Often Partisan

The Xtep Deal

The Blues Trust today gave its second update after the fans forum it hosted on February 2 with some further information on the controversial Xtep deal.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have been working alongside the Trust Board in their current investigations and I have seen the same documents that they have. As they said, I can’t link the documents myself either due to confidentiality issues but I can share a little bit of my own thoughts on it here.

A lot of the controversy surrounded the so-called “counter-deal” with Xtep that saw BIH pay HK$10million per annum for advertising support within the People’s Republic of China. To quote the statement within the YE 2012 BCFC accounts

However a so-called unannounced and undeclared counter sponsorship arrangement was made where by an annual figure of HKD 10M was to be repaid to Xtep, purportedly to support advertisements and promotion of BIHL/BCFC in China

which in my opinion insinuates that the deal was secret.

However, this is not true. In the original announcement made to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, reference is clearly made to an advertising agreement set up with Xtep although no details are given save that

Pursuant to the Advertising Agreement, Birmingham HK has agreed to jointly promote the “BCFC-Xtep” branded sportswear in the Territory with Xtep HK during the 5 years’ match seasons from August 2010 to May 2015

which in my opinion makes it hardly unannounced. Furthermore, I have seen a document that confirms both agreements were signed off by a meeting of the BIHL board, which had Carson Yeung in attendance and that all directors were aware of the deal.

The biggest issue was that no money from the deal came to Birmingham City FC. Instead, it was set up between a subsidiary of BIH called Birmingham (Hong Kong) Ltd. As I’ve mentioned before, that company doesn’t appear either on the UK or HK company register. I’ve been advised that BHK is a 100% owned subsidiary of a company called Birmingham Investment Holdings Ltd, a British Virgin Islands company which is itself a subsidiary of BIH.

What happened appears to have been a breakdown of communication and a loss of control. I understand that BHK was supposed to have paid Birmingham City a fee to licence the “intellectual property” – ie for usage of the name and the badge and that fee was never negotiated, never mind paid. Furthermore, BHK was to have approval over items of “Xtep-BCFC” branding clothing released by Xtep (which never was exercised) and was to receive a fee of 7% on all sales of “Xtep-BCFC” branded clothing (which I’ve seen no evidence of BCFC or BIH receiving).

I have also been made aware that BHK was to source additional revenue streams with the BCFC brand in China but again this never happened. The reason for this is up for debate but again it’s my understanding that various ideas were declined by Carson Yeung himself as unfavourable.

What I would like to see is if any money is booked in or out in the soon-to-be-released Birmingham International Holdings accounts relating to this deal. As BHK is a British Virgin Islands company it’s next to impossible to get the accounts for that firm to see what money has come in so we’re reliant on the group accounts.

The Trust and myself have been advised that there are still outstanding legal issues with respect to the Xtep deal and as such I have to be careful what comment I pass on it myself. The one thing I do believe is that the whole deal at best shows a level of incompetence that the club and the holding company should not have suffered – it could have been a good deal but there appears to have been no effort to have made that so.

BCFC ended the deal with Xtep by mutual consent on June 29 2012.


45 Responses to “The Xtep Deal”

  • Gary R says:

    So, I’m guessing Blues will never see a penny from this deal – compensation etc etc?

  • Agent McLeish says:

    My initial thought is – why set up a subsiduary in the British Virgin Islands (BVI)? Only logical reason that springs to mind is that no annual return or audit of financial statements by certified third parties is required in BVI.

  • Martin says:

    Good information, so it seems we never got any money from the xtep deal and never will? Great business, who owns xtep…..?

  • Tony says:

    At the end of the day was it a Fiddle Dan?

  • richard66 says:

    hi all,

    just wondered why the web site is called often partisan ?? im sure you are all aware our famous anthem uses the words “with hearts of partisan” and not “often partisan” ?


    • almajir says:

      Erm… I don’t know how to break this to you, but the correct words (as sung by Blues fans) are “we’re often partisan”.

      • JohnR says:

        You’ve been too polite there, it’s unbelievable that a Blues fan doesn’t know the correct words to our anthem.

      • prewarblue says:

        I,ve always understood the words to be,,,,,”We,re Off To Partisan” sung as a result of our FIRST exploits in Europe,,,,,,,when “Partisan Belgrade” were a real force in Europe and ranked along side the Real Madrids, Juventus and Ajax teams

        • almajir says:


          • Graham Woodward says:

            of course it is, we sing “we’re of….to Partisan” not “we’re of….ten Partisan” why would sing “we will journey on” straight after “we’re of…ten Partisan”? Don’t make no sense.

          • almajir says:

            No mate, you’re wrong.

            It’s “we’re often partisan”.

          • prewarblue says:

            Sung with a “Brummie” accent,,,,,,its “Off TER Partisan”,,,,,,

          • Chris Smith says:

            I almost spat out my tea after reading that exchange.

