Often Partisan

Hong Kong – Photo Special

Following my trip to HK with Matthew of Tilton Strugglers and Swissjonny, I’ve put together a few images I took to share with you.

I took this picture of Carson entering court on Friday. I thought he would be flanked by bodyguards and his brief but it wasn’t the case – he entered court alone (his counsel having come in about ten minutes prior) and he didn’t say anything the whole time.

We took this photo on Thursday evening, from outside the gates to Carson’s house. Whilst the views up there are spectacular the house itself didn’t appear that big; however the cars in the garages confirm the wealth required to live on it – we spotted Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and all manner of limousines nestled away in private garages just off the road. We did press the buzzer but there was no answer.

We met Mr Liu Xingcheng on Tuesday, and via a translator conducted an interview with him that lasted around two hours. He was quietly spoken, with an understated manner and he seemed to be intent on ensuring his message was gotten across. Some of what he said I cannot publish for legal reasons (which I hope to have resolved soon) and some of it is more background which has opened up new avenues for research. I suspect we will hear more from him in the press over the coming days and weeks.

Hong Kong is an incredibly busy, vibrant place. I took the above photo in the Central district, on a pedestrian overpass over Connaught Road Central. I generally was around the business districts of Central, Admiralty and Wan Chai and I couldn’t help but feel how much the place is boomtown; there is evidence of money all around be it in top designer shops, flash cars or incredibly high skyscrapers full to bursting with companies in offices.

However, what I didn’t see was anything about Blues; no Blues shirts, no merchandise, no Xtep shops – nothing. Bearing in mind the way to wealth for Blues under Carson was tapping the Chinese market one must wonder where it all went wrong.

31 Responses to “Hong Kong – Photo Special”

  • ChrisG says:

    IMO it all went wrong when CY got arrested for money laundering, since then his assets have been frozen. I was just wondering Dan, surely there must be someone connected with Blues or BIH that is able to put some money into the club for transfers etc or is that all down to CY alone?

    • KeepRightcroydOn says:

      It probably started to go wrong the moment he bought the club. I have my doubts about the legitimacy of the wealth he allegedly had then, a humble barber does not become a millionaire. I’m sure a lot will be revealed in the trial. If the proceedings of the 2nd day of the trial are a foretaste of what will be come out, we’re in for some jaw dropping revelations. I think the prosecutors want to know how someone earning £170k a year was able to amass £60m, an amount they allege no tax has been paid on.

      If he earned only £170k a year, clearly he could not afford to buy the club. If he amassed £60m he has some explaining to do to the HK authorities. I think either scenario implies that it started to go wrong the moment he took over.

      • Pedant says:

        I think you’re overstating the figures. According to OP, CY and his father reported incomes of “$1,985,229 and HK$174,163 respectively in total for the period between 1997 and 2006”. At an exchange rate of $HK15 to the £ (approx what it was then), thats around £150k in total. Or £15k a year between them!! By 2007 he was fronting a bid to buy Blues!!

        On the other hand. It hasn’t been said that he amassed £60m, but that payments totalling £60m went through their accounts.

        And of course, he never bought the club, his initial spending was £10m in buying 15% of Grandtop shares (although he has subsequently increased his shareholding and lent the club money).

    • chris says:

      ChrisG, not one of the board seem rich enough to own a football club. A club that wants promotion to the prem needs i believe 5 to 10 million a season unless you manage to build a team from very little like Blackpool or Burnley did when they went up or you skip those years by buying big signings.
      it is a bottomless pit. you will never see that money again. so Carson being worth around £60 million is not enough. If i had £60 Million i wouldn’t buy a club that wants millions a season, i would have nothing left in 5 to 10 years.
      Plus what someone is worth isn’t the same as having cash. This is what the bedsheets don’t get about Lerner, he was worth 1.5 Billion then with the crash he’s now only worth about £800 million and most of that is the value of his businessess, not cash.
      The same happened at Forest where Doherty was putting in £750,000 A MONTH!! just to keep it a going concern, then when he died he’s family rightly so just saw it as a leach on their assets and dumped it quickly, then the new owners from abroad who again didn’t seem to do their ‘due diligence’ properly suddenly pulled out of transfer deals like Chris Burke’s because they had only just realised what a state the finances were in.

  • Brian king says:

    I’ve been to HK 4 times and the one thing I came to understand about the chines mind set is you must be successful at making money. Making money defines you, it means you are successful you are lucky you have good fortune you have respect. However how you make money is by the way by hook or by crook you must make money.

    Sent from my iPad

  • Paul Carter says:

    I wonder how it would have panned out had we stayed up and Carson hadn’t got nicked? Would we have prospered or floundered? Who knows but anyhow be positive folks and KRO

  • Bluehobba says:

    Maybe it was going wrong even before the purchase of Blues. Too many ideas and yet not seeing them through to the finish.
    We will never understand what Macmanaman was employed to do. The “tapping in to the Chinese market” could have been massive for Blues. Makes you wonder what went wrong with that as money was coming in to Blues on these shores from the premiership but an even bigger amount was / is there to be gained from the foreign shores.

