THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

8 October 2009 ~ There has been a lot of talk of returns this week, notably Avram Grant to Portsmouth and possibly Eggert Magnusson at West Ham, but there is also the long goodbye of a famous threesome. After acquiring a 29.9 per cent share of Birmingham City in June 2007 and a first takeover attempt failing in the November of that year, Carson Yeung finally completed his purchase of the club on Tuesday. But the former regime, David Sullivan, Karren Brady and David Gold, are not departing quietly.

"Publishing magnate" David Sullivan told the Mirror yesterday: "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... I don't think we got any credit at all from the supporters." The same paper brought us an exclusive on Karren Brady's controversial £1 million severance package which includes a fortunately timed £260,000 bonus for Birmingham City being in the Premier League. The Mirror's publicity for Brady's discomfort is unsurprising given her occasional moonlighting as a Sun columnist.

Birmingham City messageboards are completely divided on the subject with reactions on Brady ranging from gratitude – "you done us proud girl" – to the dubious – "if she had the face like the back of a bus you would never hear about her" – to anger – "it is just old fashioned greed". In the midst of all this turmoil some Birmingham fans are keeping occupied by debating whether "Our Trev" (yes, Trevor Francis) would be doing better than Alex McLeish. It's not clear what these fans can expect for their club and Birmingham's former owners can't offer much insight. Sullivan stated:  "[Yeung] might do a wonderful job", "he seems genuinely interested in the club", and that prerequisite of aspirational club owners everywhere: "He's passionate about football." David Gold was equally deadpan: "This is a day of opportunity and we should grasp it optimistically."

Yeung's company, Grandtop International Holdings, has given little clue either apart from chief operating officer Sammy Yu hinting at bold intercontinental ambition in the Sun: "Regarding the plans for Greater China, it's too early to confirm every bit now. Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, all these successful teams, have given us a very good example. We will learn from them." Alex McLeish has claimed he is excited about the takeover: "There is a buzz about the place. It is exciting times and something I've great anticipation for." But as Paul Hart has found at Portsmouth, new owners can mean the return of old favourites so McLeish should possibly prepare for the worst. Trevor Francis is yet to declare an interest.

Comments (3)
Comment by The Exploding Vole 2009-10-08 15:23:34

After yesterday's revelation that the new owner of Portsmouth apparently "bears a passing resemblance to August Darnell, leader of the 1980s pop satirists Kid Creole and the Coconuts," I was hoping WSC might have identified a similar pop-star lookalike for Mr Yeung.

Comment by bangsection 2009-10-08 20:36:55

Not strictly a pop star lookalike but I've always thought that Carson Yeung bears more than a passing resemblance to Fred West.

Comment by ian.64 2009-10-09 07:49:51

The departure of Messrs. Gold, Sullivan and Brady may affect Birmingham City in more ways than they think possible when you bear in mind that the only items and incidents of any news worth that the club have had have sprang from their slightly bizarre profile. Not a high one, but a strangely loopy front that invites comment and spotlight. Brady had her national tabloid column (and will gain even more profile with The Apprentice) while Gold and Sullivan made the odd stentorian comment to get media types noticing them, with the latter possessing a sort of dopily-iconic look of dressing like a KGB general at every game.

Now you have the faceless, low-profile Carson Yeung who's only appearance of note was to grin aimlessly at one St. Andrews game while extending a warm hand to the outgoing chairmen who summarily ignored him.

Without that triumverate of somewhat parodic value, what will be made of the quiet and apparently secretive Mr. Yeung, who'll need all the media savvy available to make Birmingham City - not the most exciting of clubs to promote as a media concern - to raise interest among the pundits and hacks?

Unless, of course, he starts to hand the manager a blank cheque and begin to talk about the 'Birmingham City project'. Then, perhaps, Mark Pougatch will bring around the 5Live radio car and start listening.

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