Often Partisan

Looking forwards to the week ahead

After a hectic few weeks of European games, transfer intrigue and rumour, things promise to die down a bit this week. I suspect it’s going to be a bit busy in the next forty eight hours as Blues finally (hopefully) sort out the sales of Scott Dann, Cameron Jerome and Nikola Zigic; and even more hopefully bring in a couple of bodies to help rebuild the squad.

Realistically, Blues need to concentrate on sales. Whilst we can loan players in after the Wednesday night deadline, we can’t sell players – and as much as I think some people are in denial about it Blues definitely need to move on a couple more players to ensure cashflow remains in place for the club to operate and to reduce wage outgoings further to a much more sustainable level.

I was actually surprised at first that Jerome got on the pitch against Watford, but I guess the club had to prove to potential suitors that Jerome is fit to play and thus a saleable prospect. I fully expect him to leave in the next two days, and hopefully Blues won’t be forced into accepting a ridiculously cheap bid because it’s better than nothing. There have been noises in the press that Fulham and Bolton are both interested, and my personal view is that any bid over about £3mil now will probably see the Huddersfield-born striker move on.

Scott Dann is still “injured”, but I don’t expect that to be a bar to him leaving before the end of the window. Chris Hughton has continually stated that he believes Dann and Jerome will go, and as Dann is probably our most valuable player we can sell it would make sense to move him on to be able to bring more players in. I hope he goes somewhere better than QPR; he’s not only a good defender but a good footballer too and I’d like to see him go somewhere a bit more illustrious – I think it would hurt less if we sold him to somewhere like Liverpool or Arsenal rather than a team like QPR, who with no disrespect I expect to be fighting relegation this year.

I think Blues need to make a few signings still; a centre-back is imperative if Dann goes as we will have extremely limited cover for Davies and Caldwell; I think a striker is needed in addition to renewing Wood’s loan to ensure we have the firepower to cope with the demanding schedule we are to face, and I’d like to see us pick up another midfielder – a left one would be nice – to ensure we have cover on that flank.

This week also sees Carson back in court on Wednesday, although I think it will be nothing more than a procedural visit to set dates, and another futile application to have the restriction on him leaving the country lifted. I don’t think it makes much difference if Carson is here or not; it’s a shame that there aren’t any directors currently at the games (I’ve been told Ryan Yeung has yet to have gone to a game, and of course Peter Pannu is back in HK) but to me it doesn’t make much difference – their job is to run the club and that is far more important.

As this week promises to be a bit quiet after Wednesday, I’ll be posting previews of the European away fixtures this week, and I’m hoping to have an interview sorted by the end of the week too. Let’s hope I’m also able to talk about a couple of young hungry new players and a continuation of the exciting Hughton Blues era.

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29 Responses to “Looking forwards to the week ahead”

  • AR says:

    Would you give us your opinion on why relegation has caused us being in such financial dire straits. First of all I believe Yeung purchased (albeit for too much) a club without debt. Apart from supposedly Zigic, who else were on non-sustainable salaries? I can imagine Hleb & Martins were,but that was only from January till the end of the season. On two previous relegations we did not have to sell all our best players. Why this time? Do you think money has left the club to finance the purchase? I presume that West Ham with their debt much bigger than ours, are being bankrolled by their owners. To me it seems such a cataclysmic financial decline that it must have been caused by either “hands in the till” or mismanagement on a monumental scale. I would appreciate vey much your understanding of what has gone on.

    • almajir says:

      It’s a subject that’s been done to death, but yes, if you want my opinion, here it is again.

      Relegation has cost the club about half of it’s turnover from last year. The board took a massive gamble on wages last year – I think they were around the high nineties as a percentage of turnover, and the gamble failed. It doesn’t require too much research to see that Hleb (supposedly 65k per week), Bentley (50k), Foster (50k), Martins (50k) along with Zigic were all on wages that for a club of Blues’ size commercially could not sustain for a period of time. The fact is, if you want to know “where the money went” – it went into the player’s pockets. For a club to be sustainable in the PL, it needs to have either an assembly line of talent to sell, a sugar daddy owner or absolutely no ambition.

      It’s also a fallacy that the club was debt free when CY bought it – the Golds and Sullivan did a great PR job on that, but I’m reasonably sure a figure of £16mil of debt – bits and pieces from transfer fees etc – was mentioned as the actual debt the club had.

      It’s not about the level of debt anyway – it’s about how much has to be serviced and how much cashflow we have got. If we don’t have massive chunks coming from Sky – and we don’t, we get £16mil from this year instead of around £40mil, then we’re going to struggle.

