Often Partisan

The Saga Goes On

As the season draws to a close it is not just matters on the pitch that fans are debating over. The potential sale of the football club is very much a hot topic and yet since it was confirmed by BIH that the sale of a 12% stake to Beijing Liangzhu had been scrapped no further news has been forthcoming.

I think there was very much a thought among a percentage of the fans that when Carson was convicted and sent to prison that things would change rapidly. At that point (as now), Carson holds no position within the club or the holding company and even his shareholding has been slowly reduced by his sale throughout February and March of shares. I can clearly remembering cautioning in the comments section that I didn’t think things would change significantly immediately and it appears for now I was right.

As frustrating as it is, I think we have to accept that there won’t be any public pronouncements with respect to the sale. This is for two reasons: firstly from a legal perspective the holding company are bound to silence as they are supposed to notify shareholders and the stock market first before making any specific disclosures in the press; secondly from a more abstract perspective potential bidders will have seen how Gianni Paladini displeased BIH by trying to use press pressure to force the sale of the club – something that is considered outrageous in Chinese business culture – and no doubt will be keeping their powder dry for fear of being alienated in the same manner.

I have seen questions from people asking why there has been no attempt to buy shares in BIH in the open market to force a deal. Bearing in mind this is not my forte, I can only give you my personal reasons but again I think the answer is twofold. Firstly, I doubt any consortium actually wants the holding company – all they want is the football club – so why buy into the holding company and have to jump through the various regulatory hoops; secondly – and this is linked to the first – buying into the holding company in such a manner would be considered a “hostile” takeover and would affect the price of shares – making it an even more expensive proposition and would potentially make it harder to buy the club than negotiating direct.

As I see it, there are two stumbling blocks in the way of a deal. Firstly – like ourselves, a bidding consortium has no idea what division Blues will be in next season. If Blues are relegated then the value of the club drops significantly – and until our league position is decided I can see it being possible that some consortiums may not bid as they don’t want to buy a League One club. Secondly, BIH cannot sell the club in one go if they are to retain their listing in the stock exchange. While the HKSE rules do say that BIH can sell the club in one go, they have to show that they are not just a shell once the club is sold. As it stands BIH would be which means that they need to diversify the holding company business; something that they need money to do. The only way that they can do that is to sell a portion of the club, invest the money elsewhere, and then rinse and repeat.

My suspicion is that if nothing is tentatively agreed by the end of the season we will see things move quickly. The league position will be decided by then so that stumbling block will be out of the way but more importantly the money situation changes. With no matches to be played there is no money to come in from that income stream; there will be season ticket renewals but judging by the comments I have seen online I think that they may be slow to sell – particularly if there is no news on a new owner or if we are in League One. It’s possible it might swing the situation so much that retaining the listing on the HKSE becomes secondary to just getting money for the club before either it or BIH go into administration – however without seeing the accounts I have no real idea how close they are to that line, I’m just guessing. As always, it’s going to be a case of “let’s wait and see”.

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42 Responses to “The Saga Goes On”

  • Alan Watton says:

    The only thing to move things on will be to make the club worthless. That means administration or all sponsors and fans to pull out. Then a serious deal to be made. An offer they can’t refuse. I don’t like this but it seams the only way of shifting these people. How else can we affect things

  • Chris W says:

    Dan, like you I have no experience in the finances of a football club, however, like you I know people who work in finance and in football.
    I have been informed that BCFC has funding to till the end of season therefore nothing needs to happen until then. Reading into an e-mail I received from the Football league in connection with the running of BCFC, they mentioned that after the end of season all clubs have to disclose funding in relation to the new forthcoming season. The time limit was not disclosed but I have reliably been informed it must be accepted by the Football League prior to the new fixtures being published, I also believe that there is no provisions for extensions to this deadline. It will be during this period that administration could be implemented and penalty points deducted.
    I can understand the reluctance in purchasing season tickets if things appear to stay the same and it is possibly the only way supporters can show their disdain and boycott the club in a way to stop advance monies which allow the club to plan for the new season.
    I have also heard speculation that some of the clubs sponsors are not renewing next season under the current ownership, this will also force BIHL into taking action and may force them to sell. The worse case scenario would see BIHL hold out and force BCFC to drop from the league as Accrington Stanley did back in 1962.
    I should be an interesting close season for all concerned at BCFC, lets just hope BIHL see sense and sell quickly, but also to the right buyers.
    KRO+DNM

