Tag: Birmingham City

Birmingham City & The Self-Importance Of Being Peter

Birmingham City’s still-acting chairman Peter Pannu recently dismissed Birmingham City supporter protests as something of a norm for English football. More of a norm for English football, however, is Pannu’s sense of self-worth, which is only matched by whoever is responsible for paying him £400,000 a year for his role at the football club. And attached to this heightened sense of self among certain personalities in English football is a heightened sensitivity to criticism, which almost appears to be directly proportional to the justification FOR that criticism. Pannu, lest we forget, has been Birmingham City’s senior and best-paid executive during a period of considerable on-and-off-field decline at the club. It is tempting to suggest that if Pannu was on some form of performance-related pay, Blues’ debt problems would be considerably eased at a stroke. Instead, Pannu seems unperturbed at the prospect of adding to club expenditure by involving the club’s lawyers in a rather pointless spat with the Blues fan website Often Partisan (OP). OP is written by Blues fan Daniel Ivery, whose work in covering former club benefactor Carson Yeung’s recent trial on money-laundering charges was hugely comprehensive and informative, right up to Yeung’s conviction last week on all five money-laundering offences with which he was charged and his sentencing to six years in prison. Ivery even travelled to Hong Kong on a number of occasions to report...

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Birmingham City & Rangers: A Bad Week To Be A Bluenose

Both sides of what could soon be a proper international border, it is tough being a “Bluenose” just now. The odds against Rangers seeking the financial sanctuary of administration, or the sale and leaseback of major assets, as solutions to their latest book-balancing difficulties get shorter each day. Meanwhile, the semi-mythical “Owners and Directors Test” in England’s Football League looks like being failed at last, although Birmingham City President and major shareholder Carson Yeung has had to spend years laundering money in Hong Kong to do so. These are the bare facts of the Rangers’ situation. They have averaged 40,000-plus crowds since entering Scottish Football’s fourth tier in August 2012. Last season, their gate income dwarfed the rest of their division combined, as it has this season in the third tier. They received £22m from an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in in December 2012. But that money and all other income…has gone. So Rangers have had to borrow £1.5m from hedge fund managers Laxey Partners and club director Sandy Easdale for “general working capital purposes,” or they would be insolvent. If income is as closely-linked to on-field success as the experts in such areas suggest, Rangers should have guaranteed annual promotion while making profits significant enough to allow them to challenge bitter rivals Celtic as soon as they reach the top-flight. The explanation for their failure to...

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Birmingham City Fans Can Delay No More

“I’m as mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore,” said Peter Finch’s character Howard Beale in the 1976 film Network. Birmingham City fans clearly can’t either. The Blues are mired in a Championship relegation battle. The club and parent company, Birmingham International Holdings (BIH) continue to lose multi-millions despite selling almost every decent player manager Lee Clark has had. And in advance of BIH’s Extraordinary General Meeting, which approved plans for it to financially restructure – and borrow – its way out of its financial woes, fans arranged their first public display of disaffection, a banner protest based around the slogan “DelayNoMore,” urging club president Carson Yeung to do just that in selling the club. Immediately after the EGM, the club’s sole paid director, Peter Pannu, suggested that Blues’ future looked “bright,” which disaffected fans have treated as rhyming slang. And any remaining faith in Yeung will have dissolved among fans who read BIH’s announcement concerning its much-trumpeted relisting on Hong Kong’s Stock Exchange (HKSE). Pannu has made a huge deal of BIH’s relisting because the project was his responsibility as BIH’s top executive, and it actually was a huge deal, for BIH at least, as demonstrated by share-trading activities since the relisting on February 7th, including progress on BIH’s long-promised “disposal” of its interest in Birmingham City PLC with a 12% shareholding just bought by what...

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Peter Pannu Is *Still* Considerably Richer Than You

I do appear to have invoked plenty of memories “for those of a certain age” in recent articles. And I’m about to do so again.  In January 1979, the then Prime Minister James Callaghan returned from a summit in Guadeloupe to a Britain entering its infamous “winter of discontent.” Rubbish was left uncollected and the dead unburied thanks to various trade unions “holding the country to ransom” (copyright: every right-wing national newspaper – i.e. all of them except the Mirror). Callaghan tried to play down suggestions of “mounting chaos” and create an impression of a leader in control when he faced the press at Heathrow Airport. This attitude was ridiculed and condemned as out of touch by the waiting press pack. And the Sun newspaper, as predictably then as it would be now, led the way with its headline the following day: “Crisis, what crisis?” Birmingham City’s forever-acting chairman Peter Pannu produced his own version of “crisis, what crisis?” this week. Leaving Wednesday’s Extraordinary General Meeting of Blues’ parent company, Birmingham International Holdings (BIH) in Hong Kong, Pannu was asked by BBC reporter Juliana Liu how the EGM would affect Blues’ future after “all the troubles the club has faced?” He replied: “What troubles?” City, it seemed to momentarily slip his mind, have been gradually sliding down English club football’s pyramid over the last three years, losing millions of...

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Birmingham City: Carson In Court & Paladini In Panto

In May, I wrote parts one and two of an article on Birmingham City’s multi-titled, multi-remunerated Peter Pannu. And I promised a part three. Only last week did I realise that part three never made it from my clapped-out PC to the site. And the article, along with my research notes, disappeared into clapped-out PC-heaven. Well, my clapped-out PC is a little less clapped-out now (whether the same could be said for its owner is debatable). And I’ve made new notes. So here’s something for “Pete,” who wondered, on July 5th, if my next Blues’ piece was “ever going to come out.” On the surface, Birmingham City’s takeover battle is a standard one between a deeply unpopular, incompetent current regime and a populist, popular bidder. Scratch that surface and you uncover complexities with the current regime, which make it even more deeply unpopular, and a bidder who appears just as clueless. The biggest achievement of largest shareholder Carson Yeung and Peter Pannu’s regime remains turning predecessors David Gold and David Sullivan into “the good guys.” Regular readers will know of my distaste for those “gentlemen.” Yet very little undertaken by West Ham’s current custodians was as worthy of utter contempt as Yeung and Pannu’s running of the club. City have never been an established Premier League club – as Daniel Ivery of hugely-informative website Often Partisan noted, you aren’t...

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