Often Partisan

No Fixed Shirt Sponsor – is it that big a deal?

So today was the day Birmingham City’s long awaited new sponsorship deal was announced, and the new sponsors are… well, no-one. Blues have said that this is a “unique and exciting approach to shirt sponsorship” – the fans however seem much more cynical about it.

I have to admit, I am quite surprised by some of the vitriol directed at the club in the wake of this announcement. A lot of people like the shirts without a logo on it, and whilst it’s less money for the club it’s a chance for Blues fans to have a nice looking kit without being part of a corporate branding programme.

As always, it’s about the Benjamins though. No shirt sponsor equals no wad of money coming into the club, and it only fuels rumours of financial unrest and the dreaded “a” word. It seems there are a lot of fans who see this as another reason why Blues are going to go under, and another reason why the board are inept and should be made to walk the plank. You can see their point; sponsorship isn’t just a money thing – it’s an image thing. Right now, who’d want to be associated with Blues? Financial turmoil, an owner on bail, players supposedly leaving left right and centre – it’s all a bit of a circus.

However, as one of my twitter followers @dyfedwallis pointed out, it is possible to see a positive side. Blues say that they couldn’t get anyone to stump up what they thought sponsorship was worth for the entire season; would it have been a better idea to take a crap deal and potentially lose more next year should we bounce back into the top flight, or to do what we have done by offering it out on a shorter term basis to companies and then look at what we can attract when the trials and tribulations of this summer have died down?

The way I see it, I don’t think Blues had much choice. People are demanding that the kits come out ASAP; and negotiations for sponsors have dragged on and on as Blues have descended into the mire more and more. There had to be a point whereby Blues said if we can’t do this, we have to go for plan b – match by match and that point obviously came. As much as some people are demanding the heads of the board and the commercial department over this, it could work out we make near enough what we would have anyway; particularly if we have a successful season and/or a cup run either domestically or in Europe. It could be seen as a reason to be even more unhappy, but for me anyway it’s just one of those things and Blues have to carry on regardless. In the long run, I don’t think it will overly matter.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

60 Responses to “No Fixed Shirt Sponsor – is it that big a deal?”

  • John Edden says:

    Its obvious what has happened here. There are clearly so many companies that want to sponsor the Carling Cup champions that the club has been unable to decide between them so have opted instead to award sponsorship to everyone via a match-by-match basis. Think about it – now everyone gets a bite at the cherry…… ;p

  • Chris Quinn says:

    Think we’re placing our hats on getting a decent Europa draw &/or a cup run involving some big four teams to make companies flock to sponsor us. Hopefully, being one of the ‘bigger’ clubs in the division, we should be on TV a few more times than most, leading to increased sponsorship.

    • almajir says:

      That’s the way I see it. Win our playoff round game and we have six games on tv in the Europa League. That’ll interest someone, surely?

    • Barking says:

      If selling sponsorship on a match-by-match basis was a financial winner then the likes of Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal would all be doing it. Good cup runs home and abroad might mitigate the worst economic effects, but this is definitely second best to having a proper deal in place which would give us a guaranteed income.

  • PeteB says:

    Getting through that playoff game in Europe could be worth a serious amount of money for us now…

  • Andy says:

    From what I understand, F&C were paying us under a million pounds a year in the Premier League, if we can manage half that then they will have done quite well.

    £500k works at about £10,000 a game which doesn’t seem wholly unrealistic and within the price range of plenty of local companies, add on to that substantial increased shirt sales and it all starts to look like a pretty good deal for the club.

  • prewarblue says:


  • Blueboy 88 says:

    The Club has obviously gone for a retro / vintage look, harking back back to that bygone age of no shirt sponsorship.
    What next ? Standing Only In the Tilton , Case balls with Laces, & Players / Managers with good old fashioned one club loyalty …… ?

