Often Partisan

A Trillion Questions

We’re still yet to hear anything official with respect to the selected bidder for a stake in Birmingham International Holdings, although we do know that one bidder was shortlisted by Ernst and Young as per the announcement make to the stock exchange on May 8.

On Thursday I uploaded a video podcast where I talked about some of the speculation I had received from my contacts (and those of my co-author Will Giles) in Hong Kong about the bidders which we believe to be the company loaning HK$153million to BIH – Trillion Trophy Asia Ltd. I wanted to talk about this in further detail to try and answer some of the questions that have come from people after viewing the video.

One thing that I think people have seized upon in maybe the wrong manner is the rumour that one of the parties within the Trillion Trophy Asia Ltd consortium is connected to the government of the People’s Republic of China. I think people have this notion that what I was saying was that the club was going to be bought out by the Chinese government – which isn’t quite the scenario as I was trying to convey.

It’s not actually a new thing. In June 2009, the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission bought a 6.52% stake in Grandtop (as they were then) via a BVI-based holding company just before Carson took control of Birmingham City. Carson you may remember in his trial talked about how he wanted to improve the quality of football in China – and while I’m never quite sure how much of his testimony was truthful I do think there might have been something in that.

Similarly, as I understand it there is an agency of the PR China government who want to take a small stake again (5-10%) in BIHL for the same reason. Ambitious reforms were launched in March of this year to improve the quality of football within China and as I understand it, a stake in BIH would be seen as a way to get access to football in England to help with those aims.

The one thing I am certain of beyond any doubt is that the main people behind Trillion Trophy are indeed Chinese. I know that there is this fear (and indeed scepticism) that it will all come back to Carson again but I cannot see that happening – if anything because I know Carson has tried everything he can to derail the process. I think the scepticism is a healthy reaction to the fact this process has gone on for so long – and with so many false dawns before (Paladini, Day, Wray) – but I think it’s key to emphasise that the main players in negotiation on BIHL’s side are different now and thus have different aims in what they are doing.

One of the main reasons it went on so long before was down to Peter Pannu negotiating his own deal – seemingly without proper authority to do so – which led to various people wasting huge amounts of time trying to sort out a deal for something that just couldn’t happen. While I accept that Ernst and Young will have issues of their own due to Carson trying to kick off legally it’s a very different scenario – EY will do things by the book and while that might take time it will have no rebound and no comebacks; this will be the endgame.

People have asked me if these people are good or bad and the answer is I don’t know – I still don’t know who actually is behind the bid so I can’t tell you what their background and history is, let alone try and work out their intentions. What I do know is that this will not be quick – while I think funding may be in place via a loan for BIH (and maybe a banking facility for BCFC) for the new season I think BIH will still be in transition to new ownership for some time (with the extension that the club will also be waiting for new people at the top). I couldn’t even tell you if the bid will even go through – we’re still at a very early stage right now and as the saying goes there is many a slip between cup and lip.

All we can do is watch and wait. We were promised by Panos Pavlakis in his end of season programme notes that plans were in place to bring in new players and I personally have no reason to doubt that they are; while I don’t think we’ll be quite shopping at Harrods I think it might not be a close-season of rooting around the bins outside Aldis either – for me the signings of Dyer, Tesche, Fabbrini and Kiernan on loan plus Morrison permanently last season showed that there is a willingness to back Rowett as much as possible.

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54 Responses to “A Trillion Questions”

  • Richard Granfield says:

    The trading in shares has been suspended since 04/12/14. Any thoughts on the criteria needed for a resumption of trading?

  • Richard C C says:

    Hi folks,

    Following the above article one or two questions spring to mind namely..A.if the goverment of the PR of china are willing to invest money in BIHL does that mean carsons final appeal is doomed and they know it….B. if his apeal is doomed the goverment could then use carsons frozen assests to increase there share in BIHL at no cost to the chinese tax payer ?

    richard c KRO

  • bluearmyfaction says:

    Just because there may be Chinese people behind it does not mean that Pannu is automatically linked. One in five people in the world is Chinese. There are five in my family – me, Mom, Dad, Colin and Zheng Mi Hua. So one of us must be Chinese. I think it’s Colin.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    I’m not sure they want trading to resume. It was voluntary not forced if I recall.

