Often Partisan

Apathy and Protests

Whilst social media and Facebook in particular were ablaze with the idea of protest against the Birmingham City board on Saturday, planned direct action failed to materialise at St Andrews. As feelings had run high amongst fans judging by some of the comments I had seen online what has changed?

I’m not sure if it was apathy, a lowered level of anger due to the way transfer deadline day went or a combination of the two but nothing happened after two weeks of rumours about sit-ins, walk outs and protests on the Kop car park. I think that a good result on the pitch combined with a good performance and a visible villan of the piece in McLeish helped increase the feelgood factor and as such most fans coming out of the ground seemed reasonably happy from what I could see.

I was at the Blues Trust meeting that was held beforehand – indeed, I gave a short presentation on some proposals that I had worked on with the Trust (which can be viewed on their website) – and whilst there was some talk of protest I think that there was also a prevalent mood that the team needed to be backed. I got the impression from the people who were there that there was a feeling that Blues’ plight was being overlooked in the media and by the footballing authorities and that protest was more about making people aware of what was happening than actually striking back at the owners.

I don’t think that is true. There has been coverage in the local media – maybe not as much as some would like but a lot of that is due to the financial constraints on our local media outlets to report on the club – most of the issues are out in Hong Kong and I don’t think that the resources are in place for local media outlets to spend time out there looking for answers.

Likewise, I think that there are misconceptions about the money issues that the club has. As much as people want to believe it, I have been repeatedly reassured – Friday being the last time – by senior figures at the club that no money has left the club for HK; a statement which is backed by the accounts. If an illustration of where money has gone is needed, then a comparison of £16mil in parachute money with a £25mil wage bill should illustrate the main problem the club has – excessive player wages.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a situation that is going to go away soon either. Having heard Mr Pannu state whilst interviewed with Tom Ross that the parent company accounts could be needed before the club was sold, I spent some time looking into this to find that it is indeed the case. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange Rules, Chapter 14 govern acquisitions and disposals by listed companies and rule 14.68 (pg 39 of the above link) states that a very substantial disposal (which the sale of BCFC would be) would require the accounts of BCFC  (audited by BIH’s auditors) and the up-to-date audited accounts of BIH included in any proposal to shareholders of a sale of BCFC. With the accounts of BIH due out (at the moment) at the end of March that means any proposal of sale couldn’t be issued until then at the earliest – and then it would require shareholder approval, meaning we would be lucky to see a sale completed by the end of the season at the earliest.

So where do we go from here? I think we have to accept that there will be some time now before any sale is completed – even the end of the season may being optimistic as it assumes that there is a buyer ready to go when the accounts are published with a figure for the club that will be acceptable to the BIH board and the shareholders. Whilst there are now sufficient finances in place for the remainder of the season I’d like some reassurance as the season progresses that there are plans in place both for BCFC and for BIH should BIH continue to own the club beyond the accounts year end in June of this year.

As fans, I believe the most important thing we can do is to back the team – staying in this division is paramount and a strong fanbase that remains committed to the club will help to make it a more attractive prospect to potential bidders.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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66 Responses to “Apathy and Protests”

  • tony says:

    Surely pannu knew all along that the bih accounts had to be sorted before the club could be sold or is he really that inept.This beggers the question why has he been banding around for so long about negotiating to sell the club to supposedly interested parties in hk and here knowing that without bih accounts it wouldn’t happen.The guy is a complete moron and the sooner he and the hairdresser are a distant memory the better.

    • James Black says:

      Tony, Read it again. The accounts are due in March.

      • John says:

        No James Bllack, Tony was quite right. Pannu stated, that he was trying to sell to two parties in Hong Kong a while ago,(and Paladini was also mentioned) even though, the publishing of BIH accounts had not happened. So Pannu, WAS either an idiot, or was telling porkies.

