Often Partisan

Keep Talking

Birmingham City released a statement on Wednesday via the matchday programme and bcfc.com from Peter Pannu. The statement was like a “state of the club” address; reflections on the previous year and what’s happening next. Having taken a couple of days to digest it, reflect on it and take other’s viewpoints on it I wanted to offer you my thoughts.

As a PR statement, it was professional. Concise, clear language putting forwards a positive viewpoint about all the good stuff that has happened, and a couple of paragraphs of vague ideas that the club won’t be selling anyone too cheaply. As someone who believes and values communication between the club and fans, I personally thought it was a step in the right direction.

However, there were a few points that I didn’t like. For example:

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the majority of you for your magnificent backing throughout 2011. Your passionate support has never been in doubt and no-one can fail to be impressed by your loyalty through thick and thin. It means a lot to everyone working hard behind the scenes here at St. Andrew’s.

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but that reads as a thinly veiled dig at some fans for their vocal opposition to the current board regime at St Andrews – be it singing “the Carson song” in the stands or maybe the people who confronted Mr Pannu at Derby, Madeira etc. Whilst I don’t agree with people singing that song, or for that matter the idea of a protest on the car park at St Andrews I do accept that people have a right to voice their opinion. It’s not pleasant, but it’s a fact of life – some people are unhappy. I think Mr Pannu would have been better served thanking all fans and letting it lie – I’m sure some will take it the wrong way and that’s not a good thing.

I also think he missed he trick in this paragraph:

Our club website, bcfc.com, continues to receive over 2,500,000 hits a month and we now boast over 40,000 people following the club across social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. I am constantly in touch with my PR and media staff through whom a lot of club Tweets and Facebook postings provide updates to supporters on club matters.

It’s all well and good saying how well Blues are doing in social media – and make no mistake, the social media at Blues is a very effective exchange of contact between fans and the club – but I think he should have said something about keeping an eye on it. I know that Mr Pannu reads articles on Blues online (including this website), and I think people would be happier if they knew that he was at least listening to some of the things being said by people online. I’m not expecting him to reply to everyone (although he is very good at replying to people’s emails), but it’s nice to know that there is a chance he might take on board praise or criticism from the everyday fan.

One thing I think he’s dead right about is

The huge loss in television income suffered by all of the clubs who have been relegated from the Premier League in recent times does of course mean their income streams have been significantly hit. This will be compounded by the financial fair play rules that will prevent even the richest of owners from spending. As all these rules are already in operation in the Premier League and Football League football spending will change within the next two to three years. In short, clubs will only be able to spend what they earn. We have to be ready for that challenge.

I think the age of the sugar daddy is being brought to an end as much as possible by UEFA/the FA, and it’s good for the club if it can keep itself going under its own steam. Lack of reliance on an outside investor is the sort of long-term financial aim Blues should be aiming for in my opinion, and I welcome efforts made by the club to achieve this.

One thing I picked up from reading the messageboards is the lack of reassurance from Hong Kong that they’re doing what they can to sort the situation out. We rarely hear from Carson Yeung or Vico Hui (who is the Chairman after all) and I think if there was a paragraph from either stating that Carson/BIH were still interested in matters here in the UK and that they wanted people to know that they were working hard to improve things at BCFC it would go down well. That would be a much better dig at people singing “He (Carson) don’t care about us.”

The problem Peter Pannu had is that quite a few people still aren’t satisfied with the statement. Some see it as pointless rhetoric, or smoke and mirrors. I don’t think there is much else he could have said – the financial stuff being sensitive, after all – and of course there is the issue of the hardened scepticism amongst many fans. I accept that – at the moment, there isn’t much that they can say about current matters because the only proof will be when things actually happen.