  • mark says:

    My uncle lived and worked in hong kong as lecturer as noted by yourself it is very busy place. Well done dan lovely photo’s mate.

  • eddie says:

    A friend of mine was in Hong Kong a few years back and was amazed to see BCFC billboards all over the airport as soon as he landed.
    He’s a Wolves fan so was surprised
    obviously before court case

  • Blooflame says:

    Awww mate! I love that place. been back about 7 years ago and was out there in the Forces. It’s as you said, vibrant, but the boomtown feeling is always there. The place is constantly evolving. Wan chai was / is the place we make our way to when our wives aren’t there by the way. Hope things continue for the best. Can you say you feel upbeat about our future after speaking to Mr Liu Xingcheng?

  • cornish bluenose says:

    Hi Dan well done…leading the way through the mire of dirt and grime that surrounds CY & PP.
    How about a few photos of yourself and the other guys on the trip…I’m sure you must have had a few beers and a Chinese while you were there.. Come on…Don’t be shy..!
    Paul

  • AndyP says:

    Our former C.E.O Micheal Dunford saw all this coming a year before Carsons arrest,and thus resigned his position.it would be interesting to hear his thoughts on current situation but somehow I doubt it.

    • KeepRightcroydOn says:

      He is bound by a confidentiality agreement, so is unable to reveal anything. Though I suppose id he is summoned as a witness in the trial, the court has the authority to make him reveal it.

    • chas says:

      I may be wrong, but isnt Dunford the one who negotiated Ziggy’s contract ? And lets not forget the disastrous Floods that washed away the factory ( and the workforce) where the Shirts were being made…

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    You simply cannot help but feel things could have so nearly gone so right for us. CY had a decent plan for BCFC in the Far East, but for whatever reasons they haven’t come to fruition. He knew the market and state of play over there. Whether there was/is too many differing ideas within BIH for it to have really taken off, who knows. But as it stands the club cannot truly move forward with the current set-up, we need clarity and investment. The season is over and this week CY’s battle in court will commence in earnest and the BIH meeting should prove to be competitive as well. Both events will have long-term bearings on Blues.

    • KeepRightcroydOn says:

      I’m not so sure he had a plan. To me it seemed like a lot of speculation and bluster. The Xtep deal was a case in point. Agreeing to pay high wages for players such as Hleb who did not care about the club, and gave half hearted performances on the pitch, questionable board appointments – none of these seem like a plan. He seems more like a gambler, a chancer to me. A lot of the problems we have now stem from the deals that struck with players in our relegation season, premiership wages for players who made us a Championship side.

      Some comments suggest that the court case and freezing of assets are the cause of our problems. They are actually the result of earlier bad decisions because there was no plan.

      • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

        CY has had a stake in our club for coming on to 6 years. He sold the idea to GrandTop/BIHL that by investing/buying Blues, they could use it as a vehicle to ‘crack’ China. All his initial interviews and statements (whether his words or those of his aides) all said that he would make contacts on the mainland and spread the brand. I may be wrong but perhaps CY thought that the real dollars were to be made by the associated deals that could be agreed parallel to BCFC. There was talk of clothing, airlines and such like. Whatever you think of the likes of Hui, Xingcheng etc., you cannot bullshit them into becoming involved in multi-million pound ventures. All that has happened is CY did not foresee what was necessary in running an EPL club and how the shit hits the fan when relegation looms. Add to that his legal woes, and we were always gonna have a tough situation.

        • KeepRightcroydOn says:

          To me it seems he talked the talk, but did not walk the walk. It’s easy to say one has plans to so this and that, but putting them into action is a different matter altogether. Indeed he got others to put their money in, but the fact that these people remained mysterious and then stopped providing further support is very telling. I really can’t understand why anyone would wish to defend this guy’s actions. There is no transparency in anything he’s done, either before he took over or since. What has he got to hide if he’s that good?

          It’s easy to put his probs down to not understanding the epl. If this is the case, why the hell did he and his associates embark on this venture? That in itself must indicate he could not have stood much of a chance to sell it to the Chinese market if he did not know his own product.

          • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

            One the one hand you say he (CY) talked the talk but could not “walk the walk” yet also criticise him for sanctioning the signings of Hleb et al.,!!!

            As for the case of transparency, has anyone actually said he has shown any?!?

            You make a very basic and tempting mistake in thinking I am somehow “defending” CY – utter tosh – all I have said is that it nearly came off for him had Blues not been relegated and his legal situation not arisen. My only concern is the wellbeing of BCFC. Nothing else.

            In business, it is all about percentages and risks (so has been said by many a learned and successful person) the owners embarked on this “venture” to make money – unless you believe they had altruistic and philanthrophic reasons….

