Turning Black into Blue and White!

I was on Radio WM this week and Franksy was understandably painting a gloomy picture of the club. I felt it was my duty to remain positive though and kept insisting that just because things are being reported as possibly happening, they haven’t happened yet.

John, who has done the odd article for us, sent me this one. It pretty much sums up how I feel about things. What about you?

Birmingham City is a football club in crisis. No, not according to me, not according to the football league – not even according to the media, whose comparisons with Portsmouth following our relegation have been surprisingly on the slim side. Birmingham City are a football club in crisis – according to many of its own fans.  In fact, Birmingham City has become such a farce in the football world that some fans have even started up a Facebook group to protest against the Carson Yeung regime – I use the term ‘fans’ loosely!

Carson Yeung is in trouble in Hong Kong for money laundering, the club has spent no money so far in the transfer window and Peter Pannu’s promise that we will not embark upon a ‘fire sale’ of players has not been kept – apparently. It wouldn’t be Birmingham City without an air of doom and gloom!

Look at the facts though, and actually Birmingham City is about as strongly placed for a season in the Championship as they have ever been! So Yeung is in a spot of bother in Hong Kong? That as may be, the club have stressed a number of times that this is not related to his business in Birmingham City. Even if it is, what’s the alternative? Shall we bring back Gold and Sullivan? I suppose they were squeaky clean and loved by all? No, the last few years of their regime was marred by fans calling for them to leave – not to mention numerous police investigations. Yeung is said to be broke – I’m sure you would be too if you had splashed out thousands of pounds on flop loans like Alexander Hleb, Matt Derbyshire, David Bentley and Obefami Martins for no return, just as Blues did last season. Yet, even with dodgy signings like that we won the Carling Cup (or more, Arsenal lost it!) and guess what? This season we will be playing in Europe!

Playing in Europe with a rubbish team, because we have spent no money? Erm…actually, no. We may have not spent money but look at the quality of player we have brought in; Marlon King, love him or hate him is a proven goalscorer – something Cameron Jerome hasn’t been called since he left Cardiff. Adam Rooney is a bright young prospect. Chris Burke is probably one of the finest wingers in the Championship and Morgaro Gomis certainly looks a decent little battler. Steven Caldwell is a little old but did you not know ageism in the workplace was banned a few years ago? Its a good job too, because I don’t hear anyone complaining about Stephen Carr signing a new one year deal and he’s no spring chicken! In fact, we have so far signed more players than other English club except Sunderland. Money isn’t everything; Rowan Vine, Marcus Bent, Jesper Gronkjaer and Giovanny Espinoza were all bought by Blues in the past – give me King on a Bosman any day!

What of the ‘fire sale’? It hasn’t happened. We’ve only sold two members of our squad (not counting players released.) Gardner to Sunderland for around £5m and Roger Johnson to Wolves for around £7m. Neither are a great loss. Neither have been snapped up as bargains. Gardner has no technical on the ball ability whatsoever – he was poor at Villa and only played well for Blues out of pure passion – it helped that nobody else was contributing towards the goals! Roger Johnson is a fine defender – when paired with Scott Dann. He showed towards the end of last season that he is poor without his defensive partner and is nowhere near worth double figures alone – 7 million is a reasonable figure! Dann won’t move unless we get a huge offer – I doubt Everton can afford 12 million without selling Leighton Baines, as reported this morning. Stoke have been turned down and not once has Dann indicated to Hughton he wants to leave. Neither has Foster, in fact with goalkeeping coach Watson staying on, I’ll put ten pounds on Foster being in the team to play Derby in a few weeks!

So what of the manager? McLeish left and took his depressing style of football with him. We actually got paid by Villa to let him leave! What did the board do? They got in the man 80% of fans wanted – Chris Hughton. Unlike Randy Lerner who ignored protests to bring in a figure of hate amongst the whole of Birmingham! Next season, we might attack, we might score goals – we just might be exciting to watch – its not as though Hughton does not know how to get a team to the Premiership! If he fails? So be it, we can stay in the Championship and rebuild so that when we do return, we manage more than two seasons in the promised land. I’d take Hughton’s stable attacking football over McLeish’s negative yo-yo tactics any day – wouldn’t you?

So where’s the crisis? Its where it has always been – in the heads of Blues fans expecting the worst. The reality of the situation is that Birmingham are heading in the right direction and the only crisis is the scaremongering ‘fans’ that always expect the worst. We’re Birmingham City – we do everything the hard way but we always get there in the end!