  • Jon Herrador says:

    We as a club are not in a position for ifs,buts and mights.We need cash in the tills now to survive.In my opinion is very bad news we have not got a sponsor tied down and have some kind of financial stability.What if we do not get though the Europa qualifying rounds and we are languishing in mid table in the Championship come January ? Its a huge chance to take when the Club is not to far away form administration.The high turn over of games next season is vast and it will be impossible to get sponsors on shirts for every game because of time limits to make it happen.For example in the month of November we play the likes of Ipswich,Reading,Posh,Blackpool and Pompey…5 games…If we are lucky,we might be able to get sponsors for 3 of those games because time wise it be impossible to get the whole 5 sponsored but would there be a long line of buyers for those low quality games?i doubt it !…I just think Blues should of lowered the price par and guaranteed some sort of sponsorship money,Especially when they are claiming they have no money !

  • John King says:

    Whilst I admire the way you try to put a positive slant on everything, I cant help thinking that there is faith and then there is blind faith. Fans sitting at home with their fingers crossed is not going to achieve anything. The phrase fiddling whilst Rome burns springs to mind. The shirt sponsor thing is just another kick in the teeth, I cant believe that fans are trying to dress this up in a positive light. It was an unmitigated disaster for WBA and Middlesborough and both clubs welcomed with opened arms new sponsors once they were finally secured. After all if it is so good why do these clubs and in fact others not pursue this idea year after year? compare this relegation to the last one in terms of players leaving / players signed, sponsors etc and there is a massive difference, the last owners also did not have the comfort of just winning a major cup and a potential run in Europe. This current board are Ruining the club and the silence coming from the club is deafening. I remeber Wheldon, Kumar & the Bhatti bros at Wolves……….

    • almajir says:

      Did the fans get rid of Wheldon? The Kumars?

      The fact is, for the board to go someone else has to buy the club. There are no consortium forthcoming, barring some rumours on FB which are precisely that, rumours.

      Fans decide that there is no money in the club, and we’re in the crap. The media picks up on that, and run stories saying that we’re in the toilet. Sponsors and the like see this in the media, and think – damn, we don’t want to be involved with that, and pull out. This causes fans to believe that there is no money in the club… and so on and so forth.

      You’re helping to perpetuate a vicious circle. Despite what anyone says, there is nothing, absolutely nothing out there that is provable fact that says we’re going into administration. Half of the “facts” dragged up by fans aren’t facts at all – but misconceptions and misunderstandings.

      It’s not blind faith, it’s just accepting that I have no real influence on what is going on at the moment. When the time is right to protest, I’ll make my voice heard. Right now, we can do much more good by backing the club. It’s the way I see it.

  • websonic says:

    Perhaps we could have a good cause/charity emblazoned across the shirt like Barcelona (or even the Vile).
    How about ‘Save Our Blues’.

  • Mortonsblue says:

    I agree with John King, too many are burying their heads in the sand, eyes closed and fingers crossed. We have no players, 20 have left with more to follow it seems, 5 freebies in, a buch of kids to choose from for an exceptionally long season, no fit strikers for the season start, money gushing out of the club as fast as possible to Hong Kong, no shirt sponsorship, rumours that Xtep are about to walk, no shirts for the start of the season (again!), yes the silence is deafening. We are a complete laughing stock and what are the FA doing about this, surely they have a huge amount of responsibility here as they were the one’s who said CY was a fit and proper person to own a football club!

    • almajir says:

      money gushing out of the club as fast as possible to Hong Kong


      Prove it

      • Mortonsblue says:

        almajir..its not up to me to prove it, but tell me where the money is going then? As I said the silence from the club is deafening…give me a few positives to balance all the bad news!

        • almajir says:

          But it is, you made the statement. If you can’t prove it, it could be construed libellious.

          As for “where the money is going”, what money are you talking about?

          • Mortonsblue says:

            Hardly libellous Aljamir, BIH own the football club, where are BIH? Hong Kong, so the money is going to Hong Kong FACT! The money I am talking about is revenues from transfers, ST sales, McJudas compo etc.As I said the silence is deafening…give me any positives to balance all the bad news!

