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Birmingham City set for the blues

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Matt Slater | 22:45 UK time, Monday, 23 May 2011

Given what happened to Avram Grant and Carlo Ancelotti, Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish was lucky to make it to White Hart Lane's car park on Sunday still in employment.

Relegation is a blow for any club but relegation from the Premier League comes with added recriminations and relegation from the Premier League for a club that was not expecting it can be catastrophic.

There is a firmly-held belief at PL HQ that nobody goes bust on their watch. Pompey were the exception that proved the rule, you see. And they had it coming. But this ignores what has happened to those who crashed into the Championship and kept going until League One and/or administration broke their fall. Some are still tumbling.

This is a bit like a landlord filling a sailor on shore leave full of grog but getting him out of the door just before the furniture starts to fly and of the three relegated clubs it is Birmingham City that stagger into the night in the greatest disarray.

Birmingham City face an uncertain future after relegation from the Premier League.

Birmingham City face an uncertain future after relegation from the Premier League. Photo: Getty

There are three reasons for this bleak prognosis and they can all be found in the most recent set of financial accounts filed by the club.

This time-bomb of a document provides a detailed look at City's financial health as of last summer and it was signed off by majority owner Carson Yeung and his board on 25 October. That was two days after the club had beaten Blackpool 2-0 to move into a comfortable mid-table position after nine league games.

Most of the numbers were commonplace for English football: rising television revenues cancelled out by wage inflation and the drag of debt. That said, none of the figures on their own were terrifying, not by Premier League standards.

What was scary, however, came in the notes under the subhead "going concern". It was in this section the club's precarious hold on solvency was outlined.

In short, City were projected to spend more than they had coming in even after a year that had seen TV income rise from £16m in the Championship to £42m in the Premier League.

The club's forecasts revealed £7.5m would have to be pumped in to keep the Blues inside the terms of their "agreed bank facilities" - accountants' talk for staying on top of the loan and overdraft repayments.

But there was a problem with this forecast: it was based on more of the same. The year under scrutiny had been a stellar one on and off the field. New owners, ninth in the Premier League, turnover up by 105% - if this is mid-table mediocrity could we have more of it, please.

The only concession to more negative thoughts ("the sensitised forecast") was that an additional £3m would be needed if McLeish's men misfired and could only just beat the drop.

Which brings me to the second reason for concern in Small Heath: the board's plan for filling the hole that is actually much bigger than anybody was willing to consider seven months ago.

The deficit problem was supposed to be fixed by two Hong Kong stock exchange share offerings in the club's parent company, Birmingham International Holdings (BIH).

The first placement of 450 million shares was underwritten by Kingston - a brokerage firm with investments in Hong Kong and Macau - and it raised the promised £7.15m. But the second tranche of shares, 1.1 billion of them, was meant to fly off the shelves earlier this year, bringing in £17.5m.

This was a "best efforts" placing and not underwritten, making the shares less attractive and the sale has been postponed. We are expecting some news by Wednesday but no analyst I have spoken to in Hong Kong has heard a whisper about it.

Which brings me back to the mysterious Yeung.

A barber turned entrepreneur, the Hong Kong-based businessman first came to the British football public's attention in 2007 when he bought a 29.9% stake in Birmingham City from David Sullivan and the Gold brothers. The plan was to buy the whole club soon after and build the "Birmingham brand" in China.

But two years, one of which was spent in the Championship, passed before Yeung was able to complete the deal. During this time more than a few fans wondered if this self-proclaimed billionaire was quite as rich as he claimed.

This sense of unease was compounded when the complicated deal actually went through. The new owner was really a Hong Kong-listed, Cayman Islands-registered firm called Grandtop International Holdings. Yeung was the majority shareholder of Grandtop and his actual holding in City was somewhere between 25-20%. This is where it has remained over the last 18 months or so.

While efforts to attract new investment from Asia this year have stalled, Yeung has been active in trading BIH (the holding vehicle that Grandtop became) shares, first increasing his stake to 24.9% and then diluting it to 23.3%. The club's official site currently says he owns 22.5% of the shares.

This last move, which the club said brought in £3.6m, took place earlier this month. It followed news that Yeung, who remortgaged some of his property portfolio earlier this year to raise £12m, had loaned City £4m. This is on top of existing loans of £15m.

So we have money and shares going to and fro between Yeung, his holding company and fellow "third party" investors, but no indication any of it is the fresh investment needed to fill the Premier League-sized hole in the books.

And this is the final worry for City. Relegation from the Premier League, even with parachute payments of £48m over four years, hits the bottom line hard. The Championship TV deal is a paltry £3m for each club (the worst team in the top tier earns £40m) and commercial revenues (already underwhelming at St Andrews) also suffer. You can conservatively wipe £25m from next year's revenue column.

So it is hardly surprising Yeung has told McLeish he can keep his job - it would cost £2m to sack him - but only if he gets them promoted at the first opportunity.

Monday's club statement was straight out of the crisis-control manual. Praise the fans, back the manager but hint it was his fault, remind everybody of how much money you have poured in and then praise the fans again.

But the reality is that the club's wage bill will have risen again (Nikola Zigic's four-year deal alone is worth a reported £10m), the deficit remains and will get worse and now McLeish must turn around a club that has won only two league games since 27 February. He could also lose half of his squad, which may be no bad thing if there was money to replace them but there isn't.

That late winter day, of course, was when they beat Arsenal to win their first major piece of silverware for 48 years, the Carling Cup. What should have been a passport to better and bigger things for McLeish and the Blues will next year be a painful reminder of the type of football their forecasters budgeted for but can no longer afford.

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  • Comment number 1.

    number 1. The financial situation isn't the best, but surely we will get loads of TV money next year from European nights on Thursdays and Sky on Sundays

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    #1 - You really think Brimingham will get into the Europa League proper? Think they'll probably go out in the qualifiers, so no extra money from that. And if you make it onto Sky on a Sunday that's part of the £3mill mentioned in Matt's blog. Sounds like yet another case of foreign ownership promising much and delivering little. The fit and proper persons test takes another battering.

  • Comment number 4.

    Poor old small heath have drawn a tough group in Europe next season. Real Trouble, Inter Administration and Rapid Decline.

  • Comment number 5.

    However, I cannot see us losing half our squad since our players have never really been sort after or proved they are really premier league class. Roger Johnson may go, Scott Dann been out 4 months not sure anyone will take the risk? Gardner will look to stay (loyal bluenose, unless major club comes in), Zigic hopefully will go and we can recuperate some money there, Larsson to leave. I can see the squad pulling together to bounce back next season, surely 1 season out is not the end of the world? but more than one could be ...

  • Comment number 6.

    A very sad blog but cold reminder of football's fit and proper persons failing the supporters once again. There was a clue to the possible problems at this club when the very upright Michael Dunford left his CEO position soon after arriving. Only a hardened Villa supporter can take any misplaced comfort out of this potential Portsmouth scenario happening once again.