  • Mickey07 says:

    Good old peter pannu trying to negotiating his own deal in the past ,hopefully when all this passes he is a finished man out in Hong Kong,no company out there would touch him with a bargepole with his track record over the last few years,(all caused by himself) as no doubt he will try and blame everyone else for his dodgy ways.shame it looks like we are going to miss this transfer window with some proper money.

  • rhees says:

    Agree Dan a waiting game its hard though.
    Hope your move went well

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Tesche,Fabrini,Kiernan or for that matter Morrison were not even making their parent clubs match day squads at the time of us taking them on loan. Presuming they would come to Blues with the promise of regular football the main stumbling block is going to be wages and not transfer fees so much. Our summer of rebuilding is going to be dictated by how far we can stretch to meet players wage demands.Would be chuffed if we got all 3 plus a striker and kept hold of Gray for another year,but I’m not holding my breath!

  • andy says:

    Being linked with a striker released by Sheff Wed and who played under Rowett at Burton is the transfer pool Blues are operating in at the moment. Personally if Gray is refusing to sign a new deal then I think Blues should cash in and use the cash to try and secure those 3 loan players for next season. I am not a big fan of selling your best players, particularly young players like Gray, but I am also not a fan of players who will not commit their future to the club.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      100% with you on that. Feck being held to ransom by players who can easily be replaced. How long are you supposed to give players before you move on? The offer is there, either take it or pi$$ orf.

      • steve says:

        I agree,if they won’t sign then sell em. But Gray won’t be easily replaced.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          In 25 league starts, plus 13 as sub, he scored in 4 of those and I can’t remember him setting up too many goals. I think that could be replaced without too much trouble.

          • steve says:

            Think you’re wrong,but time will tell.

          • Shirley Blue says:

            I think you are wrong too – not for the first time! Grey is an 18 yr old kid and has just played his first full season. He isn’t even fully grown yet. Eddie Howe is no idiot – he was quite prepared to pay £5m knowing full well in three or so years Bournemouth will be able to get many times more for him from a bigger club when he has matured in physique and experience. If you and others can’t recognise real talent and raw pace when you see it then that’s your problem. If the alternative is watching Lee Novak trundling up and down or headless chicken Dyer I despair. I hope GR can persuade him to sign a new contract but if not the kid has got every right to get the best deal possible for himself. He could get a career ending injury next season playing for peanuts for us. If he can get himself set up for life financially elsewhere then good luck to him. Get real.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            You disagreeing with me? Thank God for that! I agree with your last sentiments though, good luck to him wherever he ends up.

  • Blue says:

    So investors in BIHL are doing it in order to improve football in China. No mention of improving Birmingham City. What a shambles. The sad thing is that BIH in one form or another will own our club for a long,long time and we`d better get used to it. New owners? Don`t make me laugh,there`s no chance in the near future and we ain`t seen the back of CY yet either. Mid-table obscurity next season.Enjoy.

  • The Fans would like to know who this company is due to the failure of the UK football authority last time with Carson yeung ,the fans put their money into BCFC to be entertained , and as they are used to a certain standard of entertainment and quality of football at their club they expect anybody buying into the club to keep up that standard , if they cannot do this then as in the past we expect them to sell the club and give some other people a chance to make money and keep up this standard at the same time , as has been done in the past , hence the fit and proper person test , the test is their to stop people taking over the club and running this asset to the community into a ruin , the board has already sold around £55 million pound worth of assets in the way of players , in the name of common decency the fans would like to know who they are giving their hard earned cash to ,, if they can afford to run this club to the said standard which is more seasons in the premiership than out at the time the club was taken over ,

  • Dave Mann says:

    Let’s pray… For our manager staying and for getting the players we need in to keep the momentum going … It’s going to be a long hard summer ! Kro

    • rhees says:

      Dave man don’t worry Garry is going nowhere and I’m convinced he knows who wants and will have the go ahead to go get.
      I cant see promotion next year but I suspect we will push for play off place.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      The days of clubs speaking to a player and his dad are long gone (except for academies.) It’s club v agent these days and I believe that’s what makes contract negotiation so long drawn out. I think if we get into the middle of June without having added to the squad, I’ll begin to wonder a bit. But, until then I’ll sit back, watch and wait.

