Often Partisan

Yeung the Younger

Colin Tattum broke the news this morning that Michael Wiseman is to step down from the Birmingham City board, and that two new directors are to be appointed – Carson’s 18 year old son Ryan Yeung and acting chairman Peter Pannu. I thought it was worth looking at what this means for the club.

From a sentimental point of view, it’s sad news that Michael Wiseman has been forced into a figurehead role as “honorary vice-president”, as his family has had an association with the club for over seventy years. Michael was the only remaining non-Chinese appointee on the board, and his removal means that there is now no-one who has a proper connection with the fans. I believe the Chinese are trying to tighten up the board, and in removing Michael Wiseman they are removing probably the only avenue of any information on the club’s true financial status from the fans. In transparency terms it’s not good; however from a business point of view it makes sense to batten down the hatches when things aren’t going so well to avoid spooking potential investors.

The appointment of Ryan Yeung would appear to be a cynical one. With Carson stuck in HK whilst on bail, he’s not able to come to the UK and personally oversee the club. Appointing his son ensures that he has a proxy who he can trust on the board, who is free to travel back and forth between the UK and Hong Kong, and who if the worst comes to the worst can take control of his father’s shares to prevent them being seized in any order to freeze Carson’s assets. Not much is known about Ryan; I’ve been told his age is 17 or 18, that he was mostly educated here and that he’s been to a few games. Having a director of a multi-million international business who is not long out of school isn’t particularly my idea of a good move, but it’s one that I can understand. I’m curious to see how the Football League respond to the move however; as a director Ryan is going to be subject to the fit and proper persons test.

I’m not normally that critical of the board; I try to look at everything from an objective point of view but the confirmation of the director’s appointments this morning coupled with the continued rumours of Blues’ precarious financial position worries me. There are a lot of Blues fans out there convinced the club is going to fall into administration and end up fighting relegation again this season; and having watched Portsmouth’s spectacular fall from grace twelve months ago one can only hope it’s not going to be us who follow the same path. Right now it’s imperative that the board of Blues, and that of BIH do what they can to reassure people that bills are being paid, that wages will be paid and that we’re not going to be hit by a transfer embargo next month. If they can’t make that reassurance, then the time has come for BIH to actively put BCFC on the market and try and sell us to someone that can. Whether there is someone out there willing to take on Blues, I have no idea.

with thanks to Legal Bluenose and Barking Postlethwaite for the title of this post

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11 Responses to “Yeung the Younger”

  • saltley says:

    Interesting that Peter Pannu is joining the Board and accepting the responsibilities that the role requires. He must know more about the combined implications of the financial affairs and the footballing needs than anyone else, so it is a good sign that he is optimistic about the future? Do you have any further thoughts on this appointment?

  • Poppa999 says:

    I wonder if Carson will relinquish all to his son (short term) in an effort to keep the club and current dealings apart. If he had wanted to have bought him a cowboy outfit he would have bought the Villa instead!

    Given current values, I also wonder how much St Andrews is worth to an investor as real estate or as a property investment. No doubt HSBC have a charge on it.

    • Wingman Blue says:

      Real estate or property? Thought real estate was American for property…. In any case, St Andrews is hardly prime building land… don’t think Donald Trump will be bidding to build a prestigious golf resort just yet.

  • Letsby Aveneu says:

    It may be an ‘age’ thing, that raises one’s eyebrows firstly.

    As a boardroom manouvre it isn’t new.

    The most recent case being the Oyston Dynasty at Blackpool. When Owen-the entrepreneur was jailed, his son (admittedly older than Ryan) took over the shares and became the eyes and ears of his father. And also, Strangeways is a lot nearer to home than Hong Kong.

    Pannu’s elevation is timely and needed. As a Director he will have to be in the loop now and not be waiting 48 hours for Hong King lawyers to inform him about this that and the other. From an employee to the Board proper makes 100% common sense.

    Michael Wiseman says he has always worked voluntarily at Blues, has no shares in Blues but will retain an Honourary role. I can’t see how his status or usefulness has changed.
    But indeed it will be shock-horror to those easilly scared and never off the loo!

    Pannu’s appointment 100%
    Wiseman’s retirement and re-appointment, status quo really. (I suppose he is legally and officially now out of the firing line should things get really, really bad. Or is that being too cynical?)
    Ryan’s appointment – as said Mr A – a manouvre for a worst case scenario ?

  • Bombay Blue says:

    Don’t forget that the rest of the shareholders have to agree to this. It is not CY acting on his own so there must be some confidence in him!!!

  • alexjhurley says:

    I simply don’t understand why the board wont come clean about the financial situation at the club. If there was no problem, (as we are repeatedly told by PP) why wont he share some of the details and plans? Until he does his “everythings OK” claim lacks credibility and the constant speculation cant possibly be helping the players.

    Come on Mr Pannu, please spill the beans !

    • John says:

      I don’t understand why Blues fans, keep going on about Blues financial situation. That is the concern of the Directors of the club,all the fans have to do,is turn up on matchdays and support their team. If the club goes bust,what can the fans do,except,try and raise several million pounds,to keep them afloat and I can’t see that happening. When Yeung took over,he said they were going to spend £40 million on players,which was a stupid thing to do,because the value of any player Blues were interested in doubled immediately. So now,it could be, they are keeping their cards close to their chest,realising,it is foolish to declare how much they are worth. Like i say,just keep backing the team and the manager,there is nothing us fans can do about the financial side of things,except pay up on matchdays. KRO

      • mac the knife says:

        totally agree with you john, you’ve hit the nail on the head but i can understand people wanting to ask questions with so much uncertainty surrounding the club.
        keep right on till the end.

  • JohnR says:

    If people think it’s OK to have a HK lawyer and a teenager on the Board then I think it’s a case of burying your heads in the sand. i see no good coming out of any of this.

  • Jonny says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the ‘sources’ inside the club that people such as Colin Tattum use is in fact Mike Wiseman, and this is a case of shutting up shop and silencing a loose tongue.

  • […] Thousand Miles From Home With the appointments to the board of Ryan Yeung and Peter Pannu, the board of Birmingham City now comprises of people exclusively picked by Carson Yeung to run the […]

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