  • Comment number 7.

    Blues were sold by Gold & Sullivan who wanted out and wanted out quickly, that pair as predicted are ok but naive with the business of football and their public proclomations are truely awfull (see West Ham), so they sold Blues to the first person available Caren Youeng, who is at best dubious and I doubt very much if there was ever real and proper due dilligence tests conducted on him and his business background. Its not going to be easy for Blues or West Ham to get straight back out the Championship this time

  • Comment number 8.

    As a Hull fan I can sympathise for what lies ahead, by the sounds of it your owners were as foolish with money as ours were and next season you are going to really suffer, when we went down, we still thought we'd be OK and that we'd be able to maintain a squad, the reality is that unless you go down by spending nothing, like Blackpool, you are well and truly stuffed in the Championship. Next season is going to be a lot harder than you can imagine at the moment, there are some very strong teams in the Championship and it is not going to be a simple feat to get out of the division next year, ignoring the relegated teams, you have Cardiff, Forrest, Us, Burnley, Leeds, Boro, one of Swnasea or Reading, Millwall and Leicester all with settled squads, good fan bases and a solid financial foundation to compete with.

    All I can say is good luck, it's not fun to see a team go into admin (except when it was Leeds) and you'll do well to avoid a serious financial mess next season

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    Carson Yeung never was a barber. He owned a chain of hairdressers. Matt, you should be ashamed of your shoddy, second hand article.

  • Comment number 11.

    From what I remember, the money from the Europa League isn't that great, even if you get to the final knock-out stages (ie quarter finals etc). It's basically Europe's equivalent of the Championship; a second-tier competition. Unless you actually win it, it doesn't mean squat.

    Everton were in it not long ago and we had a couple of bad defeats in the group stage that really clobbered our confidence. In retrospect, I'd rather our players had had those Thursday nights off. And Birmingham of course will have 8 extra league games as well.

  • Comment number 12.

    Having viewed all of the above, some comments to the point and some far away from reality then if I were a supporter of any club other than say Stoke, WBA or Wolves (and Chelsea/Man City) then I would be extremely worried. Just take a look at the net debt column within the report. Reflects how bad English football finances are and if these were non footballing companies then most would have gone under.......

  • Comment number 13.

    @ NORTHFIELD. You also need to take into consideration the turnover columns. You have Stoke as an example but their turnover is only 59m but 76% of that is spent on wages, while Man City have a turnover of exactly 250m but wages are 106% of that. Arsenal and Man United on the otherhand have turnovers above 250m but wages at less than 50% (Arsenals being only 29%). Financial problems can hit all clubs and it takes a lot of effort from the top to the bottom to makes ure they don't go the way of the dodo.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    @the_bear: are you not surprised by how many people are happy about Birmingham being relegated? In my experience, and that of many others given the club's reputation, Birm have horrible fans who do nothing but create an air of negativity and anger. It's as simple as that.

  • Comment number 16.

    The fit and proper persons test is just a joke... Surely it is the Premier Leagues responsibility to ensure that the owner of every club has the money and business savvy to run a football club!? Based on the Telegraph article they don't even know who Carson Yeung is...?

  • Comment number 17.

    Once again the BBC are using months old news...come on BBC.this is cheap journalism..used purely as scare mongering tactics...what is it with the press and BCFC? Boring Boring Boring...

  • Comment number 18.

    Even the Blackburn fans at Molineux on Sunday seemed delighted that blouse were going down. Once they knew they were safe, they were cheering Blackpool, Wigan, Spurs and even Wolves goals and they booed the blouse equaliser.

  • Comment number 19.

    And to add....Matt get your facts right and stop reading News of the Screws...your better than that...get out and find real stories..

    @packersftw , you obviously do not visit many grounds...

  • Comment number 20.

    @packersftw as I said in my post I really don't care that you are glad we are relegated, you have a right to your own opinion. What I do take exception to is your comment about the fans being horrible, you say this with out qualification. One can only assume you are a Villa fan and not too bright into the bargain.

  • Comment number 21.

    One fact is that Blues scored the fewest goals in the league throughout the season. It's a shame that Spurs scored that late goal as otherwise Blues would have been relegated with 40 points but purely on goals scored. I don't know much about the style of QPR, Norwich and Swansea/Reading but lets hope for all our sakes they are more like Blackpool than Birmingham

  • Comment number 22.


    Typical Villa fan - more concerned with Blues than his/her own team.

  • Comment number 23.


    I'd love to see how most mid table teams would cope with:

    Losing their playmaker(Mcfadden) to a year long injury after 5 games
    His replacement(Hleb) being injured on and off for most of the season
    Their best striker(Zigic) missing the rest of the season after hitting form and scoring four times in five games.
    Their second best striker(Martins) breaking his leg.

    It's funny how most of this anti Birmingham stuff came about when we were finally down to our 4th, 5th and 6th choice strikers.

  • Comment number 24.

    How many English peolple are ready and have the financial ability to own PL clubs? Foreigners are the ons who are interested and are the ones who pay most for the TV rights as well?
    Are peole ready for their loca councils to run football clubs? Lets see if we are still going to have the PL retain its status quo if this is the case.

    We should be looking at the TV rights deal Sky owns, and see how this can be shared more even across the different divisions. This way the differece in TV income between the PL and championship should not have such a large margin even if it means the PL teams get less income. At least a minimum of 3 tv companies should have rights to the top 3 divisions with packages designed to be competitive

  • Comment number 25.

    The day that Birmingham fans sang those songs about Eduardo and Ramsey is the day that the general public couldnt care less what happened to that small team in the midlands. Brummies, always remember, Villa will always be bigger than you. even Wolves dwarf you. bunch of hoofballers, enjoy league 2 in a few years.

  • Comment number 26.

    rather watch this all day than the tripe the brummies serve up

  • Comment number 27.

    Can only hope that we don't lose too many players this summer. We should be ok, but I don't think we'll get automatic promotion.

    #wal_sol. i can only repeat how boring you are. go away. we'll enjoy our championship football without your bleating.

  • Comment number 28.

    Afternoon all, small window of opportunity to post some replies. In reverse order:

    Tom (23) - Fair comment (particularly on McF and Zig, Hleb was a poor choice, as was Martins) but pretty much every team suffers a serious injury or two - Arsenal spring to mind as a team that might have had a very different year with better luck on that front. And I hope you're not suggesting I'm "anti-Birmingham". I'm not.

    adainpl (21) - I think you are probably on to something there in terms of how BCFC are viewed by neutrals. That hasn't always been the case, though. I have vague memories of entertaining Blues teams in the 80s and they weren't bad when I saw them in the Championship a few times in the 90s. I think they've just tried to find a style of play (and a manager who can deliver it) that will survive in the PL on the kind of wages they can afford. It worked wonders in 09/10 but cracks opened in defence this year and the goal threat completely dried up after Zigic injury.

    bcfcchris (19) - No idea what you're talking about re: NOTW. Have they done something on this story recently? If so, I missed it. As for second-hand news, what are you on about? The season finished on Sunday and the club issued its McLeish statement y'day lunchtime, which is when I started writing this blog. The financial stuff might be old but that's because the club have given us absolutely nothing new for months. They have also failed to grant our interview requests and nobody in HK seems to know much about them either. So I make no apologies for going back to the only source material we have in the public domain. That said, the club have had to give more financial data to the authorities in order to get Uefa clearance for next year and I have had discussions about that. In meantime, I await news of the second share placement with interest.

