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Birley set to Retire

By Kev Preece

"Player moves into Coaching"

This Saturday will mark the end of a playing career for our little wizard, Mat Birley.

Supporters will have wondered where Mat has been in recent weeks so we caught up with him to find out and also get his best moments in his playing career.

We asked Birls what his favourite moment in football was and his future plans..."making my Premier League debut for Blues at Stamford Bridge vs Chelsea where I came on as a substitute for Emile Heskey.
Being a blues fan as a kid it was a dream come true to play in the first team.

My Most memorable at City was the last game at St. George’s lane vs Chester in front of 4000 Odd.
Was mixed emotions but a great atmosphere.

My plans moving forward. I’m am looking at getting into coaching. This season I’ve had a great insight working alongside Snapper and Ash and thats really made me want to become a coach.

The last couple of months I’ve been shadowing the u14s at Blues academy. It’s been brilliant to learn off some great coaches it would be fantastic for me to go back to where it all began and help the next generation of players into the first team."

As well as Birls we caught up with a few former colleagues to get their memories of working / playing alongside him -

I remember first coming across the talent of Birls at a training session at Bromsgrove Rovers shortly after he left Birmingham City. Matt has a great natural ability and always gave you the impression something special could happen when he was in possession of the ball. A super lad and good friend with a dry sense of humour, and never shy of having a laugh. All the best in whatever you decide to do in you future career. - Carl Heeley

Next up is John Snape -

"I first met Mat in the dressing room at Bromsgrove Rovers whilst alongside Carl Heeley and Paul Carty.

Mat had just come out of Birmingham and after that match we discussed the huge potential the lad had and agreed he would make it back up the league pyramid.

A move quickly followed to City and then onto Solihull Moors with success before injuries unfortunately him back from further progress.

As we dropped the levels my first call was to Mat who at the time was with Halesowen, he jumped at the chance to play for the Club again.

Unfortunately this season injury has played a part in reducing minutes in the Blue and White shirt.

I have always said there are not many players I would pay to watch in non league but Mat is an exception to that.

Mat moves on now hopefully into a permanent coaching role at the Club where it all began, we wish him all the very best.

It would be brilliant if the City fans could give Mat a brilliant send off on Saturday"

Next a former teammate, Mark Danks -

"Birls is one of the few lads in Football I have the up most admiration for not only for his ability on the pitch but for him as a person. Winner and I always knew when he played if I made that run he would be on the wave length to find me and if a tackle was to be made you could bank on him to make it and fight for you.

No question if he was 10 years younger he would of had a much more lucrative career being how the game is played.

Was a privilege to play for city alongside him and I’m sure there is more to come from him now his retired. Wealth of experience to share. Enjoy it pal beers on me."

Mat will lead the City side out this weekend accompanied by his Children for his 175th appearance in a City shirt.

Thank you Mat for your service and good luck in everything moving forward.

Updated 18:17 - 29 Apr 2019 by WCFC .

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