfield position has been a mixed bag for Blues this season. Hayden Mullins, Jonathan Spector, Wade Elliott, Callum Reilly, Morgaro Gomis, Ravel Morrison, Nathan Redmond, Keith Fahey and Darren Ambrose have all played some part in the middle of the park. The partnership has been changed several times both by choice and because of injuries or lack of form. But take the last two names from that list, and put them in the centre of the pitch together all season. Would we be any better off?

Keith Fahey has split opinion amongst Blues fans for some time, but there is no doubting his footballing ability. The second half of last season was arguably his best since he joined from St Patricks in 2009, he was the pinnacle of most positive things Blues, then under Chris Hughton, did. Many who doubted him before have been won over. This season he played a small part early-season, before getting injured and leaving the club on compassionate grounds (I am not going to get dragged into the in’s and out’s or the speculation of the situation). He is now back at Blues getting fit.

Darren Ambrose was seen as a marquee signing (if there was one) in the summer. He has been proven at Championship level for years. After joining Blues in the summer, he has played a bit-part role due to injuries. When he has played, he has looked off the pace and unfit.

But if you take Fahey and Ambrose, both fully fit, both on top of their game and both ready and willing, put them together in central midfield, their ingredients when combined could be a tasty cocktail at this level. Ambrose is the kind of player who creates chances and chips in with 8-12 goals himself, and he has an excellent dead ball delivery. Fahey is more complete in terms of his box-to-box capabilities; he creates chances too, but has more to offer defensively.

Is it only me that looks back and imagines what could have been if we had these two players together in the team this season? They’re not exactly Xavi and Iniesta, but at Championship level, you would struggle to find a better midfield pairing on paper. They would complement each other nicely and would add a lot of quality that has been missing; the quality that we have only witnessed in fits and spurts this term.

Whether they will both be here to play a part next season, I don’t know. And I know the club have bigger situations to worry about, but having both of these players fully fit and on top of their game would be better than any new signing we could make, realistically.

By Rob Wildey


9 thoughts on “Fahey & Ambrose- the missing partnership

  1. JohnR200 says:

    You make a good argument for Fahey and Ambrose but for me they have a lot to do to get into the team at the moment. When fit and on form they are good players and would add something to the team. But neither of them have played in about three months so it would be expecting a lot for them to regain form and fitness any time soon. Spector for me was the stand out player against Sheffield Wednesday and if he stays fit he should be a permanent fixture in midfield for the rest of the season. What we need alongside him is some creativity, for me that should be Morrison but he seems to have fallen down the pecking order at the moment. If Clark can motivate him I’m sure he can still be a big player for us.

  2. tony says:

    Ambrose in a centre midfield of 2 lol you must be joking surely.The guy is a luxury we can’t afford to carry.He is one of those players that only works when he has the ball so i can’t see him in the middle of the park.As much as i don’t rate Fahey can you imagine him pushing forward and Ambrose anchoring the midfield while he does ,fills me with dread.Spector looked the part in midfield albeit against poor opponents.

    • Kurt says:

      If you have ever watched Ambrose before he joined Blues, he was a box-to-box player. For Palace he was the catalyst of everything they did, he was a leader of their team. We havent seen him fit at Blues, when we do, we’ll see how complete he is

  3. Made in Brum says:

    Obviously Football is a squad game so I am not writing off Spector and Reilly, both players I admire greatly. However, Fahey and Ambrose would make a perfect pairing in my opinion. I doubt we will ever see it though.

  4. Dan B says:

    Personally I think both players can offer something positive to the Blues midfield but can they do it together in a standard 4-4-2 formation?? I doubt it. I can see why we’re focusing on the midfield though as the biggest concern for me this season has been the lack of a ball busting midfielder whose willing to go box to box for 90mins & get his fair share of goals.
    For example one of the better goals I’ve seen down St Andrews was Lee Bowyer’s winner v Chelski, for me there’s nothing better than seeing a midfielder spend 80% of the game crashing into tackles and winning the ball before bursting through the middle of the park to score the winner and this is whats seriously been lacking this season.
    In regards to Fahey and Ambrose I think the only way they’d work in a Blues midfield is if we go 4-5-1 in the following manor:
    Fahey and Spector / Reilly as holding midfielders / Ball distributers & then
    Burke (wide right) Ambrose (centre attacking mid) and one of Redmond, Hall, Shabba or Hanxoc wide left with Kingy up front.
    Sadly like the comment you’ve made above I doubt Clark has the sense, the balls or the brain to come up with such a formation or system for a match

  5. Hateley says:

    To me its clear, the main problem we have had this year is our midfield, specifically the middle pair. We are coming into march now and you couldn’t honestly say before a game who you expected to start. (maybe Wade) Clark dons’t know his best midfield and that itself is shocking for a professional football manager. I think Clark lacks confidence in himself and the team. I think he just try’s to hide it in displaying passion in press conferences etc.

    But to what you raised in your article, i would say yes, Keith Fahey and Darren Ambrose would have been one of the best in the league. If only they both could have carried on the form of last year. I think we miss somebody big in the middle. Shame we let Papa go. I also think its an insult that Elliot gets more game time that Ravel.

    • Kurt says:

      Elliott has been one of our most reliable and consistent players this season. and unsung hero you could say

      • Hateley says:

        Apart from the occasional away performance Elliot has been pants. Watch him next time your at the blues. He’s always around to receive the ball but he has no idea what to do with the ball once he gets it. Always runs (slowly) in the wrong direction. Always out of position. I will admit hes better in the middle but clark always plays him on the left. Still shit though.

  6. Kurt says:

    Strongly disagree. H eis simple, but rarely puts a foot wrong

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