    Wardy (16) - Yes, the FAPPT isn't up to much. The new Owners and Directors Test is a bit better but is still pretty flimsy. The authorities are in a bit of a hole/muddle, to be honest. Conflicting agendas at play and also the small matter of human rights legislation. It is perhaps worth noting that the SPL doesn't have a FAPPT as they don't see the point. Mugabe would pass it but Gandhi wouldn't.

    The Bear (14) - I agree with you although I have to admit I haven't seen BCFC in flesh for a few seasons now. I think much of this anti-Blues stuff is based on pretty old stereotypes about a section of your fans. I certainly haven't seen anything particularly untoward when I've been to%

  • Comment number 29.

    The Bear.

    I feel exactly the same as you mate. Take my advice, we've just gotta take relegation on the chin and ignore packersftw and wal_sol who, by the way they comment on blogs, appear a cross between a 13 year, unemployed, facist. Ironically enough, all teams have a faction of supporters who aren't particularly pleasant, but I can hopefully vouch for both of us by saying that we don't play a role in that faction.

    We've got a good team basis and hopefully will bounce straight back next year. Why should Blackburn feel superior because they avoided the drop? they shouldn't, they're a pretty awful team themselves.

    people like packersftw and wal_sol need to grow up, because they're both spiteful and immature and should probably be banned from this blog.

    bbc are you hearing this? ban packerstw and wal_sol, maybe check as well that their parents are happy that they're using the computer

  • Comment number 30.

    Ha! My replies were too long. Here's the rest of them:

    The Bear (14) - I agree with you although I have to admit I haven't seen BCFC in flesh for a few seasons now. I think much of this anti-Blues stuff is based on pretty old stereotypes about a section of your fans. I certainly haven't seen anything particularly untoward when I've been to StAs as an away fan and I genuinely can't remember any trouble from your away support (unlike half a dozen other clubs I could mention).

    Northfield & kaderp (12 & 13) - You're both right. There is still too much debt on British football teams' balances sheets but kaderp is right to stress that different clubs can sustain different amounts of debt - much like some people can afford bigger mortgages. Quick point on that Arsenal figure, though. Their numbers are flattered by the one-off boost from Highbury-related property income. Still a well-run club but they spend as much as the others on wages.

    strettonbluenose (10) - J Sainsbury was a grocer, whatshisname Boot was a chemist, WH Smith was a newsagent. I didn't say CY cut the hair, did I (although I've heard that suggested too)? If you any more detail about CY's CV, and can support it with evidence, I'd love to hear it.

    Right, that's it for now. Will look in again later.

  • Comment number 31.

    @wal_sol and what of the vile horrendous songs that Villa sing? Tracy Stevens, My Old man to mention but two. Really Pot kettle black springs to mind. And how about the rest of the country Mnaure singing about the scousers, scousers singing about munic, arsenal hissing like escaping gas at Spurs, Wolves and Albion, Newcastle and Sunderland, Leeds and anyone I could go on and on but that would have no effect on you would it because you are so entrenched in your hatred it would be pointless.

  • Comment number 32.

    I can't believe people thoink everyone wanted Blues to go down. Is that why Tottenham fans clapped them at the end and when I was speaking to Baggies fans they wanted us to stay up as well. I joined a Norwich forum to wish them well and they also wanted us to stay up. So before spouting rubbish think first will you.

    We'll go and enjoy our time in the championship while also being in europe and also before people go spouting their mouth off about finances we would not have got our licence for europe had we been in mega trouble. It just means selling a few top players and not even all of them just a few thats cash plus some hefty wages off the bill and we will be fine. End Of

  • Comment number 33.


    "Typical Villa fan - more concerned with Blues than his/her own team."

    The above comment is a joke, Villa fans are having some fun now laughing at your misfortune, but the bluenoses are obsessed with Villa, hence your embarrasing pitch invasion after a carling cup victory against us. When we beat you, its just another day, we don't invade the pitch!

    Everyone is glad to see the back of your small club, who play the most boring football. And don't all be like Mcleish and blame injuries, everyteam has injuries. You were the third worst team in the league, thats why you went down!

  • Comment number 34.


    will there get a point where you have to stop commenting on these blogs because your team is no longer in a proper league? its ok for you to do it now as the season only ended on sunday but come July can you go away please and leave it to the villa and wolves fans to comment on the premeir league? Villa > Brum

  • Comment number 35.

    can anyone tell me how many goals Brum scored this season? is it a new record low?

  • Comment number 36.


    I think you've got the most realistic perspective on this. we've just gotta be patient, it's seriously not the end of the world going down. i'm glad we've stuck with Big 'Ec, he's a top manager and he's made a real difference.

    #wal_sol. well done you, you're so clever. is it that unexpected that the team that scored the fewest goals was relegated? you're so obvious and dumb, god. we need new strikers, yes, well done einstein. why don't you replace alan shearer on motd, you'd be just as bad

  • Comment number 37.

    wal_sol. how can you call the championship 'not a proper league.' mate, come on stop being so ignorant and short sighted

  • Comment number 38.

    When Birmingham went down 2 seasons ago they largely retained the same squad and went straight back up...but, aside from the financial side of things mentioned in this article, the players are either older or on more money or both.

    So...I would expect a significant fire sale (Foster, Dann, Johnson, Zigic, Jerome) and release of out of contract players (Bowyer, Larsson) and players too far into their twilight of their careers to be a force in the uber high tempo Championship (Ferguson, Carr etc).

    All of which is no bad thing IMO if we get young "something to prove" players and have a go!

    I was hoping McLeish would go personally, as I think he and Blues would be better off drawing a line under things and having a fresh go at things, but I appreciate the financial penalty and "devil you know" concept swayed the Board.

    Aiming for a 1-0 each time only works if you are confident that you can stop the other team scoring and have 1 or 2 up top capable of creating or knicking a goal (a la Ian Wright in George Graham's Arsenal days or even Mancini's Man City).

    I'm not saying go all Blackpool gung ho but imitate their way of getting decent FL players on affordable wages/bonuses who want to win for the club as well as their careers.

    At least Blues had the basics of motivation, understanding the tactics and tactics that were achievable for the squad (yes, West Ham that is the basics) but I don't see us bouncing back as easily as last a squad overhaul will be a blessing in disguise.

  • Comment number 39.

    As an Albion fan I actually wanted Blues to go down more than I wanted the Dingles to go! And that's saying something!