            But if you disagree, continue convincing yourself that all the investors over in China and HK really do not know what they are doing………

    • KeepRightcroydOn says:

      Gamblers take risks and hedge bets on percentages. Good businessman have business plans which minimise risk, and have a clear pathway to achieve success. The business plan will have contingencies to address matters which plans go awry, in this case they should have had a clear plan on how to address relegation. I assert this from personal experience, having started a business from scratch, with a clear strategic plan, that minimalised risk, so I some idea about what I’m taking about. It’s about having knowledge of one’s product and one’s market. I know thus is a simplification, but I don’t think CY truly understands his product, and hence he has found it difficult to market it to organisations in China. While I accept that relegation made the product less marketable, one has to also acknowledge that he and his people actually signed tye Xtep deal while we were in the Premiership, and it should have had a relegation clause, clauses on intellectual property rights and protection etc. Very basic stuff that he and his people got badly wrong.

      Also at no point have I made a generalised statement that all Chinese and HK investors don’t know what they’re doing. My point was specifically about the ones who are associated with CY who it has to be said are very secretive and probably not very good – see my Xtep reference above.

      Sanctioning deals like Hleb’s is not walking the walk, more a case of poor judgement. Walking the walk is more that just doing things; it’s about actions that have positive outcomes.

      Having said all this, I owe you an apology for insinuating that you are defending CY. Off course you’re not, and I’m pretty sure you, like the rest of us would like to see the back if him and a return to stability at our club.

      • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

        Again you make the mistake of trying to fit the situation at Blues to somehow relating to your own circumstances.

        It seems strange to try and draw parallels between BCFC being in the situation it is and how it may have not been “marketed properly” or “been understood” by CY. It could be said that there is some daylight between a product and market and what is happening at the club in all its various forms. You almost make it sound as if it’s something being flogged down the local flea market.

        Also, you make several references to the X-tep deal and believe it was a great cock-up. The only cock-up was how the money did not flow into the club because of certain folk making strange choices. The deal itself was ostensibly good for the club considering what was in place before.

        You also make comment on good businessmen doing this or that in order to protect their assets and property, do good businessmen really invest in football clubs to make money or use them to further their networks and gain publicity for their other schemes??

        You claim that CY’s “poor judgment” in sanctioning high wages and transfer fees was not “walking the walk” – try telling that to fans who experienced the euphoria of winning the Cup or the European adventure. At that stage after the Golds and Sullivan, most wanted someone at the helm to spend megabucks on big names. Imagine if he really had spent the £80m he promised, where would the club be now (for good or otherwise)??

        You talk about secretive owners who shun the limelight and want to stay in the background; obviously you have little international experience in that part of the globe. In addidtion you may wish to read about the OP blog on Liu Xingcheng to get a little info and details on what these “mysterious” owners want to do.

        Finally, in business (believe it or not) I have my own as well, every choice, decision, plan, direction has an element of risk or math involved, you can minimize it but rarely eliminate it. In any walk of like there is a percentage of it.

        Oh, and no need for the apology.

        • KeepRightcroydOn says:

          Don’t think we’re going to agree on this one mate, so best leave it there. Enjoy your week and let’s hope some good news comes from HK during the close season. I think that’s something we can both agree on.

          • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

            Finally!!

            Something we both agree on!

            Take it easy yourself as well fella.

  • mark says:

    Dan- have you done probing regarding the failed Xtep deal, and why this deal failed………..

  • mark says:

    Also Dan- with your meeting with Mr Liu Xingcheng on Tuesday, did he have any information regarding this failed deal????

    • ChrisG says:

      Mark that could possibly be one of the things Dan cant discuss as yet for legal reasons, but i’m with you, it would be good to get some answers to this

  • desertbootboy says:

    take things back to when CY first took over,we was told he would put 80 million for players alone over the next two transfer windows….when this news broke,i think it was the mirror that ran a piece stating that the guy had a dubious background and questioned the wealth aspect.
    We as a fan-base new something like this was maybe going to happen,was it not mr gold that said he would never sell to them?
    Well done on your trip,its good to see that at least some are trying….KRO.

  • DoctorD says:

    The key things in Pannu’s fascinating statement last Friday
    http://www.bcfc.com/news/article/a-statement-from-peter-pannu-806262.aspx
    regarding the sale are:

    1 Mr. Yeung had procured an interested party from China and is personally leading the discussion there.
    2 The clearance of all the outstanding accounts will make a disposal easier and I am hopeful we can find some new owners who can take the club forward as the fans very much deserve a change.

    I get the impression from the rest of his statement that Pannu feels he is doing the best he can in trying circumstances and is miffed that some are questioning his actions.

    What Dan’s trip has done is to underline just what Birmingham City means in Hong Kong:
    a) the club and its fortunes have next-to-no profile over there
    b) Carson Yeung is attracting modest interest mostly because of the financial allegations — the fact that he is also the owner of a UK football club is less of a big deal
    c) just how weird it is to have a club in the UK run on UK lines but a parent company in Hong Kong run on very different Chinese lines — yet the sole activity of the Hong Kong parent company is the UK football club. Doesn’t seem sustainable to me
    d) how hard it is to get concrete information.


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