Often Partisan

Postcards from HK: Is No News Good News?

You can tell it’s a slow news week in Birmingham when one of the most read stories around the Blues yesterday concerns Robbie Savage and his tips to players who want to get a move away from their team. The Welshman is of course famous for what was his eventually successful attempt to force a move from Blues to Blackburn Rovers in 2005.

Out here in Hong Kong, it’s very difficult to get a grasp on what is happening in Birmingham. I’ve become increasingly reliant on social media, on forums and on emails from friends and contacts to get any idea of what is happening in Brum at the moment. Although I suspect people like Peter Pannu and Carson Yeung have somewhat better lines of communication about things than I do it does become easy to appreciate how divorced from the situation at the club one can become when here for a long time.

Of course, with things like Skype, email and documentation sharing platforms like Google Docs and Dropbox it’s a lot easier than it used to be to be able to be in command remotely but I have started wondering just how much leadership one can give whilst being so far away. I’ve long held that staff at the club do an excellent job with the situation that they are in and are justifiably one of the reasons to be proud of Birmingham City FC. However, as much as they have done brilliantly at St Andrews I do wonder how hard it must be to work with no visible figurehead at the top and having to refer all the “big picture” decisions to a faceless board over here.

Whilst I have to admit that I am more keen on owners who prefer to stay out of the media spotlight than owners who like to be interviewed frequently by Sky Sports News (especially if they can have their helicopter in the background) I do think it’s important that whoever takes on the club ensures that there is an effective board management team in Birmingham – if only to be a visible face of the board who can say “the buck stops here”. It’s not that I think the staff at the club need micromanagement or anything like that – one of the best things of the current administration is that they have been given the opportunity to work on their initiative and to get on with things – but I do think that Blues have been somewhat of a rudderless ship since Pannu’s more frequent trips back to the far east.

It’s interesting that despite the rumours that had been doing the rounds since the end of June we are still nowhere closer to a sale. There has been no announcement to a stock exchange, what amounted to a tacit denial from Pannu in an announcement from the club and it has to be said, there is absolutely no word of anything happening out here. I’m not egotistical enough to say that means that there is definitely nothing happening but one would think if a sale is as close as was rumoured somebody here would know something – Hong Kong is a town that runs on gossip after all – and that there would probably have to be some sort of information released to the HKSE saying that talks were at least in progress – especially as the holding company have been told that details of what BIH intend to do with BCFC have to be given to the stock exchange prior to a resumption in share trading.

What it comes down to is that I think we all have to hope that there is something a bit more concrete to report on next week than a former midfielder’s salacious discussion on how to screw even more money out of a football club – three points tomorrow would be a good start.

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34 Responses to “Postcards from HK: Is No News Good News?”

  • KazakBlue says:

    It may be worth you having a trip again to Macau, and asking what is the relationship or former relationship between Pollyanna Chu and Carson Yeung.

    As of 2011, Chu owned a 70% stake in Birmingham International Holdings.

    A lot of the gossip in Macau refers to certain loans that were made to Carson by Pollyanna to enable him to purchase the Blues in the first place, maybe they are true, maybe they are not, just a thought.

    • almajir says:

      Firstly, Ms Chu has never held that much of the company – she held 14% as part of an underwriting of a placing.

      Secondly, details of the relationship between Carson and Kingston, the company owned by Ms Chu has come out in the trial and as such it’s sub judice and I’m loathe to touch on it further.

    • Pedant says:

      Wasn’t one of the first witnesses for the prosecution from Kingston Financial?

      I really don’t understand this obsession with Chu, the relationship is that BIH is/was a client of Kingston. Kingston made money by guaranteeing BIH a level of income from share issues, and were good at their job, since all the shares they underwrote were sold. Any share ownership of BIH was temporary. This is all standard stuff, Grandtop/BIH would have to use a company like Kingston to raise money on the Stock Exchange, they don’t have the skills necessary to sell shares themselves.

      Doing business at this corporate level involves lots of meetings and also wining and dining of clients, hence Chu being seen with Yeung, again nothing unusual there.

  • StevieW says:

    The lack of rumour truth or lies in the social media world is deafening. Even discussions of our football on many forums seems to have dwindled to a couple of comments about the odd player. Even people posting opinions do not seem to stoke the fires of debate in many areas.

    No news is good news because we assume something is going on and we will get to know eventually.

    It is as if the world has gone on holiday.

  • mark says:

    Robbie as a footballer is fine from me. The culture of trying to screw for a move or more money is nothing new. I fully understanding why fans get extremely angry when the otherside of robbie opens his mouth……….

    • StaffsBlue says:

      When he talks out of his mouth, it’s fine….. it’s when he starts talking out of his arse that people get peed off with him.

