Often Partisan

Paladini Profile

On Friday it broke that an Italian consortium fronted by Gianni Paladini has made a formal bid to take control of Birmingham City Football Club. As one can imagine, there has been lots of talk online about Paladini and whether he is the man to take Blues forwards. IF Paladini takes over, will Blues be jumping from the frying pan into the flames?

I will admit to my personal concern and unease at the thought of Paladini being the next chairman of Birmingham City. With this in mind I have spent the last few days talking to various people who dealt with Paladini whilst he was chairman of QPR to try and get a feel for what the man is like and what to expect. As always, I must remind you that when I write my opinion it is only my opinion and that I speak for no one else but myself.

From all the people I spoke to, the main feeling I got about Paladini was that he is very much like David Sullivan/David Gold/Karren Brady in how he ran QPR. In short, he ran the club like a business – ie to make money – and he thought that the most important things were what happened on the pitch and who he signed; everything else was just “politics”. I will be the first to admit to many that sounds quite appealing; after all, what happens on the pitch is why we’re football fans, isn’t it? When you consider the idea that of the last twenty-eight signings Blues have made, only three (Wade Elliott, Pablo Ibanez and Darren Ambrose) have cost a fee then the thought of a chairman putting up cash to sign players sounds like heaven.

However, I don’t belong to the school of thought that football is a business. I don’t think you can treat football fans like customers; I believe the relationship is more symbiotic than that and whilst I’ve been derided in some circles for saying it in the past I do believe that football fans are the “spiritual owners” of a club – without the fans there is no club.

Like Sullivan and Gold with Blues, Paladini came into QPR when they were in the proverbial. Yes, they were on the way to promotion from League One but their finances were nightmarish and they had loans that they couldn’t cope with hanging over them. Like the aforementioned previous board, Paladini left QPR in the top flight complete with a new owner who is willing to spend big money to push the club onto the next level. As much as people might dislike Gianni, there is no arguing that he left QPR in a better state on that front.

However, there is an argument that QPR aren’t in such a great state. They have a squad filled with players bought on stupidly long term contracts that they can’t get rid of; they have had a history of signing players who were either supposedly the next big thing (Paladini said of Matteo Alberti when QPR signed him that he would get 100 goals a season – he got 2 in a QPR shirt) or who were a faded great (Damiano Tomassi was a great player… about five years before he signed for QPR, when he was old and unfit). In short, the “Italian Way” that Paladini swears by in the transfer market isn’t the best. Again, I can imagine that a fair-sized section of the fanbase will be happy with this but again, I must confess I am of the belief that short-termism like this in the transfer market hasn’t helped Blues in the past and that we need to be more practical and demand a better return on investment from our signings.

Whilst I’ve seen rumours from journalists about Paladini interesting the football authorities with respect to the “Owners and Directors” test I will have to repeat as I did then that I can’t verify that at all; from what I know of the test I can’t see a way that he would necessarily fail it and I’ve not been able to reach the Football League to talk to them about it.

I have tried to reach Gianni Paladini (via an intermediary) to ask him some questions but as yet I haven’t been successful. However, I do intend to keep trying and I am heartened that Paladini was willing to talk to the fans when he took over at QPR. However, I would temper that with the same concern I’d have if Pannu spoke to us – ie to question everything that we are told because I’m not 100% certain we wouldn’t be told what they thought we wanted to hear.

I have a few more people to speak to so I may well write a second part if I get some more pertinent information. I must stress that from all the people I’ve spoken to there has been a good balance to what they have to say about Paladini. Whilst he’s clearly not the messiah it appears he’s not that naughty a boy either.

The key thing to remember in this is that Paladini isn’t the money man. He is the front man for a consortium and whilst Gianni might be a good chairman for Blues there is the question of who is backing him, how much cash they have and more importantly how much they are willing to invest in the club. No one seems to know who these shadowy backers are and until we do I don’t think we can fully appreciate if this new consortium will be good for the club or not.


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20 Responses to “Paladini Profile”

  • maude says:

    dont get suckered in by QPR’s SO CALLED SUCCESS.

    Its not why we are today because of him its because we done it in spite of him.

    we are still paying the price of paladinis involvement with our club, our league position tells a story.

    our owners are fighting years of rot and bad business, bad business is what gianni is all about.

    dont let him into your club.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Bang on Dan, we want to know the whole outfit behind any takeover not just the frontman.

