Often Partisan

No to Napoli

Eyebrows have been raised when Serie A club SSC Napoli’s President Antonio De Laurentiis told the media that he would like to buy a club in England and use it as to export the brandname of Naples around Europe. He has already confirmed that he has sounded out former Napoli manager Edoardo Reja to be coach of this hypothetical English club.

Naturally, with the situation at Birmingham City being what it is people have wondered if this would be a good thing for Blues – after all, Watford nearly managed to get themselves promoted to the Premier League this season having loaned twelve players from other clubs owned by the family of the Watford owner, Gino Pozzo. A loophole in transfer regulations which meant that international loans counted the same as permanent transfers meant Watford were not under the same restrictions as domestic loans which allow no more than four loanees from any club and no more than five in any match day squad.

I wrote about my feelings about how Watford played the situation back in February. I have to be honest in that I agree that Watford hadn’t done anything wrong, I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of it. It didn’t seem to be in the spirit of the game as it were; it circumvented the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules nicely and I wondered if it would dilute the quality of the English youngsters coming through their academy.

I also think that there were two key reasons why it worked for Watford which might not be replicated at other league clubs. The Pozzo family appointed Gianfranco Zola to manage the Hornets – and whilst Zola is a fellow Italian he has been involved in the English game for some time and has managed English sides. I think Wolves and Blackburn both showed this year with their Norwegian managers Stolbakken and Berg that it can be very hard for a foreign coach to come into the English leagues and enjoy immediate success – even if they have played a fair bit of football here as Berg did.

Secondly, I think the Pozzo family have had a tradition with their other clubs of developing young talent and improving it, and they had obviously looked for an English club to fit into that ethos. I’m not convinced that other clubs would be able to take such an influx of foreign players and assimilate them as quickly into a team that gelled together and was capable of performing in the division – and I’m certainly convinced that Birmingham City would find it difficult.

However, the real nail in the coffin is the expectation that the Football League will tighten up the rules at their AGM on Thursday and Friday of this week, whereby they are expected to bring international loan rules into line with domestic loans. There is talk around the Watford fan forums of various workarounds etc but I suspect that the FL will be closely scrutinising all attempts to circumvent any new ruling – particularly as Watford have a transfer embargo emplaced upon them because of issues under their previous owner, Laurence Bassini.

In short – whilst it might have been a nice pipedream for some, it will only remain as a pipedream. I thought with the way things are at Birmingham City it would be impossible for there to be any investment here anyway in that manner; with the rules changing I can’t see De Laurentiis executing his plan as it stands.

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46 Responses to “No to Napoli”

  • Richard Barron says:

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

    Napoli are a HUGE club with a worldwide fanbase – I don’t see what harm it could do financially. For Blues to link themselves with a club like this wouldn’t be a bad thing in my opinion.

    But on the other hand; I get where you are coming from with the managerial situation. An Italian Solbakken (I refer to him as he came with big ideas but had no clue about the English game) could be disastrous if he didn’t hit the ground running. I also think it would be unfair to sack Lee Clark at this stage as he did enough in the second half of the season to warrant another chance.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I’m not keen on us having further foreign owners, although I can see the attraction financially. But, I’m absolutely against this on the basis of the team/squad itself. With a set up like they had at Watford, our British youngsters wouldn’t get a look in like they are now. I for one would not like BCFC to go the way of Chelsea and Arsenal and Watford to a certain degree and field almost completely non-Britsh players. And before anyone accuses me of Xenophobia, I’m thinking only of the developement of British players, nothing else.

  • Kaje says:

    My concern here is that they would use the club to ‘export the brand name of Naples around Europe’.

    That sentence alone causes me huge worry. It seems to imply that they would be advertising Naples somehow, using the club to do just that. Which further implies there would be some changes in order to do that – they’re not just going to buy a club to ‘export the brand name’ and then not do anything…

    Where would they start and, more importantly, where would they stop?

    Change the club name to reflect Naples?
    Change the club badge to reflect Naples?
    Change the club shirt to reflect Naples?
    Change the ground name to reflect Naples?

    No. No. No. No. I wouldn’t want ANY of those, regardless of the level of investment in the club.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Let’s not dismiss this remote possibility out of hand. The only criteria to be assessed is……IS IT GOOD FOR BIRMINGHAM CITY FC? Is it the best option on the table? What are the alternatives? Are there any alternatives?
    I support the Banner not the Bearer,which means the club is more important than any individual.
    My only concern is the future success of Blues,not personalities.

    • almajir says:

      Did you read the article?

      • Richard Granfield says:

        Yes why?

        • almajir says:

          Because it’s not about personalities is it?

          The fact that the football league are going to make the rules tighter this week kinda negates the whole plan full stop. I don’t think it would work anyway because it’s not as simple as people think it is.

          • John Francis says:

            Surely this would make no difference as you could just buy the player instead of loaning him for £0 the sell him back at the end of the season for £0, wages could be payed in some form of sponsorship.