John Edden

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9 Comments on Turning Black into Blue and White!

  1. There is no shortage of questionable business practice in football (and the wider world) but Messrs Yeung and Pannu surely take the biscuit. Okay, it sounds as though there are now attempts afoot to bring in fresh investment to BIHL and it is obviously too early to see how that may pan out.

    Deal after deal heavily shrouded in secrecy (why are Blues’ shareholders not rather more vocal here?). Furthermore, the senior president is up on multiple charges of money-laundering and possibly facing a custodial sentence if found guilty, yet the club’s acting chairman seems strangely unconcerned. What may be read into that?

    It is understandable the club would need to readjust its finances following the calamity of a second fall from the top flight in a mere four seasons. However, signing players with criminal records hardly reduces the amount of toxicity currently attaching itself to the club and flogging players below what many believe them to really be worth and being unable to secure a shirt sponsor in these days of must-have advertising and sundry corporate sponsorship only serve to add to the worry of many good Blues supporters.

    And just how has the club become so deeply mired in debt in the space of a couple of years? Frustratingly, no real answers are forthcomiong from the club’s owners. Don’t people responsible for such a state of affairs need showing the door? And it is no good fand saying (as some do) thatthe previous owners were any beter, not least as it was the Gold-Gold-Sullivan lot who (we were told) closely scrutinised Carson Yeung’s finances during the negotiations concerning Blues’ future and the former gave the latter the financial equivalent of a clean bill of health before quietly slinking off to take charge of a rival club…How quaint. (There looks to be a worhwhile documentary on Channel 4 TV next Monday (18th) at 8:00pm. It’s called ‘How to Buy a Football Club’. How timely might that be?

    Older Blues fans may perhaps remember the movement created by a group of supporters led by Blues fan Steve Robinson in 1978. For the uninitiated, this movement, called The Blue Revolution, organised protests against the then St Andrew’s board and its chairman, Keith Coombs. The club was in pretty serious difficulties then but probably nothing like the situation it faces now. The old Town Hall on Paradise Street held just shy of 2,000 in those pre-internet days and I recall that grand old building being literally packed to the rafters as it housed an angry protest of Blues fans hungry and determined for change at the club with many more fans locked out.

    Protests were also held inside the ground during matches and maybe that determined spirit of ’78 needs re-kindling. Perhaps a protest of concerned Blues fans should be organised outside the Kop stand so Blues fans can begin to demand answers. Utterly irrespective of their nationality, boards of directors are never shy in taking fans’ hard-earned money so why shouldn’t they complain and express a concern which, ultimately, only those with football in the blood can fully understand.

  2. There is NO indication of the level debt those who have posted the doom and gloom.

    The ONLY information is from a story a London hack did piecing together stuff that he got from stories, some of which was completely wrong – and this has been re-published in several different ways I don’t know how many times now. So much so it is been taken as fact.

    Am I saying we’re not in debt? No – that would be silly, especially as we’ve gone down. However we are NOT in debt to the level that the press are saying. If we were the club would be doing different things.

    Chucking rocks at this board is madness, the club is a much better place now than the last lot – who’s actions were more like the criticisms listed above.

  3. Ray, sorry but for some reason your comment (no 46) was waiting approval – WP thought it was spam! lol

    Anyway, I actually do see that point of view, but I’ve had the fortune to be involved in the supporters forums and met some of these people. From those experiences, I DO believe them yes. Your criticism is that I believe things because they are the board, but I could spin that around that you, and others on here, believe what the papers say because it matches your belief that there is something wrong.

    As a result, we are at a point where we can’t agree. Which takes me back to the point I have made a few times, IF it does prove to be true – then fine I’ll join in the criticisms, however at the moment I’m not convinced that things are as bad as some people are saying so I’m willing to stay positive and give them the benefit of the doubt.

    None of my comments have been meant as a criticism of people, but a reflection of what I personally believe is true about the situation.

  4. looks like player number 15 is going through the exit door Blackpool have had a fee agreed for Furguson. now tell me why sell someone of that quality and experience for what will be no morethan a million???
    who is going to replace him? the writing is on the wall. sel, sell, sell

  5. Many clubs are in debt, it is true, and these clubs include the likes of Chelsea. The difference is, Blues don’t have an Abramovitch in charge where the sheer amount of wealth at board level can help handle debt without excessive worry.