  • John King says:


    I am no financial wizard but some fans in Hong Kong are stating that Yeung has recieved 40 million from BIH here is a direct comment from one Hong Kong Fan, make of it what you can:

    ‘According to report from BIH, Carson already took 15m cash and 25m share from BIH. HOWEVER BIH only have 2m cash in bank! so where have money to Carson?? can explain that why carson keep sell all players now! Carson took money by sell his rubbish asset–land to BIH. HK magzine went to site visit the land, totally not value at 40m in total!’

    • almajir says:

      Really? And where are they getting this wonderful financial information from?

      I can tell by the English that statement has come from a certain Mr Au. The land has never been purchased by BIH, FACT. You can check the announcements here: http://www.irasia.com/listco/hk/birminghamint/announcement/index.htm

      The company are still doing due dilligence checks on that land. Until they actually announce that the deal is going through, nothing has happened – it’s just a potential deal, nothing more.

    • Blue In Murcia says:

      Wow, John, all that proves is that fans in Hong Kong are as thick and naive as fans in the Uk, if they can’t see the money has gone on wages and transfer fees.

  • Elvis says:

    I don,t get it, surely the old addage ” no publicty is bad publicity” applies at the Blues. We are always in the news, generally for the wrong reasons, which looks like a wise investment to me !!
    Other than that, I,m not panicking, there are lots of positives. I was at Hereford on saturday and I thought it was a good performance with excellent contribution from Chris Burke and Michel, Carr, Ridgwell, with the yougsters having a good run out too.
    If it was like the bad old days Of Wheldon and the Kumars, then I would be worried !

  • John King says:

    19 players released wages of 300,00 a week saved thats 15 million over a year. 12.5 million in transfer fees. 1.5 million season 2 payment from X-Tep, 3 million compo for McLeish & co, 12million from the 48 milion 4 year parachute payments. We are still on Sky sports even in championship. 11-12,000 admitted season ticket sales, Other corperate sponsorship at the ground and exec boxes etc, Money from the Carling Cup run, 3.75 million in prize money for finishing where we did in the premier league last season. New season shirt and merchandising payments…….A pretty packet if you add all this up.

    • almajir says:

      Well, your figures are wrong for a start, we get £16mil in parachute money, not £12mil.

      Last season, we will have turned over around £50mil. Wages alone will have come to around £45mil or so. That means that to not make a loss, everything else had to come to less than £5mil – which of course it didn’t. So we more than likely made a loss last season.

      This season, turnover will be more likely to be around £25mil without player transfer fees. Even with last year’s wages cut in half, we started on a wage bill liability of £22.5mil using the figure above. By offloading players, that will have dropped; income in from player transfers will help to pay off existing debts and ensure there is cashflow in the business.

      You want to know where the money went? The players pockets, in the main – like it always does.

    • Blue In Murcia says:

      How much is our current wage bill John? We can all juggle figures to try and use them to our advantage, but telling us how much we are saving, doesn’t tell us how much we are currently having to spend on weekly wages!

  • Joe King says:

    My god what dire trouble we are in, no shirt sponsor, money gushing to Hong Kong, Xtep about to walk out, 20 players gone & no shirts for the start of the season. I bet the girls will look forward to all those fit guys playing bare chested, numbers painted on their backs. Look at the players we have lost, how will we cope? Hleb, Derbyshire, Martins, McFadden, Parnaby, Phillips need my hand to count the games they played? OK Bowyer,Johnson, Gardner, Larsson, Jiranek & Ferguson were 1st teamers but Larsson, Bowyer & Jiranek were leaving anyway plus a few kids who had “failed to make it”
    I know there are rumours of everyman and his dog leaving, this club or that club are buying this player for peanuts etc. etc. We are going into administration, oh! the shock and horror of it according to rumours we have a black hole of £20m which we know by modern day standards is a tragedy, unless you owe £100m+ you are nobody

  • John King says:

    I am not sure what the current wage bill is but we have approx 24 players at the club, this includes 6 youth team players, 5 free transfers another 4 who played less than a combined total of 10 games between them last season so I would doubt that the wage bill would amount to 20 million. I feel like I want to be constructive but I am looking at our last relegation, we kept hold of Larsson, Ridgewell, McFadden etc and added Quality with Carsley, Phillips etc, we had strong sponsorship and I believe signed a long term deal with F&C whilst in the championship. When Yeung took over there was no or very little debt at the club, look at us now…..are your alarm bells not ringing??

