Often Partisan

Changing to Stay the Same?

It’s been a busy few days recently for Peter Pannu and Birmingham International Holdings. An executive director, an auditor and a new company secretary appointed whilst the former secretary is shunted aside. News of a potentially failed bid from a fairly big hitter in Hong Kong – all prior to a trip back to these shores for BIH CEO, MD and executive director Peter Pannu for the Christmas period.

I’ve spent the last few days thinking about all the news that has broken and tried to piece together in my own mind what has happened, so I could share it on here. As always, please bear in mind I’m not a trained lawyer or accountant – I’m just someone who’s sat and read through stuff and is trying to make sense of it. Furthermore, I’ll try to cite my research but please be aware there is a lot of speculation and conjecture in this so please treat it with the scepticism it deserves.

For me, the most surprising thing to happen so far was the appointment of new auditors yesterday. I honestly thought that would be one of the lowest priorities for Mr Pannu in his efforts to sell the club as it enabled him to shelve the publication of the troublesome overdue accounts indefinitely. With auditors now in place I’m guessing the question can be asked once more when the accounts will be out and we’re back into deadline territory.

From a cynical point of view the change in auditors is also interesting. BIH have gone from using BDO, who are the fifth largest audit firm in the world to a firm that was only founded in Hong Kong just under four years ago. Whilst BDO could happily tell BIH to metaphorically piss up a rope over their accounts I wonder if the JH CPA Alliance will have the same sort of power or if they’ll be more happy to accede to their clients. With the company secretary also changed I wonder if Mr Pannu has paved the way to produce accounts that will lay blame at former auditors/directors etc and if we will indeed see them published. I’m sceptical that will happen – but I’m also willing to accept the possibility is a little stronger now.

The new board member also intrigues me. Ma Shui Cheong isn’t only married to Carson’s sister but he is also a trusted lieutenant; he’s been managing director of Sing Pao Media Enterprises (Carson’s newspaper) since 2010 and was one of the people who offered to stump up further bail sureties to allow Carson to go to his father’s funeral earlier this year. Is it possible that Carson/Pannu have brought in another board member to ensure that they have control of the boardroom in the light of unpopular decisions? One would think that if BIH are close to selling what is their only significant asset then the makeup of the board wouldn’t be a big deal as the company would surely close post-BCFC sale. It’s purely my thoughts here but I’m starting to wonder if Peter Pannu is actually trying to sell BCFC or attract investment to prop up BIH to keep the club under the current ownership.

There is precedent – Sing Pao Media was taken over in the boardroom last year by a group from the mainland but Carson Yeung remains the largest shareholder – in essence he’s kept his stake but no longer controls the board room. I wonder if he has planned something similar for BIH and the installation of his brother-in-law is to ensure he retains some sort of proxy on the board? I guess only time will tell.

As for the purported interest of Charles Chan, Shanghai Media Entertainment Group et al I will have to admit my scepticism. One would think that if it was true then a high-profile consortium containing Hong Kong’s largest TV broadcaster and a huge PR China firm buying out Carson Yeung (who is still fairly high-profile at the moment in HK) would have been in the news out there but there has not been a sniff of it. One would also assume that if they were serious there would have been an application for current financial data from BCFC but from what I can gather there has been no such application. However, I would also say that from what I have been able to find out via contacts in the HKSE there has definitely been interest in BCFC from at least one HK-based consortium. Whether that consortium is the one that has been given the press remains to be seen.

I have to admit that I honestly don’t know what is going to happen with Blues. The simplest explanation (which is normally the most logical and therefore most likely) is that Mr Pannu has come to the UK to speak to Gianni Paladini to go with the sale of the club to his consortium. However I have to admit I can’t quite believe that will happen in the face of Mr Pannu’s very obvious spats with the Solihull-based Italian in the media. I’m just wondering if Mr Pannu is working on a plan B whereby he tries to attract investment into BIH itself and to that aim he’s getting the house in order as best as he can. The bad news in all this is time is ticking on and even if Pannu was to agree a bid with Gianni Paladini tomorrow it would be unlikely to be concluded before the end of January. The longer this goes on the worse the situation at BCFC will get and I fear the worse the feeling amongst the fans will become. If I can do one thing it’s to implore Mr Pannu to give us the benefit of his thinking in the programme for this weekend’s game against Crystal Palace.

