Often Partisan

SMW and the Rumour Mill

It’s the quiet after another storm again after rumours that a deal to sell the club would be struck on Tuesday turn out to be nothing more than rumours and once again fans are grumbling about speculation.

I’ve seen some comment about SMW – how they’ve gone quiet since the initial blaze of publicity back in May when their bid was originally made; and about how the resignation of Jeremy Wray (which the Birmingham Mail report was for personal reasons) has affected the bid. I think it’s natural for fans to wonder if they are still interested and if they can do the deal.

Funnily enough, I was contacted by a representative of SMW last week who told me that they wanted to talk to me; to get me “onside” and behind their bid; claiming that it would help them do the deal for the club if they had people like me behind them. Notwithstanding wondering just how some bloke with a website can “help” them do a deal, I agreed to meet them – only for the meeting to be cancelled due to the “delicate” timing of the situation.

Normally, I would keep my mouth shut about this sort of thing but I think we’re at a point where people are hungry for facts – and as much as they are bound by confidentiality agreements etc I think the time has come for people like SMW to be more open and honest; after all, had I met them I had a few questions for them that I would have used to inform readers. No doubt I would have been asked not to reference them directly but as that meeting is now not going to happen I think it’s important those questions are put out there – on the off chance that they get back in touch and deign to answer them. Rumours and speculation are rife at the moment in the vacuum of hard fact and I think it would help reduce the cynicism surrounding the SMW bid (and maybe help boost the morale of fans) if SMW could confirm a few details, namely:

  • We’ve been told that SMW is backed by “North American” investors. Without naming names, it would be useful to know if this backing is in the millions, tens of millions or hundreds of millions – and if some plan has been put in place to allow proper investment into the club which is sustainable and meets the FFP rules – and if this backing already in place (like in an escrow account) or a “promise” of backing?
  • What the ambition of SMW is – are they looking to buy the club with an exit strategy already in place (ie be “caretakers”, selling it on for a profit to someone who wants it more long term) or have they got a long term plan for the club that’s 5 years, 10 years long?
  • Finally, what level of immediate investment do SMW think the club requires – not just team, but infrastructure. I heard rumour from other bidders that they were looking to cut costs further at the club (which frightens me somewhat) and I want to be sure that any new owner is prepared to put their hand in their wallet (at least to begin with) to get the club on an even keel again.

What it comes down to – this post is really a message to SMW. I’ve spoken to bidders before who saw OP as a bit of a PR exercise for them and I want to reassure them that I am not going to do that; the fans of this football club have been given too much rumour for too long and it’s time for people to start cutting the BS and actually being honest about what is going on. Rather than trying to get the owner of a website “onside”, how about trying to get the fans onside by showing some honesty and some intent?

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68 Responses to “SMW and the Rumour Mill”

  • Martin Phillips says:

    We’ll done!

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Hundreds of questions, but no answers!

  • Art says:

    Yes well done Dan but I’m afraid to say that your article does not fill me with any confidence in fact the very opposite.There appears to be no transparency from SMW and frankly this has been the strategy of the current owners so why should we get excited about SMW….I’m rapidly losing interest and dispair at the attitude of both parties to the people who feed them-the fans of course.We all deseve better treatment.

    • steve-0 says:

      What is really interesting the communication path of choice by SMW. An unofficial website, albeit a brilliant one? I must say, I’m much more suspicious of BIH then I am of SMW, but SMW hardly furnish me with optimism. I’m of the preference to assume that neither of these custodians, or potential, will be the ones to present us with with our next successful chapter. To that sour end I’m getting beyond caring about any of them. I’m done with the dreaming off the pitch and I prefer to (like in the 90s) dream that the boys ON the pitch can tide me over until this fine group of fans are again both hosting and visiting England’s elite fort all stadia. They can all do what they want for their own gains (as stopping them is like stopping the QE2) and I’ll reserve my emotions for somebody who deserves them.

  • Staffs Blue says:

    They obviously know about you, so someone must be reading this blog, so maybe they’ll take your questions on board, have a little think about what they can and can’t say (legally) and do the right thing where the fans are concerned. We can hope.

    If nothing further is heard from them, I think we can discount them as just another bunch of chancers with nothing but hot air to offer. I’m leaning towards that side myself.

