April 17, 2014 by bluenosebible
By Nat Peters
Everyone has at some point made the analogy that a long awaited event is long the arrival of ‘London buses’; you wait forever, and then two come along at once. Well the news that has broken in the past twenty-four hours about Blues is more like the Number 50 that goes between Druids Heath and the City Centre; you wait ages for it, and then four come along at once.
Four, yes FOUR, different parties are apparently interested in taking over Birmingham City. After nearly three years of uncertainty, of selling our best players, of replacing those players with generally inferior players, of farcical events surrounding certain individuals charged with running the football club and of slipping further and further down the footballing scale, there seems to finally be some kind of light at the end of the tunnel.
There have been fleeting rumours and tales before now of potential salvation. Gianni Paladini whipped up a frenzy before (as I predicted) failing to come up with the goods. There was a ‘Sports Management Company’ that apparently made an enquiry a year or so ago, but left the stage as quickly as it arrived. There was a rumour that got a lot of people excited that Trevor Francis was heading up a consortium.
Recently there has been a fleeting mention of us being acquired with the view to us becoming Lazio’s feeder club, a prospect that didn’t exactly fill me with joy. Most comically of all, there was Tom Ross repeatedly insisting and staking his reputation on the fact that the club was going to be sold last summer, only for it not to happen. Ross then said he would have his “day in the sun” when the club was eventually sold and he was proved right – he must be freezing cold by now.
Therefore when I saw Tom Ross talking about it in his Birmingham Mail column this time around, I just thought it would be another false dawn. I have become used to the notion that the only way Birmingham City would get out of this mess would be in the form of entering administration and slipping further down the leagues. But the fact that the BBC and Birmingham Mail are also confident enough in the validity of this latest story to be reporting it themselves does raise hopes that something can be done to get the current incumbents out and a new regime into the boardroom sooner rather than later.
I think there are telling signs in general that BIHL have had enough and are finally willing to relinquish power. Panos Pavliakis, who was appointed to the Board just after the turn of the year, has apparently been travelling around scouting for offers. I think he has the ear of Carson Yeung (he is family after all) and I think there is now a realisation that the club must be sold. There has been talk of a ‘part sale’ of the club, but I think if the price was right BIHL would sell it all at once. The imprisonment of Carson Yeung changed so much; before he was sent down there was always the chance he could walk away from court a free man who could once again take a proper hold of Birmingham City – now that hope has gone there really is no point in him or the other holding on to the football club just to see it wither away.
So who are these people who could be taking an interest in buying us? Well apparently the four consortiums are based in Britain, China, Australia and the Middle East. Whilst they retain anonymity beyond that then we can only speculate as to who may well be involved. Jasper Carrott recently admitted that he had been approached with regards to investing money into a consortium, and this British based consortium apparently has numerous wealthy backers who are Bluenoses – maybe he’s taken the plunge and decided it is something he could be interested in. Someone like that being involved in a takeover would really be something that would enthral fans; a Blues fan genuinely with his heart in the right place, surely that is an indication that this consortium, if it ever did take over, would act in the best interests of Birmingham City Football Club.
One person who I think won’t be coming near the hot seat of Stan’s any time soon is Gianni Paladini who, according to reports, has recently been trying to get his fingers in the pie at Reading. That aside, it is clear that Peter Pannu is very reluctant to deal with him following their very public spat. And to be hinest, I was never exactly keen on him coming to power at Blues anyway; the words frying pan and fire come to mind.
When you think of Paladini, then you think of Tom Ross and those cringe worthy interviews and phone-ins the two of them held. Ross was behaving as if he was Paladini’s campaign manager. When you read what Ross has said about the latest takeover news you cringe even more; him describing how he told Peter Pannu that if he wanted to do Blues fans a favour then he should “sell to the English”. Whilst yes, it would be nice to have a Jack Walker/Dave Whelan style magnate bankrolling us who has never spent more than a week away from Bordesley Green, ultimately as long as whoever our next owners are have enough funds to keep the club going whilst not decimating our squad every single transfer window and have the best interests of the club at heart then really that will do for me.
As my mate Kevin Widdett constantly reminds me, “we are only an Arab away from the Champions’ League”. A quite unlikely scenario, but say this ‘Middle East based consortium’ was actually an Arabic Royal Family with more money than God, would anyone seriously be upset if they took the helm because of the fact that they weren’t English? It’s irresponsible of Ross, someone with such journalistic clout in the local area, to start exalting rhetoric like this in my opinion.
Whoever the next owner of Birmingham City is, as long as he/she/they are visible to the fans, appreciate the traditions of the club (i.e. don’t change the colours of the club or want to give us some barking mad name) and have a bit of money to spare that didn’t arrive to them in a brown envelope, then that would be great.
I might be getting ahead of myself, after all every one of these bids have still to be accepted (though there is meant to be a meeting next week of the movers and shakers at BIHL to discuss those bids). But genuinely, this news is the first reason I’ve had anything to be remotely excited about to do with the future of Birmingham City for a very long time. If a takeover was sorted, or even looked like it had a good chance of being sorted by the time pre-season starts in July, then I will renege on my commitment not to renew the season ticket I have had for sixteen years.
So this would be my message to those at BIHL who have these bids to consider. Delay No More. Cut and run. Sell up now, because the situation on the pitch at the club is going to get worse and worse, and therefore the value of the club will get lower and lower. Give this club a chance, sell it on to people who can take it forward and you will do this club a service. Who knows, a sale now and history may judge you a lot more favourably than you are being judged now.
You can read more of Nat’s thoughts on Birmingham City and on other topics here: http://nattubes.wordpress.com/