    • James Black says:

      I see you took on board what Al said there Tony. as it would appear you have misunderstood the post by Al, then i think that the word moron is a little misplaced. also Hairdresser. If you was a businessman i bet your first job was not a businessman, you was probably something else before that. When will these pointless insults end and always from those that don’t understand anything. Please can we stop all this name calling, they are not the Villains you want to believe they are as the post has kind of said. No money had gone to HK, Their was no fire-sale as you desperately wanted to believe. Is their really any need for these pointless nasty and inaccurate comments.

      • Brumboi says:

        In reply to James (and Teds comment further down).

        It’s refreshing to read your comments. Unlike most, you haven’t been influenced by the negativity of the press, and have looked at the reality (facts) of the situation.

        Fans should remember the old press adage of “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story”. A prime example of this being Butland going to Stoke. According to most of the press, it was almost a done deal he was going to Liverpool.

        Also, you, me and everyone else has the right to make their point, but I think any fan or group who thinks they can influence the running of BCFC (unless they’re prepared to buy the club) is sadly suffering from a case of ‘delusion of grandeur’. Fair play to them though for trying!

    • Blue in Spain says:

      Moron and hairdresser, isn’t it about time this sh!t was removed Dan, you are quick to remove posts when posters call each other names!

  • Ted says:

    Boycotts, protests, name-calling or even wider media attention cannot possibly benefit Birmingham City Football Club at this pivotal juncture.

    The resolution of the crisis that has engulfed the club these past two years hinges upon only four events:

    1. The publishing of BIH accounts in March (for better or worse)
    2. The completion of CY’s criminal trial in April (guilty or not-guilty)
    3. The securing of new finance (released CY funds or new owners)
    4. The final league table (promotion, relegation or status quo)

    As supporters we can only influence No. 4, by doing what we do best; providing united and unwavering support to the team and manager in EVERY remaining game this season.

    We can then take stock again in May, when things may look very different indeed.

    KRO

  • Tonytiler says:

    Protest by filling the ground showing potential buyers that whoever takes us on will have our full support. Kro.

  • Generalblue says:

    Thanks for the information.
    It would help if all Blues fans understood the basic fact that our expenditure on player’s wages and the club’s day to day running costs is huge and is, as you say, far higher than parachute payments.

    If we increase revenue through increased support and therefore increased gate receipts and match day takings we can stay safe from administration hopefully, without the need to sell more players or loan them out.

    I actually regard the fact that 16 players’ contracts or loans end in the summer as a real positive. This opens the door for more of our promising youngsters to step up to first team level on wages that the club can sensibly afford. By the summer even Mr Clark will have had a chance to initiate a longer term strategy on the playing side too ( hope that’s not wishful thinking ! )

    The biggest single criticism I would aim at Peter Pannu relates to the massively prolonged release of the BIH accounts. That assumes that he’s in a position to influence that situation sufficiently.
    Can you please enlighten us Mayor ??

    • almajir says:

      Well, as CEO, MD and executive director of BIH now you’d think he’d have some influence over sorting the accounts…

  • Stevieboy says:

    I’m with Ted!

  • StevieW says:

    Having just read this article I am now becoming of a view that we wont be sold. All this activity of being sold or not being sold is just smoke and mirrors to delay things until Carson Yeung gets his trial out the way. The fact the accounts are needed for a sale means there was never going to be a sale, certainly not in our expected time frames and now it looks like Pannu is trying to get BIH into a position to start trading again which I would hope then create a revenue stream of sorts to support the club.

    With money coming into the club then and a level of footy that is satisfactory for the fans will win the fans round to a certain degree as shown on Saturday the team played well and we won, it felt like being at a game last season.

    • James Black says:

      Good post Al as it clears up some things. Its not like they cant find a buyer if one comes along, it just means it cant go through till march after the accounts are presented. If a buyer came in tomorrow, then his not going to pay up and want it in his hands by saturday. A future buyer will scrutinize everything and wont be in any rush (unless his nuts). So nothing different really as i interpret it..

      • Blueboy88 says:

        So why did Peter Pannu claim Shanghai Media & Entertainment group were close to purchasing the club last year, when that transaction could never have gone through ?

    • carlos says:

      BIH do not have any revenue streams, they only exist to cream money off BCFC ie X-tep kit money.

