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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 February 2006, 13:44 GMT
Moving on up
By Paul Fletcher

Recent times have been little short of unbelievable for striker DJ Campbell.

The 24-year-old finished last season playing for Yeading, joined Brentford in the summer and moved to Birmingham on January's transfer deadline day for 500,000.

Here, Campbell tells BBC Sport how his move to the Premiership happened.


Brentford took on Premiership side Sunderland on 28 January at Griffin Park.

Campbell scored two fantastic goals as the Bees won 2-1.

DJ Campbell celebrates with fans after his goals knocked Sunderland out of the FA Cup
Campbell was mobbed after Brentford beat Sunderland

The following day DJ was the toast of the Sunday papers, his face dominating the back pages and the sporting supplements.

On Monday evening Campbell received an unexpected phone call.

"It came out of the blue," Campbell said.

"I got the call on Monday night and Brentford manager Martin Allen told me a Premiership club had come in for me and that it was Birmingham.

"I was shocked."


The January transfer window closed at midnight on Tuesday, 31 January.

If Campbell - who had played only 28 Football League games and cost the Bees of League One a mere 5,000 in the current climate dominated by big-money Premiership transfers - was to join Birmingham it would have to happen quickly.

At 1800 GMT word leaked out that Campbell was close to joining Steve Bruce's team and the player signed less than two hours later.

"Martin Allen had said that if the deal was right they would accept it and let me go and play in the Premiership," said Campbell.

"Brentford didn't have to let me go. Whether the money was too big to turn down I don't know.

"They need money and through my transfer they have got some and I hope that helps them out and allows them to push on again."

Bruce was delighted with his new signing - admitting it was something of a gamble but discussed comparisons with former England striker Ian Wright.

"Of course it is a huge ask of him to do what Ian Wright did in a superb career," said Bruce.

"But he has got similarities in terms of the way he plays, the way he finishes. He has got two good feet and that sort of pace where he is lively and bubbly."


Campbell's move was the most intriguing of the transfer window.

Unsurprisingly, the next few days were some of the most hectic in Campbell's life.

"When I first moved up here it was a bit mad but it is cooling down a bit now," added the striker.

Birmingham striker DJ Campbell
Campbell has been impressed with his new team-mates

"I was doing interviews and having pictures taken all the time for the first three days or so."

Campbell spent four days in a hotel before moving temporarily into a flat owned by the club in a block in which several other players reside.

He is now in the process of moving his family from London to a new home in the Midlands.

"It is like when you were younger and moved school or house - you have to make new friends," he said.

"You have to learn new routes when you are driving because you are not familiar with the roads - everything is new.

"One of the main priorities now is to buy a house and get the family up here and help them settle in.

"I'm not one of those people who buy cars and all that, I'd rather sort out my family."


At Yeading Campbell trained twice a week.

He spent the first few months at Brentford adjusting to the demands of full-time training before really making an impact on the first team.

Last week he met his new team-mates for the first time - many of whom are established internationals.

"I have got to be on it 24/7 now because I am training with better players. I have to step up my game a bit more.

"I'm watching the more experienced international players and learning stuff from them every day.

"I'm hoping it will bring the best out of me and, if I keep training and working hard, I should improve.

"I'm starting to get to know the lads and everyone is making me feel welcome and I'm all kind of settled in now."


A crazy few days for Campbell culminated on Saturday when - a week after his Cup exploits for Brentford - he made his Birmingham debut as a second-half substitute against Arsenal.

Blues lost 2-0 but in his 20 minutes on the field Campbell caught the eye with his pace and skill.

DJ Campbell in action for his new club at Arsenal
Campbell thinks he should have scored on his debut

"It went fairly well but I should have scored, which I'm a bit disappointed about," said Campbell, who had an effort blocked by Gunners goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.

Boss Bruce told Campbell afterwards that he was pleased with his debut and his new team-mates made a point of shaking his hand.

"It would have been nice to score on your debut and as a striker it always makes things easier but it went fairly well," added Campbell.

"People say I'm being a bit hard on myself but as a striker you have to think about goals.

"I will feel better when I have got my first goal."


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