Completing the Jigsaw
Teams work best when the members of the team understand what they should be doing, understand what all the other team members should be doing and trust each other. This is true for the Blues team on the pitch and for the wider BCFC team of owners, staff, manager, players and supporters.
I went to Hong Kong because I thought that the wider BCFC team had some gaps in understanding and trust. The ownership structure is a bit complicated and it is hard to trust owners you don’t know much about when some previous owners have been dodgy. I hoped that going with Daniel Ivery to the owners’ home turf might fill in some of the gaps in my own understanding. It has.
I have realised what a gigantic gulf there is between Blues fans and Mr Paul Suen, the owner of Trillion Trophy Asia. He speaks a different language, lives in a different culture and is very rich. Daniel and I saw his house, perched on a hill overlooking the sea, and it’s clearly the home of a wealthy man. But I don’t think he’s likely to pour any of that money into BCFC. He is a very successful business man who makes money by buying and selling businesses and he owns several. TTA shares an office with some other companies. There is nothing to suggest that Mr Suen has any special interest in football or in BCFC.
Coming to Hong Kong has also helped me to understand why it was good to come. Seeing a company’s office can tell you more than just knowing its address. For example, when we went to the office of Birmingham Sports Holdings, we had no idea of what it would be like. We found that it occupied a whole floor of the building. The reception area had the BCFC logo on the wall and also two framed Blues shirts. A screen in the seating area was showing well-known scenes of our playing history. We were also shown the room, complete with pool table and bar, where directors could watch streamed Blues games on a screen that took up most of one wall. In contrast to the BSH office, we saw another office where nobody seemed to be home. Daniel also found multiple companies using the same address as one of the companies connected to someone associated with BCFC. This could mean that the work is being done somewhere else or that someone is trying to confuse people who want to understand what is going on.
Coming to Hong Kong also meant that Daniel was able to check online sources that couldn’t be checked from Europe and meet with people who can supply valuable background information. Daniel has written about Tobias Zuser, one of these contacts, on his site, almajir.net.
To sum up my impressions so far:
- Mr Suen is probably not interested in football but his choice of a buyer for TTA or Birmingham Sports Holdings will affect the future of our club. That choice will be based on what’s good for his business not what’s best for the club.
- Someone at BSH is interested in football and watches our games.
- Coming to Hong Kong makes it possible to find out things that you couldn’t find out in Europe and to meet people who can help you understand what is going on.
- Someone connected to the next buyer may be trying to make it hard to find out just what is going on.
- What Daniel is doing is like doing a large and complicated jigsaw and he has found some of the missing pieces while he’s been here.
It’s not up to me to decide how Blues Trust should react to this; board members will be meeting on July 2 to discuss that. I will be recommending that we continue to do our best to find out what is going on. We need to keep asking questions:
Who will be the new owner?
When will the new owner be named officially?
Is the person named as the owner really the owner or is he a nominee there to represent the actual owner?
What steps will the EFL take to ensure that the new owner is a fit and proper person to own our club?
And I’d like to ask Blues Trust members what questions they think we should be asking. Let us know.