February 14, 2013 by Made In Brum
Coronation Street, Eastenders and Emmerdale are popular soap operas in the UK. However, add to that a soap opera which is very different, very entertaining and at times, very frustrating, but never ever boring. This soap opera never ever wins television awards. That soap opera is called Birmingham City FC. Well, in particular, the takeover of the club, or lack of in this case.
The Italian Job has turned into the Chinese takeaway as Blues fans have left the exit labelled ‘hope’ into the door labelled ‘fear’. Since Gianni Paladini registered his interest in the club, there has been too much going on to even remember the half of it. After his offer was put on the table, he went public in his expectation of landing the club ‘within ten days’. This was mid-November. Peter Pannu states that he wanted assurances of who Paladini’s backers were, but the Italian wouldn’t disclose such information.
Both parties reached an impasse.
Pannu then accused Paladini of being all mouth. He said- “There are no active negotiations with the group involving Gianni Paladini or any of his associates. Should there be any agreement reached, there should be formal announcements made in Hong Kong and also in the UK”.
Paladini then hit back with- “He doesn’t want to talk to us. So we are pulling out of the deal. I’m very disappointed, but what can I do? The only way the deal can be revived is for him to take our deal. If he doesn’t see that, there’s nothing I can do. And if he doesn’t want to sell there’s nothing I can do.But I can show you proof that we have talked. I even reached an agreement with his lawyer about his commission. So what’s he talking about? We want to be in before he sells all the players in January. I don’t want to come in February when the club is in a right mess. I’m disappointed for the fans. We have worked hard to make this deal happen. Mr Pannu doesn’t want to sell. He knows the deal – everything has been agreed. What else can I do? I’m very disappointed. We have been working on this for three months. I was looking forward to it. I could have done a fantastic deal for the club”.
Since then, there has been talks with a Chinese group of businessmen, seemingly associates of Carson Yeung and the deal with Paladini’s men has completely fizzled out with the Italian conglomerate declaring themselves out of the running (if you can call it that) of the takeover of BCFC. Not wishing to tar all Chinese businessmen with the same brush, but you can’t help but fear. Yeung has been trying to ‘drum up interest’ with this Chinese group. Theories doing the rounds suggest that the new consortium will merely be the cash source behind Yeung’s control. If one thing is obvious in this whole situation it is that Carson still wants some sort of control at Blues.
Someone asked me last week ‘if Yeung was found not guilty in court and has his assets freed as a result, would he be able to fund Blues comfortably with his own money?’. That is difficult to tell. Cast your mind back, this financial mess started before his arrest. Obviously, it would help, and ease the problems we currently have. Are they as bad as we think? To reject bids for players in January and to only cash in on Jack Butland would make me believe that either there is something in the pipeline, or Blues’ financial woes are not as bad as we first thought. The club was in need of a cash injection in order to avoid administration. Just how much was needed was unclear. Pannu said players would be sold until the relevant amount to keep the club going was bought in. So was only £3.5m needed?
With Yeung’s assets frozen and no overdraft facility, Blues had to be self-sufficient. Until such a time when we have our main shareholders financial backing, it will be the same until a buyer comes in. If Carson’s ‘mates’ take over, don’t be surprised to see Mr. Yeung’s name remain on the list of directors.
By Rob Wildey.