  • ian ambrose says:

    Blues needing bring back to Tesche,Fabbrini and Kiernan make a strong team re-cover wage from Zigicuse wage £65,000 a week Why not bring back with Tesche,Fabbrini and Kiernan cos strong team and bring blues fans on here!!!!

  • Mitchell says:

    Williammorgan makes a good point. However, rather than waiting around to hear who this preferred bidder is, I intend advertising the Club myself. It is along similar lines to a now Seria A whose fans put their own slant on things when they were in similar trouble. ‘For Sale’ Birmingham City F.C. Recently members of the Premier League commanding now in the region of £85m.each year purely by not being relegated to the Championship which they are now. BCFC support is around 20,000. Being members of the Premiership would make most games all ticket at around 30,000. Potential for this second city sleeping giant is colossal.It just needs a bit of TLC and caring guardians. To those interested parties I would suggest a view from the open top floor at the new world famous B’ham Library. Look all around and take in the NIA, World’s famous Symphony Hall, Alexander Stadium, Premier Cricket ground at Edgbaston, International tennis at Edgbaston and Broad Street where life is 24/7. Vibrant city with a big need for it’s beloved Football Club to have good honest caring owners. Cost of buying will be almost sale price I am sure. Benefits too numerous to mention, but one will be over 20’000 fans queuing up to shake your hand.’ I intend starting the adverts in as many commercial/financial outlets as I can. It may seem to some a crazy idea, but as of today I don’t see a great deal happening. Will keep you posted.

  • FellowBlue says:

    Good luck with that Mitchel, I feel you might need it lol

  • andy says:

    Nice dream Michell but I believe the final outcome will be that Blues remain in Chinese hands, whether that be in the form of BIH or another buyer we wait with baited breath! But I think the long term future of Birmingham City will remain in China.

  • Mitchell says:

    It might be a nice dream Andy and I see your point. However, the Serie A i referred to came about by a fan contacting winners of euro millions throughout the world and hey presto one such winner took up the challenge. You never know. In the meantime watch the following players tonight.. Hilton and Byrne of Swindon.I expect GR will be there watching.

  • I have known it in the past for clubs who can’t get massive sponsorship for the club to get sponsorship from companies for just the star players ,with wages being paid for the transfer window period and a percentage to the player , and for clubs to have their own players agents to make this possible when players join the club, kro

  • Dave mann says:

    Yeah , really. Mr Morgon you are so boring and predictable. Enjoy! Kro

  • Really Dave Mann I’m a bluenose not a brownnose enjoy kro

    • Dave Mann says:

      It’s certainly blue William with a touch of white, and so is the personality .. We can all come on here and promote our city and club but to blab on about what we’ve already got seems pointless to me .. Your passion is honourable but you’ve got a lot of catching up to do to get anywhere near mine when it comes to loving and supporting BCFC all over the country . Enjoy your bank holiday mate ! Kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Now now.. play nicely girls. :)

  • Raymondo says:

    Since GR took over I have seen a slow progress upward and under his careful watch I expect things to continue to improve. I don’t expect any rapid progress iin China bur over there E & Y are working away and making the same slow but deliberate improvement to the company’s (and ultimately the club’s) status. Anyone wanting rapid progress with either is living in cloud-cuckoo land. CY got us in this mess along with his mate PP and it’s going to take some time (maybe years) to get BCFC out of it. I have the feeling that PP is going to be the next one having awkward questions asked.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I think it’s pretty obvious, that in the short, medium and long term, our future is going to be under Chinese ownership. I’m not going to let whomever owns us ruin another season for me. Sod em. So we need to get used to it, get over it and get supporting the team. That’s all that matters.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Exactly staffs, whoever the 11 who start our first game next season along with the subs and the manager will as always get me and my familys100 per cent support and all the bickering about owners, agents, wages , board room stuff will all take the back burner and cheering on those players that put that shirt on is the only thing that matters.. What will happen will happen so there’s not a fat lot any of us can do about it except have opinions and ime as opiniated as most people but I say what I think and that’s it like it or loathe it ! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I don’t think anything beats the excitement of that first game Dave.. and seeing who the XI are.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I tell you what staffs , if me or you or anyone else can pick the first 11 for August 8th and that first game of the season then me, you or whoever deserves my utmost respect . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I think most of us could have a guess and get 5 or 6 right, but that’s about it.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    H/T: Middlesborough 0-2 Norwich C (Jerome 12 and Redmond 15) What might have been eh?

    • Dave Mann says:

      First half at Norwich staffs we were awesome and battered them under LEE CLARK and were 2-0 up .. How some fans are so ficle and un educated! Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    Caddis, Morrison, grounds, Davis, gleeson,shinnie,cotterill and Donaldson will be pushing next season … But after that who knows?? Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Somehow, I don’t think Davis will be in the starting 11. Not sure Rowett fancies him. I suppose it depends if we get Tesche.

  • bluey says:

    As depressing as it sounds Blues will be owned by BIH for a few years (imo) however that company is made up. Sadly the Chinese care more for football in their country than what happens to our club. So i agree with the comments of a few who say we need to get over worrying about ownership because there`s nowt we can do. Get used to it.

  • Mitchell says:

    Watching Jerome and Redmond today makes you reflect on ‘what if’. To keep good players and add to them is the only way to achieve success in the Championship. Birmingham is a big club with a collosal city .Surely with a carot of over £100m.for getting into the Premiership, what is stopping any rich consortium taking up the exciting challenge. Maybe we need to re-brand. Think at a different angle. Make a modern day change..anything to attract new, adventurous Capital Investors. Even name changes such as Birmingham United. As you can see, I am trying to think outside the box. Unpleasant as it is, I really do feel that we are at a very defining cross roads and let’s face it nothing is going to change as we stand today.Good players will continue to go and managers also. If only we had a Delia at this club.

  • Maggs says:

    I think it would be a disaster if the club remained in Chinese hands, however honest or decent they are as individuals – or in any other foreign hands, frankly. Our club is just that – a CLUB, that should represent the community. In general, football ought to adopt the German model where 51% of the club remains in local hands. On that point what is happening with the Blues Trust? I’m a member but they don’t seem very active, or particularly effective. Or am I being unfair? (I’m London-based so not always in the know like you locals are.)

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    I was 100% convinced Clark would be a disaster the moment the Mail touted him as favourite. Watching the first(?) preseason friendly at Cheltenham convinced me I was right

    I’m now getting really good vibes on Trillion. Yes E&Y could be taking the money and running as per Gold and Sullivan but it doesn’t seem that way. This £13m is by BCFC to use for a promotion push this season. In context it’s not a great deal of money but a good many spending it wisely could do that.

    The first sign will be a higher standard of player proving the salary scale has increased with the occasional fee being paid – Tesche for example

    Anyway that’s my hunch on Trillion.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Fickle and uneducated is that right? .. Anyway the point I was making that we’ve done very good under Gary rowett but the best away performance I saw this season was at Norwich who are now a premiership team and lee Clark was manager . 2-0 up at half time and the blues were singing like we had been promoted but jerome pulled it back for them second half but it was a great game. … It’s still very much Clarks signings we have left and rowett as a lot of work to do to improve on 10th place and 63 points.. I pray for the right players to come in… I hope my spellings improved guys and the words I used were a bit harsh and not meant at posters on here but more the ones who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk!! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Most of the players who finished 10th were in the team before Rowett came. We were also playing 4-2-3-1 before he came. He’s obviously brought that little bit of magic to make it all work… so good luck to him. I think we only need 4 or 5 better quality players to bridge the gap between 10th place and 6th. I think that by the start of the season, when we see who has been brought in, we’ll have a good idea how the season will go.


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