    I said to a Leeds fan work colleague that the Championship will be a violent place next season...Leeds, Millwall, Blues, Cardiff...even Burnley are known for it...He agreed and said he'd already thought of that.

    You only need to look at the pitch invasion after they beat Villa in the cup..if that result meant so much and was high spirits, why didn't they do it against West Ham and Arsenal??

    Then again I said whichever team won the West Ham / Blues semi would go down...Anyone with half a brain could see it happening long ago, way before they had the excuse of injuries / suspensions (check out Albion's problems around Xmas and New Year, we had next to no recognised defenders at one point!)

  • Comment number 40.


    You've picked up a gem in my opinion in roy hodgson, and i hope that WBA do well next year. However, can you really see yourselves winning anything or breaking into the top 8? No. Just another boring season for the Albion i'm expecting

  • Comment number 41.

    Nick Hornby in his book "Fever Pitch" about Arsenal, commented how incredible it was that the badly behaved Birmingham City Supporters came from the same City as the well behaved Aston Villa supporters. This observation has been made by many.

  • Comment number 42.

    Kit, a boring season will do for the majority of Albion fans I am sure. After our recent yo yoing it'd be nice to establish ourselves for a while.

    I'd happily settle for that rather than another relegation battle, and the following promotion etc...Stability is needed way before one should plan to push on. 8th would be a major achievement.

    We're a realistic lot and recognise that small achievements pave the way for big ones.

    That said this Sunday was the first relegation D-Day that I've been able to enjoy, and coming back from 3-0 down was also rather entertaining.

    If the blog is anywhere near true then I would fear for Blues, could be that they end up where history has had them for the majority of their existence, again, for a long time to come...if it's true that is...

  • Comment number 43.

    You say that Blues have more trouble makers than Villa? Well the latest home office national stats on banning orders and football associated arrests beg to differ.

    Arsenal 60
    Aston Villa 57
    Birmingham City 25
    Blackburn Rovers 35
    Blackpool 22
    Bolton Wanderers 35
    Chelsea 75
    Everton 52
    Fulham 6
    Liverpool 77
    Manchester City 50
    Manchester United 85
    Newcastle United 105
    Stoke City 41
    Sunderland 46
    Tottenham Hotspur 49
    West Bromwich Alb. 43
    West Ham United 91
    Wigan Athletic 13
    Wolverhampton W 86

    Like I said BCFC is not a home for football trouble, we had a massive problem in the 80’s but it seems that where we have cleaned up most other clubs have just ignored the problems

  • Comment number 44.

    It's not so much the Brum fans you have to worry about when you visit St Andrews but the awful behaviour of the West Midlands Police force.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    I get the impression that Birmingham were in a bad financial position even before the new owners got involved and I'm not convinced that West Ham are in a particularly better position either. Both could easily go the way of Southampton, Middlesbrough, Sheff Wed, etc into (relative) Football League obilvion.

    The bubble has to burst on the Premier League at some point, as the cash demands just to survive are not sustainable for the majority of teams.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    @The-Bear, that is just a reflection on the amount of home fans and travelling fans you normally take to games. Of course the teams who are well supported will have more banning orders it is just common sense. Hence why Wigan, Fulham, Blackburn and yourselves are low (poorly supported teams) and Newcastle, Man utd and Liverpool are relatively high. Obviously it won't be linear to the amount of fans, but that is a massive factor.

    Small club, poor fans, back to the championship where you belong!

  • Comment number 49.

    wal sol,i presume you live there,nice, get it right,we sang about our own player mr taylor.didnt mention edwardo at all.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    do you know if anyone has ruffled Barry Fergusons hair yet? i hear Kocielny watched the game on sunday with a glass of french wine while extracting great happiness out of the birmingham players (fake) tears.

  • Comment number 53.

    @wal_sol and @V111AFC just goes to show you what a bunch of Neanderthals some of your fans are, banning orders twice that of Blues and support made up of people who live outside Birmingham. Wal_sol you are obviously a thug, my guess is you loe to go to games and bounce around with your villa youth mates, come to think of it Villa Youth sounds familiar straight out of Mien Kampf is it?

    V111Afc (you have to say it with very high pitched voice for full effect) Villa are not a big club you are also rans and the sooner you get that the sooner you can disappear and go and support your local team who I guess is Tamworth.

  • Comment number 54.

    vilakila - It's people like you that are responsible for many people thinking that the City of Birmingham as a whole is a backwards place, stuck way back in the dark ages.

    Enjoy your days out at Millwall, Leeds - if you have enough pocket money to go...

  • Comment number 55.

    awwww the-bear hiding behind the fact he is from small heath or bordesley heath, - the most attractive parts of the country. U should be very proud, lovely areas. I think u will find we are a bigger club than u, hence our history and our current position. Yeh say it in a high pitched voice, u blues love singing "Villa", because that is what you want to be like.

  • Comment number 56.

    A simple solution to the catastrophe that seems to await clubs relegated from the PL is to introduce 'standard form contracts' or al least standardised clauses in players' contracts whereby relegation triggers a 30% pay-cut say (or even more).
    If the players don't like it, then they should go and play in La Liga (if they'll have them) or better still go back from when they came (russian league, turkish league, french league etc). It's a no-lose situation for the modern-day PL player - win a few games, and your already huge salary is bolstered by win -bonuses; lose, and your club is relegated, but your contract is still there to be paid up in full. Marvellous stuff !!
    It's time for the Premier League, Football League, FA and PFA and the government to make such contracts for the benefit of the clubs, not the players.

    And before anyone says such contracts would be unenforcable, there's plenty of standardised contracts througout the economy.

  • Comment number 57.

    53 - Im not even a villa fan, hence why i can see how their so much betetr than you! atleast they play football and not play 10 defenders plus Bowyer who is emploed just to kick people and do all sorts to people outside mcdonalds. p.s. re your figures about policing - do they include european games? and did you think that maybe because arsenal, chelsea etc playmore games than your lot then maybe they may subject to more trouble?

  • Comment number 58.

    I don't ever comment on these articles, but I do enjoy reading people baiting each other and throwing petty insults.

    However I just had to comment on this article, 'wal_sol' your spelling/grammar is appalling. Where did you go to school? Or if you’re still at school (which I hope is the case), you should spend more time on your homework and less time on the BBC.

    On another note, I don't like to see any team get relegated, I was devastated when Newcastle went down, but it seems to have been the best thing to ever happen to us. We got rid of the overpaid dross, blooded the youth players and we are better for it.

    So Blues fans, don't worry, be happy!

  • Comment number 59.

    @Media_Man_UK Thanks, I hope it proves useful in getting shot of the over the hill and over paid players. But Blues and NUFC getting shot of the mercenaries that plague them is only part of the problem, the Premier League is ow just a money making devise for the players, their agents and Sky, the clubs get next to nothing and its slowly killing the game. Interesting post that @breadman put up but to make it work you would have to get big clubs involved like Man U & City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs. Some how I can't see them wanting to join in.

