Often Partisan

The Pros and the Antis

Whilst Blues have been trying to get the points on the pitch Peter Pannu is (theoretically anyway) in discussions with interested parties for the sale of BCFC. It’s a weird situation at the moment as Blues are now in the final throes of the Carson Yeung tenure and I wanted to touch upon the whole “pro/anti-board” debate that cropped up in the comments section on this site this week.

I have to admit that I think the whole idea of there being a black-and-white binary type situation where one is either “for” the board or “against” it is a fallacy; indeed, I think it’s almost a red herring now with the board seemingly on the way out there is nothing to be “for” or “against”.

I’ve always tried to remain fairly neutral and balanced; praise where it’s due and criticism when it warrants it. I think that some people have definitely lost sight of some of the good things that have happened under Carson Yeung – a major trophy and a European campaign for a start – and have forgotten that as the previous incumbents’ reign came to an end there was quite a lot of antipathy towards them as well. Whilst some owners are undoubtedly better than others it’s wise to also remember that owners (like managers and players) have a shelf-life; one of the main problems with the Gold/Sullivan era in it’s later years was that it had gone stale and as the truism goes, familiarity breeds contempt. Whilst new owners with some cash to spend would be welcomed with open arms they too will bring their own issues and when the honeymoon is over people may well turn on them also.

At the Blues Trust AGM yesterday I asked the newly elected board how they felt they could continue a positive stance towards the board bearing in mind some of the vitriol hurled against it by what seems like a large section of the matchday crowd. One of the members, Steve McCarthy nailed it for me in his answer – whilst the trust isn’t a protest group there is nothing to say that protest is a method that can’t be used by the trust when it warrants it. In other words one doesn’t have to be “anti-” anything to criticise it; indeed, if one is seen to be fair and balanced in their statements it’s more likely that when a criticism emerges it will be listened to. It’s a balance I myself have striven to maintain on this blog and I am committed to continuing in the future.

It’s not that protest is even likely to be needed anyway. Things look bleak in HK for Carson after the latest court hearing into the repossession of his house. The new respondents in the case – his mother and wife – have been given 14 days to enter new evidence to stop the repossession but they have not yet been allowed to do more than put a hold on it. There is talk that they have also sued Carson for the legal costs in fighting the repossession of the house as they say he had no right to secure a mortgage on it; as all three still live in the house I suspect that dinner in 31B Barker Road might be a bit frosty atmosphere at the moment.

With things looking bleak one would have to think and hope that the takeover that has been mooted will continue to be pushed forwards – however it’s worth considering that nothing Carson seems to have done in the last twelve months bears any basis in logical reasoning so one can’t second-guess how long it will be before he caves in to any prospective buyer for what he can get. Our best hope remains that Peter Pannu will have been able to reason with Carson enough to get something moving on the sale front – the question is can we rely on Pannu? That I don’t know – and that is neither “anti-” or “pro-”board.

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26 Responses to “The Pros and the Antis”

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Morning Dan

    I think the best thing a prospective buyer or Pannu can do if they’re serious is leak their identity to the public. A lot of people think there is a white knight in the wings, loaded and wanting to spend big time but it could just as well be an investment company/asset stripper/no hoper. We should all be wary and only have to look at the likes of Cov and Pompey to see what a new owner can do.

    Yesterday I thought it was a good idea to use the FAs complaints procedure to point out how they let us down over the fit and proper persons test the last time and used other clubs too as examples of how seriously and meticulously they need to be when carrying this test out. I want a proper test done on the next lot please. I realise this may not be a popular view as an ‘anyone but Carson’ attitude prevails at the moment but this is the FAs own process to supposedly safeguard football clubs and I want to see them use it properly as it’s fundamentally a good idea. It’s a no brainer really as if our new owners are thoroughly righteous and well intentioned this test wont hurt em.

    Anyone else wishing to go down this route here’s the link (if that’s OK Dan)

    • alexjhurley says:

      Paul,

      A very good point well made. I agree we need to think about how we can protect ourselves against the very real possibility that any new owners end up being worse than Carson et al (hard as that will seem to some).

      This was discussed at yesterdays supporters trust meeting, with it being pointed out that pompeys trust had not only been involved, via the administrarot, in assesing prospective new owners but had even prevented one of the prospective buyers from proceeding.

      Let’s hope and help out if we can, to use both these potential routes to ensure we end up with new owners who genuinely are fit and proper……..

