100 Owners: Number 76 – Ken Wheldon (Walsall & Birmingham City)

Ian

Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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5 Responses

  1. Frank Heaven says:

    The decline of West Midlands football in the 1980s was, as you rightly say, far more accentuated than that elsewhere in the UK.

    It must also be blamed on a succession of dreadful owners, rather than economic problems; after all, the Merseyside clubs dominated the decade despite Liverpool’s huge unemployment.

    At least Blues and Wolves had a sensible ownership structure; this meant that eventually they would be bought out be decent businessmen – Jack Hayward and David Sullivan respectively – who would turn the clubs’ fortunes around.

    In the case of West Bromwich Albion, an antiquated share system meant that no individual could own a controlling interest in the club (I think the maximum permitted was about 15%). This meant that during football’s 1990s gold rush, when investors flooded in, Albion would stagnate and fall far behind their neighbours. Mounting debts and the promise of outside investment from electronics magnate Paul Thompson finally led to a change in the club’s constitution and a long-overdue modernisation at the end of the decade.

  2. The Realist says:

    A scary blast from the past.

    Not even Kens closest family would describe him as a nice man, but oh boy was he careful with his cash. Legend has it that he spent much of his time at Blues and Walsall stalking around the premises turning off lights, taps and anything else that might cost.

    I myself witnessed, at around 6pm on a snowy Xmas Eve, the bizarre sight of a fully suited Ken supervising the ‘weighing in’ of a poor tatters pramload of scrap batteries. It was also strongly rumoured that his main interest in Birmingham City was the metal salvage potential of the stadium.

    A truly terrible man in many ways, Ken somehow managed to oversee some of Walsalls best ever days. The less said of his dealings at Brum and his sale of the club to the Kumars, the better, particularly as a Statute of Limitation might still apply.

    The Realist

  3. Iain says:

    Another terrifically well written piece. Given the antics of the Bendalls and Ellis at Villa it is a small wonder a whole book hasn’t been written in West Mids footy from 1980 onwards! My Dad became a Villa fan in 1957. He and 2 school friends each picked one of the West Mids teams (Blues and Albion being the others) in the semis of the FA Cup along with Man Utd. We won that year but not since and yet he clearly picked the best of the bunch, another indicator of West Mids footballing mediocrity!!

  4. PC says:

    V good article and I was there at the time following Blues home and away. However, apart from the Albion, West Mids football seems in a similar precarious place this season with declining attendances and poor ownership.

  5. Will Baker says:

    Not sure if it’s possible to over write,i enjoyed parts of the article, but the writer seems to be trying to hard to fit in words. At one point i was wondering if he was paid per word. Here is an example

    , Ken Wheldon is remembered with little great affection, – there is no need for ‘great’ to be in this sentence, as ‘remembered with little affection’ would have made total sense.
    This kind of over usage of words is littered throughout the article, which is a shame as it showed a lot of promise

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