    Good luck for next season and enjoy your six points from Sunderland.

  • Comment number 60.

    Great to see a set of fans arguing about nothing. Enjoy the Championship Birmingham fans, more games, more fun and you get to play against teams who have a larger % of proper fans rather than some Manchester United fans who probably could not even pinpoint the city on a map.

    "Some of their chants are absolutely horrid...Good riddance" @packersftw

    Have you been to any other live games?

  • Comment number 61.


    It's the old old argument though, success vs stability; the perfect example would be Portsmouth vs Everton.

    One paid over the odds for players who didn't care about the club in order to achieve instant success (the ready meal culture we seem to have today, everything must be done in 3 minutes or less), while the other has a solid wage structure and financial management. Portsmouth may have a nice lump of silverware in their trophy cupboard, but I bet they'd give it back to change places with Everton.

    On a side note, if I thought Newcastle would instantly return to the Premier League within one shot, I'd happily get relegated in exchange for winning a trophy.

  • Comment number 62.

    Are the BBC now trying to bring the Blues down in the same way they obsessed with Pompey until they entered into administration and then lost interest after they out again? There are problems at the Blues, but it is still a well run club. Gold and Sullivan ran it well, but left debt and a big squad with a growing wage bill. Yeung has carried on in pretty much the same vein, but has also invested in the club, with plans for further investment in playing staff and the ground.

    Yes the drop will hurt: but it will hurt West Ham (maybe not Blackpool (the future club)), and this detailed examiniation of their accounts y Matt Slater is something that I cannot recall reading when West Ham with £110 million of debt went down.
    May have something to do with the BBC's obsession with priasing West ham a team, by the way, that we bad enough to go down on paper and on the field.

    Football is a battlefield of teams teetering on the edge of an abyss. None more so than the league champions who only have their image rights and a global brand to keep them alive: when 2017 arrives that those ridiculously expensive loans have to be repaid, it will take one heck of a good negotiator to get them out of that hole.

    Football is unlike any other business. It survives with debt when others would fail, and it survives because of philanthropy. Until action is taken to reduce the excessive wages of players and controls are put in place to put the long term fortunes of the clubs and fans at the centre of everything, all clubs will fight for survival from Man United to Stockport County.

    And to the pathetic comments from Villa fans: grow up.

  • Comment number 63.

    Right lets get a few things straight shall we:

    1. Yes we deserved to go down because of goals we didn't score enough and we as fans aknowledge that fact.

    2. Read my previous post for my thoughts on our finance.

    3. Every team has thugs so don't come with all the brummies are mindless thugs and hooligans. Villa are just as bad the same as many-a-team. I like a bit of banter its good to have but when it comes to violence I will not get involved with it. So just because I support the blues it makes me a hooligan does it?

    4. The championship is not all that bad if you think about it at least we have a trophy to play for rather than being lapdogs for United and the likes. Some of my best times of being a bluenose has been in the Championship.

  • Comment number 64.

    I'm not sure where the deluded bluenoses get the idea that people didn't want them to go down. It's fair to say that every football fan I know are chuffed to bits that the "sleeping giant" got relegated.

    Now for them to go bust.

  • Comment number 65.

    @Saint_In_Staffordshire why are all you Villa fans so bitter? And why are you so interested in Blues? This is about Blues not Villa so why are you bothered to come on?

    All the people whom I have spoken to have said they didn't want Blues to go down, even on five live on Sunday they were talking to Wolves fans who were saying they didn't want us to go down. You see most people in the West Midlands like the rivalry that having local clubs playing each other brings. Except that is that we all hate the "my club is considerably bigger than yow" Villa fans. Funny how when we play Wolves, Albion and I guess now we are down Coventry the whole ground rings with "**** on the Villa".

    Villa are hated by most Midland fans because their fans are so up themselves, they think they are a big club and boy do they let you know they think that. When in reality they are a nothing club that, without the continual backing of Birmingham City Council would have died under the regime of Deadly Doug.

    Now look who they are owned by, Mr MBNA who makes his money off the backs people who can't pay their credit card bill and whose financial dealings were entwined in the world banking crisis.

    Villa were once a good club with good fans who represented the city in good ways, those days have gone and now you are just a bunch of thugs and and also rans.

  • Comment number 66.

    #58 Media_man_uk

    Your mention of Newcastle gives me a lot of hope as a Blues fan. I really hope we have as successful a time in the Championship as you guys did. Newcastle are definitely an up and coming team, in relative terms, it's just a slight shame that you got rid of Hughton like you did.

    I can empathise with Villa fans. I know you're a bigger team than us in the city, but at the end of the day I don't feel like you have that much to brag about? I mean, if we're talking in comparative terms, compare your season this year to the last five years. How badly have you done this year? Absolutely awfully. In fact you've got a long way to come back. Yes, Birmingham got relegated and that certainly highlights our weak points in the team, however we also won a trophy, on the way beating the Villa in the quarter finals. So wind your neck ins, because although you have premier league status, the only thing keeping you from the drop is Darren Bent.

    As for, again Villa fans and wal_sol, I think it's very unfair to label the whole of Birmingham as a load of thugs. It simply isn't true.

    I'd advise everybody to just ignore wal_sol's comments from now on, as media_man_uk points out, we should probably just pick on people our own size, rather than just a kid.


    You make it sound like in 5 years time WBA are going to be top of the Premier league. I'm sorry my friend, but you enjoy your 12th league position next season. Step by step you say, well let's not be too optimistic. Soon Roy Hodgson will move onto bigger and better things, and any good players you do have will be snapped up by bigger and better teams

  • Comment number 67.

    Well done Villa at getting rid of Martin O'Neill. Biggest mistake in the last ten years. Now look who you've got as a manager.

  • Comment number 68.

    The Premier League have always had their head in the sand regarding debt. The "not on our watch" statement in the article pretty much hits the nail on the head. The huge gulf in money between the top two divisions is frightening and relegation could spell severe danger to most clubs going out of the league.

    Frankly if the amount money was spread better over the 4 divisions then clubs would be run in a better way and would be able to cope with the drop. Unfortunately because of the super-rich few, too many clubs are attempting to play catch up by offering unsustainable salaries to players who, let's be honest, are not world class. EU law prevents any salary capping, however there ought to be safeguards to prevent clubs from dishing out salaries that are beyond the means of the employer, this is being applied in Leagues 1 and 2 I believe where a club cannot spend more than a certain percentage of their income on wages.

    The Premier League will continue to allow all of this to happen until one day, one of the bigger clubs get into financial trouble and go to the wall. Leeds United should have served as an example. When a club goes into administration (or worse) so far it's always outside of the Premier League and so is beyond the radar of the armchair fans up and down the country; but for true fans who genuinely care about English football beyond the Premier League's insular bubble it's a crying shame. The fact that no club has been liquidated within the league since 1992 is a miracle.

