Often Partisan

The Sky Is Falling

“Once upon a time, there was a little chicken called Chícken Licken. He was a very stupid little chicken. He was the stupidest chicken in the world. One day he was in the garden. It was autumn. An apple fell from a tree. It fell on his head. “Oh dear,” said Chicken Licken, “the sky is falling! I must go and tell the king!'”

Birmingham City messageboards, fora and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have been chock filled to the brim tonight after Colin Tattum of the Birmingham Mail announced via BluesWorld (and subsequently tweeted) that there was to be a report in Wednesday’s paper with a “stark and sobering warning from Peter Pannu about Birmingham City’s financial plight.”

I’m not going to try and second-guess Tatts’ column; I don’t know for a fact what Pannu will say and I will find out like the rest of the Bluenoses out there when I buy my copy of the Birmingham Mail in the morning. However, I wanted to talk about the sheer reaction I’ve seen online to this snippet of news and what I think it says about us as a collective fanbase.

I can easily understand why people are worried. Blues have not said anything at all about the current financial plight for weeks, and as I’ve continually said on these blogs, silence breeds paranoia and doubt. Blues fans have seen players leave for sums of money that they might think are lower than they should have been; there have been rumours about the continued Blues careers of Ben Foster, Liam Ridgewell, Stephen Carr, Scott Dann, Cameron Jerome, Michel… you get the picture. Relegation hurts but this summer has been pretty traumatic.

However, it’s been like there has been a mass outbreak of hysteria. People are already convinced Blues are going into administration; that every single player is going to leave us, that we won’t be signing anyone else and will be playing kids from the academy and blokes from the crowd; and that we’re doomed to relegation to League One. One hint of bad news, and like Chicken Licken it seems the majority of Blues fans online are convinced the sky is falling in on their heads.

It could be that the statement is bad. It could be that Blues are heading into the financial toilet unless something good happens, and that whilst we don’t want to see them go, players are going to have to be sold to keep us out of the hands of the administrator. However, until we actually know what it is, what’s the point in over-reacting? Why get so het up about how bad things could be – are we all half-empty people?

I don’t believe our friendly result against Oxford has helped things either, because now people are losing confidence in the players on the pitch. It’s true, our squad is paper thin, and full of rookies but friendlies aren’t known for being good markers of what will happen in the season. Last year, we won three trophies in China and ended up relegated. The season before we took a 4-1 tonking at Crewe and had our best season for fifty years.

In short, I’m not saying “everything is alright” because clearly it isn’t. What I am saying is “let’s wait and see what is said before losing our heads.” If the statement really is that bad, then we can worry. Right now, we don’t know what it is so it’s not worth reaching for the razorblades and valium yet.

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33 Responses to “The Sky Is Falling”

  • Masaccio says:

    Hopefully he’s going to say him and the other chinese at the club are going to do one and leave.

  • tilts says:

    Be shocked if Admin as there have been no noises from the banks and if you cast your mind back there is usually a lot of hearings and meetings to discuss the best way forward with your main creditor first. Ours being HSBC.

    I have heard nothing about a period of delinquency, no stark public warnings from the bank and no formal demands to our knowledge.

    I note that HSBC staff and HSBC business customers usually get paid on the 25th of the month. Talk of players not being back yesterday are doing the rounds and only being 24 hours ago I guess agents and the PFA will be very vocal very quickly if true.

    As yet it’s usually none payment of wages when the S*** hits the fan and it snowballs from that point.

    I would think Pannu will do one of three things in the morning and I have put them in order of likelihood.

    (1) Make a bullish statement in which he alludes to the financial shortfall but then say the matter is in hand and will be dealt with when/if Yeung is cleared. He will also say they are actively seeking additional investors to help out.

    (2) He will lay cards on the table say the financial blackhole is worse than originally admitted and that a cull of players is needed to avoid administration in which this would pave the way for Jerome & Dann to be forced off to Stoke and Foster loaned to Albion but any further sales will be needed at market rate. He will allude to the bank calling in the £9m owed with a deadline set.

    (3) Bizarrely he will completely come clean advise the bank and various creditors have become concerned about monies owed due to the material uncertainty and that unless the club can raise X amount by a certain date the club will have no alternative but to consider administration.

    To be honest Administration is the quickest way of getting shot of these incompetent fools so I would take that as the best solution then launch a campaign to encourage Wiseman and a consortium to come in and pick us off the floor AGAIN!!!!

    • Sh says:

      Hsbc staff are payed on the 20th mate. I know as I’m an employee.

