Often Partisan

Dear Prudence – Pannu Speaks

It started with a tweet from Blues press officer Chris Kershaw promising an extremely positive statement. Peter Pannu has moved to reassure fans that things are OK. After three weeks or so without any news at all, we’ve been graced by two statements in two days. Aren’t we so lucky?

The fact is, as positive statements go, it wasn’t that positive. It confirmed what was announced in the newspapers yesterday – that players are going to be sold, that difficult decisions were going to have to be made and that financially, things aren’t completely hunky-dory at Blues. Yes, we have a positive bank balance – but so do I and there is just 27p in my account. It doesn’t mean all that much, and in fairness, it was nothing we didn’t suspect already.

I suppose we should take comfort in the lack of certain negative things. There has been no mention of the dreaded “a” word – indeed, I’ve continually heard that isn’t something that would be likely to happen in the very near future. Only players who are on Premiership wages are going to be sold, and the club are trying to be prudent – particularly as the Football league adopted the financial fair play rules introduced by UEFA this June. In the long term, this is a good thing.

One thing that concerns me is the lack of prudence shown beforehand. The fact that there are players in the team on Premiership wages indicates that not everyone had a relegation clause in their contract – which bearing in mind Blues yo yo up and down the divisions like an elevator on speed isn’t the cleverest of ideas. We’re in this financial mess because we over-stretched ourselves previously – our wages to turnover ratio was too high last year particularly bearing in mind Carson hasn’t got a money tree to fund continually pumping money into the club. In short – if we’ve not been financially prudent before, what’s changed to make us so up to speed now?

I think as fans we have to be realistic; it’s going to be a hard season. Unless a financial white knight shows themselves, it’s going to be about sorting the club back into a better financial state; consolidating our position in this tier and setting ourselves up so that next year, when the second parachute payment of £16mil comes in, we’re in a much better position.  My one hope is that the board are listening to us now, and they can see that the fans aren’t happy with what has gone on during July. It’s not just the club board either; there are people on the executive board at BIHL who have seemingly sat on their hands whilst Carson has been signing on at the police station. It’s time for them to earn their directorial pay-cheques – and to protect their investment.

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20 Responses to “Dear Prudence – Pannu Speaks”

  • mez says:

    I genuinely think the current owners had no idea how a club is supposed to be run. The fact they handed out contracts to players without relegation clauses is almost unbelievable.

  • Barking says:

    Taken at face value having some cash (never mind how little) and – more importantly – still being supported by the bank is extremely good news. I hope it’s all true.

    It doesn’t take too much reading between the lines to realise that the financial situation is dire, and keeping out of administration is now the only game in town. Who stays and who goes on the playing side is sadly a bit of a sideshow compared to keeping the club afloat. Next season, unfortunately, will have to look after itself.

    It pains me to say it, but adding a senior director with financial expertise and sound knowledge of the football business is a more important signing for the future of the club than a new forward,

    • almajir says:

      The last paragraph is the most intelligent thing I’ve heard said today. I know journos read this site – use that for a quote. Seriously.

  • Mumpy says:

    A great article. As mez mentioned, your ownership is the problem. Whilst the ownership and holding company structure seems to be all based abroard and there’s no grasp whatsoever on EPL and the prudence that goes with it. The sooner you can get rid of idiots like Pannu, Yeung etc the better although I fear it may be a long slog. It’s time to bank as much money as you can and keep things tight. I’m really happy with Larsson and Gardner who we’ve signed from you, and know what a challenging division the championship so I wish you all the best. It’s articles like this that make me grateful for Quinn and Ellis Short.

  • chris says:

    “When we talk about offloading players, we will consider players on Premier League wages as this is not a sustainable scenario for an npower Championship club”
    Surely players had relegation clauses , they couldn’t have been that incompetent , could they?
    If they haven’t it just proves they shouldn’t be running the club, are they dense or are so blasé they don’t take advice.
    Is this one reason Michael Dunford left so soon after arriving, the fact they don’t like being told they are incorrect?

  • John King says:

    I seem to remember BCFC making a claim last season that wages were only something like 68% of turnover…..So did they lie then or are they lying now??

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/may/19/football-club-accounts-debt

    • almajir says:

      John

      Those figures are for the 2009/2010 season. Blues spent significantly more on high wage earners in 2010/11 – for which, the accounts have not been released yet. It’s not a case of lying or not lying, it’s a case of using the right figures for the right season.

  • Npot says:

    I’m a bit surprised about how much grief Peter Pannu gets, as far as I can see he gets a lot of grief left right and centre but he does seem to have the clubs interests at heart.

    I thought he came out of the McLeish saga well, not getting drawn into a slanging match, posting comments when there was something to say on the clubs website and ensuring that the Villa paid compensation that they should. Similarly with the previous owners.

    I understand the frustration of fans with the lack of mentions in the press for the last couple of weeks, but he went to Hong Kong when the owner got arrested and then has been running around looking for further investment, not an easy task convincing people to put money into a club where the public face has been arrested for money laundering. If no good news was forthcoming, its hardly something you want to put out an official statement about.

    Then he comes back to Britain and gives the press the facts as he has them and the Mirror, BRMB and Evening Mail run sensationalist tweets and stories and rumours about us being bust and leading the message boards to go mad with rumours of our demise. (On twitter all 3 dropped hints that Pannu was to give massive exclusives on Wednesday, when actually it was what every Blues fan knew – we are in the shit financially and need to sell some players – a bit like we did when we have got relegated in the past). More dire but not the end of all things Royal Blue (Pennant and Heskey went and raised at least as much as Johnson and Gardner)

    What more can the man do.