  • Comment number 69.

    Jesus Christ Matt! I think I will go and jump off a building after reading your peice. Talk about doom and gloom?. Lighten up a little. Id hate to be with you in the trenches. Its possible Birmingham could go up next season with a bit of luck and a half decent team, like anyone else who gets promoted (QPR, Norwich, Hull, Blackpool etc) . And as for all the `fans` gloating about Blues it for the `trash` sites with all the other frustrated 12 year old muppets sending daft messages. And maybe try and go to a game for a change instead of watching it on Sky or `re-enacting` it on the X-Box your mom bought you for being a good boy. Keep Right On.

  • Comment number 70.

    Ok, I as a Villa fan was sad to see the Blues go down. I love the derby games and enjoy a certain level of banter but it does seem nowadays to go a bit to far in my opinion, and the truth is every club has fans that make this the case.

    At Villa Park on Sunday I was very disappointed with the way some Villa fans represented themselves. I actually turned to the bunch of lads behind me (who were constantly on their phones) and told them that they had tickets for the wrong game as they interest in what was going on in front of them.

    Yes there are going to be jokes, yes there will be songs, but please people exercise some class!!! The day that fans start hoping that their rivals loose more than they hope that we will win is a very sad day!! Both sides are guilty of this!!

    I hope the Blues do come back up, and soon. As I've said I enjoy a derby day and I look forward to your return to continue this!!

    I also hope the financial situation is not as desperate as it sounds, I hate to see another club go the way of Pompy, Leeds and Luton, no matter who they are!!

    So from a Villa fan 'Good Luck'!!! Remember we are all the 2nd city and it deserves a derby!!

  • Comment number 71.

    Fans from most other Premier league clubs cannot stomach the sheer arrogance and fickleness of Villa. Calling Small Heath and Bordseley a hole - Witton and Aston are such sought after areas. Park your £53k 4x4 'VI11A 1' plate in little Aston (Sutton Coldfield) and take the executive chauf Bentley to Villa Park for the ultimate matchday experience...
    'Our delectable history that ended in 1982'? 'Our famous fans such as Prince Will Dave the temp - PM and Nigel Kennedy the violin player'? Then they lose a few games and it's 'you're gettin sacked in the morning' to their own manager.

    They've just come through a really mediocre season that saw them spend £28million on one big time charlie to gain survival. Fair play - it got them a top ten finish. Well done you are kings of the midlands with the most expensively assembled squad. We all bow down to your history...

    Blues went to Wembley and won the league cup beating this arrogance on the way and not doing the 'scared rabbit' routine of the previous seasons runners up. That must have been a bitter pill reading some of the vitriolic posts on here.
    The only one's causing trouble after the pitch invasion in the quarter final game were in the away end throwing flares, chairs and toilet seats. Watch it on googletube.

    So the League Cup cost us a place in the premier league and yes it does come over a season.
    It is NOT fail and the Eck IS the man for the job. We do still have the best goal keeping coaching team out of the 92. Fozzy wants to stay but they may cash him in.

    Matt I think you are very hastened into stating Alec is only staying due to a £2million payout.
    Don't you think he'd have weighed up the situation and would not be staying on if that were the case?
    He's got a lot more balls than the majority of mercenary managers such as Roy Hodgson (Sorry Throstles but he held Liverpool to ransom by refusing to go) - that many hacks are giving Eck credit for.
    The Huge majority of Blues fans have the big man now as a legend and he knows that. We are not fickle like our big mouth friends (that really don't care about us?! Honest) across in little witton.

    Questions were raised at the internship of Carson Yeung as to his business acumen and ability raise funds Now we will see the fit and proper test in FULL action.

    Up the Blues

  • Comment number 72.

    Do you write complete fiction just to encourage responses? It worked for me. To suggest that 'Nikola Zigic's four-year deal alone is worth a reported £20m' is just utter nonsense. That puts him on £96,000 per week! Can you justify this claim, i.e. what is the source of this information? I am afraid that such statements render your whole article completely invalid.

  • Comment number 73.

    Matt Sadler - you have hit the split pin on its through the nut and around the bolt divide.
    Birmingham will be the hardest hit. For the apprentices at West Ham they are the biggest benefactors of the drop as they have serious ongoing cashflow problems that can now be cleared by getting rid of their so-called Olympic Stadium baby bentleys.
    Blackpool are quite well oiled and can regain financial parity by selling Charlie Adam.

    Birminghams owners struggled to raise the capital to buy the club and were basically ripped off by the apprentices (now at West Ham) leaving them untransparent debts to tender.
    Birmingham weren't geared up to go down and have to agree the carling cup win has cost dearly in not having enough strength in depth invested in the squad.

    Yeung and Pannu need a good business plan developing to regain premier league status as soon as possible.
    It is not all doom and gloom!
    MCleish is a canny manager and with a wee bit of backing - write the blues off at your peril. He has a big job to do but no better man to be in place to re-build and push on.
    It is a tough league undoubtedly but the vultures can in brian clough-esque terms 'Mmm off'
    you're way off the mark with him only keeping his job due to a £2 mill contract clause. He would walk if that were the case

    and in the meantime keep right on

  • Comment number 74.

    Thanks to AVFC 1892 for considered comments. Quite agree that Brum has a serious rivalry problem and it needs to be addressed somehow. The negative wind-up comments are of little interest to real fans of either club I suspect, but if it provides some sort of satisfaction for the individuals concerned then so be it.

    Historically, the distribution of support between Blues and Villa used to be far more than just geographical. In days gone by, it was quite often down to social class where the 'white collar gaffers' would follow Villa and the 'blue collar workers' would follow Blues. This has almost certainly gone nowadays, but it could explain in part why the perception of such huge differences between Blues and Villa still exists even today.

    The only negative comment of concern that i've read so far is from the Baggies fan who was delighted to see us drop. The rivalry between the Baggies and the Blues has historically been very friendly - same sized club, similar values etc. If this is really representative of what Baggies fans were thinking on Sunday then we really do need to think long and hard about how to improve the mentality at St Andrews. I genuinely hope that this opinion from the Hawthorns isn't truly representative.

    I've been an active supporter at Blues since 1978, have seen the bad times at St Andrews but know that there have been massive improvements at Blues over the last 15 years or so.

    Anyway, re the blog. As with all journalism there is a stack of over-statement in many places, but the basic premise is correct I suspect. The finances just don't add up, and relegation is likely to be an absolute disaster for us this time I fear. The relegation was as miserable as ever, but not unexpected. Will we return over the next few years? I doubt it, but I hope so because some great Midlands derbies are going to be missing next year. KRO.

  • Comment number 75.

    @AVFC-Kingsof1982 Thank goodness you came along, I was beginning to think good Villa fans had all died out. Thank you for your good wishes and see you in a years time.


  • Comment number 76.