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46 Responses to “Changing to Stay the Same?”

  • swissjonny says:

    I discovered that the real reason for the super long adjournment is that the Prosecutor is being appointed as a judge as of 1 January 2013.Hence his replacement is being cut some slack.Chinese New Year is very early too which must have been a contributory factor.I wouldn’t read anything into the change of accountants apart from good housekeeping by Pannu.The big accountancy firms fees are horrendous.I changed from a large accountancy firm here in HK to a smaller firm and frankly the latter are far stricter and more inquisitive.Dont forget the bigger the scandal the bigger the auditor-Enron etc.Carsen still has some very wealthy mates over here.Im afraid my view is that either as you suggest Pannu will cave in and eat some festive humble pie by selling to Paladini or more likely he will try to tough it out.Sales of Redmond and Butland would make the status quo sustainable.What I don’t understand is with so much mainland money flying around and looking for a home how is it possible not to have found an investor? As you say we need some answers-and quick.

    • Letsby Avenue says:

      Thank you SJ…and of course AJ.

      I’ll say at the outset that I am a Pannu fan. (Anyone that can charge down David Sullivan and make him cough up, plus, also embarrass the Lady Karren has my respect).

      I think that there has been too much gossip, too much “leaking” and way too much speculation.

      WAY, way too much speculation.

      We end up like pariah dogs hunting around for the last scrap to eat and finding it was only hot air and the 500th empty bit of hot air.

      What do fans want from Pannu?

      Come on AJ ? What can ANY club say?

      Did your peers ever succeed in getting financial manouvres exposed, explained even…at Man Utd or at Liverpool (twice) ?
      What club is going to go public and say: “We have 7/6 in this account…£2 in that account…but we’re expecting a Postal Order…”

      Your blog today is about the actions taken under Pannu’s watch…surely every action so far reported is motivated by getting the dead hulk of BIHL seaworthy?
      Your blog today actually ‘infers’ other motives or possible motives. Which I think is unfair.

      OK in your “wild youth” you may have upset Pannu (The Ross withdrawal saga), but please remain sceptical, that’s good….but to speculate and extrapolate genuine and positive actions by Pannu into the realms of continued suspiscion, helps no one.
      Imo it only solidifies my fear that you are getting too subjective about Pannu.

      The forum you sometimes post on, has one other genuine source (imo again) about the HK shenanigans, and I rate and respect you just as much, possibly more, because you do put your head above the parapet more frequently.

      If I don’t post again soon, I’d like to wish you and your family, now, a good, a Happy and really Peaceful, Christmas.

      Take care mate …you are Brill, but a little subjective.

      :-)

      • thongs says:

        Quality post

      • almajir says:

        I will admit I am not a fan of Pannu.

      • RUPERT says:

        “Charge down Sullivan” Er didnt Sully charge Pannu and his co horts by taking a nice 80 million off them? Embaress lady Karen ? Oh It must have hurt her to give a car back after she took them to the cleaners and could buy a thousand cars with the profit she took off them!

        Pannu has helped destroy the club he and his friends have treated the club and supporters with a lack of care respet or loyalty. An empire built of sand that is now washing away. Keep supporting Pannu while the club fades away.

        • Flying Doctor says:

          Totally agree Rupert.
          incredible how many people think money from previous owners and the McLeish compensation make PP some kind of hard nosed negotiator. Neither are that impressive.

      • John says:

        If Pannu just made a statement,that he was indeed, trying to sell the club and that he was trying to make certain,as best he could, that the club would be in good hands,that might placate most bluenoses. As he has made no statement to this effect, one has to question his motives. A little bit of honesty and transparency would go a long way ! He seems to be forgetting,the most important people at any football club,are it’s supporters. KRO

      • Dan H says:

        Letsby,

        What the fans want from Pannu is good communication, openness and reassurance that the club has a plan and some direction. The Club appears to be rudderless and has lost all engines, drifting along in the hope of reaching safe harbour (or ending up on the rocks).

        The fans need something real and tangible to focus on, the club is fragmenting before our eyes, lets pull together in the same direction.

