Often Partisan

OP – A Statement

On Tuesday I received an unexpected request to meet with lawyers representing Birmingham City at St Andrews on Wednesday at midday with regards to the Often Partisan website.

In a meeting held on a “without prejudice” basis, I was told that the club had issues with comments made on the site – in particular comments that were considered defamatory towards the Acting Chairman, Peter Pannu. With this in mind I have disabled comments for the present until I can resolve technical issues to ensure a stricter moderation policy that doesn’t impact on my time coupled with a comments policy that leaves clear guidelines as to what to do if one is unhappy with comments made on the site.

I was further advised that the article “Postcards from HK: Delay No More”, which was published on October 27, 2013 was considered an incitement to an alleged criminally offensive banner being displayed at St Andrews in the fixture against Derby County on February 1, 2014 – an allegation I strongly deny. I consider it insulting to Birmingham City fans that they are alleged by the club’s lawyers to follow me in such a sheeplike manner. Furthermore, I consider it strange that despite the article being published at the end of October it has taken until now for club and/or Peter Pannu to take exception to the article – especially bearing in mind I have had contact with lawyers representing the club in that time.

I was asked by the lawyers of the club to be more “mindful” in what I write on this site as the club considers that I wield such influence I can cause potential problems within the ground. I was further asked by the lawyers of the club not to mention the meeting with them on the website. After taking legal advice, I have issued this statement to allow people to understand the issues that I am currently facing around disabling comments and to ensure people understand it was not a decision I took lightly.

I was also asked if the club could see a copy of the book I am writing about Carson Yeung prior to publication, which I have referred to my co-author Will Giles, a solicitor in Hong Kong, who has agreed with me in declining the request.

I would like to make it clear that I bear no malice or illwill to the club whatsoever and that any articles written on this site are with the intention of promoting the club and ensuring that fans get the correct information with respect to what is happening surrounding the club and Birmingham International Holdings. I am perfectly happy to work with the club and with the board of directors but I will not be intimidated into silence when people are unhappy that information is brought to the public eye.

It amazes me that the club and Peter Pannu in particular believe that spending money on a costly lawyer coming to Birmingham to speak to me with respect to the website is more effective than replying to a simple email requesting information.

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