    When Gianni used to tot with us up boogies I had no idea of his background, in fact we used to call him Johnny. The rumour was he was friends with the Fewtrell owners but then a lot of us knew them too well enough to say hello to. I’d say he was Blues without a doubt but god knows who the backers are.

    ‘I’ve not been able to reach the Football League to talk to them about it.’ as you know Dan I’ve been in touch with them myself on more than one occasion. Zero reply.

  • les says:

    gawd who cares just get it sold and get someone in to save our club !

    • John says:

      Quite right Les, unfortunately,football is more a business these days than it ever was. When i started watching football as a small lad in the 50’s, i doubt that any fans knew who owned their club and cared even less. They knew the manager,who they believed to be the most important man at the club and they knew the players. They even knew the reserve team players (the reserves played at home, every other week and used to get gates of a couple of thousand or more). It is only the rediculous money, that is being thrown at football these days (and the bubble will burst one day) that gets the owners known. The ownership of Blues over the last few years, has taken up more newspaper columns,than the team itself and i for one,am sick of it. Lets get the club sold and then we can talk about the most important item at the club,the team KRO

  • Bluenosesol says:

    I said before Saturday that I wouldnt be dumbfounded if we lost to Ipswich and sadly that is where the problem is. There are a few thousand of us who will watch the Blues n the Northern Premier League, because they are part of our DNA. But we need to win back our fan base so that they come and watch the games rather than the SKY news ticker tape. I know a lot of fans who are so sickened by current events that they have taken a mental sabbatical and will only return when they can get their heads around what is going on at the club and simply watch a great team without having to worry about the political and commercial shannannigans. News has gone quiet on the other interested parties and Paladini’s consortium may not be the ideal solution, but as the club are on a downward spiral and the future is bleak as things stand, thenwith GREAT TREPIDATION I say CLUTCH THEM STRAWS!!

  • Mickey07 says:

    Its ok saying your not keen mayor but Beggers cant be chosers as no other one wants us.what are we too do as money is running out and fast?desperate times….

  • Blueboy88 says:

    Where will the club be in January if BIH are still the owners ?
    Probably selling off the last of the family silver ..

    The Paladini consortium regardless of reservations (& there are many) would stop the rot.
    Hope would return , & we can all start looking up again.

    Nice Monty Python reference too….

  • Mark Y says:

    Paladini’s pitch to Italian backers ” I have experience and a track record of running a football. BCFC can be bought under market value. With my know how we can spend X and get promotion to EPL. Once in the EPL BCFC as a big city club has potential to be sold at a decent profit for Y, I have done this at QPR.” Italian backers response. “This blokes done this before he can do it again and we can make a few bob here, dont know much about the club though”

  • ashw says:

    Whilst I’ll openly admit at 1st I wasn’t exactly enthused at the idea of paladini being involved at the club I’m now warming to it. Given there appears to be no chance of an English based consortium buying us our only option will be foreign investment. At least with paladini we would have a locally based chairman who has lived around the city and fanbase for years, someone who isn’t going to be able to hide on the other side of the world if things don’t work out. As for the club being run like a business that’s just the way football in general is going to have to head. Sugar daddies are few and far between and I’d rather we be run correctly ensuring our long term future. Fortunately with football to have any chance of making money long term you have to have be relatively successful on the pitch, getting bums on seats and developing young talent improving them as players and increasing their value. I’d settle for that any day of the week over the current state of affairs.

  • Baller says:

    Football fans are like no other customers. We endure poor quality long before we stop spending money. We pay for the possibility of excellence through affection. It is a symbiotic relationship and an enlightened owner will feed the beast rather than try to capture it.
    Who can’t have doubts about the known bidders? Who else is there? Please let there be someone of principle and with an affinity for our club. It is going to take a long while not a miraculous few months in 2013.

  • Dave Sherlock says:

    I don’t think we should bite the hand that feeds us and to be honest if we were docked 10 points this season we’d probably get relegated with the other quality in the league. My concern is that this deal is done quickly to get us set for January… Bring in some new additions (possible management team) and sneak in the back door of the playoffs… Paladini might not be perfect but he may be the lesser of 2 evils

  • Snoop says:

    When QPR went up and the fans celebrated afterwards, they still took time to direct a chorus of boos at Paladini. Says a lot about how he was regarded there.