    In response to Kingsof82. I agree 100%. There are morons both sides who seem more interested in the `other` teams demise than their own (I work with most of them!). As for this blog, the more I read it, the worse it gets. Having watched Blues play Hartlepool in front of 9000, I know what `struggling` feels like. And beleive me, this doesnt, relegation or not. Adam what were you thinking?. Total `scaremongering` purely for reaction. Shame on you.

  • Comment number 77.

    Just want to point out - you can look up the prize money and TV money from the Europa league off UEFA's website if you want, and in the last one I saw Man City and Liverpool got £5m and £2m respectively, I believe. You also get about £100k per group match you win. It's not even close to the Premier League's dough, and I doubt Birmingham can boast the same TV deals as clubs who finished 3rd and 6th this season.

  • Comment number 78.

    Why are people so shocked by this... Birmingham where always on borrowed time in the Prem... they aren't big enough to sustain it... and they call Villa fan fickle look at there attendances this year... hardly sold out there big derby games... IU believe they had to give away free shirts to sell the tickets.

    Once Yeung was in there was no chance... how he ever passed the Prems Test I will never know.

    Panic Stations.... Bentley, Hleb and the other loanees have gone... Bowyer, Carr plus a few more have walked away from teh club. It means that there first team squad has been all but decimated. Johnson, Dann, Foster and Gardner the only decent ones left... but they'll want to move on and given the contract these players are on the values won't be that high... £10m for Foster... more like £5m.

    Birmingham are the new leeds... you'll be looking forward to deby games with Walsall soon....

  • Comment number 79.

    Haha, it's so funny how paranoid fans like 'ade' are. 'Arggghhhhhh, the media are against us!!! They're trying to take us down!!!' Utterly ridiculous. Grow up.

  • Comment number 80.

    As someone has stated Blues have their license to compete in Europe next season so maybe this article is not as sound as the writer believes it to be.

  • Comment number 81.

    First of all tayside i have spoken to loads of baggies supporters and they wanted us to stay up mate. Of course there is a rivalry between us but not as much as with the Villa nor the Wolves.

    Second what the hell are you talking about World II Class, villas ex manager Mr. O' Leary called the fans fickle did he not. Also how have players walked away i'm sure us blunoses would hear first and I don't know anything about it. So stop trying to make things up especially rubbish like that.

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    original_vagabond (72) - Apologies, that is an error. I originally had a paragraph in there about the last summer's signings (Zigic, Foster, Valles) and the loanees and what impact that would have on wage bill in next year's accounts. In my haste to cut this back to 1,000 words-ish I botched the Zigic sum, which is more like £10m, as I had £20m on the brain.

    bannedforanopinion (73) - If AM walks he is breaking his contract, not his employers. Therefore, no compensation, no £2m. Sacking managers is in expensive business. Ask Abramovich.

    TxBlues (80) - re The Uefa licence. Don't be fooled into a false sense of confidence by that. 1) It's a pretty low bar (Pompey were in administration, for example) 2) The FA & PL, which assess/certify the club's on Uefa's behalf, were genuinely concerned about BCFC 3) The club has since been relegated and we still haven't heard much about these plans to find fresh investment.

    Thanks for reading

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found that it had been written in broken English Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    I was very pleased to read all of your supportive comments following our relegation but will add the following to the chat

    1. Back where we belong? I dont think so. BCFC have spent more seasons in the top league of football in history than anywhere else.

    2. People talk about a gulf between Prem and Champ. This does not mean that relegation makes us a Champ team. Relegated from the Prem twice and bounced straight back. This will be a hat trick.

    3. Lee Bowyer rolling back the years shows what can be achieved at a great club!


  • Comment number 86.

    Firstly, yes, I am a Villa fan (cue boos and hisses), but I have very mixed feelings about Birmingham going down. Of course there is a touch of amusement, but at the same time I will miss the derbies, and it is good for the West Mids to have 4 teams in the PL. However, the largest factor for me was the negative football the the blues played. This is an opinion even shared by a number of bluenoses I've spoken to. Of course, to some extent this has been dictated by necessity, but then again look at Blackpool - same result, but only the most dyed-in-the-wool Preston fan was happy to see them go. The financial picture painted here doesn't look too rosy, but then again they're not the only ones in trouble, are they? Hopefully they'll come back up next year or the year after, but (dons flak jacket) with a new, more pro-football manager. (Oh, and not in first place - I don't wish them THAT well! ;) )

  • Comment number 87.

    #84 - This comment was removed because the moderators found that it had been written in broken English

    So, Mr Capello's been weighing in on this one too?

  • Comment number 88.

    What a truly awful and mis-informed article Mr Matt Slater. I have created an account to comment here simply to express my disgust and set several issues right.
    Is this really what my license fee is being spent on? Whatever happened to netral viewpoints free from biasy and farce? BBC you have some serious sorting out to do.
    Firstly, why on earth is it made to sound so certain in its negativity surrounding the finances of a football club? Does the writer hope to see another Portsmouth-style meltdown? All of the points raised are hugely exagerated from an extremely thinly-veiled truth. I suggest the author of this blog carry out some serious research into the financial background of BIH and not simply cast assertions and assumptions, many of which are so clearly innacurate only those wishing to believe it will fall for it. There is simply no proof that there is no money available or that Birmingham City face a financial black hole. Yes it has appeared slow but anyone with even a miniscule understanding of the HK stock exchange will fully understand the reasons for funds only being made available at seemingly slow and inconsistent intervals.
    Very few Premier League clubs are run on revenue alone - 80-90% of the 20 Clubs operate at a loss, hence requiring financial input from their owners. Yes this is done differently in many cases, but Birmingham's approach does not make them in any more apparent danger than the next Club. Take Aston Villa (I am neither a fan of Birmingham nor Aston Villa, to clarify, merely an informed neutral). Randy Lerner has pumped huge sums of money into the club over the past number of years and not seen any return financially (or arguably in performance/results, but that is a different debate). Martin O'Neill was told this would not continue, and seemingly jumped off a sinking ship. With a new manager, money has been made available again - i point to the circa £24million deal of Darren Bent in January - surely an over-priced acquisition and yet certainly one which has seemed to pay off in the ensuing months, given the goal return and related points. However other team's approaches are entirely different, and often more economically sensible - such as Dave Whelan's approach at Wigan, or Neil Moxey at West Brom. Aston Villa are lucky in having an owner able and willing to immediately offer up huge sums of cash to their club, never expecting to be paid back. However other clubs must operate within their own means in many respects - not so much Birmingham but teams such as indeed Wigan, Blackpool as we have seen this year, and notably West Bromwich Albion.
    Birmingham are actually far more financially healthy than most PL clubs simply due to the fact that their debt levels are a fraction of most others - around 20 million owed to the bank in total, and some to owner Carson Yeung. The saving grace to clubs of loans to owners is that they are far more forgiving of repayments than banks! No doubt Carson Yeung may be an owner expecting his money back, but he is likely in it for the long term (see his plans to expand the brand of BCFC in China) and as such his loan will not be on a timed repayment. Expanding into China will be a long and slow progress but progress has indeed been made, for example with BIH's acquisition of marketing and advertisement firms in the past 12-18 months. So it would be narrow-minded to assume the man wants a quick profit and has no money for any development whatsoever.