    • Gibbsy says:

      I most certainly agree, Saturday felt like last season. We could have scored 4 or 5 goals, if we took our chances (3 1on1’s missed!)

      The atmosphere was great, as we had someone to take the P**s out of

      And the attacking in the second half was superb, especially Redmond, but why did we take so long to bring Big Zig on, it was obvious that they were all tall guys at the back and we were winning nothing in the air, so a change at half time seemed obvious to me

  • eddie says:

    I know its not a popular thought.
    But, what if CY is not guilty and his assets are freed up to continue what he started.
    after all, before the court case was started, we were doing better than I can remember in my life.

    if his assets are freed up, why not back him up?

    Also I think Ted is right, there’s only one way we can influence anything

    • almajir says:

      As much as that could happen Eddie I think it’s gone too far for many Blues fans.

      • eddie says:

        Mike Ashley had all the fans against him a few season ago, and look where they are now,

        Do you remember the green and yellow protest at Man Utd, that changed nothing.

        Fans are fickle, if we’re winning its OK

        • chris says:

          fans aren’t fickle, they just know in reality they have little say in their club except for not buying season tickets, complaining to the club in writing, not going at all or joining a club Trust.

          • Blue in Spain says:

            Fans aren’t fickle………… You’re joking right, fans up and down the country have never been more fickle!

      • bluenoseneil says:

        It hasn’t gone to far for me. If the guys innocent and is prepared to re-invest in the club to bring it up a level again, why no earth wouldn’t every sane Blues fan want that??????

        • James Black says:

          With you both there Bluenoseneil and Eddie. If its gone too far with some fans, its mostly down to them misreading situations and my personal belief is that they need putting right more than they presently are.. If his guilty well that’s another matter and out of his own hands i imagine, but if innocent, If, then i think his been dealt a very bad hand across the board.

          • bluenose 11 says:

            does he have the funds ?

          • Mjt says:

            I totally agree James, if he’s innocent he has been hard done by and Blues fans should acknowledge that. However, what is unforgivable for many fans is the lack of information from Yeung, Pannu et al, Pannu has provided sketchy information at best and the link between BIHL and BCFC is non existent in iterms of the flow of information to the fans and that is not good enough. Carson has provided nothing himself no reassurance, no statements and no interviews (if that is due to the conditions of his bail then I retract that criticism but Pannu and BIHL can have no excuse). If Carson is innocent or guilty it is irrelevant for me, it will be best for the club if we can get a different owner who has enough backing himself or through others to do right by the club and the fans like Carson did for a couple of years.

        • Ali Duncan says:

          I’m guessing for some fans the lack of communication has made them think enough is enough. If people have taken the time to write to the club and been ignored it doesn’t make you feel like a valued customer / fan. Gold and Karren always replied to any communications and IMO treated fans with a little bit more respect (this is potentially contraversial as some people no doubt had bad experiences so it is subjective)

      • swissjonny says:

        Carsen could have a way back.But Pannu-no way!!!!

        • James Black says:

          Apart from a somewhat misreported issue over his salary i see no reason why not. Hasn’t he managed to balance the books and if it wasn’t for the fickle fans disappearing then he wouldn’t of perhaps needed to sell Butland. I dunno if that’s true but i know he has turned us into a self financing club as he had too as Carson Couldnt invest with the asset freeze. Not so long ago everyone was singing his praises then a piece of not too good journalism and everyone jumping on the gangster bandwagon again. For me his done a fine job and just becuz he dont tell everybody everything for obvious reasons, then that don’t say his not done his job well. Confused about what his done that’s so wrong. I dont take Tom Ross as what i would call a good investigative journo and i didnt hear the interview as im not in the country, but ive never took Ross seriously ever.

          • almajir says:

            Misreported issue over his salary? He’s on 13.5k per week!