    • Dean Giblin says:

      I am in total agreement with you mate. You are the only person I heard from in the past few months. I think administration is the way to go. Yes a big step back but sometimes you have to go 1 back to go 2 forward. At least we have a good manager so hopefully us being in Europe and a cheap price will attract good investors. PP came out with a comment I thought summed up his naivety “investors don’t want to come forward while there are these charges hanging around Carson. No shit Sherlock!!!!

  • tilts says:

    Well I worked for them and was paid 25th until leaving 4 years ago

  • antony says:

    Carson Young’s assets has been frozen in Hongkong. Peter Panu already made a statement. The story can be seen in the Mirror Football Website.

  • tilts says:

    It’s filtering through now…. Every reasonable offer will be accepted, this is all designed to show they are trying to do everything to avoid administration. Foster done deal tmrw, Dann, Jerome will be forced to Stoke, Zigic will be offered money to leave and I guess Carr and Ridgewelll are likely to go.

  • Wingman Blue says:

    Often Partisan is often the only voice of sanity in a crazy world. Tonight, however, the story’s wrong. Never mind what the bean counters decide, we no longer have a team, just a bunch of individuals looking elsewhere. After tonight’s sobering wake-up call, the only bright ray of sunshine is the youngster’s attitude. Stephen Carr aside, the old guard looked just that – old. Keith Fahey lacked commitment, and it was plain Ben Foster’s thoughts were elsewhere. Liam Ridgewell was sloppy, and overall the team lacked true grit and determination. There is a limit to the number of times you can sing KRO if the team isn’t listening.
    Where has all our grit and determination gone? Am I alone in thinking that Chris Hughton is the only person standing between yesterday and oblivion? Was it always only smoke and mirrors with the Hong Kong Crew? If the team and the fans no longer believe, we will go into and immediate, and perhaps irreversible freefall. We need some leadership NOW….

  • Ben says:

    It’s been released
    We are still in finical trouble whilst yeungs assets are still frozen and no BIHL members have taken up the gauntlet.

  • Lee b13 says:

    Peter pannu says he may have to make unpopular decisions and hope the fans understand,He has no choice. There may be one investor still interested in backing bih, with CY’s legal problems thats not surprising that theres only one. No shirt sponsor and now concerns with the kit supplier. Im no accountant or banker but the only long term option now as far as I can see is to sell and recoup what you can or destroy the club before inevitably going into admin’. Either way time is running out and the decision will be out of the boards hands. As for us fans we have to prepare for the worst and hope we have a club to follow. This is not hysteria, its the reality of the hole we’re in and pannu is just confirming what we thought anyway. Its said the chinese plan for the long term which is now coming to fruitition as a country maybe there is a long term plan for blues that no one can see, I hope so! KRO SOTV

  • Berkshire Blue says:

    Mirror article confirms what was largely feared/expected – banks want their money, BIH’s ability to manage the debt now constrained due CY’s money laundering charges, we are likely to have to sell more players to pay off some debt whilst CY’s assets frozen. Net result likely to be players leaving for cheaper fees as clubs clearly know our predicament now. If CY’s assets are not ‘dislodged from court’ after Aug 11 and no investor is found then presumably even more sales will be needed.

    Responsibility for this clearly lies with Yeung who appears to have had no robust business model and no contingency plan for relegation and is returning us at a rate of knots to where we were pre-Gold and Sullivan.

  • Bumpyfunk says:

    Carson Yeung is an idiot. I thought it before the take over, but thought he was worth the benefit of the doubt. Next thing I knew, we were talking war chests, players from Italy, and sticking it to the vile. With the best day of my life at Wembley, even then there was talk of whether it had been worth it. On fan pages in that following week, I was arguing while heartedly that we should send out team B and cut our losses for the FA Cup. Other fans were arguing that we could beat the world in any game. I explained that if we did that, we would fall like a deck of cards. God how I now wish I was wrong. Who was to know that CY was undermining the club and fans in his very own way.

    All I know is that by going to as many games as I can, I am doing the best I can to financially support Blues. I have been doing my bit. Carson, you should have been doing yours. You have made a mockery of my support.

    Pannu talks of imminent ‘unpopular’ decisions. The board have been making those since the drop, so that won’t be anything new. In such a short space of time we have gone from battling heroes to the big joke of English football. Thanks board. Your terrible business acumen, lack of reality and impossibly intricate funding set up have well and truly conned us all, leaving us on the brink of bankruptcy.

    Rats leaving a sinking ship. As a bluenose, this rat is going nowhere.

  • Glynn says:

    Morning All,

    Well The saying go’s “red sky in the morning shepherds warning” I think us Blues fans need to change this to “Blue sky in the morning…… more bad news is calling” If anybody has any more please feel free to better it!.

