Often Partisan

Found in Translation

One thing I’ve aimed to do whilst writing this blog is to try and research a little about Birmingham City’s owners. Not much is known about them in truth, and I’m intrigued as to what their plans for the club are; how they see the future at BCFC. We know that the Chinese business model is different from the way we do things in the west, and I think it’s prudent to see what we can learn about them.

Unfortunately, my Mandarin isn’t up to par with some peoples (as you’ll see), and about all I can manage is “Hello” and “Thank You” in Chinese. However written Mandarin is easier to search online when you know how and it’s thanks to this that I’ve found something for today’s piece.

This piece, (shown here in it’s original format in Chinese) was posted by the BBC about a week ago, and it features a video interview with Carson Yeung in Chinese. As you can see, Carson is much happier to talk in his mother tongue. Now, I’m going to have to admit I’ve put this together from using translation engines and what not, so I’ve tried to stick to generalities more than anything else until I get a translator (or learn to speak Mandarin) and I can get a proper 100% legit translation.

The first thing the article talks about is that Carson Yeung wants us to consolidate as a Premier League club; and that the club was going to strengthen the midfield (which has happened in the signings of Hleb and Beausejour).

It then talks about how since Carson fully took control of the club he’s slightly faded from the limelight a bit in England, and how we’re undefeated at home. Carson appears to be quietly confident that we can continue to improve. The article quotes him saying that this year’s target is still just survival from relegation, and that he expects our presence in China to grow slowly but surely as we maintain our Premiership status.

Carson then flatters us immensely, saying that even the girls in the catering stands can say “Hello” and other simple phrases in Chinese; I’ve seen comments at times on various sites that the catering staff in the past have had problems with English – maybe we’ve been talking to them in the wrong lingo? They also mention the Lion dance that took place before the Blackburn game. This is a traditional Chinese custom designed to bring fortune and luck to the recipient at the start of a new year, or in our case new season, and bearing in mind this is Blues we need all the luck we can get. Also present with him during the first home game of the season festivities was Councillor Mike Whitby, who is leader of Birmingham city council, and Carson mentions that we cannot hope to progress further as a club without the council’s support.

Carson mentions quite proudly that Birmingham City were about the only Premiership team last season not to make a loss, and he confirms that the strategy is keep us on an even keel through prudent financial management. I have to be honest and say that I personally would question the veracity of that statement, but the fact is we have minimal debt which is rare within the Premiership. He welcomed Kenny Huang’s bid for Liverpool (which has since been retracted), but cautioned against overspending on transfers. Yeung goes on to state that he doesn’t believe that pots of money should be thrown at a club; that he believes in a more smooth transition of players into the team over a period of time. He confirms he’s making money available for transfers, and that he’ll back Alex in the transfer market; something that I think has been proven on Tuesday.

All in all, it’s nothing groundbreaking, but there are a few positives to be taken away. This is an interview for BBC China, to be broadcast to Chinese people so it must help raise our profile out there. In his mother tongue, he seems a bit surer of what he is saying and it seems obvious to me that the enthusiasm is there.

I’m a big believer in slow, organic change with an incremental building of the team, the infrastructure and the club and I think that the board believe that too. I don’t think people should expect the owners to throw “£20-40million” at the club to be spent willy-nilly; I think what people should expect (and be happy with) is that McLeish will continue to identify players who will help build us as a club and take us to the next level, and that the board will back him in this quest.

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