    • Blue In Murcia says:

      Current wages, running costs, servicing debt, staged payment for transfer fees…… Thats where the money is going….. 55k a week for zigic sitting on his backside, and we are probably still paying his transfer fee. Yes we are skint, and possibly the board bet on us staying in the Prem, but I don’t think there is any money for Carson to take out of the club!

  • BluePenguin 76 says:

    I think an apt saying is “dont p**s down my back and tell me its raining!!!”….the clubs in a mess. I wish they’d just admit it to us with trying to put spin on it!!!.Im sick of it.


  • Tilton says:

    Having worked in China/HK for 20 years – I am not surprised – I remember warning people on Capital gold/radio 5 – and one year ago wrote to the premier league and the FA….

    Tell me why a company close to admin – with the boss in court – no assets – why would any company building a brand invest – why would any company with corprate governance want the risk….

    It felt like a lone voice for the last couple of years – I know exactly the asian business process – and its not good. The money is pouring back to HK – and lets remember we had little or no debt with the Golds etc – in short its a total and utter bloody mess… I can not see any good news….

    Am I happy about spending £400 on a season ticket ????? – not sure yet… just please I purchased with my credit card….

    by the way I have my replies from the preimer league and the FA – and when we go bust… I have done everything I can….

  • BobbyBlue says:

    The alarm bells started ringing for me when we are looking to loan out foster for £1 million. It is obvious to everyone that are finances are anything but healthy… but this (if true) shows that we are in serious trouble. Loaning foster will save us wages of about £1.5 million. So a total of £2.5 million is received/saved. The best keeper we could wish for. The one man i think could give us a shot at the play-offs. Traded for a measly sum. What this also demonstrates is that we surely wont be spending more that an a few hundred thousand on new players. I would forgoe the Foster money rather than outlay £2.5 million on ANY new signing.

    I dont believe Foster is pleading to go… we’ve already sold some and will sell others. For good money too. This deal stinks of desperation.

  • Bluehobba says:

    Lets not forget last season the kit didn’t come out till Sept / October and everyone was moaning (me too). Shirts should always be ready for the start of the season at the latest. Also they don’t take your money until they are ready to ship the goods so at the moment they have no shirt sales only forward orders. It all helps the balance sheet and a sale isnt a sale until you have hold of the money. If finances are as tight as being speculated then they will want / need the money. Somebody will be in charge of sales so they will be held responsible for this so as you say the deadline has passed and a decision needed to be made. Lets keep an open and KRO.

  • Giblets says:

    Fear not fellow blue noses! I just spoke to Abdul from Abduls kebab house and diner in Yardley and he is has agreed to take on the sponsorship for the new shirt – Although, like me he does have reservations with regards the shade of blue. He is offering 50 squid a game – and 25% discount on any kebab dinner to anyone who can produce a valid match day ticket. Ridiculous I hear you say ? Just as ridiculous as having no sponsor and the positive spin being promoted by the club and certain parties!

  • alexjhurley says:

    I see the doom and gloom merchants are out again, peddling thier usual brand of ignorance, speculation and supposition all dressed up as facts.

    Well listen up Dickheads……..

    Of course we are selling players. We’ve lost half our income – what are we supposed to do? Carry on like nothings happened? That’d work wouldn’t it…..thered be no administration with you chose in charge, eh ?

    Were in the middle of the deepest recession this countrys ever seen. Companies are cutting back and things like sponsorship are first to go. The club recognise this and act accordingly by making it more affordable to potential customers. Perfectly sensible surely ? No no no. It’s another act of stupidity by the stupid people who run our club. They should have magiced someone out the air prepared to pay 10 million quid to sponsor the corner flag. Does the commercial depts incompetance have no limits……

    Moving to the playing side, the morons keep telling me we’ve got no players ? No just 24 of them. Maybe you struggle to count that far. That’s > (look it up) 2 teams. With 2 weeks to go till kick off. During which period its absolutely certain that well sell more players and not replace them. Definitely, that is what will happen.

