EXCLUSIVE: Birmingham's Wembley heroes are history just four months on
Published 23:00 28/06/11 By James Nursey
Birmingham’s historic Carling Cup winning side is being ripped up, with Craig Gardner set to headline the list of post-relegation departures.
Midfielder Gardner, 24, is off to Sunderland in a £6million deal after scoring 10 goals last season.
The born-and-bred Brummie, who grew up supporting City, will travel to the North-East today for a medical.
Gardner scored the extra-time winner against West Ham in the Cup semi-final before Blues famously beat Arsenal in February for their first major trophy since 1963.
However, boss Alex McLeish has since controversially quit for arch-rivals Aston Villa - and a host of the club’s talented players are heading for the exit too.
Central defender Scott Dann, 24, and striker Cameron Jerome, 24, are likely to be the next through the door after Stoke slapped in a joint bid for the pair.
The Potters’ offer, which rises to £16m with add-ons, is being considered by City owner Carson Yeung.
The Hong Kong tycoon needs to sell to balance the books following relegation, which has cost City up to £40m in lost Premier League revenue.
BCFC’S parent company, Birmingham International Holdings Limited, have also admitted financial problems to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
And the club's new manager Chris Hughton accepts many of their best players must now be offloaded.
Gardner will join Sebastian Larsson, 26, at the Stadium of Light after the Swedish midfielder left St Andrew's for Sunderland on a Bosman earlier this month.
Mirrorsport revealed on June 7 that Sunderland wanted energetic England hopeful Gardner.
The player, who does not have a relegation clause in his contract reducing his £25,000-a-week wages, is set to spark a wave of other departures from Birmingham as Premier League clubs begin pre-season training.
Keeper Ben Foster, 28, is expected to cross the Second City to join McLeish at Villa in a £9m deal later this summer, once the row over the Scot’s defection has cooled.
Centre-back Roger Johnson, 28, is wanted by Midland rivals Wolves, whose initial £5m bid has been rejected.
Left-back Liam Ridgewell, 26, is a target for West Bromwich, who have had an opening £1m offer turned down.
Both clubs remain keen on the pair and are likely to snap them up in the coming weeks.
Experienced midfielder Lee Bowyer, 34, is out of contract and has left Birmingham already, along with Czech stopper and free agent Martin Jiranek, 32.
Obafemi Martins, 26, who scored the winner against Arsenal, has returned to his Russian club Rubin Kazan after a loan spell while giant striker Nikola Zigic, 30, is likely to go to his former club Racing Santander, who tried unsuccessfully to bring him back to Spain in January.
Influential midfielder Barry Ferguson, 33, has been offered a last big pay-day in the Middle East.
Blues captain Stephen Carr has penned a new contract, while Keith Fahey and Jean Beausejour are both likely to remain at St Andrew's.
The club had also brought in three Bosmans - at McLeish’s request - with Chris Burke, Marlon King and Morgaro Gomis joining.
Hughton, whose side will be in the Europa League next season, is considering raiding his old club Newcastle for Danny Guthrie, Leon Best and Wayne Routledge.
GOING OR STAYING? WHAT NEXT FOR BIRMINGHAM'S CUP FINAL SIDE...
(Martins, 83 GONE)
(Beausejour, 50 STAYING)
(Jerome, 89 GOING)