    KevB8ll writes eloquently but behind the eloquence lurk such claims as: “There is NO indication of the level of debt those who have posted the doom and gloom”.

    Really?

    So is the figure being bandied about in the local media about how Blues are just shy of £30 million in debt an invention made by Colin Tattum (i.e. a local journalist who writes about Blues every day and who has contacts those of us on the outside almost certainly could not possibly have)? I’m not a financial expert but I’m pretty sure this figure came out before the end of last season and I would not like to say what that figure might be now.

    Furthermore, is it another invention that Blues are now actively seeking out new monies to be invested in the club? Or is it not true that the Football League is “monitoring” the situation at Blues (especially in relation to Carson Yeung)? And we are surely not imagining it when the club’s official website shows Liam Ridgewell and Jean Beausejour sporting the new strips for the forthcoming season minus any corporate shirt sponsor.

    Maybe none of the above taken individually is completely conclusive. However, taken together are these things not cause for concern and something more than coincidence?

    I don’t automatically believe a lot of stuff in the “popular” press as much of it is sensationalist rubbish and the sporting media has always loved to have a dig at Blues. However, there are also people posting all sorts of stuff to this and other message boards who I fear may be burying their heads in the sand by claiming little if anything is wrong at B9 (and I genuinely mean no disrespect to any person when I say this).

    I was initially drawn to this website after reading about a recommended article article posted by John Edden, who sounds like a passionate Blues fan determined to look on the bright side. The article is well-written enough, although surely somewhat one-sided as he only looks at the positives.

    So when is the club’s next AGM and where will there be the appopriate forum for hard questions to be asked? And if there really is little for fans to be worried about, then let the board issue a full and proper statement outlining as far as possible the real situation currently facing BCFC. It seems to me that some sort of public BCFC supporters’ protest would be no bad thing, even if it only forced the directors to come clean and realise fans should not be taken for granted.

  6. The problem is that the board aren’t liaising closely with the fans – the truth is that we really don’t know what’s happenning. You can’t trust the papers – agents are spinning and the press speculate – we need Pannu to start talking to us. You can only watch what’s going on – from a club point of view it IS worrying what’s happenning to Yeung. From a team point of view it’s starting to look as though the team is weakening – and given how hard promotion was last time – it’s got to be concerning. The only tangible positive is the Manager’s position – it’s going to be tough for Chris – and we have to give him 110%. He will go for it but not if wreckless-Fry way.

  7. Sorry, meant to say ‘not in a wreckless-Fry way’ (but let’s face it – it bring a smile back to our faces after the Cooper-Kumar era (not that i blame Terry).

  8. A few days ago I signed on to a page on Facebook entitled WE HATE CASON YEUNG.

    I signed up to it, but the comments were purile. OK We all hate Carson Yeung, but what are we Blues fans going to do about it? It`s no good just signiing a page on Facebook and then doing nothing about it. WHAT R U the Blues fans going to do about it?

    Just for a laugh, on the last two occasions I’ve gone to the ground to buy my tickets I`ve parked in his car parking spot. First time no problem, last week when getting tickets for Braga game, I was told I couldn’t park in his spot. I said “why, he doesnt need it and anyway he`s not coming back, he`s going to jail”!. BCFC official not amused!.

    Anyway, I would like to now where all the money has gone. When Gold and Sullivan were in control and we were relegated, Karen Brady said we could cope with life in the championship without selling players. Now we go down again under this man`s control and suddenly we sell almost every first team player and bring in a load of journeymen to replace them. WHERE`S THE MONEY CARSON?

    ALSO, having recently sold some of his shares to another bunch of Chinese gentlemen, he now only owns about 23.9% of the club, so 2nd question WHO OWNS BCFC?

    I am now going to write to the Premier League and Football league asking them to look into the affairs of BCFC. Before you can buy into a Premier league club, you have to pass a `fit and proper persons test`, can this man and all his other Chinese friends be classed as FIT OR PROPER PERSONS.

    I am also going to write to the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad suggesting that they should also look into our club. WHERE HAS ALL THE MONEY GONE

    Come on Blues fans it`s no good just saying you hate this man, on Facebook, do something about it.

    Bill Kenwright (Everton) said that when we played them in our pre season friendly they had been told there was going to be a demo by Birmingham fans but hardly anything happenned, R U Blues fans all going to take this lying down?

    Do something about it now!

    Steve J

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