        Get the feel good factor and team spirit of last season back and the improvement will surely follow

  • tamuffblue says:

    I think they are looking for Investment only – sweeny Todd will keep control and dress it up as major development – but as you reported he has been down this rout before with other business – It will just drag on and onn – with just a snippet here and a snippet there just to keep HKSE and the fans happy with talk of this buyer that buyer meanwhile the club sails on rudderless – THERE WILL BE SALES !!!!!!!!!!!! A good point was made by yourself about that part of the globe being awash with dollars yet Pannu still cant find buyer / investor after 12 months ??? he wants to start dining with swissjohny lol

    • pete says:

      If they think the attendances are low now, they should see what will happen if they’re still in charge this time next year….

      • Alex T says:

        if we sell Butland and Redmond, I am cutting up my season ticket and I wont be down Stans from Feb onwards……

        • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

          Will you scan a pic of the cut bits in so we know you’ve done it?

        • John says:

          We only want true supporters at St. Andrews anyway,so bye,bye !

          • Steve says:

            Who are you to criticise somebody because they’re fed up of the way our club is going.Whether he goes again or not,he’s put his money up front knowing how things were going to be.Because he’s had enough doesn’t make him less of a supporter than you.Let’s face it,He won’t be the only one.And it certainly doesn’t mean he doesn’t care.

          • Alex T says:

            Bye bye john. Enjoy your life being a door mat.
            I just want to point out that the reason for my objection should we sell Redmond and Butland, is that we would be selling our future for a cheap buck. I would rather sell King…. at least we would get a good price for him (current form) and ride out this season.

  • ChrisG says:

    Let’s face it, we can speculate all we like, but until Pannu bothers to come out & actually tell us even a snippet of what’s going on, we’re all in the dark. Surely it would be in their best interest to keep the money paying fans informed as to where we are with things, they may own the club but it’s been “ours” a lot longer & for the majority of us BCFC has been the love of our lives for many many years. So come on PP do the decent thing & put our minds at rest & give us a decent xmas. KRO

  • GoodyBlueShoes says:

    We either sell players or Pannu sells the club. It is as simple as that as I have said all along. Even with our moderate wage bill (with the exception of Zig) our gate receipts et al are nowhere near enough in supporting what is a very poor business. If we still haven’t found a buyer in the next 4 weeks then Redmond and Butland will be sold. I cannot think of any other way around it unless I am missing something.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Look at the timings PP has worked to?

    Got to HK just before CYs trial, leaves just after the extra adjournment was given.

    I still think he was over there advising his friend seeing how he is a HK barrister.

    No sign of any work on selling the club or looking for investment.

    Nah he was working on the trial.

  • prewarblue says:

    What ever is going on, you can bet [with an English ! ] bookie,,,,,what ever the outcome is,,,,Pannu is Yeungs employee and will do whatever is best for himself and Yeung,,,,,,they know each other and look out for each other,,,,,,the Blues fans are an unkown quanity and as such dont count with Pannu or Yeung,,,,they do what they think is best for them, not what we want or hope they will do, until its announced we are stuck with not knowing whats going on regarding any sale of the club or Players.

    this need for information is proving to Pannu there IS still interest in the club,,,,but like so many as this saga drags on the interest is being lost

  • Art Watson says:

    Sad thing about all this is while the uncertainty continues the team is spiralling towards division one,gates receipts are crashing ,key players will be sold, fans are getting more and more frustrated and Mr Clark retains his job.

    It could only happen in football.

    Roll on the start of the cricket season!

  • AL_LAD says:

    It appear obvious to me that CY has confidence that he’ll win he’s court case and intends to keep Blues, but in the meantime is looking for investment, if further revenue cannot be found then Pannu will be back to liaise with LC to evaluate what players can be sold that will have minimal bearing on the teams results.

    Butland is probably our most saleable asset but after watching him this season you’re all deluded if you think will get 6 or 7 million. I’m not saying he’ll not be a quality keeper in the future but he needs further coaching, I’d expect offers around 3-4 million mark. Curtis Davis will attract interest and maybe King but for the life of me; I can’t see any other player that we could possibly receive a bid for. The club will again attempt to of load Zigic on a free to anyone willing to pick up he’s wages for the remainder of he’s contract.

    Sad times…

  • Masaccio says:

    I want to know if Mr Pannu will be at the gameon Saturday?

  • DoctorD says:

    As I mentioned yesterday, to the tune of “Worried About Ray” by the Hoosiers, whose lead singer is (it turns out) Almajir’s mate’s brother:

    The truth be told, the truth be told
    I’m worried about the future holds, the future holds
    I’m starting to worry about Blues.

