Often Partisan

Which way to jump

On Saturday I attended the Blues Trust AGM at the Fusion Centre, Digbeth. Although the AGM is (as a Trust board member confirmed to me) a procedural matter and less important than the recent open meeting, there was still a chance to hear what was happening with them.

The chief questions from the audience concerned what has been the main concern of recent years – the ownership question, and what fans can do about the issues surrounding that. Much was spoken about contacting the Football League and the HKSE to try and push them into action but there was a repeated fear that as the management situation has now changed and the team are playing better the fans would be less inclined to do anything about the owners.

I have to admit that I accept why fans are that way – why potentially rock the boat in the short term when things have started improving on the pitch for a long term goal that may very well not be achievable. On the flip side, I can also see that the upturn on the pitch is merely papering over the cracks – there are still some very serious concerns over how the club is being financed – and if BIH will need money from the club to prop it up.

The impression I get at the moment from Hong Kong is that nothing is going to change in the short term – purely because there is a very divided boardroom and no actual leader. There are two warring factions at this moment in time – one headed by Panos Pavlakis and the other headed by Peter Pannu. Panos seems to be at pains to point out that he is based in Birmingham because he wants to run the club properly (rather than “via a blackberry”) but I do wonder that if BIH came calling saying he needed to sell players to raise £xmillion just how much he’d be able to resist that.

Likewise, as much as I have a large amount of antipathy towards Pannu it would be easy for me to believe that he solely had his own interests at heart but I know that there are two sides to every story. He is still very much a director of BIH and of BCFC and the fact that there have been no moves to remove him as of yet would indicate that he is far from out of the picture.

In the middle are us fans. Do we want to rock the boat, potentially annoy the football league and get the book thrown at us? Worse, do we want to piss off BIH to the extent they think that Peter Pannu is what is needed to keep us in line and send him back to St Andrews? Or do we keep shut, hope for the best in the face of a tightening financial budget and ever decreasing revenues?

I will be honest, I actually don’t know which way we should jump. If there was guaranteed jam tomorrow in taking the hard road then I’d probably take long term gain and short term pain over the reverse but there is no way that we know for sure that anything will change. I feel for the Trust because at this moment in time they have fans demand they do something – and I think they might be in the same quandary.

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64 Responses to “Which way to jump”

  • Tony E says:

    When interviewed by Tom Ross earlier in the year Pannu stated that if his contracts were not renewed he would leave BIHL, well they have not been renewed, so why is he still hanging round.

  • Mickey07 says:

    From your positive on the pitch blog mate
    “While I’ve heard that the situation is very delicate I have to say (as I have said before) that sometimes you have to do something and accept it’s going to be messy for a while”

    You obliviously know a lot more than us dan about bihl darker secrets,I’d rather have a bit of short term pain for long term gain mate and oust bihl,lets stand up to bullies like pannu,we are bigger and better than him…

    • Rob Woodhall says:

      You’re right, Mike. The only way to oust this BILL crew is to not attend matches or buy merchandise. Without fans they have no business and only the residual assets. They rely on the blind loyalty of a few thousand, who attend regardless of where their money has been going, probably about £5M to Pannu alone in the last three years, and the revenue stream which that gives them. Like the Byelrussians who escaped their Nazi oppressors by going deep into the forests, prepared to suffer any hardship to overcome their enemy, we fans need to forego our football comforts for a while. If it means ultimately that we have to start our club again, then so be it. Wimbledon fans did so from absolute scratch and we’re back in the league in ten years. We have a larger fan base than they did. We need to be ruthlessly resolute and leave BIHL to their shell. Go to the ground but don’t go in. Thousands outside showing their support would have a great media impact, and indicate the football governing authorities gross negligence, as well as showing potential buyers the scale of support available to an owner with integrity. It hurts that this is the only way to move BIHL out, especially now that we have a manager who is capable and eloquent but the lo get term is what matters.

  • andy1 says:

    the only sure thing is, between them the bihl circus will make things a hell of a lot worse.
    lets face it , thats their speciality

  • Zuludave says:

    Exactly, BIH has outstayed it’s welcome we should stand up and be counted. They will need more money to keep going and that can only come from bleeding the club dry. Things are ok on the pitch for now but come January Gray will be sold, let’s fight now.

  • Lee says:

    I think something that shows real feeling from the fans to the owners has to be done, send pannu to brum, I’d love that, he wouldn’t have the balls to show up at a game, the bottom line is we need these clowns gone and out of our club, doing nothing is not good enough

  • Zuludave says:

    Next home game at kick off all stand up and turn your back to the pitch for a minute in silence, the media will pick up on it

  • Chris W says:

    There are so many elements and it is knowing who and where to attack, get it wrong and there could be untold legal issues.

