Birmingham Post

You made my dreams come true, says Kieft

- By Joseph Chapman Football Writer Amie Wilson

FANS’ favourite Maikel Kieftenbel­d has sent an open letter to supporters after completing his transfer away from St Andrew’s.

The 30-year-old has joined Blues’ Championsh­ip rivals Millwall and been reunited with his former manager, Gary Rowett.

Kieftenbel­d spent five-and-a-half years at the club, making a total of 183 appearance­s, scoring six goals.

The Dutch midfielder found himself frozen out of the Blues’ team in the early part of the season but had forced his way back into Aitor Karanka’s starting line-up over the past couple of months.

Following his departure, Kieftenbel­d sent an open letter to the fans, which has been published on the club’s official website.

He wrote: “Where do I even begin? Back in Holland, when I was younger, I always dreamed of going to play football in England.

“You hear about the passion of the supporters, the history and the atmosphere inside the

There is no place like it.

“Birmingham City made that dream come true and it was more than I could have ever imagined.

“In the past five-and-a-half years, we have been on so many journeys together. We have enjoyed so many highs and suffered some lows too. But that’s the joys and the sorrows.

“I have so many fantastic memories to take with me. The derby days. The final games of the season. And the goal against Derby County – I think I surprised myself with that one!

“But it’s the people who will stay with me the most. My team-mates. We went into battle together every week. We won and lost together and I thank every one of them for allowing me to share the pitch with you. I know I have made friends for life.

“To the supporters. Every single time I wore the shirt, I knew what I was representi­ng. A proud city, with proud people,

stadiums. who just want to see their players give everything.

“So I hope I have done you proud. St Andrew’s is a special place to play football and that atmosphere will always stay with me. I got to know many of you personally and you will always hold a special place in my heart.

“To the staff. There are too many of you to name but you have all helped me throughout my time at the club in your own way and I want to thank you for that.

“I’ve had my low moments too. Suffering the knee injury was difficult for me. It tested me physically and mentally. But the club stood by me, supported me and extended my contract when many wouldn’t. I will never forget that.

“Now, it is time for a new adventure. I was given the opportunit­y to stay in England and to be reunited with a former manager who knows me. I am excited for this new chapter but will always remember what you have all done for me.

“Of course, it will be different going up against the Blues. Just know that I will do everything I can to win – because I know you would expect nothing less!

“Until we meet again, KRO. Kieft.’’ Blues will continue to work with Scott Hogan as he bids to return from a hamstring injury picked up against Preston.

The 28-year-old was taken off just seconds before Scott Sinclair bagged the winner for the visitors at St Andrew’s on January 20.

Aitor Karanka admitted afterwards that he had strained his hamstring although declined to provide a more detailed prognosis on the forward.

Blues are hopeful the damage will keep him out for weeks rather than months, with the game against Coventry on Saturday ten days after the original injury.

As things stand Blues will be forced to turn to Lukas Jutkiewicz when they take on groundshar­e partners Coventry before they travel to Wycombe on February 2.

 ??  ?? Maikel Kieftenbel­d scores THAT goal against Derby
Maikel Kieftenbel­d scores THAT goal against Derby
 ??  ?? > Gary Rowett
> Gary Rowett

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