      Stick strictly to Strictly mate.

  • Bluenozee says:

    Our Directors Box must be empty as the Upper Gil Merrick!?
    They’ve miss a trick with ‘Director for the Day’ packages

  • Fange says:

    You know, there maybe no news, but i do stillI really enjoy reading your ‘postcards’. keep em coming, and I look forward to reading your book.

  • Mickey07 says:

    comment removed – I tried to edit it Mickey but it wouldn’t have made sense. You cannot make insinuations like that as they are libellous

  • KeepRightcroydON says:

    For the reasons you state (no stock market announcement etc), is does appear that nothing’s happening on the sale front. It is my belief that Carson does not want to sell and courting potential buyers is a bit of a charade to appease fans. Basically he is saying the club is for sale but wants an unrealistic fee for it, which makes it unsaleable.

    On a separate point, interesting you say that you have not heard any gossip, and that HK runs on gossip. But could it be that the locals do not think BCFC is not worth gossiping about? Afterall it has been stated on this site on previous occasions that people over there only care about the top six in the PL.

  • Tony says:

    I do wonder how many hours or should that be minutes a day Mr Pannu spends working on behalf of Blues. We all know he is on a very good financial package, would love to know what that equates to as an hourly rate, whatever it does not give him much incentive in reaching an agreement when talking to potential buyers for the club, quite the opposite in fact.

  • Rodney says:


    As always another insightful, interesting blog post.

    Despite the world becoming a smaller place, Hong Kong is still a very long way a way. One of the downsides of foreign ownership particularly in the case of Blues, is having a board on the other side of world.

    I’ve been to the Far East and recently South America. Physically and culturally you’re a long way from the UK – it’s difficult to maintain and have a feel for what’s going on back home. As we’re seeing, our owners can isolate themselves completely from the city and fans in Brum.

    As someone who’s recently retrained in journalism, I decided to contact the sports editor of the South China Morning Post a Noel Prentice. This might be something Dan you’ve already done. I wanted to pitch a story on how Blues fans are feeling back in the UK. I hoped we might get some coverage over there about the situation.

    He claimed it was something the paper had already covered, although I have my doubts. Most people over there are only interested in the big 5 or 6 clubs. They’re not interested in the likes of Blues so its difficult to get media attention in the way that say the Mail could or should be doing over here.

  • DoctorD says:

    So Al you think “that Blues have been somewhat of a rudderless ship since Pannu’s more frequent trips back to the far east”.

    You said he wasn’t in HK so ought he not to be in Birmingham then? Otherwise where is he and what is he doing?

  • P.J.Nicholls says:

    I go back to my original thoughts having been present at the closing down of several Non-league clubs.
    All of these were stripped of their main assets ie the Ground.
    Although the Blues trust have made a positive move by getting the Council to label At.Andrews as a community asset with it only being used for football the delay in getting monies raised for the eventual buying back of the ground seems way off.
    Maybe they should be looking at EU grants; FA grants;Monies raised by the supporters etc.
    As nearly everything that can be sold has been sold so leaving very littles for Pannu &Yeung to take.

  • Blue Nose Gaz says:

    Pannu stated last year he was focused in selling the club it seems to me he has been as successful in that venture as he has in the running of the club, it just beggars belief they were allowed by the FA to buy the club in the first place.
    So many questions remain to be answered like why they bought us in the first place knowing they never had the funds to progress the club, also what do they hope to gain by running the club into the ground.
    The main thing being why they wont sell even if Yeung wins his case they must know they will never be trusted again

  • tom says:

    fans are fickle. if carsons found innocent, and then suddently pumps millions into the club, all will be forgotton.

  • Blue Nose Gaz says:

    No way would he pump in millions the guy his skint I would say more but I know it would be censored

  • Tony says:

    I don’t care what he can or will hope to do in the future, I just want shut of both him and his sidekick.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I don’t believe any sale of the club will done before we get the verdict in Carson’s trial.
    Carson is obviously hoping to be cleared of all charges, and if he is it will be business as usual ie he will continue as owner of BIH and Birmingham City FC PLC.
    If he is found guilty, which is more likely, he has a big decision to make regarding ownership of Blues.
    A major component of the decision will be the severity of any sentence handed down.
    Depending on the sentence Carson may have no option but to sell.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      That’s my worry… that CY may think he has unfinished business at BCFC. He hadn’t owned the club that long before his assets were frozen, so didn’t get much of a chance IF, he gets off, he may fancy another crack at it.

  • Tony says:

    Dan when is the trial due to resume?.

  • Bluehobba says:

    Well, Her’s my gut feeling…we won’t get new owners in 2013 KRO

  • Frankie says:

    NO Pannu would be GOOD News !

  • Tony says:

    Oct 15 seems like a lifetime

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