Often Partisan

“I’m Going To Tell My Dad On You”

“It is disappointing to read inaccurate articles because the worry is that supporters may start to believe them if they continued and went unanswered.”

This is from a statement issued by Peter Pannu, published on www.bcfc.com yesterday. It would seem that articles published in the Times, and in the Daily Express have so rankled with the Birmingham City board they are considering legal action against those newspapers – or so they say. I don’t think Pannu needs to worry about the supporters believing articles in the newspapers as he does the supporters likening him to “Comical Ali“.

We’ve seen legal threats from the board before. When the board took control of the club from David Sullivan and the Gold brothers, there were threats of legal action then as the incoming Chinese felt they’d been ripped off. Earlier this year, Carson threatened legal action against a Chinese magazine which he felt had published unfair accusations about him and his business practices. Of course, none of it has come to court (so far at least), and it strikes me it’s almost a playground tactic – telling the other kids “I’m going to tell my dad on you.”

There is a piece in the Birmingham Mail today (which unfortunately isn’t online as I’m writing this) that was written by Colin Tattum, where Tatts has transcribed in full some questions and answers from the latest press conference in an attempt to show just how leading some of the questions had been. There is often talk of media bias against Birmingham City on the messageboards, and you have to say from looking at this article, and from reading around articles published about Blues in the national papers that there does seem to be some antipathy towards Birmingham City.

I think there are two reasons for it. Firstly, despite what any of us Bluenoses think, Birmingham City isn’t a big club. Most of the country don’t really care about us, and thus we’re not that deserving of column inches in the papers unless something fairly newsworthy is happening. Obviously, a journalist is going to want a byline, so they look for an angle to give them a newsworthy story – this season it’s been about us being a “club in crisis” – because people want to read about someone else’s misery. It’s not hard to project an image of a club having rows between it’s management when it’s dangling above the Premiership trapdoor, or when the published accounts show losses and cashflow issues. Using various journalistic techniques, it’s easy enough to paint a picture that the club is tearing itself apart without actually using those words – the Express article this week was a masterclass in this – and it must be infuriating to the board that the media do this.

The second reason is much more to do with the board. No one here in the UK really knows a lot about Carson Yeung, and so it’s easy to project paranoia and worry as an image of the club because it’s going to be hard for people to contradict it. The board are quite enigmatic, quite private and by writing stories of how the club is in turmoil a journalist is looking to draw them out of their shell.

I think Peter Pannu is playing into their hands. I think it would be better for the club if they ignored it all, refused to answer questions and let the football do the talking; at least until tomorrow evening. Once the last game of the season is over, then it can be time to reflect on how the season has gone, and how the media has treated us – if there needs to be any public reflection. Continually complaining about poor treatment from the media isn’t going to help the situation, and is only going to give those that want to shoot Birmingham City down more ammunition.


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