    • almajir says:

      Paul

      Thanks for your comment – I agree with a lot of what you say. The problem I fear is that even if an interested party is mega-rich they could well be just as bad for spending money as some consortium of buyers. It’s all about intentions, and the problem is I don’t think we can accurately know what their intentions are until they start doing things – I mean, it’s easy for someone to say “we’re going to spend £40mil”…

      I’m not a believer in the F&PPT – I don’t think any test like that can accurately pin down if a prospective owner is an asset-stripper or not; all we can find out is if they’ve been convicted for fraud or have a history of companies going into administration. I can understand why you’d complain, and I’d back it BUT what I would say is you are going to the wrong people – the Football League (which is an entirely different entity to the FA) administer the F&PPT for the Championship. It’s them you need to go to.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    I imagine that you would be hard pressed to find anyone who was truly pro the board. I dont share an anti-board vitrioilic stance and I cringe every time I hear the Carson chant. I do appreciate the best intentions of the board from day one and feel for those who’s lives have apparently been catastrophcally affected by their naive attempts to turn our club around. That said, I am on balance, anti-board. I also resent the footballing authorities who stood idly by, whilst a group of distant chancers were allowed to come in and meddle and ultimately to seriously injure our great club.
    As you have said Almajir, the day we sell to new owners, will not be a time to celebrate as it will take a further season to find out whether we have been taken on by competent seasoned professionals or another bunch of enthusiastic amateurs.
    Another worrying factor, is that just as the Gold Gang did (despite their protestations), they were prepared to sell to any party which would maximise their returns (remember in the pre-sales spat with CY, David Gold questioned CY’s financial competencies, yet went on to sell out to him). So we are absolutely dependant on the FA to ensure that any speciic deal is in the club’s long term interests. Maybe the trust can ensure they lobby the FA pre-sale to ensure they understand that next time around, the Bluenoses will hold them to account!

    • Oldbluenose says:

      Sol, old friend, I am in agreement with most of your comment,

      Originally, Sulli/Gold/Brady, did exactly what I hope new owners may do, namely, bring us back to the top=flight on a gradual process, after consolidating the infrastucture which has deteriated somewhat on the coaching, fitness, medical and training !!. Office personall have already been fabulous, [ so I hope they are kept on ],

      • Bluenosesol says:

        Oldbluenose, I absolutley agree, the Gold Gang restored our pride and worked wonders with the finances during their tenure. My observations were around the sale situation. At the point of sale, there was no evident pre-requisite to sell to a bona fide party. In fact Sullivan had publicly doubted CY’s credentials and ability to raise the necessary funds to buy the club and cast aspersions on CY’s judgement when blaming him for the failure to renew Bruce’s contract. There were sufficient alarm bells, but at the same time, the gang knew that the chances of finding another buyer sufficently misguided to pay their asking price was remote. They saw their pound notes disappearing up the chimney and sold come what may. CY is in a similar position in that his greatest priority is to maximise his return and if that means selling to the next Ken Wheldon, then he would do it!

        • Oldbluenose says:

          Sol;, I fear that you may well be correct regarding Carson Yuengs desire to re-coup whatever he can to bolster his own finances, !!.

          Regarding Sully/Gold sellout, Again you are correct, Visions of West Ham, in what was to be the future, Plus the fans turning on him in front of his children, !!!. — That was enough of us, as far as he was concerned, !!!!.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Alex and Sol send the FA an email using that link

  • ForevertheOptimist says:

    Where we are currently is not what we want for our Club.
    If someone wants to come in, improve the image and spend a few quid, fair play.
    Carson thanks for the memories…..now lets move on again to bigger and better things.
    Gonna remain optimistic we get new owners in who want to serve the Club, the community and the fans with dignity and honesty and Keep Right On, Till The End Of The Road.

  • Lets hope PP can get the message through to Carson that the last of the sand is slipping away in his egg timer he does the right thing? I just hope&pray we get a uk new owner/s .

  • Blueboy88 says:

    interesting subject , what makes good football club owners..?

    The Glazers have overseen the most successful on field period in Man Utd’s history ,
    yet are reviled.
    Randy Lerner has pumped £300m of his own family’s personal fortune into the shite & yet it is now all totally forgotten , & he has now become sperm of the devil .