          • James Black says:

            Minus £430,000 Budget expenses. 13.5k a week comes to 704.39625 quid. It was reported that the figure was £687,611. He claimed 430, 000 of which was budget expenses which is 8,241 a week leaving 4,791 as actual salary. Ok maybe you can call that high as regards taxed budget expenses. It depends on what the budget expenses are for as to whether its controversial and until we see the accounts where im sure it all has to be itemized then i think its maybe a little rash to say he claimed 13.1 for himself. I don’t know a CEO anywhere that pays his own budget expenses. So even if those budget expenses are deemed as high, its still wrong to make the claim that he earned 13.1 in actual salary per week. In that sense it was misreported.

          • almajir says:

            James – those figures came from the accounts mate, it’s not itemised. However, they cannot be business expenses as they would be put somewhere else in the accounts.

            So, no it’s not wrong mate. Pannu took nearly £700k in salary and benefits from the club alone last year – in addition to any pay received from BIH and any consultancy fees received from BIH

          • James Black says:

            Ok well i will bow to your better knowledge on the subject Al. But i was going to say that i don’t dispute that the Expenses were high but can it really be said that its all salary. Not disputing that its high and im confused that nothing was itemized as i thought it had to be. I’m getting out my depth by my own admission here, but im trying to work through it. Would it not be fair to say that some of it has to be for expenses, and why wasn’t it itemized. I will happily admit im wrong but that was the stand i was taking, in that some of it has to be expenses. So was the expenses itemized elsewhere as i thought they had to be itemized. I admit im outta my depth but trying to follow it. I did not mean to contradict you but im just confused.

        • chas says:

          Why wouldnt he, SwissJ ? What exactly has he done wrong ? He has kept the Club going on his own almost.His biggest boo-boo in the eyes of many ,as far as I see, was to upset the sensitive souls who were upset when he upstaged them with his answer to their chants of ‘Where’s the money gone’..Instead of treating it like the joke it was menat to be, they got all precious..One reason why i would never put money inot a football club if ever I was in a position to do so..

          • Blueboy88 says:

            Whats he done wrong ?

            I will ask the question again – So why did Peter Pannu claim Shanghai Media & Entertainment group were close to purchasing the club last year, when that transaction could never have gone through ?

          • swissjonny says:

            Chas.Just a few reasons.1. Incompetent negotiations on players contracts.2.Total lack of communications skills.3.Total lack of negotiating skills.4.Total lack of man management as regards two managers.5.Opaque and wholly inappropriate attitude towards his own remuneration and the recording of such .As regards him keeping the Club going I feel that this is down to the poor unrecognized souls who work in the BCFC offices.

    • Jimbo says:

      My concern is that CY has no assets other than the club. He is heavily invested in the club and looks like he’ll be evicted from his 12million (£/$) property shortly. He used the property to secure loans that he then passed on to the club. If/when his assets are freed I can see that he will need to recall his loans to the club (which it is suggested he could do as it doesn’t appear there was a formal agreement on repayment).

      Another concern I have is that on Saturday I heard, from another fan, that Zigic’s salary will increase again this summer upto around £70k pw. Has anybody else heard this?

      What we need to do is turn up on a a Saturday. Not moan about the board. Get behind the team. The league table is incredibly tight. I think we’re only 7points from 7th place.

    • Brumboi says:

      Well said Eddie.

      This is a point I made on here last week.

      Under their ownership, we enjoyed the most succesful time (in my lifespan anyway), finishing mid-table in the prem, and that fantastic cup win.

      Non of us knows what may have happened if CY’s arrest hadn’t have happened.

      I did however give a balanced view by saying if CY is guilty of laundering dirty money he deserves everything he gets.

    • The Flying Pig says:

      This is purely speculation on my part, but it has always seemed to me that Carson does care about the Blues, at least in the sense that he is interested in our results.

      If the intention on his part is to try and take back the reigns, to what extent can he influence that, being that the other shareholders can out-vote him whatever his wishes?