  • CHRIS G says:

    I think it’s way past time BIH came out with some sort of statement, even if there’s not a lot happening it would be nice to be updated once in a while. I think they’re totally disrespectful the way they’ve kept us in the dark

  • Chris W says:

    Another great article and speaking up for the fans, thank you Dan.
    We all have questions, many are the same, but no one, BIHL included, are prepared to put their head above the parapet and offer any answers.
    We are all aware of confidentiality and disclosures but surely someone has the authority to make some sort of statement.
    People seem to forget that any football club is only as strong as its supporters, they are the life and soul of a football club yet are constantly belittled or worse, walked over and are regularly insulted by playboy owners.
    Hopefully someone will come forth and answer your questions, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

  • tmsblues says:

    Well done. Suspect the meeting was pulled once someone at SMW reviewed the details of their CDA with BIH. Whilst fans would like information it is not for the bidders to make disclosure but for recipients of any bid to do so. Initially this must be to the HKSE but as we know the Exchange has not given direction on how BIH might divest itself of parts of its subsidiary the story keeps rolling on in circles. So whilst SMW or anyone else may be ready to do a deal BIH cannot actually receive a bid as such since the HKSE would then have cause to consider removing its listing.
    BIH has to raise capital, make an acquisition to broaden its activities then it can ‘receive a bid’ and possibly accept it subject to its T’s and C’s. Till this process is undertaken its a stalemate position where nothing happens…. unless….. relegation beckons by January then we might see some action cos a League 1 club is far less valuable than a Champ one !!

  • Dave Clamp says:

    them being honest and open and answering the questions you have outlined would be a better way of getting the fans behind the bid rather than the covert tapping up approach and hoping you can sway the feeling in their direction i would have thought

  • mark says:

    gr8 blog dan, just wish they would sort it all out kro

  • DoctorD says:

    The sticking point still seems to be the Hong Kong Stock Exchange wanting BIHL to diversify before it can sell BCFC – the argument being that BIHL only really has BCFC at the moment so if BCFC went, then BIHL would just be a shell firm on the stock exchange. Seems to me that that’s the stumbling block.

    • Staffs Blue says:

      Basically, it seems to be the HKSE holding everything up. We’re asking the owners/bidders to answer a few questions… but how about the HKSE getting their finger out and answering a few as well.

      • tmsblues says:

        Its the owners that have to speak, but they cannot declare there is an actual bid because of the HKSE rules, as far as I can see.

        • Staffs Blue says:

          I’ve read on a couple of occasions, that BIHL are waiting for the HKSE to let them know if it’s ok to sell off BCFC in tranches. But, the HKSE are investigating BIHL, so that, so far, BIHL have not received an answer. Until they do, we can’t be sold. Unless I’ve read it all wrong?

          • tmsblues says:

            You are right but the only people who can make any comment on bids, valuation, prices, bidders or other terms are BIHL. Then as you say BIHL are waiting for guidance or are they? I think its more to do with the fact they are being probed by the HKSE that’s the holding factor. Still the principle remains its up to BIHL to speak up but the silence continues to be deafening !

          • Staffs Blue says:

            But then, that’s par for the course for BIHL. When have they ever kept us informed? I can’t see them breaking the habit of a lifetime now can you?

    • Oldbluenose says:

      Dr D;, your view is precisely where the problem lies surely, If BIH, can find money to diversify into another avenue, — Then the path should open for the start of the sale, !!.

  • Eric says:

    I don’t think you are being fair to SMW. You have said repeatedly that the Hong Kong way is VERY different than we have in the west. In other words pressure has to go towards the HK people not the bidders who are playing by HK rules of confidentiality. I assume that SMW would like to speak up but those in HK do not.

  • dorsetblue says:

    What’s the logic in wanting to get OP on your side? Is it to put pressure on BIHL to get their finger out and hurry up. Or for a cheaper deal? It sounds to me something is not right and they would love someone to squeeze that something…..or have I been reading too many spy novels?

    • tmsblues says:

      Probably right. SMW are ready to go but in fact are rendered impotent on making comment or doing anything to enhance their standing with supporters because they have a CDA in place that precludes them from saying anything to anyone except BIHL!

  • Blooflame says:

    I think your proposed questions are valid and should not really be that difficult to answer if the intentions are for a sustained tenure. That said, It is important from a business viewpoint (as I’m sure you are aware) to balance the books. The club has to run on a sound financial basis purely for survival and that is the name of the game in reality.