    What can we say. The papers love doom & gloom and REMEMBER that the press is London based and loves nothing more than shoving it up the noses of us “oiks” living north of Watford. I don’t doubt there is some truth in these reports but lets not get carried away. I am sure Mr.Pannu is just doing what we all wanted & confirming the situation is not good. Players leaving us is not exactly headline news is it.

  • Delboy says:

    All the way through this I have tried to stay positive and even had a little pop at some of the moaners, for that I apologise. So here we are it’s official, there is a firesale, I feel sorry for CH but still trust him to do the best he can in what will surely be very difficult circumstances.
    At the moment, having just read what Pann”who” said my first thoughts are let administration come quickly, take the point deduction on the chin, get rid of the cheating, crooked Chinese and hope someone with enough, not necessarily loads, of money comes along with BCFC at heart and at least starts to turn us into a football club again.
    Until then we will KRO, what else can we do, we are Bluenoses after all.

  • Dirty Bertie says:

    Sorry OP, Chickin Lickin may be dead, the apple might have been enough to kill him.

  • Rory Dale says:

    Almajir, quite a cogent observation and a good article mate. Have to agree it’s very early days. What matters is how CH diagnoses his best team for various situations. Results are not of primary importance at this stage, he’s checking out his players. The kids have got to be bloodied because they will play a part, they should have done so under the apprehensive McLeish. My main concern is having owners based in Asia with no real allegiance, using the club as a “muse”. We seem to be run by a real corrupt bunch and if my experience of Hong Kong is correct we’ve seen the last of Carson Yeung for a while. Will another takeover be a good option? Indeed who would want to buy a debt? A good start will probably boost morale all round, success breeds confidence etc… etc …

  • JK1875 says:

    The idiot Pann-who? is simply going to admit that he lied when he said that there would be no fire sale, he will admit that he lied when he said that the arrest of Our Dear Leader concerned only his business before he bought into BCFC and finally he will admit that he lied when he said the arrest of ODL would not affect BCFC. Or rather he will say all of this without actually admitting to the fact that he is a cheating, conniving, duplicitous tosser whose gross incompetence meant that he failed to plan in anyway for relegation and as a result ran up debts in excess of £30million which WE will have to pay.


  • Blueapex 71 says:

    I’ve also tried to positive during this summer ,hoping that all would come good but fearing that our board and owners are infact a bunch of crooks,with little knowledge of how to run football club and that we are in a total total mess!!…..we’ve had little and frequent indicators since May that all was not well…the silence from them spoke for itself…and now they’ve admitted it! .I think we are on the road to no where with this bunch of goons even without Yeungs “assets” being frozen??.

    Im distraught ,its just foreign ownership at its worse,god knows how these jokers managed to buy the club?? .People have been saying that we aren’t another Portsmouth,well wake up!!!… the coffee has well and truely exploded in our faces!!.

    We can just hope they have enough and move on as quickly as possible,because they have well and truely messed it up for the club!!…I fear the excuses will continue and they’ll hang on for dear life and we could be dragged further down the leagues and further into the gloom.

    KRO….god help CH….he needs it.

  • jaffa says:

    I honestly think Tosser Young is trying to recoup as much money as he can before he has to let the club slip out of his hands.These are very dark days for BCFC.

  • […] blogged this article last night which pretty much sums up what I think. One of the comments also said what I wanted to […]

  • Bluenose Bob says:

    Peter Pannu asks that the fans “understand”, well as a fan of some 50 years standing, one who has been through thick and thicker over the years I’d like to have one question addressed before I “understand”: Why? The one question that doesn’t seem to be addressed is where has the money gone? Over the last two seasons we’ve taken something approaching £100M from the premiership. WE have £48M of parachute payments to look forward to over the next four seasons. There has been considerable commercial revenue (thanks mainly to Karren Brady’s efforts, bless her) and that all topped off with ticket sales. So, I ask again, where has it gone? And while I’m thinking of that: is Mr Pannu prepared to let us “understand” how big the blackhole is?

    One other point, as someone who went through the Wheldon and Kumar regimes and is now suffering (I really mean suffering) the Yeung regime: how are those who complained about Sullivan and the Golds feeling now……..I notice West Ham still buying good quality players!

  • Far East Movement says:

    Good article and sums up my attitude. It has been very, very easy to be critical of the board/club/other supporters and to throw insults at people all day long who choose to be positive. (There is a guy on the mail website and I am pretty certain that if he has the same attitude to his life in general as he does with the blues then he will no doubt lead a miserable life (but hey at least he can say I told you so!)) I have been very wary of the new board even when CY brought his first stake, however as I have not got the money to do anything about or I am not standing outside the ground protesting it about it then I have not really thought I should come online and moan about it. (A facebook petition is not a real means of protest…)

    Whine over.