The previous statement to fans from Mr Pannu was given October 29th – some ten and a half weeks ago. If I could offer one piece of advice to Mr Pannu it would be not to wait another ten and a half weeks before talking to the fans again. Even if it’s just a paragraph, keep talking – it is appreciated. The more you talk (and it’s proven to be true), the more that fans will respect what you say. Get Carson to say a few words, even if it’s that he’s gutted he missed the piss-up in Bruges. You’ve got the medium right, and you’ve got a captive audience – don’t waste the chance.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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17 Responses to “Keep Talking”

  • Dawinder says:

    Ever heard the saying ‘no news is good news. The reality of the clubs situation is that it is probably three steps from administration. How the board and Carsen have prevented the administration of the club upon till now must be analysed i.e. How have they prevented from happening? Are they trying to get something rather than nothing? do they have a genuine intrest in keeping the club going until they find out the outcome of Carsen trial. Peter Pannu’s statement was more like “keep right on” which is probably what the board are trying to do. I just hope we keep ticking over and we dont have the dreaded….. Administration. KRO.

  • Scoobers says:

    He covered everything but the major issue.

    I appreciate he is only acting on orders and is doing the best he can in difficult circumstances, however the fact is even if we had stayed up and carson had not been arrested there was still going to be a financial mess to sort out (remember the audit warning in the last BIHL annual report).

    The fans have every right to protest too as long as it doesn’t go OTT.

  • Bluehobba says:

    I think your’e bang on with this Almajir. We can’t spend what we haven’t got and I would appreciate a statement even if only on a regular basis ie monthly to state where we are, what’s trying to be done behind the scenes, sponsorships, improvements etc. They are never going to tell us the “sensitive” stuff. I’m not sure why he has come out now to make a statement but now is good as any and lets hope he keeps it up and realises we are all in this together one way or the other. KRO

  • I, like you thought the piece by Peter Pannu in the programme on Wednesday was well thought out and well written. I also share your views about the Carson song; I have deliberately not commented about Carson Yeung on Joys and Sorrows, whom many of you know I write regular reports for, simply because I don’t feel I know all the facts and until I do I feel it best to take the advice of Abraham Lincoln; “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” It is clear speaking to other fans that views are severely entrenched and even suggesting that Carson Yeung may in fact not be the demon he is painted meets with impassioned angry tirades to the contrary. I feel he is hamstrung by legal restraints and can’t say anything even if he wanted to so we will just have to wait until he is tried for his alleged offences in a court of law and a judge can then decide on his fate. Frustrating though that may be it is the way it has to be done and the club will have to carry on as best it can in the meantime. Singing derogatory songs and organising car park protests do not in my mind add anything to the debate. Further articles from Peter Pannu and other board members will in contrast and I agree completely with the sentiments of the above article; beautifully crafted as always on Often Partisan.

  • Dangermouse says:

    why do we need a regular monthly update about the state of the club. Would you rather he him come out month after month saying the same thing over and over or just actually speak when there is something to say. The fianances at the club are not in a good way, but as Tatts has posted in the mail, staff and players are being paid on time and the club is still operating. I dont understand what more we need to know. It dont take a rocket scientist to work out we wont be signing players for cash sums unless we sell. Im all for Mr Pannu speaking when he has something to tell us. As for thaking the majority of fans i think he is entitled to do that, if the minority are entitled to voice their concerns and anger about Carson Yeung singing that stupid song then Mr Pannu must be entitled to his opinion about them. The fans are the most important people at any club but signing stupid songs and slagging the board off aint gonna change anything at the moment. I think they should channel that anger into positive support for the team and all Chris Hughton and his staff are doing where it really matters…on the pitch!

  • skareggae72 says:

    “thank the majority of you for your magnificent backing throughout 2011”,to be fair to Pannu he isnt going to thank the people who barrack him & his cronies,& why should he,i wouldnt if they sang those songs about me or people i know.
    What Mr Pannu needs to realise is that many people in football have had far worse than him/friends over the years(it can be quite harsh),although the fan backlash we are seeing at Blackburn Rovers is far nastier & in my opinion we face bigger problems here at Birmingham City FC(but without the MEDIA HYPE),he also did help select Chris as manager who has been a success so far,now to tame those lions…….