  • bluearmyfaction says:

    Add to that the mooted protest of walking out at half-time was a stupid idea…

  • James Black says:

    I’ve been enjoying reading a lot of Als posts of old. It puts things in perspective a lot and serves as a reminder of good intentions and some of the optimism that we all had before Carson’s arrest. Particularly http://oftenpartisan.co.uk/archives/330/to-build-or-not-to-build.html From 2010. I agree entirely with Als point there especially in the light of how things turned out. Imagine a 46,000 seater with 13,000 in, we definitely woulda sunk.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Club say they wont be taking the full 3000 allocation for Charlton on Saturday as they dont look like selling out the original 1000 :-(

  • Mirkwood says:

    If there has been a change of mood in the past few days then I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that we were led to expect a mass exodus on or before transfer deadline day. In the end only Butland left us, and even he is back for the rest of the season on loan. The squad for the Forest game was the same as for previous games, plus the unexpected addition of Wes Thomas. The portents for on-the-field activities are, therefore, much brighter than we might have expected and fans’ feelings may well reflect this.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    As fans, I believe the most important thing we can do is to back the team – staying in this division is paramount and a strong fanbase that remains committed to the club will help to make it a more attractive prospect to potential bidders.

    Dans comments not mine.

    I’d like to ask our so called fans this.

    What are YOU doing to support the club bar running every aspect of it down on the internet then going on about how you used to go down.

    • Blue in Spain says:

      I have to admit, my only contribution these days is Blues Player, and buying the odd shirt, however I don’t expect any owner to put his own future at risk by mortgaging himself to the hilt….

    • SirHarry1875 says:

      To change the subject slightly PC, can you recommend any Pubs round Charlton way where kids are allowed?

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    I can mate the Charlton Liberal Club.

    Get off the train, come out of the station and turn right (uphill)

    On the other side of the road to the station you’ll come to this club which we have been going in since the 80s.

    Get there around 12.30 and you should be OK but it does get quite busy after that.

    • Sirharry1875 says:

      Thanks for that Paul, much appreciated. Getting an early train so should make it tho might see what Greenwich is like.

  • Paulo says:

    I’m actually quite glad that no protest emerged, of any sort. I was dreading the notion that any such organised and peaceful protest would be hijacked by a minority that could have turned things very ugly. The idea of a protest quickly spread and from what I could make out, it was panic stations. Thankfully the Blues Trust have said their reservations, but I do think those that could have organised any such protest stepped down prior to Saturday anyway.
    Things are now back to the usual waiting game of BIHL’s accounts being released, to which I am not expecting a ‘full’ report, but one that can just about get us sold and satisfy a potential buyer. This will probably go on for a bit, as most of us know how slow things have gone in HK up to now. The only reasonable argument people have is with BIHL, not CY, as I cant really see what he personally has done to us! He has had an asset freeze, up for trial and now lost his big house, but apart from his naievety in the first place. It’s how BIHL has conducted itself and been allowed to have operated with little scrutiny. The X-tep deal simply showed that …as well as PP’s incredible pay rise on his journey to the top. Did CY authorise any of it? I dont know. My worry is that the next owner could do the same. Some legislation is needed to protect the interests and ability of football clubs here in the UK ..from offshore owners. This really cant be allowed to happen again. We are very fortunate not to have suffered more than what we have done already, and yes it could get a little worse, but we now know why.

    • eddie says:

      I am also glad no protest emerged on Saturday and can’t see how sending 500 postcards to CY in Hong Kong telling him to sell the club can help.

      If he is innocent of all charges, we need to keep him on side and hope he reinvests to return us back to where he got us to before

  • Earlswood buenose says:

    Al, I accept youf figures of 16mil paracute payment and 25 mil wages, but where are the gate receipts in all that. At a gate of 17,000 at say £20 per head and 46 games thats nearly another 7mil, plus tv, and other sponsoship, doesn’t that balance the books at the moment?

    • almajir says:

      Nope… don’t forget, wages aren’t the only bill the club has. Currently the only way the club remains afloat is by selling players.

  • Eric says:

    We need an 11 point gap between Blues and the 3rd team from the bottom in case of the big A hapening….

  • les says:

    Unfortunately i feel the waiting game will continue,i truely believe that carson is doing everything he can to hold onto the club as i dont think he wants to let it go.My guess is he is waiting to see how his trial goes,if he loses he sells and if he wins he keeps,his assets are unfrozen and he invests.