  • erpa says:

    BIHL is only the name, who owns Bihl, Is U-Con the majority Share holder, If so who should call the shots, Do some of the present board support U-Con. If we had answers to these and loads more questions then we could maybe answer which road we need to go down. so logic tells me the trust is wasting its time, I think we need to let the board room battle sort it self out before we will know who we are to fight as we could do more harm (as Dan as pointed out) than good.

    • Chris W says:

      Erpa, one of the problems is the lack of transparency from BIHL and who owns what shares, you can google all day long and keep getting new names or companies mentioned, it is a nightmare situation but someone needs to kick the ball to get it rolling.

      • erpa says:

        HKSE, will tell you who own shares and exactly how many.

        • Chris W says:

          HKSE are investigating BIHL over irregularities, They only list major shareholders and don’t forget there are millions of convertible bonds, Carson Yeung would become the major shareholder again should he cash his in.

          • erpa says:

            There are billions not millions, Carson has about 6.5 billion from his novation, but so does the present majority s/holder which would take them very close indeed and lets not forget that at a guess I would imagine that CY is more likely to need to sell even more of his holding, while it seems the present majority s/holder could possibly invest even more if he so desired. But just what his desire is, is not yet known other than like Dan has previously pointed out that he has no desire to own a football club but he might know a man who does in which case either way hkse wont be allowing bihl to retain a listing.

  • Tony says:

    Im more concerned with the mindless morons who attacked a cardiff players car on saturday, trying to pull him out it.
    These were not snotty nosed little yobs but 30 odd year old men, it makes you despair just what are we producing in this country. half the population can barely read or write let alone string three sentences together.Then they complain they cant get jobs, Im all for writing these cretins off for life.
    iq below 70 no good to man nor beast.

    • erpa says:

      Tony, What can we expect when the police catch them they will be told to be good boy`s and don`t do it again. If they had four legs they would be put down.

    • Chris W says:

      If the exaggeration of Sean Morrison is anything to go by I’d treat it as a pinch of salt.
      If it did happen then A) Why were not called B) I certainly hope they are caught and severely punished as there is no room in football for louts like that.
      As for his friends comments, I know someone who knew a serial killer, when he had been arrested he went to the papers and on TV stating what a good guy he was and would never hurt anyone.
      The so-called nice guy is still in prison serving his time.

    • RichardM says:

      Something doesn’t ring true about this story. For a start, what time did this occur, did he leave the stadium at the full time whistle (probably not). In my experience, the crowds have generally melted away after 45 minutes, was he in a rush to get home and skipped his warm down and shower?

      Also, I don’t think I would be able to recognise Craig Noone if he passed me in the street, so how did this group of Neanderthals know who he was? Were they attacking him becuase they knew he played for Cardiff City or becuase he was driving a flash car in the wrong part of town?

      I don’t condone this type of behaviour of course, but neither do I appreciate the general good name of Birmingham City supporters being dragged through the mud either.

  • Bluenosegaz says:

    In the long run I can see Gary Rowett getting frustrated and fed up at blues in the end and he will leave us just like hughton did and nobody can blame him we all know he will have to sell the rest of our better young players. Every time you think things are getting a bit better the owners mess things up again and I think Rowett will only take so much bull before he walks you can tell he’s a manager that doesn’t like being messed about and we all know that’s what will happen with these owners we have.

  • I’m of the view that we need to keep applying as much pressure on BIH as possible.

    As a fan I feel they have taken the club away from Blues supporters for too long. They need to be reminded in no uncertain terms that their responsibility is to run the club on behalf of the fans and they should be answerable to the fans.

    Sadly this is something many club owners up and down the country seem to forget.

    Lets keep rocking the boat, lets keep on at the Football League who have been pretty useless in this saga, lets keep on at the Mail who have been shamed with the great work done by Often Partisan.

    Regardless of what happens on the pitch we need to continue with the struggle to reclaim our club back from these people.

  • DoctorD says:

    Having read Dan’s book “Haircuts and League Cups”, I am inclined to believe a) BIHL and Carson Yeung are in this for the long haul and b) we have no idea what will happen next.

    The only thing that is going to improve our fortunes is a decent league position. Promotion ain’t going to happen any time soon, but if it did, it would have BIHL rubbing their hands in glee.

