Often Partisan

Due Process

“Just hurry up and sell the club.”

It’s a viewpoint I can readily understand from Birmingham City fans. Since the double blow of relegation from the Premier League and Carson’s arrest in the summer of 2011 it’s been a constant question on fans’ lips – when will BIH get around to selling the club so Birmingham City can move on?

Tom Ross once again raised this hoary old chestnut in his op-ed column in the Birmingham Mail column, declaring his distaste for the battles in the boardroom of BIH and his hope that the sale of Blues can be concluded as soon as possible. To quote him directly:

I am at the stage where I don’t care if the receivers, Carson Yeung, Victor Ma or Homer Simpson sells the club, or even who gets a commission for selling it, as long as it is sold quickly to a business or individual who will run it properly and who will have the finances in place and a business plan to take it forward and secure its future.

It’s what we all want isn’t it? The club sold to someone who will take it on, put some money in, run it properly and get it back to the top flight so we can once again be in the big leagues. However, by a similar token I’d love a night out with Charli XCX (I’m free Friday) – but I guess I have to be realistic about that as we all will have to be about the sale of BCFC.

To quote Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

In September 2012, Gianni Paladini went on to Tom Ross’s radio programme on Free Radio to talk about how he could wrap up a deal to buy Birmingham City within 48 hours. As we all know now, that was hubris in the extreme; buying a subsidiary from a listed company – particularly when the subsidiary makes up such a large percentage of the total turnover of the parent as BCFC does of BIH isn’t a quick or easy process.

In June of 2013 while on holiday in Spain Tom even booked a studio in Gibraltar to announce the sale of BCFC to Paladini, believing as the Solihull-based Italian did that he had done the deal with Pannu. Of course, Pannu never had the authority to do the deal in the first place and in October 2013 Paladini was back on the airwaves bemoaning how he had been treated to the point he had been out to Hong Kong to try and meet with Carson and his advisors to thrash out a deal but hadn’t managed to even locate the former hairdresser.

In recent times we’ve seen Jeremy Wray confirm that he had lodged a bid for the club with Panos Pavlakis on 1st November 2014, only to see that bid ignored. Wray went as far as to comment on this website about that deal – but BIH have never even acknowledged receipt of his bid. As I commented myself at the time – without all the documentation that BIH (and also the HKSE) demanded, the bid wasn’t worth the paper it was faxed on. At the time I was in communication with Wray and I confirmed this to his face, based on my own dealings with BIH over the previous 18 months but my advice was deemed not worthy of being listened to.

The only consortium to have had anything like acknowledgement for their bid to buy the club completely (let alone have a bid accepted) was Peter Day’s Soccer Management Worldwide (which at the time counted Jeremy Wray among it’s directors) in May 2014. As I understand it Pannu told the board this was the only acceptable consortium to deal with at the time out of the five or so that were around, purely (and rightly) because Day was the only one to offer all the documentation available.

From all this, it is imperative to realise and understand that there has to be a process followed for the club to be sold.

With the appointment of Ernst and Young as Receivers to the company, BIH have put into place people with solid professional experience at sorting out the myriad of problems that had beset the company – but more importantly they have appointed people who know that there a process to be followed and that will not cut corners as previous directors might have done. Make no mistake – Ernst and Young know that they have to do this deal properly; although it’s not as high profile as you would think in HK they are well aware that this involves a professional English football club and as such there could be a lot of bad PR if they get it wrong.

The appointment of Goldin Financial is the next step in the process. Goldin are a type 6 licenced SFC company – which means that they can deal with mergers, takeovers and listed company procedures. They have been appointed to advise on “preserving the value of the company” – which I think we can understand to mean doing the deal so that BIH and all of its shareholders gets the maximum value possible.

I think the chief problem among all this is understanding this process. With this in mind I’ve lined up an interview with a top HK insolvency practitioner – who has not only dealt with liquidations but also this peculiar brand of receivershp Birmingham International Holdings finds itself in. This interview is being conducted via Skype and will be on the OP video podcast channel on Friday (assuming I can deal with the technical side properly). I’ll also be talking to my co-author Will Giles – himself a solicitor who specialises in commercial litigation, insolvency work and regulatory investigations.

As I’ve continually said since Ernst and Young were appointed, this will take time but I feel that we could now be on the final path to salvation and sale. Of course, Carson’s appeal might throw a spanner in the works if his conviction is overturned – but we will have to cross that bridge when we get there. Until then, I think we have to understand the wait, understand the need maybe for silence from Panos and his faction – and hope that everything will finally be sorted soon.