  • Paul Carter - Voice of Reason says:

    Not that it’s a popular opinion but the pitiful attendances will put off prospective buyers. Whether you like it or not that is a fact

    • Andy says:

      I don’t agree. Prospective buyers will look at our average gates when we were in the Premiership and when we were in and around the top six in the Championship. Also, previous season ticket sales, the size of the city, population and potential for growth. Anyone eying up buying Blues will be fully aware of the situation and should understand why fans are voting with their feet, as this is pretty much the only thing we can control. They will look at the whole picture and not just facts and figures under the current regime.

      • Paul Carter - Voice of Reason says:

        Exactly my point. Prospective owners see desertion when things get tough. Exactly why they ain’t queuing up.

        • tmsblues says:

          S T sales and the crowds will come back for sure to back a new owner announcing investments in the team. Winning a few games at home might help of course. Any prospective owner will know the potential for crowd support is there if they don’t then they ‘d be the wrong type of owner !

        • Andy says:

          The reason why buyers aren’t queuing up is exactly what Dan has written above. It’s not simply down to attendance, it is a by product of the situation we are in. If you have below average owners, below average players, below average football, below average results and a below average manager the combination will result in below average attendances. There are a lot of Blues fans out there disappointed and despondent watching all the steady progress that we’ve made over the years being torn apart, with no sign of any pending miracle on the horizon. We are virtually a shell of a club with nothing else left to sell, so i can understand why people don’t want to throw their hard earned money at it. However, the good times will return, but i fear we may have to do this the hard way…. No matter how you cut it a huge rebuilding job is required. If a sale doesn’t materialize close season then we will be staring relegation, point deduction and administration in the face…

          • Paul Carter - Voice of Reason says:

            Yes I realise all that but the point you’re missing is staying away makes the situation worse, hurts the club (not Pannu) financially and helps towards creating the gloomy picture you’ve painted. What would happen if everybody followed the boycott line? So many people think that it would be a good thing but on every level it would not be. The irony of people who don’t go moaning about how bad it all is seems lost on most.

          • Chris W says:

            I agree with the point of those who stay away hurting the club and the team, but the other point that is being made is: Come the end of season the club will be relying on Season Ticket sales, Advertisement sales and Sponsorship deals.
            I have already heard of at least two sponsors not renewing, Not heard of any advertising sales and slow season ticket sales is hardly unexpected given our home performances this season and is double edged, the only way that fans can vent their annoyance to the board but also hit them where it hurts, they need that revenue to show the Football League they are financially sound for the new season, without it could and will force administration.
            Can BIHL afford to go into administration as it will certainly mean they lose their HKSE status and the club will be sold for far less than they are asking, they would probably lose and credibility within the Hong Kong/Chinese business sector.
            KRO+DNM

          • Andy says:

            You’ve just hit the nail on the head… How can we make the situation worse? In my opinion the club is already on its knee’s and let face it, any money made through tickets sales isn’t going to make any noticeable difference considering the predicament we are in. Blues are also going to struggle for sponsorship next season, as who in their right mind would pay good money to be associated with the latest on-goings? There are money problems from top to bottom at the club, returning fans would be a drop in the ocean compared to the bigger picture. What if nothing happens close season with regards to a sale? Players not renewing contracts, other clubs hoovering up player our better players, loan’s returned, relying on youth. Where is the revenue from ST and general ticket sales going to get us? Would it buy us a player? At best we could muster up a few loan players and that would be it. Don’t get me wrong, additional funds are great, but the amounts we are talking about isn’t going to save the club it’s just going to keep the lights on, maybe. We need nothing short of a miracle. I hope that there are some potential buyers looming in the shadows waiting until our league status is confirmed, but I doubt it and I am expecting administration and/or relegation.

