Often Partisan

Reassurance – OP Editorial on the accounts delay

So, it’s come to pass that the day of reckoning has been postponed once more, and once again Blues fans along with BIH shareholders are left waiting to find out as to the exact financial landscape of the club and the parent company. With this in mind, and taking inspiration from the questions the Hong Kong Stock Exchange have asked prior to BIH shares being relisted, I hereby submit my questions to the board that I believe need answering.

Can the board show that the legal problems Carson is currently facing in both the criminal and civil courts in Hong Kong do not impinge on his ability to control the parent company and the football club? 

The biggest problem Blues face financially seems on the face of it to be directly linked to Carson’s current legal issues. With his accounts frozen and his travel restricted Carson seems to be struggling to back the club in the same manner as he had last season. Now, we cannot expect him to continually pump money into a bottomless pit of spending, but it does seem painfully obvious that the club requires cash from time to time to ensure cashflow can be kept up with. If for whatever reason this is difficult for Carson, I think the board need to reassure the fans that there is sufficient investment and cashflow from and into the parent company to keep things on an even keel.

Can the board show that there is a long-term financial strategy in place that will ensure the club can hold onto its emerging talent for a sufficient time to maximise it’s earnings from it?

I think as Blues fans we have to accept that we’re not a big club, and that if a player does well for the team, they are going to attract the interest of teams with a bigger budget and a bigger reputation. However, I believe fans need reassurance that the club will not be pushed into selling star talent early for short-term financial gain, but will be able to hold onto players until a point whereby the fee for the players services are sufficiently high that it will benefit the long-term stability of the club. In short, the difference between selling someone like Jack Butland now for £2mil or in a couple of years for a much larger fee.

Can the board make a commitment to better communication with fans?

Chief amongst the problems Blues face is that us fans have been left in the dark somewhat, and have been reliant on scraps of information gleaned from the press and regulatory announcements to the stock exchange to try to gain an understanding of what is happening fiscally. I wouldn’t expect the board or the club to make public financially sensitive information but there does need to be some semblance of interchange, if only to reaffirm a commitment to the club and to its future. I understand that there are cultural differences between the western and Chinese ways of conducting business, but there must be some acceptance of the need for transparency from the board in the same way as the fans must accept the Chinese desire for privacy.

I’m not one to be hysterically calling for the departure of the current board. I understand that we are in austere times and that Blues (like all football clubs) need to be financially stable and self-sufficient. However, I’m also of the belief that announcements like today’s to the stock exchange only serve to increase fear and doubt in the board and that the board need to reassure fans that they are trying to fix things.

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28 Responses to “Reassurance – OP Editorial on the accounts delay”

  • Masaccio says:

    I doubt very much that today’s announcement will help CH and his team bring in new players – this is all to the detriment of our great football club. Maybe CH and team should turn their mobiles off so we don;t lose any more players. Then again I may be wrong and blues might unveil Berbatov as a new signing.

  • bluenoseneil says:

    Almajir – the board are under no obligation to feed information to fans to pacify us if it’s not the full and final details.

    I think anyone with a business brain will understand that sometimes part-disclosure to employees from company heads (or in this case fans, from the club owners) can be more toxic and damaging than keeping quiet.

    My view still stands that when they know what to do, they will do it and we will hear about it. For the time being we look at a decimated squad of players with only 3 surviving Carling Cup winners in it, the form in Europe, the FA Cup and the Championship and all agree we are happy with Blues as a squad of players.

    Blues as a club is for the businessmen to sort out and that’s what they’re paid (or not paid if money’s tight….haha) for. Let’s leave them to it, shall we?

    • Masaccio says:

      @bluenose – they have a duty to release an annual report based on their year end date. This isn’t drip feeding fans info – it’s for the HKSE, if they ever want to relist they need to pull their fingers out and act, responsibily, transparently and according to the regulations. (all my clients do)

      • bluenoseneil says:

        Masaccio that’s all true, but that information will be forthcoming to HKSE when BIH have indeed pulled their finger out, and if they want to get hit with fines and delay the inevitable, it’s up to them, isn’t it?

        If they have something to hide we will all know in the fullness of time.

        I am not one for stressing about it that’s all!!

        • Masaccio says:

          Agree on the stress – I’d watch blues play in the conference but the thing that buigs me is that we’ve got a great manager and some good kids coming through – what a shame to waste it just like other owners did in the past.