    When I’m feeling optimistic about Blues, which is rare, the bst I can envisage a Chinese investor plouging a modicum of money into Blues in an effort to gain promotion. I can’t honestly see the club getting sold any time soon.

  • Old Git says:

    What do you mean “potentially annoy The Football League and get the book thrown at us”. I don’t understand what we could do to make this happen. The League should want proper owners for their member clubs.

  • Peter Bates says:

    Surely the football league can demand to know who owns the club and if they already know they must be happy with the situation bih are not going away anytime soon and as long as blues keep paying their dues to the football league the football league won’t do anything I say better to lobby glad they are the ones regulating bih

  • Peter Bates says:

    I meant to say lobby Hong Kong stock exchange

  • Dave mann says:

    I tend not to bother saying my piece on the owners because as I’ve said a million times there going nowhere….the only thing that worrys me is that if blues continue there better form and climb the table under sir Gary rowett the owners will not be an issue and we can concentrate on on pitch activities but if this trend ends and it goes pair shaped and get relegated then the only good thing to come out of it is that they will sell And go away for goods I would hope so the issue is carry on doing well and the owners stay, get relegated the owners will go…what a choice to make!!!!kro.

    • Edith Wright says:

      I tend not to bother saying my piece on the owners because, as I’ve said a million times, they’re going nowhere.

      The only thing that worries me is that if Blues continue their better form and climb the table under Sir Gary Rowett, the owners will no longer be an issue and we can concentrate on on-the-pitch activities.

      If, however, this trend ends, it goes pear-shaped and we get relegated, then the only good thing that will come out of it is that they will sell the club and go away for good. I would hope so. The issue is this: carry on doing well and the owners stay; get relegated the owners will go. What a choice to make!


  • Julian Glass says:

    I good adage is never fight a battle you can’t win. Quite simply you cant force out a shareholder. You make life uncomfortable that they want to sell but not that they must sell and when they do go under these circumstances there’ll be no interest for the future of the club. We have seen this first hand I would suggest.

    Secondly only fight a battle if you can predict that the outcome so you know when you’ve won. Are new owners that bring in their own manager a victory now? Are we prepared to see GR replaced to satisfy the next ‘grand plan’?

  • Marky mark says:

    What will happen is nothing, we will bend over and have our pants pulled down like we have for the last 2 years, I don’t blame the trust for trying to do things by the book and stay within the law, unfortunately its proved ineffective.

    This whole episode will run its course, and the final outcome will one day be known, until then support the team, whatever division, whatever the team sheet, however crap we may be, because that’s what you signed up for when you chose BCFC

  • Mineheadblue says:

    Everything the fans have tried, both separately and collectively have resulted in diddly squat change in respect of getting BIHL out of the club. So it appears that more of the same won’t make any difference. Having said that, neither should we assume that doing nothing is any more effective.
    My own view is that it is unacceptable to do nothing because to do that sends the message to the inscrutable Chinese that we accept the status quo. We don’t accept it and we need them out, gone, (to hell for all I care).

    • Hillfield blue says:

      I agree. It’s not like they don’t know we’re p…..d off anyway is it. And as far as the football league is concerned what do they expect us to do,this is our club for crying out loud!! My view is that don’t be blinded by a few good results. The same frustrations will come back and I would put my house on Gray being sold after Xmas.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    The difficulty is that BIHL is located in Hong Kong thousands of miles away. We cannot picket their premises or get our displeasure across to the Hong Kong media.
    If BIHL was located in the Midlands it may well have sold on by now.
    That is the difficulty which cannot be overcome.

  • mark says:

    can anyone come back to me with names of decent owners??? love here from ya lol

  • Dave mann says:

    The Chinese have there own agenda and they don’t give a diddly squat about the team or the fans because they sell what players can bring money in like gray who will prop ably go in January and what ever we do it just falls on deaf ears so without sounding negative it really really is not worth getting involved in fighting to get them out because quite frankly my dear they don’t give a damn!!!kro.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    Gold and Sullivan were diamonds compared to the BIHL rabble. The Huw Jenkins consortium at Swansea are doing a good job – I could go on.

    • mark says:

      agent i would agree, i liked the sullivan and gold era, but higher percentage of blues fans wanted them out, and the uncalled abuse Sullivan and his family took was shambolic imo……obviously certain percentage of fans didn’t think they were decent…..i bet those same fans would be on their hands and knees now if they made a sudden return methinks…..

  • Dave mann says:

    Sad to hear of the death of Geoff cox at the age of 79 , a bit before my time but the passing of another blues legend is always sad RIP bluenose.kro.

