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.