  • Dino Tiltoni says:

    ‘I’m not one to be hysterically calling for the departure of the current board.’ I think you may be in the minority!

    These poorly organised people need to leave soon and I don’t care if we become a smaller club as a result. It’s a dreadful shame that they were allowed to take control of the club as their stewardship has been poor. That is well illustrated by the Chairman’s current situation. Hopefully he will be soon be convicted and removed from post.

    Everything you report (and well) is welcome and serves to illustrate how unsuitable being a part of an opaque Chinese company is for us.

  • parkp says:

    Maybe the board aint telling us anything cos basically, they have nothjng to say. like bluenoseneil says, we should just concentrate on the team and their good form at the minute. Iv said all along, the time to worry is when CH aint happy.

  • parkp says:

    Yes if they are no longer able to run the club then it should be sold. Problem is Carson borrowed and paid 80 million for the club, 40 million more than what sullivan would have accepted! Wonder what he thinks of the mess? Anyway i cant see Carson selling for anything less than 50 million and noone is gonna pay that! The only way out would be administration and that seems to remain a strong possibility, lets hope not.

    • almajir says:

      Administration would be catastrophic.

      When a company is in administration, it’s the administrator’s job to secure funds for the creditors and to sell the company as a going concern, or to wind it up.

      From the information I have received from my own sources, BCFC’s chief creditor is BIH/Carson Yeung. If the club was to go into admin, then the administrator would be duty bound to secure funds to repay Carson’s loan, whereas at the moment Carson is probably content to let the club owe it knowing he’ll get it back at some point.

      My hope is that before that happens someone will step in and make Carson an offer he can’t refuse.

      • bluenoseneil says:

        Oh look, there goes Elvis on the back of a purple swan…..

      • Bluenosesol says:

        Almajir, If the club are wound up, carson Yeung would have to join the queue of unsecured creditors. He may then have to wait a few years to get his dues at 10 pence in the pound if he is luck! I only wish that the administrators were bound to pay the creditors in full, then when I was kicked out by my last company who owed me over £100k, then I might have got more than just buttons!!

        • almajir says:

          Of course you are correct – but 10 p in the pound of what we owe Carson is more than the current nowt we’re paying back – and it’s not like we’d have more money coming in.

    • BluePenguin 76 says:

      Almajir excellent piece in the Mail.I totally agree, maybe its time to state their positive intentions or if they havent got the ability to have any…..try and move on.

      The club cannot continue in this vain and I feel the inability to communicate on any kind of level is a sign that they have nowt positive to say. Atleast ,it shows a disregard for us as fans. Its OUR club i(n truth) and we have a right to be infomed.

      I’m sure Carsen had some kind of vision for the club….but its just not happening is it?.
      Im not saying we are about to go into administration but it surely cannot be a fantastic sign.I just think they have bitten off more than they can chew!.

      KRO

      • bluenoseneil says:

        BluePenguin sorry mate but it ISN’T our club.

        We support it but we don’t back it fully financially, as our gate receipts only cover player wages and some of the other running costs, but not all.

        Therefore if we want to make it OUR club we need to each stump up at least £2500 – well, I say each I mean 20,000 of us – to amass the £50million it would cost to buy Carson out.

        Do you have that kinda cash knocking about? Cos I don’t!!!

        PS I know it isn’t THAT simple but my point is more that we have no real definitive say as fans other than what goes on here, unless we co-own, and we don’t.

  • parkp says:

    Nobody will step in and pay the kind of money Carson would be happy with. We must not forget he put around 17 million into the club out of his own pocket last season. Its a big worry almajir and until someone comes out and gives us some straight honest answers what can we do? Coventry City found themselves in more of a mess and at loggerheads with their owners, but at least their supporters were kept informed.

  • mickey07 says:

    Mayor a great piece in the mail mate,really if you think about it,it quite very simple really,”the chinese simply cant do the job” and have been found out, not up to the job….bluepenguin is right “bitten off more than they can chew”…maybe there heart was in the right place but the chinese cant cut the mustard….time for them to move back to china…

  • DinoTiltoni says:

    Nice PInk Floyd reference in the Mail article. Would we say ‘Wish you were here’ to Carson so that he can ‘meddle’ and mess up some more? Perhaps its good he’s in HK but the ‘dark side of the moon’ would be a better place for him.