    Anyway my view on things… the horrible truth seems to be that it’s the Hong Kong entity struggling with its debts and therefore this money is being used to cover those debts and from what I gather the issue does not appear to be the BCFC bank account although if money is only going out then this will obviously become an issue very soon.

    I personally think the Chinese will be gone by Christmas – Carson Yeung has loans against his own properties and will not want to lose them, I believe he is now at a point where he is gathering as much cash as possible from the club to limit what the bank takes off him in HK. When there are no assets left he will let the holding entity fall into administration. When you step back and look at it I cannot see there being any other ending to this farce – the club will have so few assets and will be worth so much less than what he paid for it that it would be more advantageous for him to just walk away. The talk of new investment, seems unlikely as a shrewd businessman would surely let the team fall into administration and get it on the cheap rather than go in with Carson Yeung and his debts.


  • zoolog says:

    Can anyone exlpain to me what happened to the 16 mill we got as parachute payement?, that together with sales so far bring us close to 27million. If we owe 30 then we should be breakibg even.

    • Far East Movement says:

      There is no transparency is there – with ours/any club really at the moment.

      A while back I wrote to the F.A. (more on behalf of a friend who was a Leeds fan) saying that what ALL clubs should do is produce an annual set of financial statements for football fans – they dont have to go into significant detail but should be accessible to all – similar to a matchday programme in format. In it it could detail – a simple cash flow showing inflows and outflows, details on the ownership of the club, related party transactions – so any fees paid to the owners or their other interest. This would all have to be audited by Deloitte (who I think do a lot of work on football finance) or any other reputable accounts (not a 2 man job like Gold and Sullivan used). I would not expect them to give away specific wage details or the like but a level of detail that gives fans some insight and understanding. If we were told we spend xx million on ground maintenance/policing/training ground etc. then they could do away with all of the comments about taking money out of the club – although in this case they probably are.

      If they sold copies at a match for 3 quid and 10k brought it then they would cover the majority of costs incurred and it would only need to be done once a year.

      Sorry, a lot of detail there but I think such a policy applied to all UK clubs would be a good move.

    • Dirty Bertie says:

      The players had it for breakfast

  • Blues financial position was desperate, long before Yeung’s finances were frozen. I think that the H.K. courts are being used as a scapegoat for the current regime’s financial miss-management, and general incompetence.

    The could start to put things right by telling us the truth for once. Remember when BIH first ran into trouble, how BCFC was supposed to be a “ “… a distant subsidiary, BCFC’s accounts are separate and it operates on its own financial basis.” ?

    When in fact BCFC represents 94.5% of BIH’s turnover…

    The fact that the regime thought that we would believe this palpable nonsense, speaks volumes for their opinion of us, the fans. They clearly think we are morons who can be fobbed off with any old lie, no matter how paper-thin.

  • richiebluerich says:

    We’ve faced this before and we will get through this one……we are blues !!!!!!!!!!!! what ever they throw at us will we still be standing
    I also agree that admin is our best option……..and hope someone’s out there just waiting to pick up a bargain.
    Yes it’s bad that more players will be leaving, but be positive there are some that we all want to leave.
    The chinese have proved to be a bunch of chancers who’s had their fingers burnt when all the worlds looking on and they poked their heads out of their hidyey holes. No statements except the bloody obvious………….they hav’nt got a clue as to a way forward. Think about it spent 80 odd million buying a club with no backup plan. Was it only them who could’nt see reglegation coming…….all us fans could see it from the first league game. Its no excuse and I am in no way defending him but we can all why McLeish jumped ship he must have known what was coming but he must hang his head when he looks in the mirror as he was a major contributor to our present plight.
    Remember we are blues………………….. the only blues

  • Bluehobba says:

    “We may have a Fire sale” well it started with the guys that left and wanted to be in the prem. The ones that joined us want to get us promoted to be in the prem and believe we will be and thats where we all want to be. We have to be bold, brave and utmost loyal to the players and management we have, and get behind them. They need it as much as we do right from the kick off. I cant personally make a massive difference to the finances or the board but I will always feel that being in the stands wherever we play I can make a difference to the result. I still cannot believe a guy that invested what he did in the club will ruin what he bought.

  • almajir says:

    Yeah, I wouldn’t bother trying to post if you’re a Villa fan on the windup, cos I ain’t going to approve it.

  • ” I still cannot believe a guy that invested what he did in the club will ruin what he bought.”

    I don’t think anyone believes that Yeung is doing what he is doing because he wants to damage the goods he has purchased. Yeung is doing what he is doing because he is clueless.

    and surely, nobody still believes that he is anything but a figurehead…? This guy was a hairdresser ten years ago.

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