          • almajir says:

            I think the football league are going to be watching carefully how people try and bend the rules.

          • chas says:

            I fully agree with your points, Dan., but am just worried that the FA haven’t really got a very good track record of checking for Rule Benders, have they.. They even do it themselves, a la Doncaster Belles.

          • almajir says:

            Chas, that’s the FA.

            I’m talking about the Football League.

            The FA and the Football League are two completely different entities…

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Well, if it’s anything like the Fit and Proper Persons thing, we’ll all be confident won’t we?

  • lettuce says:

    Have you no pride in your City??

    I am a Blue Nose now living in Manchester, whilst a Bluenoe and a Brummie, Birmingham is not really my city anymore, I’ve been away 25 years.

    Putting aside the Club for a minute, but the 2nd largest City in the UK would be a laughing stock being a FEEDER club for the 4 largest City in Italy.

    The football club is one thing (and one I still dont want it to be a feeder club), but the City can not stand to be seen as this.

    Outside Birmingham, much of the UK sees Manchester as the 2nd City . I disagree with this, but it could be the nail in the coffiin however succcessful the idea would be in the short term.

    If this feeder club idea proved successful in the UK, maybe Napoli would find a higher club to be feeder instead, and where would that leave the first feeder? would it become the U18s for Napoli?

    Bad for the club in the medium term, bad for the City full stop.

    Have some pride!!!

    • DoctorD says:

      Pedant’s corner: Naples is the third biggest city in Italy by population:


      It’s unlikely the link with Naples will come to anything — even if the guy wanted to link with a club, it could be anyone not necessarily us.

    • John says:

      It is generally considered that Manchester, is now Englands second city. They have two football clubs that have won the premiership,and will more than likely win it again,plus an airport three times bigger than Birminghams’. We have two clubs in Birmingham,neither of which will ever win the premiership,if only because, they are at least 25 years (financially ),behind the top 5 clubs in England. And that, is one of the main reasons,why the selling of B.C.F.C., will remain difficult ! Only us bluenoses, know who the club is ! KRO

  • utbb says:

    Dont care who it is, as long as they are football minded and have some money. No i dont want to be like man city, ive supported the club in bad times but just want the club stable like before, id love to only worry/be happy about football matters, fed up and bored about our financial situation. Im sick of it and its getting embarrassing.

  • Tony says:

    Both Manchester clubs are foreign owned

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has taken an unusual approach to dissuading his players from a Premier League move – by saying English women lack hygiene.

    “If they want to go to England then in the end they’re going to go, but they need to understand this: the English live badly, eat badly and their women do not wash their genitalia. To them, a bidet is a mystery.”

    Here he raises an important question…why is the Bidet such a mystery to the English ?

  • mark says:

    Out of the frying pan into the fire……..

  • Tony says:

    Thought it was an implement for starting holes off before you put a screw in.

  • andya9 says:

    With all these new fair play rules coming in Birmingham have a head start with the way the club is being run at the moment. I am quite content in the knowledge that we have a very passionate manager who loves Birmingham City and eventually have a squad of players that will mirror that.

  • AndyP says:

    I thought you filled them up with water to keep bottles of beer cool

  • lichfieldnose says:

    An Italian journalist I heard on Talksport seems to think its almost certainly going to Crystal Palace. Foreign investors are as londoncentric as the national media it seems. Agree with the majority who think in essence becoming a feeder club would be a negative. As bad as things are off the field im more than happy to watch local youth team players learn their trade rather than developing talents for the benefit of other clubs.

  • Bop says:

    The only place in the country that thinks Manchester is the 2nd City is Manchester.

    I work all over the country and Bham is known as the 2nd City. I think living in the area has brainwashed you, as when ever I am in Manchetser, Mancs for some odd reason always try to make there claim.

  • Leigh says:

    It will not happen.
    However, whoever, if anyone ‘buys’ the Club , they will do it for their own reasons, in this case he has nailed his colours to the mast. If he were to be interested, at least he has the honesty and guts to say why he would be bidding.
    I may be foolish,but , I look forward to the return of CY,the only problem I see through the comments on this website, is one PP.

    • chas says:

      Leigh, if we start winning, all that went before will be water under the bridge. Remember Bowyer and Robinson ? Football fans are fickle.

  • Flakey says:

    Same person

  • Evesham blue says:

    Blues aside. Why should any English team be used to develop Italian players? We are supposed to be developing the English game

  • Leigh says:

    Great syrup, and the speed of light!

  • Chris says:

    Doesn’t matter what people think in regards of football terms. Since WW1 Birmingham city generally has been regarded as the second city with population and gdp…
    Manchester has a bigger population growth at the present time by 10% on us…

    O and one half bankrupt football club and another one that just thinks it can buy success regardless…
    Don’t get me started about the Blues of London (jokes) …

    Grate Blog Guys enjoy the reading here…..

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