      I’d also caution you that to say that the board “had their hands in the till” is an actionable comment.

      • AR says:

        Thanks once again for this, but what is the best we can hope for ,not in the short term but over let’s say the next 4 or 5 years. Incidentally I suppose the Albion & Wolves’ players are on much less overall?

        • almajir says:

          IF we can ride out the troubles of this year without getting relegated or going into admin, we’ll be alright, even without promotion. Wage levels are almost at a good level for this league, so we’d have no debt to carry over. Furthermore, we can make money on player sales – take Adam Rooney for instance. Bought in for nothing, if he can get 10 goals this season he’ll be worth a bit – maybe a million or so? If he gets 20, he’ll be worth much more – and all of that would be profit.

          Albion are a very tightly run ship, they don’t have very many on high wages. Wolves have a few more, but they do (sadly it’s a fact) have a bigger fanbase than us, more ST holders and they sell more tickets. Key to our continued improvement and pushing on to where we want the team to be isn’t about bringing in top players, but developing them – something the club has been criminally bad at for a long time.

  • Paul says:

    Sorry but I may be in denial but I refuse to accept where we find ourselves. If Dann and Jerome leave and we don’t replace them with quality then I won’t be renewing my Season Ticket next season. Football is meant to be a hobby and something to enjoy and ATM I’m not enjoying it at all. I can accept being in the Championship but not the fact that our team is nowhere good enough to mount a challenge for promotion. KRO!!!!

    • almajir says:

      Seriously?

      I’ve had more fun watching Blues this season than I have in the last couple. I thought as fans we were supposed to support the team through thick and thin. I’m loving seeing younger players coming through, I’m loving the attacking approach and I couldn’t give a monkeys about going up this year cos of our European Tour…

  • Paul says:

    Yes as am I enjoying the football but in the league we just fall flat on our faces in the 2nd half of games. Why is that? Were not good enough. Hughton is a quality manager but unless he is backed we will struggle. Were paying more than we did last last year and our team is just good enough to stay up. Unless Carson goes or backs us I’m gone.

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Almajir, You seem to be intimating, That even,£ 16,mill, plus revenue from our Carling Cup run, along with the incoming transfer fees from the sales of Gardner, Johnson, Ferguson, [ possibly Michel ],?. etc are entirely swallowed up in just keeping us afloat,??.
    When one includes the none payment of wages to the very many that were freed, [ as well as sold ], to further lighten our wage bill,!!. I still, [ as A,R. says ] fail to understand the massive difference you portray, to previous relegation scenarios of the last 2, occaisons we found ourselves in,??.
    Just how,!!. do you seem to ” justify ” this time,??.

    • almajir says:

      I think you miss an important point. We lost a load of money last season. Yes, we turned over £50mil or so, but we paid nearly that in wages alone.

      Losses have to be repaid. Carson isn’t in a position to dump more money in, so we have to sell to balance the books. How hard is it to understand, we have to pay for the mistakes of last year?

      • Bluenosesol says:

        We can not keep on apologising for the board and insisting that all of the money that has been “swallowed up” has gone to service bad debt. If the board (whoever they may be) wish to keep the supporters on board, then they need to grow a pair of bollocks and start engaging and informing the fans. I think there will be a lot of blinkered fans who will reflect with some embarassment once the true effect of the prevailing shannanigans are revealed.

        • almajir says:

          I disagree to a degree, because if the board did engage the fans, most are too cynical to believe them whether they were telling the truth or not.

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Mate,!!. Could be that I owe you an apolgy,!!. I admit I did not realise we had made such a loss,?. Whilst I appreciate that if you spend more than you accumilate, [ one ends up with ” empty pockets ” ]. or even loss making,!!.
    Was then, ” big Eck ” guilty of splashing the cash willy-nilly,?. It does not sound like the prudent guy we thought we knew,??.

    • almajir says:

      I think Eck was guilty of not getting anywhere near what was the best out of the players, particularly in the second half of the season.

      The board were guilty of making signings that the club couldn’t realistically pay for a prolonged period of time. They were guilty of running the club like fans when maybe they should have run it like businessmen and had plans in place for if things went pear shaped. Don’t get me wrong, I agree the board made mistakes but I don’t for one second believe that they’re asset stripping us

  • viperblue says:

    Just a pity there are not any British directors around,surely there are more directors than CY,his son & Pannau,what has happened to Macnamerman?