    The owners paid too much for the Blues – more than Lerner paid for the Villa, and have never run a Club before. I hate the fact that we are in the shit we are in, but the owners have done something no other owner has ever done, won Birmingham City a proper trophy the Big 4 would have happily won!

    And Peter Pannu’s name makes me smile!

    Chill fellow Blues fans, been in far worse shit than this before and emerged on to win the Cup on the other side.

    • Min says:

      Well said mate!!! Always look on the bright side. It might not be next season but we shall be back!

  • Carl says:

    There seems to be a big deal being made here about players not having relegation clauses and PP also saying that players on Prem wages must go.

    Not all of these players’ contracts were sorted by PP and, in the case of Gardner, I understand Michael Dunford sorted this b4 he left.

    So it’s not really about wages – and it’s not really the board being stupid about clauses, that just a red herring. It’s just simply about cashflow and if Wolves offer 4mil cash for Johnson then they’ll take it just to keep us ticking over.

    It’s annoying: on one hand take what you can to keep the club alive, on the other there’s no experience in understanding how long it takes to shape a squad capable of both promotion and staying up. Prem quality in quantity is hard to buy.

  • Soothsayer says:

    The Birmingham Mail didn’t ever say Blues were heading for admininstration. The Mirror and the Sun sensationalise, not the Mail or BRMB. Pannu is only telling the truth here is he? and gets slaughtered if he says nowt. we are in a mess but we are not going under. hopefully

  • Tilton says:

    I wonder if the suppliers to club can get credit issurance any one know?

    I have had bitter experience being a supplier to MFI and Focus – and wearing my business hat… these are actions of a company on the edge…. focus told to there suppliers a week before it went pop… I feel the shareholders are sucking money to balance the £81m – and once the shareholders have re-gained their investment – there will float-it on – or let go into admin – from my experience we are extremely close to admin – just hope the people at HSBC are football supporters,,,

  • Agree a lot with Npot’s comments. Peter Pannu may not know all about football in England since he used to be a policeman in Hong Kong fighting the triads. But I believe he is sincere and tries his best to communicate what is the best for the club.
    I live in Hong Kong and I believe that Carson Yeung is a typical HK investor, doing his own tricks and does not want to show any transparancy.
    However, it will not work outside Hong Kong (except for China) and therefore guys like Pannu are necessary.
    If Carson’s trial, that starts on 11 August, goes the wrong way, I wouldn’t be surprised if, as Almajir suggests, a white knight shows up. That white knight would probably come from mainland China, where all the money is..
    Regarding the wage bill, I am surprised that it has hit Birmingham so hard. My impression was, for the last season, that compared to most other Premier League clubs Birmingham did not pay their players astonishing wages. We rejected several players, partly because of their high wages, such as Kenwyne Jones and Charles N’Zogbia.
    Another thing: Everyone who is now angry at Carson Yeung should remember that when he took over from Gold and Sullivan, Birmingham started its longest run of matches without a loss in the Premier League and we ended at a historical 9th place.
    Memories are often short.

  • Bluehobba says:

    Obviously we need money and quickly, but I do feel that we obviously negotiated to pay the high wages and transfer fees when buying the players so why are we negotiating such low transfer fees when selling the players. Ok we got relegated but that doesn’t mean the players valuations go down. Again it will be difficult to get £5-6 mill for Zigic and his high wages but I hope that the rumoured loan of Foster for 6 figures with a view to buy does not become less than his worth, After all if he does go to the baggies on loan he will be playing in the prem. Maybe we also need a good negotiator within the camp. Are we approaching clubs to sell our best players or are they approaching us.

  • Letsby Avenue says:

    “….if we’ve not been financially prudent before, what’s changed to make us so up to speed now?…”

    Over £40 million income just from TV, if we had remained in the Premier. PLUS…sales, merchandising etc.

    What we have got as a revenue stream instead is £8million next week and £8 million through the season. Massive shortfall. Players have to go.

    We all knew that.

    I’m glad that Dunford, the scout and the manager have gone. Also the Marketing “expert” who couldn’t get us a sponsor for our shirts – what was he actually doing for 6 months?

    Deadwood and high-wages out. That has to be the way.

  • Bluehobba says:

    The best time for a shirt sponsorship would have been when we won the cup. We have to remember that times are still hard for companies and at the time of winning the cup we didn’t look like going down. Maybe the next sponsor was waiting for the end of the season then Relegation, Mcleish, CY happened.
    I’m only speculating.. was it a missed opportunity or a good thing gone bad.

  • Bluenose John says:

    Lets go shit or bust on whatever Pricewise in the Racing Post picks in the Stewards Cup at Goodwood on Saturday. Either way it will save us fretting for another season.

    Anyone want to have a look at how many other clubs in the Premiership are financially solvent if anything happens to their backers? Wolves and Wigan probably have been secured by a owner previous or current but the remaining list would not be very extensive.

    Any why all the fuss about the shortfall in income from last season: the £40 million or so that is quoted would have been paid out to a greater extent to players in one form or another so our expenditure is down ( particularly when our car boot sale finishes at the end of August ).

    KRO whatever division we are in.

  • Rory Dale says:

    Here’s a theory to think over. I spent some time in Hong Kong and am aware of corruption throughout that society, including, and sometimes especially the Police. So how about this :-
    1) Carspn Yeung buys the club with someone elses money
    2) Registers it in “you can’t check us out land”
    3)”somehow” he is arrested on money laundering charges and ALL assets are forzen out in “you can’t check us out land”.
    4) meanwhile his co-hort Pannu orderes a fire sale, Collates all other monies (which at the moment no one knows where that is)
    5) The next phase????… well we go bust, Pannu disappears to “you can’t check us out land”
    and the charges are dropped on Carson Yeung.
    Oh! and the money that has disappeared? Bet the crooks who run our club enjoy a comfortable life


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