    So as an owner , your seemingly damned if you do , & damned if you don’t ,

  • Paulo says:

    I actually dont care about the identity of the potential buyers/owners, even it’s only one person or a consortium. I dont care what PP is up to and how he is going about selling the club. What I do care about is the intention of anyone who comes into our club.
    Because I know what the situation is with BIHL and CY, I’m not sure what the trust could do and how it would benefit the fans on this takeover matter, as I doubt any new owner is even going to consider the fans anyway, they want profit and thats it. One issue though, is how they are going to manage LC and his results. That would be interesting.
    But, onwards and upwards, as life at blues is never dull, and I do wish anyone who tries to improve relations the best ..but I’m not for or against anything right now.

  • DoctorD says:

    What sort of new owners might we get? I suppose they fall into four different camps:

    a) super rich sugar daddies who pump money into the club but possibly at the expense of its heart and soul (like making Cardiff play in red)
    b) not-so-rich sugar daddies who are slightly inept and/or absent (I’m thinking Blackburn)
    c) modestly rich fairly honest types with a long-term vision (Dave Whelan at WIgan?)
    d) skint, suspect characters (no names mentioned)

    What I’m looking for is someone who ticks the following boxes:

    * is present at matches
    * can talk English
    * has a long-term plan
    * preferably European
    * does not come with some crackpot Cayman-Islands tax-fiddling investment “vehicle”
    * isn’t bonkers – like wanting to ground-share with Villa or sacking staff left-right-and centre
    * doesn’t rip the heart out of the club
    * has modest amount of money.
    * brings in a decent board

    Is it too much to hope for?

  • Flying Doctor says:

    The type of owners I would like are ones with a decent business acumen.
    Would anyone know/guess what a realistic purchase price for BCFC would be?

    • almajir says:

      My best guess would be around £15-£20mil at the very most

      • Flying Doctor says:

        Agreed. does sound realistic. Wonder if the £25m offer from Paladini will be the best they get?
        Carson, is reported to want around £40m. If any prospective new owner paid anywhere near that figure, I’d be concerned about their business sense.

        • Bluenosesol says:

          To the fans, the valuation of the club is not of major importance other than it has to be attractive to prospective buyers and at the same time not burdensome to the extent that they will spend their tenure attempting to claw back a poor investmment (a la CY).Having said that, I would imagine that the combined value of Butland and Redmond has to be between 10 and 15 million (even higher if you believe some reports). If true, that would suggest that some of these valuations are low. I would suggest that the players alone as assets must be worth over 20 million?

      • Netnous says:

        £15million??? That would cover Jack, but what about the rest of the squad… Parachute payments… St Andrews etc???

    • Flying Doctor says:

      We’ve also got around £30m in loans to pay off

  • bluepete says:

    Whoever eventually takes over, let’s hope that they make share purchases available to the fans. I used to own shares in BCFC pre CY and would willingly buy them back at the right price. From what I hear from other fans, they would like to do the same. I understand the Portsmouth Trust are involved in buying back their club and wondered whether the BCFC Trust could maybe do the same along with a consortium who could put up at least say 51% of the purchase price so that they keep overall control. Do you think this is worth considering Almajir?

    • almajir says:

      It’s a laudable aim but I can’t see it happening for a while; I don’t think the interest is there currently and apathy rules at Blues.

  • Mark Y says:

    For club the size of Blues and bearing the name of the 2nd city the club should have had a much more successful history than has been the case. I have supported BCFC for 50 years and the blame for our many disappointments has to be laid at the door of the owners going way back. I believe Blues had a great chance in the 70’s when we had gates of 50,000 in the league and some great players when promoted however when promoted the Coombes family backed the manager only with the free transfer of Bobby Hope, so the momentum was los and then they sold Bob Latchford. The Whelan and Kumar years were a disgrace to the club. Over their reign Gold & Sullivan did a good job but I could never understand why they didn’t splash the cash more in the earlier years to ensure they got promotion much earlier as they did last year with WHU. You can’t blame them to sell out for an over inflated fee and in fairness CY had the finances and did splash the cash. The problem with CY isn’t down to his commitment to Blues but his own dodgy personal background. He hasn’t asset stripped the club like Gaydemak who managed to pass the Fit & Proper Persons Test even though his dad was refused. The Fit & Proper Persons Test only seems to protect against a known crook taking over and nothing more. Ultimately CY and Pannu will sell out to the buyer with the most dosh and we will have to live with the subsequent outcome.

    • nicky wicky says:

      It’s quite simple Mark. They weren’t interested in Blues, jIt was just another part of their business portfoliio. They were happy to finish 17th in the Prem and keep collecting the profits,and directors salaries!


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