  • Woodlands says:

    My view has not changed – the Club will not be sold until the Court case is over. If CY is not guilty or even guilty with a fine or a suspended sentence he may decide to carry on if his assets are unfrozen and his backers – or new backers – release his line of credit. If that happens it MIGHT return us to where we were at the end of the 2010-11 season with Clark ordered to get us promotion and some investment to replace the players who will undoubtedly leave on Bosmans.

    If he is found guilty and goes to prison and his assets are unfrozen he will still not sell till he gets the return he wants. At that stage unless the wage bill has been radically pruned, then Administration is a real possibility or if in order to avoid that so CY can retain control of the Club and the Club is run on a shoestring, relegation is a real risk…..

    Rock and a Hard plase I call that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Bluenosesol says:

      In the past we have endured many an end of season relegation scrap. We have always been favourites to survive such encounters because we always rally behind the team

      • Bluenosesol says:

        …but who knows, a good run of results in the next 3 games , then with just 11 games to go, relegation may look increasingly unlikely!

  • James Black says:

    comment edited

    James – I appreciate the sentiment but I decided a while back that it’s probably for the best that I keep the comments on here fairly neutral about the protest group. I would suggest if you have an issue with their comments then I would suggest you take it up with them, directly, there.

    Thanks,

    Almajir

  • WelfordBLue says:

    I don’t no about anyone else, but I’m looking at us only being 10 points off the play offs!!!

    A little too optimistic maybe??

    • eddie says:

      I’m with you,
      I think everyone has been swept up by a negative media campaign.

      “Good news doesn’t sell newspapers”

      If you look at the last 4 seasons, when we got promoted the same day as the Wolves into the premier league.
      we have had a better time than them.
      I would rather have had our 4 years than be where the Wolves are now.

      Mid table,
      Above the Wolves & Bolton
      Silverware in cabinet

      its not all bad

  • Generalblue says:

    Pannu may be MD, CEO etc of BIH , but it’s probably the major shareholders that have more influence over how and when the accounts are presented.

    Also, and I’m not necessarily saying that Pannu’s entire salary is fully deserved, but we have players on considerably higher wages than £13 k per week. Who contributes more ??

    I’d be interested to know what other ex-prem club’s chief execs are paid too.
    Maybe £13 k per week is huge to us as working class men in the street, but at that level it may not be massively out of proportion.

  • Generalblue says:

    The table here shows what CEO s or highest paid directors earned in 2008 – that’s 4/5 years ago !

    table 1 Premier League CEO pay 20086
    Club Highest Club Turnover Club Loss/ Profit % of Salary % of Directors’ Pay Profit turnover turnover
    Liverpool 112,000 185,000,000 -54,900,000 -30% 0.1%
    Fulham 137,035 63,100,000 5,800,000 9% 0.2%
    Aston Villa 229,592 84,200,000 -30,100,000 -36% 0.3%
    Everton 244,000 79,700,000 -6,900,000 -9% 0.3%
    Arsenal 1,718,000 379,900,000 56,000,000 15% 0.5%
    West Ham 349,000 76,100,000 -16,200,000 -21% 0.5%
    Spurs 650,000 113,000,000 33,400,000 30% 0.6%
    Blackburn 323,433 50,900,000 3,600,000 7% 0.6%
    Man Utd 1,953,000 286,400,000 -83,600,000 -29% 0.7%
    Newcastle 762,763 85,700,000 -14,600,000 -17% 0.9%
    Bolton 584,000 52,400,000 -8,700,000 -17% 1.1%
    West Brom 543,000 47,000,000 -12,300,000 -26% 1.2%
    Man City 1,515,000 125,000,000 -121,000,000 -97% 1.2%
    Sunderland 888,142 64,500,000 -24,200,000 -38% 1.4%
    Birmingham 466,137 27,500,000 -20,100,000 -73% 1.7%
    Wolves 600,178 18,300,000 -4,400,000 -24% 3.3%


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