  • Dave mann says:

    I’ve said many times that most fans didn’t realise how good we had it under gold &sullivan and its only now that we look back at that period when we had money good players premiership football and full houses at st.andrews and realise how good those days were….fans moaned because they didn’t push the boat out far enough financially but looking back its a bloody good job that we didn’t because we would have been a Portsmouth or Leeds so be thankfully for that.kro.

  • gerrymc says:

    BIHL have to go, the rage has to be maintained. Pannu, in my opinion, remains on the Board as he still has work to do – I would suggest he is trying to raise money in China / HK so as to receive the candle from CY and continue running the club so as to pay off CY’s debts to some very INFLUENTIAL figures in the murky HK underworld. CY is his master, Pannu is his puppet.

  • mark says:

    well done to our fantastic to our away supporters Rotherham is sold out…..2300 hopefully Rotherham will be having their stadium rocked by us noses………kro i love it

  • Brightside says:

    So am i right to think that Panos is representing Carson and his cohorts who don’t want to sell and Pannu represnts the faction that perhaps would sell? If so we are perhaps in a situation where Pannu is our saviour!! That certainly doesn’t fit well with me. I assume that if he could get BIHL to sell somehow he will get some sort of financial reward? After all he would only be interested in money not the love of the club. Panos appears to be on a mission to run the club and keep it in the Championship for when Carson returns. All of this is doing my head in as indeed we are in a situation of not knowing which way to jump. Therefore for me I am not jumping in either direction and will just go down Stans to support the boys in blue. The future will be determined outside the control of us supporters but if we can prove that the club is worth buying through our loyal support maybe just maybe someone will make an offer that even Carson and his assistants could take.

  • As a matter of interest, if we were to form a new club, AFC Wimbledon or F.C.United stylee – is there a stadium anywhere in Birmingham we could use?

  • Dave mann says:

    That will never happen to this club because there’s only one football team in Birmingham and that’s the way it will always stay…there’s one in Aston and one in west brom but that’s about it I think!kro.

  • Peter Bates says:

    Am I right in thinking that the hkse are investigating bihl again if so I still think in effeci that the hkse are dictating how the club is sold I think pressure should be put on hkse to let the supporters of bcfc what is going on as for mr pavlakis I think Gary rowett is good for blues but hope he wasn’t used as the smokescreen to keep the fans quiet about bihl kro

    • Chris W says:

      I wouldn’t mind betting that GR was in part to appease the fans, it also coincided with the open meeting.
      HKSE are definitely calling the shots as to how the club is sold and no right minded businessman/woman is going to buy 24% in a company where they have no controlling rights.

  • Art says:

    The only way forward is for thousands of fans to protest in a very coordinated and planned way.Sorry to say I can’t see this happening .

    As for me I will not financially support the club in anyway until we get new owners but I appreciate others are not prepared to support my personal boycott.

    One thing is for certain- bleed the club of money and the owners will have to eventually sell.In the meantime I’m delighted to see the departure of LC and under GR we have a reasonable chance of survival.

    • Carl Richards says:

      100 percent right! The unfortunate thing is even with another relegation and another year of this ownership nonsense fans will still not collectively vote with their feet, as a compromise between fans qho are split a plan for all fans to boycott one home match should be an aim

  • Bluenosesol says:

    If you think about it, there is no one on the board apart from Pannu who truly knows the club and the last few years of business transactions. They may be fearful that they will lose their handle on the club if PP is kicked into touch.

  • raymondo says:

    I noticed this on today’s BBC Sport web page for BirminghamCity. “By Matt Slater
    BBC Sport
    Football’s fit and proper person test could be given more power thanks to a proposed new law being debated at Westminster on Friday.” There is omment in the article from the Blues Trust too. Makes interesting reading. Ignore me if you’ve already read it. KRO.

  • Carl Richards says:

    It has got to be short term pain for long term gain and a shot across the bows to Carson yeung the convicted crook, his family members, associates and the mysterious group who own a large chunk of blues, none of whom are showing the intent and financial investment to be able to run a big city club. A boycott by all fans is required, at the very least for one home match to say enough is enough. The owners continually fail to get the club accounts signed, indicating at best that those running the club are unprofessional. They have had no real pressure put on them and will be here for another five years if fans sit on their hands. Be under no illusions, GR will be off the moment a better offer comes in, because he’s a professional sportsman with ambition. Blues cannot build a decent future until there is different ownership is in place. Only blues fans can make this happen, no one else gives a crap

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