          • Chris W says:

            I couldn’t agree more apart from relegation, unless that happens this season and I think we are fairly safe given the games others have and our goal difference. I am also the glass half full in believing we cannot go a whole season winning just two games, Leeds is winnable, as too Blackburn, though they have had a fair few draws they are susceptible to leaking goals too easily so a draw in that and a draw v Wigan.
            However if we win on Saturday I’d be very surprised if we did back to back, we haven’t managed it yet this season.
            KRO+DNM

    • mark says:

      In agreement with you paul

  • DoctorD says:

    We need BIHL to start investing in other activities, like oil and gas as promised. What’s the latest Dan on that Indonesian firm they were sniffing around?

  • tmsblues says:

    I think you have it about right Chas. The current 3 for £30 offer highlights the sad plight the club is in regarding cash flow. Yes its a good idea to try to swell the crowd to help us through in the Championship survival race but this is also part of a desperate bid to sell forward on everything from parachute payments to merchandise, hospitality and tickets. I bet sponsors are being asked for advance commitments too.
    Without a change of ownership in the offing season ticket sales will be down again but they would otherwise be destined to be down anyhow ! After all who would want to sign up to a home season of results like this season. I can’t remember a disastrous run of home results like the present one. The owners are obvious, and in many ways, easy targets but they don’t take the pitch or train and set the tactics for the team. I think the management and players have also to take some responsibility for the loss of likely future support. LC constant ‘tinkering’ and lack of consistency must have an influence but he says its ‘Psychological’ which is a statement of the obvious since we can win better than most away. So why as manager hasn’t he resolved the issue within 6 months !
    If we also lose league status then we might be lucky to sell 4000 season passes which would most likely point the club in the direction of Administration pretty quickly I reckon since its plan to the league will be thin on substance and heavy on hope. Of course if the situation was exacerbated by an orchestrated season ticket boycott then it would be admin and loss of points sooner rather than later.
    Hope I’m wrong with all this negative thinking and we have a great end of season and a white Knight arrives in June… KRO

    • Chris W says:

      I am not usually a negative person but this season has been the worst home run I can remember and I have been going to St Ans since 61 season.
      Like you I also hope I am wrong with the negative gossip, I also feel the Football League are not helping in resolving our plight by just sitting back and letting events take their natural course.
      They stopped the sale of Leeds Utd from being completed only to be thwarted by the Great British legal system so I don’t hold my breath on that front come June/July when clubs finances have to be submitted.
      The only way forward is for the supporters to hold back on season ticket sales and hope BIHL move forward positively or we get some form of confirmation of a sale of the club in its entirety.
      Again not holding my breath…
      KRO+DNM

      • tmsblues says:

        Maybe Blues should sell away season tickets to improve revenue ! ? There will soon be more away fans than home if things don’t improve next season.

  • Art says:

    Lack of commercial revenue,sponsorship,season ticket sales and reduced gate receipts will force the current owners to sell.They will not continue to shore up the clubs finances with “Micky Mouse “loans which at some time have to be repaid with interest.

    I will continue not to financially support the club until the current owners have gone.

    • Paul Carter - Voice of Reason says:

      Shouldn’t be too hard for you to do seeing as you live in Cyprus. One point you keep missing is you can only sell if someone wants to buy. No-one will want a club where loads of the fans have deserted and the crowds are p poor

      • Art says:

        Not going to cross swords with you Paul as you are well aware as to how I have previously given the club money.As for prospective buyers not wanting to buy the club with a low paying fan base-how come we can draw 25,000 + at home in the premership and how come DS and the Golds purchased the club with home gates around 8,000.

        The club is a great potential investment to the opportunist.

        • Paul Carter - Voice of Reason says:

          Have never believed you’ve put a penny piece into the club. All you do is try to organise mass boycotts, the very thing that will and has put off potential purchasers

          • OftenPartisan says:

            comments have only been back 36 hours and it’s great to see that people are back to playground tactics.

            Paul – leave it. Art – leave it. You’ll never agree, so don’t bother arguing.

          • Agent McLeish says:

            Send the children to bed without a story.