  • Danny B says:

    Excellent post pal, I think the last 2 points are the ones we need resolving the most, to me its been evident since the summer that for one reason or another Carson’s ongoing legal issues are impacting on not only our football club but also any other assets or business’ Carson is involved in. The biggest concern has to be the lack of information we’re recieving, apart from the odd post which confirms another delay in the release of our accounts we don’t seem to be getting anything overly useful to read or discuss. Granted Peter Pannu has made a couple of comments in a few matchday programs but even those didn’t seem to offer much that we didn’t already know.
    The point you make about the current board showing a long term plan to the fans basically determins the future of the club. If the board are willing to come out and say this is the position we’re currently in but this is the plan we have in place / this is what our long term sollutions are then this can only help ease the fears certain fans seem to have. A friend of mine text me earlier and one line stood out for me which was as follows: ‘We are on a good run and we should be loving the results and the style of football we’re playing, but we aren’t.’ This is a point that sums it all up for me, we SHOULD be enjoying life as ‘Noses at the moment but every game I attend seems to be dominated by discussions about whats happening abroad and at boardroom level. That coupled with the joke that Curtis Davies is adding half a million to his valuation with every goal he scores is making what should be a thoroughly enjoyable matchday expereince quite depressing and irritating (I often come away from games more annoyed than when we played and lost all those games last year under Mc451)

    • DoctorD says:

      Long-term plan? But isn’t that the problem with football these days. There is such a disparity in finances between Championship and Premiership that if you say “our plan is to secure promotion at whatever price” and then you don’t get promoted, you’ve messed up big style. Nothing’s certain in this game is it? I suppose the plan, if there is one, is “we will cut costs by offloading big-wage players, stabilize in the Championship and, if we’re lucky, get promotion or a good cup run(s) to make the business a bit more viable”. I still haven’t a clue what Steve McManaman is doing on the board — Almajir what’s his email? Fire off some questions please. Why is no fulltime journalist doing this?

      • almajir says:

        I don’t have any contact details for Steve McManaman, or believe me I would have done.

      • Danny B says:

        Fair point you make DoctorD and one I tend to agree with, take Leics for example, they’ve spent (in championship terms at least) an absolute fortune yet seem to be furthur away from promotion than they was this time last year. It seems owners are runnings clubs on a risk versus reward scheme and are having to find out the hard way that the risk isn’t bringing in half the reward they wanted. As much as Everton fans grumbled at the start of the season about the lack of spending from their board I’m sure they can’t deny that there are 80 odd other football league clubs who would happily be in their current league position, In my opinion the best thing for Birmingham City would be to stabalise over a period of time (time depending on the outcome of Carson’s court case) and then investing in a solid youth system has to be better than splashing out what millions the club has on players who may or may not work on a shortish term for the club. If we look at West Ham and Leeds United their best times since 2000 they’ve come when they’ve had a thriving youth academy so surely with the continued improvment being made by the likes of Jordan Mutch and Nathan Redmond surely they’re the 1st signs that we can spot, nurture and improve young aspiring footballers and as I said for me this has to be the best way forward for the Blues – especially with fifa’s financial fair play system coming in soon. As for Mr McManaman I would also like some clarification on his position, role and input at the club

  • oltonblue says:

    Well the fact that the transfer window has closed and we have only sold Dave and Ridgewell gives me great hope for the rest of the season and tells us that we are managing our cash flow ok.

    I might be stating the obvious here and i don’t really know how public companies work, but are they not just delaying releasing the results until the end of the season, in the hope that we get promoted? As the bad results won’t look as bad and may be more recoverble with the promise of increased TV money, sponsorship, gate money etc!

  • Oby says:

    OP, Can you make anything from this, I believe Yang has put in £4.5m in to Chui company, should we we interested ?

    http://www.hkexnews.hk/listedco/listconews/gem/2012/0201/GLN20120201188.pdf

    • almajir says:

      Well, for one – that company has nothing to do with Pollyana Chu, despite what has been said elsewhere.

      It’s a share issue, he’s raising funds – what’s interesting is if the shares aren’t taken up he’s guaranteed to buy them himself.

      If there is anyone out in HK they should get along there and take a photo of Mr Yang – I only know of one online…


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