Two ‘real killers’ started Lee Clark's nightmare under Carson Yeung at Birmingham City

Lee Clark had barely got his feet under the table at Birmingham City when the rug started to be pulled out from beneath him. Clark succeeded Chris Hughton in the summer of 2012 and had designs on reaching the Premier League. That was the dream he was sold before Carson Yeung’s house started crumbling.

Following his arrest in Hong Kong, Yeung’s assets were frozen and the squad Clark inherited was stripped of its assets at the end of his first season in the job. Curtis Davies was snapped up by Hull City but there were two departures that irked Clark even more.

The Geordie wanted to build his team around Jack Butland and Nathan Redmond, 20 and 19 at the time respectively, but they had to be sold. Butland joined Stoke City and Redmond was reunited with Hughton at Norwich.

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“The Jack Butland and Nathan Redmond deals were real killers for me,” Clark said on the Keep Right On Podcast. “They were two young players I would have loved to have built the team around.

“We sold them for a lot cheaper than they should have been valued at because, as you know, in football there’s no secrets and everyone knew we had financial difficulties. Basically, the first offers that came in for the two boys were accepted. It was quite a low figure, especially when you see what they have gone on to achieve after they left.

“It was a triple whammy for me. One, they are leaving the club, two, they went for cheaper than they should have and, three, they were players I wanted to build my squad around.

“When I had the initial talks with the club, these were the players that I thought could have huge futures. But, unfortunately, timing didn’t allow that.”

The money Blues received for Butland and Redmond wasn’t reinvested in the playing squad. Clark was told to acquire loans and free agents within a £5,000 per week salary cap. To most of us that seems like a hefty pay packet, but it is way below the average a Championship footballer would expect to earn.

Clark led Blues to a 12th place finish before his squad was decimated. Still, he was able to keep Blues’ heads above water thanks a Paul Caddis header on the final day at Bolton in 2014.

“I didn’t come to do that, I saw this as a great opportunity for myself to achieve something I had set out to do as a manager and that was to be in the Premier League. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be the case.”

Watch the full Lee Clark special HERE or listen to it below...