Tag: Birmingham City

Match Of The Week 2: Birmingham City 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Perhaps the idea of “High Noon” was that of a television executive. If it was, the Premier League supporters could probably be forgiven for throwing a few curses his way for scheduling two matches for midday on a Sunday lunchtime in the middle of a Bank Holiday weekend. The supporters of Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Wanderers haven’t come off as badly from this as those of Newcastle United, who would have needed to leave for Anfield at a time that could be credibly described as “late last night”, but still… midday? These West Midlands derby matches have a reputation for occasionally getting a little rambunctious, but would giving the overwhelming of majority of Birmingham and Wolves supporters that don’t much fancy the idea of thumping anyone an hour to go to the pub be such a crime? Even a kick-off this early is unlikely to mean that nerves won’t be jangling at St Andrews this morning. Birmingham City will be playing in Europe next season thanks to their League Cup win, but they are still in danger of being relegated at the end of this season. They are currently on thirty-eight points with the “normal” threshold of forty looking as if even that might not be enough to keep anybody safe this season. A win today, against a Wolves team whose defence has been rather porous over the last...

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After Notts County: England’s Club Owners. Are They Any Good?

“Are they any good?”  It’s a simple question. And it is in the top one of questions supporters should ask of bidders for football clubs. But, as the BBC’s flagship documentary programme Panorama revealed this week, no-one at Notts County was asking the question while the club was being taken over by ‘Munto Finance.’ Or any question at all for that matter. Not that supporters of other clubs going through ownership ‘issues’ have any reserved seats on the moral high ground. There were many lessons to be learned from Panorama about the need for supporter vigilance and scrutiny of their clubs’ owners and executives. Among some fan bases, those lessons have been ignored. Birmingham City’s appearances in the headlines since their stunning Carling Cup final triumph have been as much about their dismal finances as their dismal form. Hong Kong’s stock exchange regularly features announcements about Birmingham International Holdings, City’s parent company. And they are usually about money lost, money borrowed or money not raised. Yet some Blues fans are convinced of “an anti-Blues and anti-Chinese agenda” in the midst of our national football press. While others suggest the Premier League is probing City’s finances because of Uefa’s ‘pro-Liverpool’ bias. Meanwhile, Watford’s takeover, now all-but-complete, continues to turn logic apex-over-elbow, with some supporters refusing to acknowledge new owner Laurence Bassini’s demonstrable business inabilities. “You can’t judge a book by...

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Match Of The Week: The 2011 League Cup Final: Arsenal 1-2 Birmingham City

Perhaps today was a day for burying a few clichés. That the League Cup “doesn’t matter any more” has become one of the mantras of the modern game, but this is a viewpoint that looked somewhat bedraggled as the full-time whistle blew at Wembley Stadium this afternoon. As the Birmingham City players celebrated this most unlikely of victories, the Arsenal players slunk to the floor, shattered by defeat. It didn’t feel as this was a result that “didn’t matter” at five minutes to six this evening. For the first time since before the assassination of John F Kennedy, Birmingham City Football Club could celebrate taking a major trophy back to St Andrews. Birmingham’s previous major trophy win also came in this competition, but the League Cup has changed a lot since 1963. Much as the competition is decredited by its critics nowadays, it remains a competition that has come a long way over the last five decades. A Wembley Final and a place in Europe weren’t on offer in 1963. As such, today is a day that will enter the shared consciousness and folklore of Birmingham City Football Club. The DVD of the match will become a comfort blanket, to be pulled out with a bottle of whiskey when times are tough. They have a fight on their hands ahead in order to maintain their Premier League place after...

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Questions About Birmingham City’s Financing…

When Bates “reoccupied” Leeds United in 2007, he employed all sorts of accounting “techniques” to effectively clear most of the club’s debts, such as a quick in-and-out of administration (I’m assured that’s not the correct technical term). This seemed wrong to non-business-minded peoples but, we were assured by knowing sports journalists – Jeff Powell in the Mail newspaper, I’m looking at you – it was “normal” business practice. As was, we were assured in 2005, business people borrowing millions to buy a club and paying the money back from club profits. Leveraged buy-outs, they’re called. They happen all the time in what we were again assured was the real world. More recently, football journalists have got excited by the phrase “the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the Group’s/Company’s ability to continue as a going concern” in club’s parent company accounts. The suggestion was impending doom. But, we were yet again assured, this was just accountants and auditors covering themselves against worst-case scenarios. Nothing to worry about. Normal business practice. Happens all the time. Experience has taught many football fans that this, to quote the great financial wizard George Gershwin, “ain’t necessarily so.” Sometimes, to use another phrase, “if it looks like an elephant, stomps like an elephant and smells like an elephant…it’s an elephant.” And if there is “material uncertainty” about the financial...

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The Premier League 2010/11 Previews 3 – Birmingham City: Second Season Blues?

Between the battle at the top of the table and the chaos at the bottom of it, the achievement of Birmingham City in finishing in ninth place in the Premier League last season feels as if it was rather overlooked. It was their first season back after promotion the year before and, significantly, it was their highest league position since 1959. Those that continue to look back at the 1970s as being somehow the halcyon days of the club (which, one rather suspects, may at least in part have entered into local folklore because of the club’s dominance of their cross-city rivals Aston Villa) would do well to look at last season’s final Premier League. It could, of course, yet end in tears. Carson Yeung swept into St Andrews in October of last year with the type of grandiose plans that always seem to come as part of the package with such buy-out, but, whilst some money has been spent on new players during the summer, the club’s spending hasn’t been of the largesse that had been anticipated when he took over in the first place. This isn’t a bad thing, of course, though, and the normal caveat, that there are still two and a half weeks before the start of the Premier League season, still applies. There is plenty of time for further reinforcements yet to be drafted in. Birmingham...

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