  • alexjhurley says:

    Spot on Almajir as ever.

    I’ve said before that CY will want to hang on if he can. So I agree, the recent events do suggest the emergence of a plan B – i.e. the groundwork for CY continuing. Nothing wrong with this – in fact we should be reassured that they are planning for the future if they can’t find a buyer. We all need to remember that CY won us a cup, took us into europe and IF he gets off I am convinced he will dig deep for us once again.

    I also think PCVOR raises a valid point – at least part of the reason for PP being in HK would have been connected to the trial.

    That said, I don’t think anybody should conclude that he’s coming back to do a deal with paladini . His return may be more to do with a football club he’s gotta run….? And dare I say it, some players he’s got to sell.

    We all know that in the absence of a. Yeung getting off and b. new investors or a buyer – niether of which will happen anytime soon – that this season is a write off and we need to keep the books balanced to ensure we avoid administration and remain as attractive a proposition for buyers/investors. I only hope that PP can off-load Zigic and thus enable us to hang on to the rest of the squad (and maybe even improve it too). TBH that’s the best we can expect in the short term.

    In the meatime we need to continue to support the team and the club. Tearing up season tickets, staying away and bedsheet protests will not help. Let’s leave those kind of things to the dullards from Aston.

    KRO.

  • Asif ashiq says:

    Next year will be the annus horribilis for the blues. In my opinion sales will happen in january. Carson will keep the club but try to find investment. And we will be languishing near the foot of the table. But there are worse teams in this division so hopefully we should be able to stay in this division

  • So my fellow noses; what do we actually know for definite at the end of all this? Nothing that’s what. Letsby Avenue is absolutely correct when he says that there has been way too much speculation and that is because there is a a paucity of fact. We don’t know what Mr Yeung’s intentions actually are; we don’t know apart from Mr Paladini who is in the frame to buy the club. We don’t know how advanced any negotiations are and we don’t know the true state of the finances of the holding company BIHL. We assume, but we don’t know, which if any players are going to be sold in January and what ultimate effect this is going to have on our final position in the league this season. I have said on a number of occasions that we have to get to the end of this campaign with as much dignity as we can muster and most importantly stay at Championship level. We all then ladies and gentlemen, need to stop guessing and talking rubbish and wait and see what happens because as I’ve also said in the past no one is going to tell us until ink is drying on a legal document. Much of what is being discussed is legally confidential between the parties involved with the money (what there is of it) and they are under no obligation to tell the likes of us whether we find that unpalatable or not. All this speculation and hot air does nothing but wind everyone up into a frenzy leading to anger and gloomy predictions; it achieves nothing. There you have it; one man’s opinion

    • Oldbluenose says:

      Bazza;, Your opion is shared fully, by me also, !!. All the pontification in the world by us all, is NOT going to elicit the answers we all crave for, I am sory to say. !!.

      We just have to sit tight, — batten down the hatches, — Say a lot of prayers, — And Wait, !!!.

    • almajir says:

      I agree that a lot of what I wrote is speculation – I did say so in the piece. Because of that I hope people treat it with the scepticism it deserves – I’ve long said it’s dangerous to second guess the likes of Pannu et al because they don’t seem to follow logical paths. However, it is something that people want to talk about and think about and I thought I would offer my thoughts for discussion, making it clear that it was just my thoughts.

  • Macclad says:

    We’ve been in worse situations before. When the BCCI crash brough down the Kumars, we were in administration for nearly a year. We survived, were bought out and flourished.
    Now we know that so long as we keep selling the odd player, we’ll avoid administration.
    Regardless of what happens in the near future, we’ll survive. Yes it’s frustrating to see players leave, to see us outspent by Fleetwood, and see us battered at home by Barnsley.
    But we will survive.
    Keepr the faith.

    KRO

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Saw a documentary last week about squatters. These 20 people were living in a £3 million pound property. The TV presenter (Richard Madeley) asked them who owned the property and they said it was some wealthy tycoon who lived thousands of miles away. He asked if they felt badly about turning the place into a wreck and they replied no, because it was simply a paper asset to the owner and what goes on there is of no consequence to him. They said it was the first showing but I would swear I had seen it before!

  • Gary R says:

    I think the best for the football club is that CY is sent down and gets a nice 5 year stay in prison. In my opinion that’ll be the easiest and quickest way to get rid of him. Let’s hope the HK Prosecutors bring their good form into the Courtroom come April.