  • tmsblues says:

    Dan perhaps you should send similar question to Pavos?

  • Euston 9:15. says:

    The hairdresser doing porridge is still running the show.
    Why not visit him while your there ?

  • williammorgan says:

    I think what smw have realised Dan that you have a lot of fans backing you ,and can also ask questions that they can’t ,and find out things that they darenot ask about ,like why is every Chinese department dragging their feet and putting OUR club under threat , the club is out to please football lovers whether they are British or Chinese , Let’s get this club sold

  • Raymondo says:

    Let’s face it. This sums up Peter Pannu. If he had been worth one per cent of his salary he would have been as transparent as he could about all of this instead of being a wall of silence. If he’s gone soon, good riddance, in my opinion!

    • DoctorD says:

      I don’t know Raymondo. Trouble is we have a complicated mix of:

      a) the Hong Kong Stock Exchange having very clear and tough rules;
      b) Chinese business culture meaning little information is forthcoming from BIHL;

      c) Thousands of miles between UK and China hampering communication;

      d) Slighty, how shall I say, “sub-optimal” management at BIHL.
      e) Us being in the Championship and having a low income.

  • mark says:

    once this season over, then one more Carson will have had two years good behaviour, and we all live happy ever after……..well that’s how the story is supposed to go……..any objections……..

    • Matt says:

      Yes Mark totally agree. let’s completely forget he’s a convicted criminal, destroyed our finances, destroyed our team, sold our future prospects for next to nothing, spent no money, 1 minute away from league 1 football. Thank god no one else is like you.

    • Art says:

      Hopefully following the HKSE investigation they will find more evidence of money laundering by this crook and send him down for another 10 years.He and his sidekick PP have completely distroyed our great club.

      Your comments “Mark”are bordering on being childish and ridiculous but I suspect you already realise this.

      I think it’s called attention seeking.

    • Tony says:

      Mark you are not even mildly amuseing.

  • Art says:

    A very simple joint statement would go a long way to reduce the anger and frustration of the supporters.”

    “The Board together with the management of SMW wish to announce that discussions continue.Unfortunately due to legal restrictictions we are unable to make any further comment”

  • PETER ROACH says:

    I think your reaction is perfectly understandable. Despite the confidentiality hindrance there ought to be some way that the prospective owners can at least offer us an indication that they are still in serious talks with BIHL regardless of the rigid HKSE rules.

  • dave mann says:

    ime just fed upto the teeth with the whole rotten saga, nobody wants us and this lot dont want to sell us….its a cancer thats getting worse and needs to stop spreading otherwise there be no end to the damage that these lot are doing to our football club. KRO.

    • Geoff S says:


      Your frustrations and concerns will be wholeheartedly shared by many, many Blues fans. You say “nobody wants us” but I wonder if the number of potential bidders we’ve read about over the last year or so (some allegedly serious while others were clearly not) have simply been put off by the frankly disgraceful shenanigans of the current owners. People only have so much patience.

      Only a group with a stack of money (hopefully supporters with Blues at heart but, sadly, not likely) or with a determination to buy this mob out wholesale will break the nightmarish logjam which is seeing BCFC gradually ruined.

  • williammorgan says:

    With BIH having no money perhaps SMW can loan BIH the money to buy a small company big enough to keep_BIH on the HKSE .

  • mark says:

    can see why arsenal preferred wellbeck instead of zigic well done to england

  • Raymondo says:

    I can’t see any end to this perpetual stalemate situation. Relegation looks certain as things stand.

  • Staffs Blue says:

    Apparently, it seems we were talking terms with Florent Malouda, even offering him a 5 figure weekly wage. But he wanted more. At 34, beggars can’t be choosers mate. He wouldn’t have excited me much anyway.

  • beegeeblueboy says:

    Hopefully the fine that BIH get is so large that they have to sell BCFC to pay it

  • Staffs Blue says:

    Gary Rowett has turned down the Blackpool job… but only after holding talks with Karl Oyston. I don’t get why managers think they can talk to other clubs whilst they’re already employed.. then carry on with their present club as though nothing has happened when those talks aren’t to their liking. I can’t think of any other job where that would be allowed to happen… unless someone knows better?

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