  • Bumpyfunk says:

    I think the big problem for us at the moment is that the lack of info from China, and the situation with Carson (along with a silent board) means that literally half of my Blue mates now aren’t interested in going up. When I say Blue mates, I’m talking about people who up until recently have had season tickets most of their lives. Some people think its because their jobs are rocky, or redundancy….some people think that it’s lack of Premiership action. ITS NOT.

    The lack of information has lead to mistrust, paranoia and fear. I can hand on heart say that the typical feeling among a big swathe is that if they pay the ticket price, it won’t get ploughed into the team. They think it will go straight to China.

    Now I know that wages need to be paid, the ground needs to be upheld and other day to day costs are ongoing, but I can honestly say that’s why a lot of friends won’t go up at the moment.

    When talking about the interest in Redmond, I particularly paid attention to the general response from people I talked to. It was typically a “Whats the point? We’ll only get the bare minimum from a £12 million deal”.

    The lack of information is not only causing a strange set of opinions, but also mass avoidance.
    I have been up about 5 times this season, but I’d say 10 out of the regular 20 lads I meet up with beforehand have stopped going. At best, they would go to every home game and some away ones. At worst they won’t go at all.

    We are barely getting over 20,000 in at home games (last 2 have been around 15k – half a ground full!) This is a black and white comment that I hope somebody in authority reads.

    If we are moaning about losing TV money, then the next best thing is a full house every other week. THE REASON WE AREN’T GETTING IT IS BECAUSE FANS ARE FEELING IGNORED. It needs more than one press release from Pannu.

    • Julian says:

      Sorry but pathetic excuses for not going. The football is far better than last season and many more before it. I reckon it’s just because its not Premier League. They should just have the guts to say that’s the reason

      • Bumpyfunk says:

        Just saying what the general feeling is.

        They have had season tickets for seasons much lower than the Championship in the past.

  • Margaret Decker says:

    As usual, this is reasonable and thoughtful. I agree completely that Mr Pannu needs to keep talking and I’d like to see something from him every week during the season even if he can’t give any new information.

  • Dangermouse says:

    i support the team, no matter who the owners are or what division we are in. I wouldn’t let whats going on off the pitch stop me from going to see whats going on, on the pitch

  • jeff says:

    why would pannu thank the boo boys?yes he could be more pro media.maybe he feels that whatever he writes will get twisted out of shape by some our fans anyway?in not bothered that he isn,t tweeting every five minutes.to me e,s doing a decent job in very trying times.to be honest if we get promoted i hope we follow the norwich/swansea model.i bet they don,t pay much more than ten grand a week to any player.we,re not a big club so a bit of reality is needed.seventy grand a week for a loanee?that was absolute madness.carson yung behaved like a fan.if we,d stayed up some adjustments would have had to be made anyway.the wage bill per income raised was too big.they chased a dream and sort of reached it with the cup win.why would they have plans for relegation?that team should stayed up no bother..one last thing that seems to overlooked,what if carson gets found not guilty?will all the fans who have sung the song against him be lining up to say sorry to him?i think we know the answer to that.so forgive pannu if certain members of our fan base are not on his christmas card list.innocent untill proven guilty?the blokes been hung and the case hasn,t been heard yet…..

  • Russ says:

    I can’t believe Carson Yeung hasn’t been quoted as saying anything at all, since his finances were frozen. Even if Pannu made it up ‘Carson sends his very best wishes for the Europa Cup, and wishes he could be there. He regrets the reality of his financial status, but it’s beyond his control at present, and he said he will be there at St Andrew’s as soon as possible, Keep Right On’.
    Not rocket science is it?

  • Bluenosesol says:

    If it wasnt tragic it woould be hilarious. Pannu is fearful that the new rules will restrict the amount that the club will be able to spend on players!!

  • Mike Raybone says:

    Didn’t Mr Pannu reading your article about keeping quiet prompt him to say very little since ? It’s a bit harsh on the bloke to now criticise him for not saying enough. Personally I think he seems to be doing a good job in impossible circumstances – like Chris Hughton

  • Harry Meadows says:

    Where can one find Peter Pannu’s email adress?


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