    Almajir – do you think it’s possible that he’ll (CY) seek another adjournment when April comes around?

  • jazzzy786 says:

    I can’t see us getting much for Redmond in January. Butland, Davies and King are our most saleable assets.

  • Evesham Blue says:

    I will be surprised if Panni’s return is to talk to Paladini. That has been and gone. His return to these shores is just to show his face more likely or maybe to oversee January sales?

    Either way I would be surprised if we changed ownership. It’s way to late for Paladini now. It was sale complete by january or not at all for him.

    I am of the opinion that Pannu is doing nothing more than steadying the ship after having his attention diverted on to BIHL and CY trial matters.

    An update in the programme notes would be appreciated tho. Anyways = I am past caring now! mid to bottom of the table is all we are going to do this year.

    • Gary R says:

      I just want to make a point, because I’m getting irritated with all these comments saying that Pannu is returning to the UK to take care of “Transfer Matters”. As Lee Clark has said, he’s dicussed things regarding the football club with Pannu/CY over the phone whilst they’ve been in HK. There is absolutely no need for him to make a 14-hour flight just to come and “oversee” transfer proceedings. He can deal with that via the internet and over the phone. I know if I were him I wouldn’t make that kind of journey just to do that. I reckon out of the two scenario’s it’s more likely that he would be returning to meet with Paladini face to face. Maybe he’s had enough of the “he said this and he said that” and they both want to hear things from the horse’s mouth and thrash something out. It would be easier to do that face to face than over the phone. Both in the same time zone, let’s get this party started!! In terms of transfers, Pannu wouldn’t need to see Clark face to face, or see a fax machine face to face.

  • RUPERT says:

    Pannu has come back to sack Clark after we get hammered on Saturday, the crowd will turn and Pannu will try and take the heat off him and carson by deflecting it onto the sacking of clark.

    • John says:

      and replace with who ?

      • Blue in Spain says:

        Surely ex prem managers are queuing up to manage us, with no transfer money available, players being sold, and the likelyhood that any future owner would want his own man……. Then again the Clark out brigade never put forward any viable alternatives do they!

  • Blueboy88 says:

    Always be gratful for Wembley 2011..

    However they do not possess an ounce of business acumen between them…paying twice as much as the club was worth…complete ineptitude.

    Pannu is as culpable as anybody , & all this continuing incompetence over the sale of the club just underlines it..they should all be banned from being company directors for the next ten years..

  • stu11 says:

    Pannu is holding off the sale of the club until end of january so he can sell a few players and then sell the club. The buyer will be paladini and well be in a fight with relegation. Well survive and come back stronger.i would rather lose a couple of players if it will finally rid us of the cancer that is carson yeung.and clark has got to go.unlucky but he is out of his depth and the players are not performing for him.all we can do is wait for yhe end of january and rebuild from there.kro

  • andy says:

    Carson may have sanctioned transfers but ultimately it was Alex McLeish that won Blues their first and only “major” trophy, not Carson.

  • henrik says:

    Take a bow sir Alex, the finest manager in recent times. All give praise for giving us the League cup, Marlon King, Burke, and some marvellous defensive displays.

    I would take him back in a heartbeat.

    comment edited

    • NooBloo says:

      he aint that bad as a manager but he has been to villa so he is tainted. A bit like Ryan Giggs brother taking his wife back after she had been soiled by Ryan Giggs. it just wouldnt feel right or be the same

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Not a bad try Henrik :)

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Guys, Paul Caddis has been at the club for some time now. He has a high profile due to the Swindon antics, but more so because he has a growing reputation as an outstanding player. He has had ample time to assess the club, his manager, his team mates, the fans and the potential and guess what, He wants to become a full time Blues Player. Things cant be that bad!! KRO bring on Palace!!

  • Paulo says:

    I pretty much agree with you ahve said almajir, ..the only bit I’m not too sure of is a sale. I’d be pleased if there was one, but our poor form and lack of financial input will only put the dampers on anyone interested. I think CY and PP are setting up for investment, and essentially thinking of making the club more profitable in the long run. PP will be back again, and if we are hovering above the drop zone come Feb (for example), then if he comes over and kicks the s**t out of everyone at that late time, we can safely assume BIHL are a little bit interested in us (maybe).
    He’ll be there on Saturday …watching.


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