    I used to enjoy this forum. People talked sense on it, it was a break from the one dimensional nonsense that filled Rom tosses phone in and the evening mail letters page. ” sack the lot of em and spend more money” was always the cry. Sadly almajir you are becoming a victim of your own success – the dullards have found you and aren’t going to leave anytime soon………..

  • Bluenose John says:

    On a week when no company comes forward ( ok I know that is unlikely…. ) why don’t we fans sponsor the shirt with a healthy slogan. Just think how much replica sales would be with KRO across it or, say purely at random SOTV?

  • Letsby Avenue says:

    To Elvis:
    The old adage is:
    “No News Is Good News”.
    Which in our respect doesn’t seem to work !


    “No News” seems to mean:-

    ‘conspiracy theories’
    ‘fantasy predictions ‘ – administration, players not paid etc

  • Letsby Avenue says:

    According to Janine S. (Daily Mail)

    “Depending on the fixture and TV coverage, anyone prepared to pay between £6,000 and £25,000 will be able to see their name emblazoned on the front of the shirts”
    Who knows where she got her estimates from – the Daily Mail ‘Teirra Del Fuego’ immigration reporter?

    Blues have to sell now.
    Like Dunford who went when Blues ignored a serious charge aginst us- his remit -we have also let our marketing guy buggar orft, the man who bought us really low level bids for shirt sponsorship.

    Sorry about this mate, but you got a beat up players shirt as a prize for this blog, from the Southampton orientated guy that couldn’t find Blues a shirt sponsor.
    And got a P45.
    Jesus – I could have found Blues a sponsor to equal F&C

    We will do better. If no company wants to support us now, when Chris Hughton gets us going, they will be sick at the price we charge them then. lol.

    There are hundreds if not thousands of companies that couldn’t bid against the huge multi-nationals for shirt sponsorship.
    Telekom Austria,
    Casino G Perrachon
    Lagardere Groupe (An Agency really)
    Dassault Systemes

    All companies that lost out on football shirt sponsorsjip, and these companies want a UK recognition.
    In the loop for Blues in the Europa ?

    Thier could be a bidding war for shirt sponsorship, if we make the Group Stage, in Europa.
    ESPN = 4 matches each round – live – across Europe and the USA/ Australia and South America.

    In the domestic league – Brilliant.
    We get to give our partner charities an exposure.
    Sure, we may not be on TV, but what say we get pics in papers? National and local, and our charities get pics in the national press. Winner both ways.

    The more I think about it, the more I love it.
    Charity shirt when we don’t have a sponsor – on BBC / ESPN anyway..
    Highest bidder for BBC / ESPN live matches.

    Sounds good to me if we couldn’t find a sponsor to commit themselves to the new Blue Revolution.

  • Aaron Ford says:

    Do we know how much it would be to sponsor one game?
    imagine if all the Blues fans put together to sponsor ONE game? that would be immense!
    a nice KRO in fancy white writing on the front of the shirt – it would be one to treasure!

  • BD says:

    I may have lost the plot but, shirt sponsorship on a match-to-match basis might sound good but who will be paying for the printing and it will mean a minimum of 50 shirts per player times that by minimum of 15 players would work out at £30,000 approx for the season.
    At least with no sponsorship they will only need to purchase one kit and replace any ripped shirts. A decent kit for 15 players works out at approx £600. After all, do they really need to have their names on the back of them?

    I can understand companies are unwilling to sponsor the club, but shouldn’t an agreement be in place before the old agreement finished, whether with F & C or A.N. Other. Do you wait until you run out of petrol before filling the tank…? Do not think so.

    B.C.F.C. is in financial difficulties and some have commented about the deafening silence coming from the hall of power at St. Andrews. Why is this?