    Hopefully the above has highlighted just a fraction of the mis-informed points raised by the author of this blog and perhaps brought the inadequacy to the attention of the BBC. I have merely scratched the surface of this article and there have been similar instances in the past, but I now hope to see improvements in the future. I know, dream on, huh?!

  • Comment number 89.

    I am a life long blue nose. The problem seems to be pretty obvious.

    1) For too long now the owners of the club (Yeung and Sullivan and Gold) where willing to do whatever they think is necessary to appease what they want out of the club. Is it right to dilute the essence of a great footballing club with players who cost (wages and transfer fees) over the top. To add to this, these players do not even care about the club. The one player in the past year who has shown his passion in Gardner. This is a man who sat on Villa's bench, then comes to the blues and shows how great a footballing talent he is. Yes we may all be happy when we hear Hleb or Martins is coming to Birmingham, but when did Hleb do anything that we were expecting. He just ambled along not caring what happened to the club because he knew he was getting paid. We need to move away from this well known mentality and look for fresh young talent who will excite people and will put their heart and soul into the Blues.

    2) The squad this year seemed pretty thin, but this is not true. What is the point in paying high wages to players for them to just sit on the bench most of the season. Derbyshire to name one has played very little this season. I understand that the loan market can have a big impact on teams successes. We have seen this with recently Larrson, Muamba and Bendtner. These are young players at big clubs looking to prove themselves to the footballing world. When was our current loaned players going to do this. Never.

    3) Teams need to be built around quality and experience by the supplementation of youth. Since when has Bowyer for example been any of these. Blues should be built around the quality of Foster, Johnson, Dann and Gardner and the experience of Carr and Phillips with young exciting players who can make an impact on the pitch. A team should not be full of old players or experienced players but needs to incorporate them into a young set up. When was the last time a blues team looked to have pace or urgency. Why score one goal and sit back just to concede when we should look to drive home the advantage. Answer is its easier. When did we last press the opposition looking for the second or third goal. When was the last time we came at opponents from the start. Im not talking about all guns blazing but a little urgency is needed.

    4) The club is diluted with too many foreign players and staff. Alex Mcleish is an exceptional manager and i think should be commended. He is a classic manager whose record speaks for itself but is never effective when coaching foreign players with the backing of a foreign owner. The owner knows nothing about english footballers and neither do many of these foreign players. Whilst we may all praise Zigic, he adapted to late to the English game. We need players and owners who know how english football works.

  • Comment number 90.

    @4, yemenal: Villa, of course, will be signing highly rated starlet Nick A. Joke...

  • Comment number 91.

    Matt, a well written and articulate article.

    To the noses out there : you're down and almost out, get over it. What would these posts be like if the shoe was on the other foot?, no gloating b-lose fans? no childish comments / jokes from the small heath alliance followers? You're just not good enough to stay in the Prem.

    It's been well reported that yeung is financially screwed, and has been treading water since 'buying' the blues, and as no new information is forthcoming, there's going to be plenty of speculation...

    We had our worst season for years, 3 managers, players coming in on over inflated wages and not bothering to show up, yet we still finished as the top midlands team (again), and we still finished in the top 10 (again).

    Personally, whether you go into administration or not, I do not care. You're about as important to most Villa fans as the Leyland DAF Cup you love to keep talking about.... oh and the embarrassment of having your finest hour, then going into freefall (is this why they are called 'parachute payments'??)

    Carson Yeung, if you're reading this, PLEASE KEEP RIGHT ON what you're doing!!


  • Comment number 92.

    @88 If you're going to accuse the author of inaccuracy, saying things like 'Neil Moxey at West Brom' doesn't exactly look promising. Presumably you mean JEZ Moxey at WOLVES, or Jeremy Peace (or whichever stooge he puts in charge of managing his cash) at West Brom? Getting the first name wrong is bad enough - but mixing up the clubs is unforgivable!!!

  • Comment number 93.

    Whichever Brum fan thinks that Europa League will bring some money - don't even think about it. Well... Maybe screening on Sky live will bring a little $$$, but excluding Sky TV money you will be lucky to get 5-6M Euros total assuming you will win every game from start to finish. Yes including final! EL is just costly joke. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • Comment number 94.

    In response to `Packer`. You are the reason I never usually get involved with these types of blogs. I give an opinion you dont agree with and you say its "paranoia" and you tell me to "grow up". Try not to be so angry with life, be nice to people, life becomes so much easier when you`re liked. Make friends and you never know, one day you might get a girlfriend. God bless.

  • Comment number 95.

    I'm from Hong Kong and I must say I didn't hear about Carson Yeung until he bought Birmingham City FC. Though he might be able to raise some money in China through some connentions, we all knew he had no money. And when he promised McLeish 40 million transfer fund in the first season, we all knew it was a joke. Even so, to say he can help to promote Birmingham City FC in China as a brand is totally laughable. People think they can get a cut from doing business in China but they seldom do.

    People always love to dream of have another Roman Abramovich. Tell you the truth there are tycoons more wealther than Roman Abramovich in Hong Kong. But Carson Yeung is miles away from them. Instead of injecting money to the football club, he may well be making money elsewhere using the EPL brand.

  • Comment number 96.

    Good blog as ever.

    One of the few BBC journalists who talk about something other than Man United.

    And yet - in an article like this - there is scope to mention those robber barons.

    The Sky 4 (or is it 5 now?) have ruined football with their greed and left us with one of the most predictable (at the top) and boring leagues in world football.

    Still... back on the main BBC football page, the main lead is once again about the precious Red Devils.

    The BBC obviously don't do irony any more.

    And next season? The same old same old....

  • Comment number 97.

    Oh dear bigdek1968 that post is deluded if villa fans don't care about blues then why are you posting a comment on a blog about blues, why are there limitless posts on youtube videos from villa fans about blues. Also why was there more villa fans interested in the blues game on sunday then the villa vs liverpool game.

    so keep right on what your doing........... so we can all laugh at you

  • Comment number 98.

    Matt, a very fair assessment of the situation at St Andrews.

    I am worried by the financial engineering that has been commonplace for the BIH for the whole time they have owned the club. Even the dispute with Advisers over payment of fees painted the owners in a poor light.

    Although your conclusions are pessimistic, I remain optimistic - the return to their respective clubs of; Bentley, Derbyshire, Hleb, Martins and Jiranek and then the release of other aging players; Phillips, Bowyer, Parnaby etc should reduce the wage bill significantly and I hope will give youth a chance.

    I was one of the many blues fans who 'sold their soul' to win silverware ie I said I would take relegation in exchange for the Carling Cup. I just hope my deal with the devil isn't going to cost the club it's future.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    SAF has been moderating posts again i see.


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