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59 Responses to “Due Process”

  • bluenoserob says:

    The worse thing for me about his whole saga is the constant feeling that we were still to reach the bottom of the pit that the club being dragged into.The worry that things were still going to get worse ( on and off the pitch). With the great job (IMO) that GR has done and with E&Y seeming to have the measure of CY and his merry little band I think that we have gone past that point , and maybe just maybe things are on the up.It will be a slow and bumpy improvement im sure (it wouldn’t be blues otherwise) We have had a lot of false dawns in the last year or so.Maybe next season will be about new signings ,transfer rumours and maybe a little dart at the playoffs …we can hope.

  • ADie Dee says:

    This time of waiting is so much better than before E & Y etc became involved. At least we know that E & Y are in control (unless C Y pulls a rabbit out of the hat). That is very unlikely (I hope). The only worry in one respect is the fact that E & Y have to get the best result for all shareholders. Which may mean B.C.F.C. being sold to the highest bidder regardless of them being the best bidder!

    We as fans want the best for B.C.F.C. not for PP or CY!

    • PeteBaldwin says:

      Whilst this is true – as was mentioned in the article, E&Y have to also look after their own reputation. If they sold the club to anyone using laundered money etc, it would create a huge amount of negative PR for E&Y and would make them look like they were just another cowboy company – the nature of their business requires a public image that is the exact opposite of that.

      If there are two reputable offers to buy us and one is better for the club and one is better for the shareholders, they’ll back the shareholders but they won’t sell the club to BIHL mk2.

  • Bradspitts says:

    Think carsons best chance is at court of final appeal…he was denied bail so think he will fail on this attempt…he knows his grip on the club is slipping away from him

  • Adam True Blue says:

    Thats a coincidence, when I spoke to Charli XCX last week, she expressed a desire to have a night out with that ‘Daniel Ivery from OP’, but didn’t think he would be interested! Opportunity missed. Kro

  • bluenose08 says:

    Hi dan I cant follow you on the video as I am hard of hearing and the subtitles are useless so could you also post on your blog the contents.Thanks.

  • Adam True Blue says:

    Because of the position we find ourselves in the table with not much to play for, it is actually quite exciting now to watch developments off the pitch, now that things appear to be going our way, and we can see the people that have disrespected our club might get their comeuppance. Kro

  • TigerTim says:

    Good piece this. Unlike Tom Ross ramblings. Anyone notice that throughout the whole of this saga he keeps getting things wrong? I think we should all back Panos Pavlakis and the receivers as they have handled this brilliantly so far to get the leeches off our backs

    • PeteBaldwin says:

      Just this saga?


    • Raymondo says:

      The only thing Tom Ross can be relied on for every week is to deliberately cover with radio commentary the same Villa match that Radio WM cover so that both stations listeners are listening to the Villa match and neither station is covering the Blues match. Why does he keep doing that? I thought he was on our side!

      • Stephen Wood says:

        Well said Rayamondo!! I thought it was me sucking sour Grapes. Isnt it a Nonsense! Bliues at Home Villa away & both stations covering the Villa game! wtf? I know there has to be parity & the Villa should get there fair share of air time but why two Stations??? Ive taken to getting the match comments on the Official Blues web site. Still , what can you expect? Half the City Council are Vile fans!! They could mot even see there way to give us an open top bus through the city when we Won the League Cup.

  • Jaffa says:

    Could it be that we are finally waking up from this nightmare.I hope so.

  • rhees says:

    I cant help feeling E Y have someone in mind and are following a plan of action

    • Adam says:

      This is my feeling also. The sale of the club has been prevented by Yeung and Pannu etc, hence why receivers were bought in. It seems to me there is a buyer in touch behind the scenes who is acting exactly right: keeping silent whilst Ernst and Young perform the necessary actions to finally meet HE stock exchange requirements for a sale. It all fits. It enables the opposition directors(to Yeung and co) to rid themselves of any connections with the convicted criminal that has the majority shareholding, and to gain a maximum return for their monies owed.)

  • Dave Mann says:

    Lets get theses 9 games out the way then we can spend the summer looking forward to a new beginning in August with hopefully new owners new investment and Carson yeung still locked up in prison . We can have a real go next season IF it all falls in to place and with the same amount off games left next season we could be pushing for promotion instead of the last 9 games like this season being with nothing to play for , lets cross everything and pray for a new era at blues…. Still looking forward to Cardiff though !! Kro

  • Alex T says:

    im worried CY will win his appear and will take back control of the club (bearing in mind that one of the main reasons E&Y are in control is because of CY not currently being a fit and proper person.