    Their leader is confined to barracks for money laundering, Mr. Pannu, whom many believe is doing a good job… Well I will leave the jury out on that for the time being, always seems to be anywhere but at his office (if he actually has one at St Ans). Last heard being in Hong Kong: Do they not have video link or telephones out there? Seems to be saying one thing to the papers, I.e. we will do everything to get £5 million from the Vile, then settles for… that depends on which media you pick up…another to the supporters
    I.e. we have no money. We are not heading towards administration.

    Many of the comments are mentioning figures and you can dress them up to suit any situation on paper.
    The reality is, my opinion only, no facts or figures, we are deep in trouble with a bare minimum of players, we have no backers/sponsors or investors. As the situation stands, we cannot sell the club because the owner, if that is what he is has had his assets frozen.
    If rumours are to be believed, he has used the St Ans. and Waste Hills land as collateral in Hong Kong that means they are frozen too.
    Another rumour is that he is only the figurehead and someone else actually owns the club and does not want to be known.

    All this is hearsay and speculation of course, and until the doors locked and everyone sent home, we will find out all.
    We slated the Gold’s, but right now, I would have them back with open arms, we were in a similar situation when they took over, but this is worse because even if someone came to buy the club they could not because of the Yeung situation.
    They left us with a legacy, a decent ground and money in the bank that took 10 years, Yeung has undone all of that in less than two

    This is a time for the supporters to stop slating off who/what or where and get behind the few players and Chris Hughton.

    The Whole truth and nothing but the truth is out there but we won’t ever know it.

    • almajir says:

      Just to confirm Carson’s assets are not frozen.

      • BD says:

        This is an extract from The Honk Kong Standard 8th July 2011
        Please note the end of the First Paragraph.

        Under Football League rules, any director of a club must step down if convicted in a case involving dishonesty. There’s more. The president of the Asia Pacific Law Association, solicitor Phyllis Kwong Ka-yin, points to the expectation the club’s finances will be impacted because of a freeze on Yeung’s assets.
        She adds: “Yeung, as chairman of a listed company, can be recalled by shareholders if he fails to perform his duty during the prosecution period.”
        For sure, Yeung’s arrest compounds the challenge for the famous football club, and there’s the prospect of much worse to follow.

        • almajir says:

          The court case to freeze Carson’s assets is HCMP 1254/2011.

          You can check to see if there is a judgement in the case here: http://legalref.judiciary.gov.hk/lrs/common/ju/judgment.jsp?EX=&L1=HC&L2=MP&L3=2011&AR=27_1#A27_1

          As you will see, there is no judgement yet. Whilst the Attorney General for Hong Kong (note the spelling) has made an application to freeze Mr Yeung’s assets, there has not yet been an order made by the judge to do so. From my own research I can tell you that it can take months to sort this out.

          Anything else I can help you with?

          • BD says:

            Thanks for the info, I agree but that isn’t in the interests of the Blues.
            For the time being I suppose it is a case of ” Watch this space”

          • almajir says:

            Very much so.

            Whilst the court case opens Aug 11, I suspect that is also going to drag on for a long time too.

  • James BC says:

    Do the board actually think we’re stupid? Does anyone believe the drivel they’ve announced on the site? This is a big deal and as many of you have pointed out reprinting the shirts each week is just rediculous. This argument about being in Europe is stupid as well, forget about that do you think the likes of the champions from Lithania net amazing shirt deals. This just makes us a laughing stock again I’m afraid and I’m very surprised many of you appear too short sighted to realise that.

  • Ben says:

    I personally think if this is done correctly it could be very good finacially; but if mismanaged it could be crippling.
    Only time will tell; but the fact that W.B.A and Middlesborough no longer use the system – probably means it’s not worth the hassle

  • jazzzy786 says:

    If a group of Blues fans wanted to sponser the shirts for a month and write the words ‘Carson Out’ on the front do you think the club would allow us?

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Such as?

  • jazzzy786 says:

    I think the media interest on something like that could highlight our plight on a much bigger scale and maybe attract a buyer. I don’t think the kit sponsership on a game to game basis is too much of a big deal as lots of different companies can sponser us for shorter periods and collectively we may actually get more than from a single sponser.

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