        • prewarblue says:

          Listen here Kid,,,,,,I should know,,,,,I was there when you was just a twinkle in your dads eye lol

          • prewarblue says:

            AND to be a Blues fan you have to be “Partisan” over your support for your team,,,,,,no divided loyalties,,,,,,so to me its obvious,,,,”We Are Off To Partisan” meant we were going there

    • James says:

      Poor wind up or bites own shoulder…

      • grim says:


        “AND to be a Blues fan you have to be “Partisan” over your support for your team,,,,,,no divided loyalties,,,,,,so to me its obvious,,,,”We Are Off To Partisan” meant we were going there”

        You literally just explained why it is “Often Partisan” and not “off to Partisan” but you still think it’s referring to Belgrade? r u crazy bro?

    • Grizzly says:

      If people would pronounce ‘often’ correctly; the ‘t’ is silent, then there would be no confusion amongst the idiots.

    • Paulo says:

      ‘We’re often partisan, we will journey on…’
      As wrote by Sir Harry Lauder, and brought to life at Birmingham City by one very legendary and Scottish player of ours, on a certain coach to a certain game..
      Partisan: A sometimes militant supporter of a cause, faction, person, party or idea.

      Mostly misinterpreted by those who don’t know the song, or have learnt it by hearing it sung incorrectly ..or incoherently. I’d say the latter. But no thanks goes to the recorded reggae song ‘Off to partisan’ ..(why???)

      Words are there on the official site for all to see (somewhere), but it’s relatively easy to research anyhow.

      • prewarblue says:

        I agree with you regarding the original words as sung by Sir Harry Lauder and the crowd in 1956 but again state that over the years the Blues faithful changed certain words due to the “Inter City,s Fairs Cup” to that which I have stated and the away games that entailed,,,,,,I may be old but am not deaf, demented or dense,,,,,,,those are the words I clearly remember singing on the Tilton along with the rest of the choir and I am sure others do,,,,,,,,the song has evolved from the original.

        ps the original song was written as a tribute to his son who was killed in W.W.1,,,,,meaning they would meet again when “Sir Harry” died in the after life

        p.p.s you can hear the original version on the C.D “Keep Right On” by Birmingham City F.C & Supporters,,,,,,which was sold in the club shop [ where I obtained my copy ]

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact

  • prewarblue says:

    Its a bit like the W.W,1 message that came back from the front line,,,,,the orginal message was shouted “Send reinforcements,,,,we are going to advance”,,,,,,,the general staff got the message as “Send three and four pence !!,,,,,,we,re going to a dance”,,,,,,,,or during the Falklands in 1982,,,,,the message was sent “Air Raid Red”,,,,,,,loud cheers greeted this as it was relayed “Galteri,s Dead”

  • Marky mark says:

    Villa fan alert, doesn’t know the words.

    Shoot him Dan.


    • almajir says:

      As stated in the article, Birmingham (Hong Kong) who were dealing with it didn’t exercise any quality control for whatever reason.

  • Swedish Bluenose says:

    The Xtep company and the Xtep deal with Birmingham City are two different things. The Xtep company is producing good products, I got a great running shirt made by Xtep when I ran the Hong Kong half-marathon in February. Good quality, much better than shirts I got in Europe after a couple of marathon races 11 years ago.
    The Xtep deal with Blues seems to be something that a director, Vico Hui, arranged, probably with his friends there to make a lot of money to put in their own pockets instead of giving it to the company. Typical Hong Kong style. In typical Hong Kong style, companies shall also have their home in the Virgin Islands to minimise transparency. Also, typical Hong Kong style is that you don’t have to have physical meetings in a company to make decisions. You just write meeting minutes and give to the company secretary for audit later on. So those who signed the minutes may not know a single thing about the issue.
    By the way, I am very often partisan when it comes to Birmingham City FC.

  • northfield says:

    Can’t believe so many people don’t know the correct words ffs its “often partisan” meaning were often loud, cheering, ecstatic etc etc lol ffs

    • desertbootboy says:

      agree with you…..one of the first and most important things my dad told me…..

  • chris says:

    was this deal around the same time Michael W…. (can’t remember his name .. getting old!) blues director left the club.
    could this deal be the reason?

  • Tony says:

    Racist Paul?

  • Paulo says:

    So interesting how the topic moves to a much more important sector (ha ha)

  • Aussiebrum says:

    Assuming there was specific non performance by Xtep – BCFC should bring an action for damages and return of the full monies due and payable.

  • Poppa999 says:

    When I first started going up st Andrews I thought they were singing “We’re off to park the van!” (True).

    • prewarblue says:

      Your comment about “Off To Park The Van” has reminded me about a little story I heard of,,,,,,,a child was asked what their favourite hymn was,,,,,,their reply ?,,,,,,The Teddy Bear one !!,,,,,,,”Whats that one about they were asked,,,,,,,,”Gladly The Cross Eyed Bear” came the reply,,,,,,,the correct title for those atheists among us is,,,,,Gladly Thy Cross I,d Bear

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