    My main hope now is that E&Y can find evidence of illicit dealings before the appeal verdict, hopefully that would be enough to keep CY at bay regardless..

    • Raymondo says:

      I thinkthey already have and that’s why he trying to get E & Y stopped immediately. They were apponted by the Court though. Get out of that CY!

  • StaffsBlue says:

    With all the financial experts on board now, could the end result be not the sale of the club.. but new investment, as BIHL have tried before?

  • BarryBlue says:

    This will all be sorted by the end of the season.

    Maybe Wray and Paladini will unite and make Blues rich ;)

  • blue n bad says:

    I think we`re a long way from the end game.CY doesn`t want to sell,the receivers only see a sale as a “last resort”. Even if he remains in jail he`s still the majority shareholder and will be released eventually.I really don`t see him selling up anytime soon.

  • Paul Hawkins says:

    Im just hoping that there are people out there just waiting to see what happens with Carson before they make their move.

  • john says:

    Its all very sad. The rhetoric has been going on for years and its still all guesswork. The only thing for certain to come out of all of this, is that you can’t believe a word they say. I know a lot of football clubs have had dubious owners, but surely this lot in Hong Kong, are by far and away, the worst !!!

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    An excellent assessment of the past, current and future.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Talking of the future 8 academy players offered professional contracts which is great news …. Is there something going on that we don’t know about yet? Kro

  • Kimber says:

    The only other annoying thing about the whole saga is progression. One day it seem s possible sale of the club is taking shape, the next its back tracked, by court dates, delays and in-house fighting!

    Still, KRO

  • blue n bad says:

    Forgive my ignorance Dan but could you explain how a potential sale of the club is affected by CY`s appeal decision.If he continues to stay in prison is it more likely that he will have to sell or not?

    • almajir says:

      If he gets out do you think he’s more likely to interfere?

      • Mickey07 says:

        More than likely yes dan,whether he holds any “sway” is another thing though isn’t it?he can interfere all he likes but while the courts or EY have one over him as they do at the moment then it won’t matter a “jot”.

      • blue n bad says:

        Problem is Dan he still seems to be able to influence things from inside and if he is wholly determined to hang on to the club i don`t see that it matters too much where he is.He may not be able to oversee things 24/ 7in prison but if he refuses to consider selling then that`s that.Even if Board members are not of his choosing he is STILL the major shareholder with enough support (i think) to stave of a sale.

  • Captain Blues says:

    Personally I’m not really looking for someone to throw huge amounts of cash and a speedy return to the top flight, I just want someone to run the club sensibly and for us to actually be able to compete properly in this division (I do believe we have massively overachieved this season on the pitch with the resources available but I dont think we can continue to do so year after year no matter how talented the manager is).
    The last 3 or 4 years have obviously been very frustrating for us all as everytime the local media have speculated a sale was not too far away (or already a done deal) our hopes have been dashed and this has lead to a lot of distrust of reports to any potential sale and the reality for most fans I know is that until a formal announcement is made then its just ‘business as usual’. Having said that there does at least seem to be positive noises particularly now the receivers are involved and hopefully there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
    Much appreciated for your continued grounded and realistic opinions and appraisal of the situation Dan.

    • Oldbluenose says:

      Captain Blue,;, i agree with all of your above posting, — Especially the preference for ” Solid owners “.

      We would all fantasize about having multi-million pound players on our books, — BUT we have to be realistic,?. this aint never happening to our club,!!.

      • Dave Mann says:

        We had multi million pound players back in the early noughties oldbluenose under the gold and Sullivan regime.. Why can’t it happen again ?? .. We were in a worse state before they took over than we are now so why not ??? Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    Nobody’s gonna throw money at it Captain Blues while we’re in the championship , the new owners will come in and take a look at the situation and spend money wisely to strengthen the squad for a push for promotion next season hopefully!!! …. So yes I agree with you on that one though if we do reach the promise land then serious money will need to be spent if were going to have any chance of survival but first things first as they say! Kro

  • Brian says:

    My worry is about stuff being found out that could put everything on hold. Also if CY appeal is successful but a retrial is orderd, could this result in more digging and a lot more being found out. Like where CY got the money from to buy BCFC.

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      I think they’ve found the skeletons. They may come out on April 1st. Goldin wouldnt have been appointed if that excercise wasn’t bottomed out.

  • Eric says:

    I understood that they have to get permission from the share holders to sell the club….ie CY et al?

