In a month of notable returns, including Avram Grant to Portsmouth and chairman Adam Pearson at Hull, there was also the long goodbye of a famous threesome. After a first takeover attempt failed in November 2007, Carson Yeung finally completed his purchase of Birmingham City on October 6. But the former regime, David Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady, did not depart quietly.
“Publishing magnate” Sullivan seemed particularly raw, telling the Mirror: “I will leave heartbroken. I feel very sad because deep down I feel the supporters decided my time was up and they wanted a change.” In the Mail, emotional sidekick Gold also confessed matters of the heart at the end of a 16-year relationship: “It was a bit like being dumped by a girlfriend. You think you’re going to be OK, but then you go to bed that night and you have a little cry.”
In the same paper columnist Patrick Collins was not swayed, pointing out the “lucrative outcome” on selling the club and doubting Gold’s proclaimed fidelity to his love affair with football, not business: “We wish Gold well in his search for someone to love. It is, after all, a difficult world, full of seductive possibilities, lone struggles and damply defeated dreams. But then, Dave and his chums would know all about that, wouldn’t they?”
Meanwhile, Yeung and Birmingham fans expressed unhappiness with Brady’s £1 million severance package which was described as “astonishing” and “staggering” by the Mirror, delighted at a chance to pour scorn on a Sun columnist.
So what next for the trio? Neil Warnock publicly welcomed rumours of their potential investment in Crystal Palace – Selhurst Park is the closest ground to Gold’s Surrey home. But the most frequent reports suggested a resumption of the established Gold/Sullivan partnership at troubled West Ham, with Sullivan admitting that the Hammers were a club “close to his heart” and one he would “love be involved with”.
Robbie Savage gave his approval, using his Mirror column to promote the opinion that West Ham fans should be “praying” for a takeover, then informing us that he had been “one of Sullivan’s favourite players of all his Blues reign”. As a West Ham deal failed to materialise, Sullivan claimed 14 Clubs Want Me. But while the next venture for Gold and Sullivan is not yet clear, Ms Brady remains very much in the public eye.
In her Brum Diary in the Sun, Brady bashfully recounted a tale of being chased by the paparazzi: “Have a dozen men with cameras nothing better to do than chase a 40-year-old mother of two?” On seeing the snaps she could only conclude: “I’m more used to baps than paps!” Brady is also in filming for the next series of The Apprentice and in the month that the England 2018 World Cup bid handed out Mulberry handbags to the partners of FIFA executive committee members, the campaign turned to the busy Brady to provide “genuine female football administrative expertise” and to “restore credibility”.
Perhaps the biggest clue to Brady’s future comes on her personal website which boasts of a “world class motivational and inspiration speaker”. Nestled in the endorsement section between Best Western Hotels and Job Centre Plus is praise from David Cameron. The result of the next general election has never looked so ominous. Ed Upright
From WSC 274 December 2009