        • Ali Duncan says:

          Times change Art. Look at the economic climate in the WM. I wouldn’t expect us to get near 25k even if we got promoted. Even if we did a huge amount of any attendance would be from away fans. There are at least 12 clubs that would sell 3k of tickets.

          • Art says:

            Hi Ali…I agree the economic climate in the WM will have some impact but during the first two seasons in the premiership we had home gates of circa 27,000.I attended every home game and very few seats against the top teams were empty.Win or lose the atmosphere was fantastic and I genuinely believe that under new owners and management we can re-capture those days but it will take at least 3 seasons to achieve .

    • DoctorD says:

      I’m glad the club (and that guy Andy Walker in particular) is doing quite a bit on social media — for fans, it’s a free way to follow the club and maintain a baseline interest. From there, the club can start selling kit and merchandise to punters, then entice them with individual tickets before dangling the offer of season tickets. It’s a wise move of keeping fans’ interest ticking along until better times are around the corner.

  • Paul Carter - Voice of Reason says:

    So where are they all then? No prospective investor is gonna hit and hope the crowds come back. They will see that our so called fans have bailed once the going got tough and pass. Maybe they read social media and see the massed ranks all patting each other on the back for boycotting whilst still managing to run every aspect of the club down. A club with high attendances even when the going is rough is far more attractive but if you’re one of the loyal true blue boycotters I don’t expect you to agree with me.

  • Eric says:

    I really feel sad for the wonderful front office staff. They have tried to keep the club going without having any voice (or money). Thanks to all the front office staff and I hope you stay on for the new owners, whenever that may be. Fans realize that you are not the ones who hire lawyers to defend the indefensible. Keep Right On we are with you during this worrying time for the Blues. Thanks for keeping us informed Dan….

    • Alan Moore says:

      Agreed. And that’s why cash flow into the club is still essential if the staff and players are to be paid, particularly during the close season. Whoever is managing at the end of this season will have to persuade new players to come to the club, and they are hardly likely to be in a rush to join us with this all-round negative atmosphere.

  • Tony says:

    So much for no new owners, there are it seems four lets get it on, first job get rid of the plank of wood managing, who wanted 16-17 contracted players. Wait a minute thats what we have durrrrrrrrr

    • Chris W says:

      You really believe Tom Ross after the last fiasco, I don’t not until it actually happens.
      KRO+DNM

      • Andrew says:

        very true! if past experience is anything to go by do not believe ANYTHING until it happens down at the blues especially from unreliable source like that

    • Art says:

      What happened to the discloser/confidentiality agreement.?

      Seem Tom never learns but his audience will know doubt increase.

  • Ray Pugh says:

    Let’s take advantage of the cheap tickets offer and get to the ground for the last 3 home games. This will encourage the team to beat this silly hoodoo at St Andrews. If we can play well away we can do it at home! It will also remind potential buyers of the underlying home support for the future. Everything else is secondary and for the main hypothetical. KRO

  • RichardM says:

    Hit the nail on the head there Dan, the real value of the club to BIHL is the HK Stocklisting, which is why the owners are in no hurry to sell Blues – until they can find another venture to maintain this listing. Who knows how long that will take? The only way out of this jam I’m concluding is administration, with BIHL being forced to sell the club by creditors – in other words short term pain in the hope of a better long term future for the club.

  • mark says:

    IMO the saga will go on and on until Carson decides or we have rich blue fans as benicafactor who wish to take the mantle. I wait like all if this comes to pass.

  • mark says:

    Firstly 32 million got to be met, Daniel is Carson still asking for 10,000 pounds just to meet up with him, is this still the case??

  • Paul Carter - Voice of Reason says:

    Exactly

  • John Hill says:

    Prospective buyers who know anything about football, will know and understand, that ANY club whose team is playing poorly, will have a dearth of supporters. In Blues case, they will also know, that the team is made up of kids, loanees and players past their best. Which all adds up to team that’s going nowhere fast. Not all football fans, will blindly follow a team like this and pay hard earned money to watch it. Give them a team, populated with players who have a chance of winning a fair number of games and the crowds will return. This is ever the case in most sports, it is common sense, if it’s worth watching, more people will pay to watch if.


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