  • Mitchell says:

    In defence of Tom Ross (Tiger Tim), I have always felt he has tried to give us the update without any false promises. Tom is passionate about the Blues and is the first to listen to any fans concerns. He was the one who actually got Peter Pannu to his programme over a year ago.Tom gave him every chance to address the fans which I know resulted in a very smarmy performance by PP. Tom like all of us has been sickened by what’s gone on in recent years.He just wants a bit of joy like the rest of us.

  • Stevie W says:

    As silence descends on the BIHL arena everyone is speculating the next move by all sides. That is those that are interested.

    Now normally Dan would be commenting on how nice it is to be concentrating on the football only for the next installment to erupt.

    But not this time Dan has preempted the situation and got himself an Alan Whicker slot to be aired soon as I understand. Good stuff Dan looking forward to it.

    Due Process is due process and can be as quick or as slow as those in authority choose to run it. But one thing is for sure it will be followed to the letter.

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    My glass is half full on the situation. Dan is pointing out that there is a process being undertaken and it is all going through the correct channels and in a proper legal way,with the end product potentially being the sale we all crave. At least wheels are turning and tentative steps are being made all be it slowly.
    There have been many times when the situation has looked completely hopeless with no end in sight during the last 4 years,so another few months isn’t going to be that bad. I personally think we are closer than we have ever been to a conclusion and we all must continue the climb,it might be only one step to the summit.

  • andy says:

    If and when new owners do come in I hope they look to build a new main stand before Blues return back to the Premiership.

  • B34blues says:

    Bloody hell mate lets get new owners 1st and not worry about a new stand or getting promoted

    • Dave mann says:

      We do get some idiots on here B34 Blues but we have to put up with them because there entitled even though we all no that the main stand is the least of our priorities ..:unbelievable really!! Kro

      • paule says:

        Does it really hurt you because Andy wants a new Stand? Blues supporters should be entitled to come on here and post something without being ridiculed.

        • Dave Mann says:

          Paule, we’ve been wanting a new stand for god knows how many years and I would love a new main stand and a bigger attendance but we can’t fill Stans now and the team and the finances must come first and be back in the premiership before any talk of spending money on a stand we can’t fill and that’s the point ime making ok. Kro

          • paule says:

            Don’t get me wrong i agree we have a lot to do before worrying about a stand, first & foremost we need the Club to be sold & to the right people, i think if Andy says he wants the stand built “before we get in the premier league” then that isn’t hurting anyone & to be honest it could be years off. KRO

  • BigAl says:

    Good summary Dan, with regard to Paladini, and Wray, there appeared to be a lot of huff and puff but no substance, and I am wondering whether they would have been good owners anyway.

    The problem being nobody knows the full terms and powers given to the receivers by the court, and the details as to why the application was made. Presumably it was because Yeung was trying to remove all the directors opposing him,was it disappearing funds, who knows Pannu may be involved in that. Obviously Pannu would not resign so he was dismissed, why were two directors suspended and not just dismissed like Pannu.

    I know receivers have to preserve assets, and maintain value. Value is the share holding, asset is BCFC,They cannot force Yeung to sell up, he is the majority share holder, will any legitimate investor want to invest while he is there. The dispute between the directors cannot be resolved either because Yeung want his supporters as directors.So the 64 million dollar question is what plan have E/Y and Goldin Financial come up with.The only hope is that they will make an offer that Yeung simply cannot refuse, as I previously stated E/Y don,t seem concerned over Yeung’s repeated attempts to get rid of them, could this mean they are confident that they already have sufficient ammunition to shoot Yeung down.

    Looking forward to the video blog, lets hope you are right Dan that this is finally the end of the Yeung reign.

    • Raymondo says:

      I think they have the proof already that CY is so scared of and that’s why he’s in such a panic to remove E & Y before they remove him back to prison for the duration of his sentence. You surely can’t appeal if they have definite proof of money laundering. Just hope they have proof that Pannu was involved too. Wouldn’y that be nice? KRO

      • Raymondo says:

        Just like to add:- when somebody who’s used to getting what they want by bully boy tactics come up against somebody Like E & Y, who won’t be bullied it’s interesting to watch how patheitic the bully’s behaviour is as they squirm and wriggle to try to get out of the situation they themselves are responsible for. I applaud that sectiont of the board that has stood up against hime too and are responsible for the brilliant move of receivers appointed by the court that CY cannot bully. Darkest part of the night is just before the dawn!

  • AussieBlue says:

    Dan – you quoted Santayana. Who does he play for?

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Amari’i Bell gone to Gillingham on loan until the end of the season. His contract is up then too. Every youngster that goes out on loan means there’s little change of any getting a look in, in the last 9 games. Shame.

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