EFL

Tom Brady wants to maximise Birmingham’s potential on and off pitch

By Sports Desk August 13, 2023

Tom Brady is determined to help Birmingham maximise their potential having become minority owner of a club he hopes to help with promotion on and off the field.

Jaws dropped on both sides of the Atlantic when the seven-time Super Bowl winner recently announced he was coming on board at the Championship club.

Brady has entered into a partnership with Birmingham’s new owners Knighthead Capital Management and taken a minority stake, as well as becoming chairman of their new advisory board.

The 46-year-old becomes the latest North American personality to sprinkle stardust on English football, with Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney transforming Wrexham and former NFL star JJ Watt boosting Burnley.

The moves have undoubtedly helped raise those clubs’ profile and Brady hope to do the same, yet he insists his partnership is about more than bringing commercial benefits to Birmingham.

“Those guys have done a good job and I think they’ve done a good job promoting the club,” Brady told the PA news agency.

“I think for me it’s more than promotion. It’s about getting to understand what makes a great, successful team and organisation.

“I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of some of those and to impart some of the things that I’ve learned over those years is part of me beyond my own personal playing career.

“There’s a different part of my career that I’m now starting and it will be deeply meaningful to me.”

Brady was speaking alongside chairman Tom Wagner, who led the takeover of a club that has been through its fair share of difficulties since relegation from the Premier League 12 years ago.

There was therefore an understandable air of hope and excitement on Saturday as Birmingham played their first home game since the new owners came in.

A bouncing St Andrew’s welcomed its biggest crowd since before the pandemic and celebrated the start of a new era in perfect fashion as Lukas Jutkiewicz smashed home a stoppage-time winner against Leeds.

“I would just say that today is just the beginning,” chairman Wagner said after Birmingham’s last-gasp 1-0 win. “What we have planned is well beyond what we’ve done thus far. It’s only been four weeks.

“Tom’s influence here I expect to have an enormous difference because of the quality of the experience that he brings and will bear great fruit in the years ahead.

“We’re really quite excited about what all that means for the club in the longer term.

“We view this as a marathon, not a sprint. I hate using that overused colloquialism but ultimately it really is.

“It’s something that we think really matters and having a long term vision is important.”

The first month has certainly been positive and Brady’s arrival has caught the imagination, with the former quarterback smiling when it was put to him some may see his arrival at Birmingham as a publicity stunt.

“I’ve got a little knowledge about sports!” the most decorated player in NFL history said. “It doesn’t mean I know everything.

“I’ve been in sports for a long time, so I’ve heard a lot of different things over a long period of time.

“Look, I think you’re here to learn and gain information and gain an understanding of why things work and why they don’t work.

“You don’t have all the answers coming over here to understand that, but the only way to do it is to come experience it and see where we can lend a hand to help the club win.”

Brady managed that on his first trip to St Andrew’s, giving the players an inspirational pep talk before they went out to beat recently-relegated Leeds.

Birmingham boss John Eustace said the star’s first day on the ground showed the benefit of his involvement, adding that “the vision that he’s got for the football club is amazing”.

Those lofty ambitions may not be achieved straightaway, but Brady has pledged to do “whatever it takes” to help the Blues flourish.

“I’m a great fan of sports and I see how it brings people together,” the Patriot, Buccaneer and now Bluenose added.

“I played games in this country and the world is global.

“We’re all travelling, we’re all a part of different things and I love sports, and I love teamwork, and I love winning, and I love a passionate fan base.

“I was an underdog myself, so to see a team that maybe hasn’t maximised its potential in a while, to be a part of that is a great opportunity and let’s see what we can make of it.”

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