Tag: Birmingham City

Birmingham City: The Receivers Take Control

So. Farewell, then. Peter Pannu. This time, for good and forever. Probably. Receivers are now in charge of Birmingham International Holdings (BIH), the Hong Kong-based corporate soap opera that is Birmingham City FC’s parent company. And these are the best two pieces of off-field news Blues fans have had in years. On St Valentine’s Day, five BIH directors voted to “apply for the appointment of receivers for the Company.” Three days later, accountants Ernst & Young (E&Y) began the task of applying proper corporate governance to the firm. And last week Hong Kong’s stock exchange (HKSE) were given the...

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Blues’n’ Trouble – The Continuing Story Of Birmingham City

When I last wrote about Birmingham City things were grim, on-field and off. In the intervening seven months, NOTHING has changed… apart from the entry in the club’s record books marked “heaviest home defeat.” On May 3rd, Blues avoided relegation to League One by about as long as it took me to type this far. Yet Blues fans may have forgotten Paul Caddis’s drop-saving, stoppage-time equaliser, at fellow-financial basket-case Bolton, when Tokelo Rantie made it eight-nil (EIGHT) to Bournemouth at St Andrews on October 25th. Blues’ then acting-chairman, Peter Pannu, said in an interview with Tom Ross on the...

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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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