    • almajir says:

      McManaman is still an exec dir of BIH, but he has never held a position with respect to BCFC

      • Bluenosesol says:

        WIKI quote : In August 2009, Carson Yeung confirmed that once his proposed take-over of Birmingham City went through, a role at St. Andrews would be given to McManaman, although he did not specify what role that would be and by 2010, McManaman was appointed as a board director at Birmingham City, where McManaman assured Steve Bruce at the time that he was not part of some scheme to take over his job as coach

        • almajir says:

          Companies House website. Slightly more reliable than wiki, as they list all documents companies must file legally, including naming and terminating directors.

          BCFC PLC – company number 3304408.

          Here’s the list of all notices filed since 1997 – http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/034aad28acba6e2635992e1ca9bc97a3/wcprodorder?ft=1

          Not once is there mention of Steve McManaman being either made or terminated as a director of the club.

          I repeat – McManaman is an executive director of BIH, but has NEVER held a position within BCFC.

  • viperblue says:

    If ,has been said about the massive wages ,who negociated them without the normal clause about
    relegation triggering wage cut.
    Who were advising the board??
    At least the previous board understood & used this type of contract.
    If the players had been playing to keep their wages up then perhaps we would not be where we are now!!!

    • almajir says:

      In the cases of Nikola Zigic and Craig Gardner – they were both done by Michael Dunford…

  • viperblue says:

    HI Almajir
    sorry about spelling of McManaman,so there are only 3 directors on the board.
    This would present a massive problem in normal running of club.
    How are we getting by?
    Also the difference of 24m ,by avoiding relegation seems to have been addressed already,
    so why do we seem to be in such a mess.
    It looks on the surface & from limlited info we would be in virtually same “hole” if we had stayed up
    as players would have stayed and we would have to pay them

    • almajir says:

      There are currently five directors on the BCFC board.

      Carson Yeung, Ryan Yeung, Vico Hui, Bruno Wu and Peter Pannu.

  • bluehag says:

    I agree with you almajir, I’m loving our new manager, his footballing philosophy and our european adventure, if we can consolidate or maybe sneak into the play offs this season and this yeung mess gets sorted asap I will be happy enough. I disagree wolves have a bigger fanbase than us though mate, obviously they’ve got more season ticket holders than us at present and their average last season was 1,000-2,000 more than ours, but “fanbase” includes potential as well as people that don’t necessarily go down every game, before we were kicked in the nuts every season by the gold and sully regime we had 22,500 ssn ticket holders (the most in the midlands and only 6 or 7 yrs ago) wolves rarely sell out any away allocation and the away end at VP was half empty on saturday, their last home game attracted 22,000. I’m not saying we are massively bigger than them just that I think we are similar sized clubs with similar fanbases, it certainly isn’t a “fact” that they are in any way bigger than us and any difference in this aspect certainly aint worth mentioning. Oh and as you know they are thick, smell, talk funny and look like tramps. Irrelevant maybe but I just thought I would mention it.

  • viperblue says:

    Micheal Dunford….their contracts probably explain his sudden resignation in April

  • viperblue says:

    I off to watch some honest non-league football at Rocester.
    I am a Bluenose thro’ & thro’,and love our attacking style with CH
    but shouting encouragement to a team ,in a crowd of perhaps 80
    gives me almost as much pleasure

  • Blue Steve says:

    Why is everyone so dillusional? Any close examination of the accounts backs up what Almajir is saying. I think people prefer to bury their head in the sand rather than look at the facts. We have to pay for the mistakes of last season. The board took a gamble we some high earners presuming they would keep us in the Prem and it failed. If they had not invested we would have moaned about that as well. Next season with a lower wage bill and the 16 mill parachute payment and the CY situation sorted out we will be in a far better position. Not that I am writing this season off CH is a great manager and may just sneak us into the playoffs. Heres hoping. KRO.

  • Griff says:

    He needs to somehow sneak us a decent goalkeeper! Such an important position and yet we seem to have settled for a pub team goalie. If this position isn’t sorted out, we will be lucky to end the season in a mid table position!

  • viperblue says:

    Must agree about goal keeping position.
    I am all for giving some a chance but maybe 3 or 4 goals down to him already
    cost of probably 6 points
    We can not afford to let it carry on.
    How bad must Doyle be to not get a chance

  • Ben says:

    Can someone tell the stupid posters who mention players who have left on a free, Unless they join another club they are paid buy the club until they join another team or the are not registered to play. If we had foster, I doubt we would have conceded a single goal

  • dean says:

    Come on Ben , did you not see Stokes Goal . No doubt Foster is a good keeper and whilst he made a lot of good saves and maybe earned us a point or two ( and a Carling cup ) He also dropped a few clangers last season and has been prone to them during his whole career.

    Griiff’s has a point he’s ( Myhill ) cost us points allready Doyle must !! be given a chance to prove himself or prove his doubters right.


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