Often Partisan

Won’t Be Fooled Again

One thing I’ve noticed in the last few days is that a little knowledge is dangerous. A couple of press releases about Birmingham City’s interim results are put online, and it seems the world and his dog go into overdrive to prove that Blues are about to follow last season’s financial chumps Portsmouth into the Championship and oblivion. Having spent the last hour trawling through the Chinese media (with the aid of a handy translator and some black belt google-fu), I’ve come to the conclusion no-one barring the men at the top of Birmingham City actually know what is going on, as the Hong Kong and Chinese media seem to be as clueless as their compatriots on these shores.

What hasn’t helped is the latest statement from acting chairman Peter Pannu, where he insists that Birmingham City FC are a “distant subsidiary” of Birmingham International Holdings, and as such aren’t affected by any monetary problems BIH might face. Sorry Mr Pannu, but whilst that kind of corporate-speak might seem impressive to you, it won’t wash with the majority of Birmingham City fans who are die-hard cynics when it comes to the financial side of things. Indeed, you only have to look at Southampton in 2009 to see a team that has had points docked because it’s parent has gone into administration. I’m not saying that BIH is heading in that direction; more that if it does it will result in sanctions against the football club – which goes completely against what Mr Pannu stated.

Cynicism coupled with a healthy dose of paranoia has thus led to many Blues fans wondering if things are going to go pear-shaped. Half of the problem that the Birmingham City board have is that no matter what Carson Yeung or his associates say, it will either not be believed or will potentially damage the club. If the club doesn’t wish to answer specific questions like the ones I laid out here, then it might be best if they refuse to comment at all until the UEFA licence for next season’s Europa League is confirmed to have been issued – after all, that will be partial proof that things are okay. I don’t believe the board are used to how the media works in this country – or for that matter how football itself works at the top level – and I think it might be time for them to think about holding their hands up to it and maybe appointing someone to a role to deal with it for them – like Michael Dunford was originally – as pronouncements like the one from Mr Pannu today smack of instances like Comical Ali saying the Americans weren’t in Baghdad whilst US tanks are blowing up streets behind him.

In short, right now there is not much Birmingham City fans can do but enjoy the ride as it were, and see where it takes us. Short of someone showing up with a hefty wedge of cash and asking to look at the books properly, no one barring the Premier League authorities is going to see the true ins and outs of what is happening for now, and all we can hope is that the confidence the BCFC staff seem to have in the way the business is run isn’t misplaced. In the meantime, I would like Mr Pannu to consider his words carefully, and realise that whilst some Blues fans are happy to swallow what he says, Blues have been in financial trouble before and as The Who sang, We won’t be fooled again.

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