    • DoctorD says:

      Isn’t that more a reflection of the fickleness of fans? He must have thought “I’ve got this club promoted” and all they can do is just boo me.

      Anway, I would much rather have an unpopular chairman who can actually attend games thatn an unpopular chairman under house arrest thousands of miles away.

      The best thing about Paladini is that he has, for better or worse, some sort of oomph that will get fans talking and, hopefully, attending game. He is high risk — and there will be ups and downs if he takes over — but can he honestly be worse than the current set up? I find it hard to think so.

      • Oldbluenose says:

        There can be little doubt that we need desperately, A change of ownwership, !!. but my fear is for the LONG_TERM good of our club, !!!!.

        It will be very unpoular what I am about to say, but say it [ yet again ] I will,!!.

        I would rather us be relegated this seaon, Than go through another version of Carson Yuengs, type of ownership, I do not place the blame totally on C,Y. except his [ the Chinese way ] of finance structure, Is their way of financial dealings, were not so hidden,[ shrouded ] in secrecy, but more transparrent and obviously based so far away, that any chance of understanding or trying to make sense of it is vitually impossible, !!.

        My fear of Palladini, [ and his backers ] is that simular type ” managership ” will again lead us into bigger troubles in the future and we may be saddled with big debts, [ which we do not have at present ] with mediocre players [ on long-term contracts ] are purchased in an attempt at a quick fix, !.

  • Paulo says:

    If we dont have an up front and official bid accepted this week, then the consequences of the financial mess we’re in, the naivety of CY and BIHL both combined with LC’s inability to win games ..we ‘could’ well be looking at setting up home in the drop zone and face league one next year. I’m not saying it is going to happen, but I am saying that right now we need points like our life depends on it. What is more scary, is not knowing (apart from Briatore) who is behind Paladinis bid, and what they think of the fans of BCFC.

  • alexjhurley says:

    Really good piece, as ever. I look forward to part 2! For me, I’m with ashw above – my initial perceptions (based largely on his dreadful interview with Rom toss) were that he would be like Sullivan but worse. Your piece brings more balance and the fact that Hes locally based really is a plus. I revise my opinion from “no thanks” to “maybe”.

  • bluenoseneil says:

    It’s still a resounding NO from me.

    The legacy of his tenure at QPR is there for all to see and if anyone thinks its a positive one, you need to look again.

    Choosing Paladini and his clowns is not a sensible solution but an emotionally-charged reactionary one because the Hairdresser can’t fund us for long goin forward. That DOESN’T mean we need to panic and take the first option. There will be other suitors if we choose to be patient.

    The REAL issue here is that we aren’t attracting crowds and on the pitch it’s pretty hit and miss…more miss obviously right now but I say AGAIN that LC is not entirely at fault and we all need to recognise that and gain perspective. We don’t deserve a play-off berth on this form but it may be possible if everyone at the club – players primarily – start pulling their socks up. Tactics and squad selection play a part but hunger and passion count for a LOT in this league.

    Lets see that on Tuesday AND from the fans too, then maybe we will attract more attention for the right reasons other than Paladini and his entourage.


  • Blues lover says:

    I think Carson out paladini in and lee Clarke out and di canio in, di canio could bring back support at st Andrews with great passion for the game and as he has shown at Swindon town with a bit of money behind him he can make great decisions and Get great results. He is also a manager that isint afraid of telling a player how it is for example Darren ambrose if he played under di canio Darren ambrose probley would have been released from the club with his last outings for blues

    • bluenoseneil says:

      What planet are you on?!

      There is no way in hell Di Canio wold leave Swindon for us, given the momentum and success he has created at The County Ground,

      As for Paladini? Well, a few of you need to learn how to read, and read between the lines as well. He would make Carson look like Jesus Christ in comparison….

  • Chill Winstons says:

    When I worked in a bookies based in Shirley over 10 years ago Paldini was a regular. At the time he was an agent. When i asked him which team he supported he said “no-one, I’m in football to make a living, but if i had to choose it would be Villa”. He seemed a nice bloke, but enough said really….

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