St Andrew’s Ownership

The Blues Trust has carried out an enquiry with the Land Registry and has established that as of Wednesday 8 January 2020, the ownership of St Andrew’s rests with Birmingham City Football Club PLC.

However, the recently published accounts show the ground as having been sold by Birmingham City Football Club PLC before 30 June 2019 to another BSH subsidiary, which we assume is Birmingham City Stadium Ltd, a company incorporated on 25 May 2019.

There may be a reason for this apparent conflict. Assuming that the legal contract for sale to another subsidiary had been signed and completed before 30 June 2019 – as indicated in the accounts – the buying company has 2 months to then register the sale with the Land Registry. So the registration would not necessarily have to have been completed by the time the accounts were signed off and this scenario would enable the Auditors of the accounts to 30 June 2019 to legitimately sign off with the sale included.

During the Trust’s successful efforts to re-register the Asset of Community Value for St Andrew’s, we were regularly checking with the Land Registry that ownership still resided with Birmingham City Football Club PLC. At the 3 July 2019, this was certainly the case.

On 23 August 2019 we discovered that on 22 August 2019 that there was now a ‘pending application’. There was no information available on the portal as to the extent of the application save for that it was a ‘dealing.’ A dealing is usually an application to amend the title and can be a transfer of ownership, new lease or updating an entry on the title register. It now seems likely that this was the registration of change of ownership.

However, the Land Registry Search on 8 January 2020 referred to above shows that this has not yet been actioned by the Land Registry. This can be for a number of reasons, however the likely one is that the Land Registry did not complete the application as there may have been a question which the purchaser or their solicitor was unable to answer.

For information, the ACV was re-registered on 25 July 2019, the original application having been sent by Blues Trust to Birmingham City Council on 29 January 2019. There is now uncertainty about the effectiveness of this registration, since the original application indicated the ground was owned by Birmingham City Football Club PLC. However, by the date of registration of the ACV it may well be that ownership had changed although this could not have been ascertained from public records.

The failure of the Club to tell the fans that the ground had been sold, (if this turns out to be the case and with the facts as we know them at the moment, it seems likely) is a continuing example of the unwillingness of Directors to engage with supporters. We understand that the EFL had known for some time that the ground had been sold, but because the sale value does not appear to have been inflated, the EFL had no issues with it.  So why was this information withheld from Supporters by the club?

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4 Comments

  1. John

    This does not seem to be very good news.

    As I commented under another article, the sale of St Andrews has been largely ignored by supporters and the press, but in my opinion the ‘sale’ of BCFC biggest and most valuable asset is THE most important aspect in everything that has been carried out by the current owners.

    Supporters in general have, naively imo, been throwing all sorts of metaphorical things at Dong/Pep/Players, but largely laying off the owners because they are deemed to have put massive amounts of money into club (they have put a lot less than people think/assume, but that is another story for another day). A lot of supporters are blaming Dong and claiming; he picks the team/decides tactics/decides signings etc., whilst Pep is just busy cleaning Dong’s a**e. I believe that supporters may have been sidetracked (manipulated?) into this through the social media spreading of training ground rumours. Why? I think we will be finding out over the coming months.

    As to the Asset of Community Value:
    1) would this not be automatically registered with the Land Registry in order that any potential purchasers are made aware before purchasing?
    2) shouldn’t Birmingham City Council be notified of any potential change in ownership of an ACV before it is completed in order to register any objections/clarifications that it may deem to be appropriate on behalf of the Community?

    If all this is above board from BSHL/TTA then it should have no objection of returning St. Andrews to its rightful owner, BCFC, as some point in the future once financial stability has been established.
    On the other hand if BSHL/TTA, with its major objective of maintaining its Hong Kong listing, sees that being achieved by building its property portfolio (following on from its Cambodia investments), then this sale of St. Andrews takes on a completely different light. The sale price of c.£20m is vastly undervalued if the land was sold for housing/hotel/business development, so it no wonder the EFL aren’t raising concerns, as it has against Derby, Sheff Wed and Aston Villa who all sold for massively higher values than which St Andrews was sold.

    BSHL/TTA can come out and clear all this up with an open statement AND, if they are genuine, give BCFC the option of buying back at a similar valuation at some point in the future. Anything less than this could lead supporters to believe that our current owners have objectives that might be damaging for the long term future of Our Club, and that our current demise is not solely down to DONG!

    KRO

    • JJblue

      Hi John, I just want to say that the club are paying 1.2 million over 25 years so in affect the club has been given a loan the size of the club sale to make a profit rather than a loss under the efl guidelines. It seems the club has been sold but really it hasn’t, if we were to be promoted in the future under tta the first thing they would do is buy back the club /pay off the loan. If tta were to sell the club then whoever buys the club will have to pay the loan to get the deeds put back to Birmingham city football club. Simple stuff really but a way of the club making some profit without breaking ffp. I don’t think there is anything to worry about here. kRO

  2. Peter Bates

    The owners of our club have no dialogue with anyone including the blues Trust which for me shows complete disrespect to all supporters and anyone who cares about our club, If this was happening at bigger clubs than Birmingham there would be protests and the villa mail would be protesting on there behalf our fans need to show these faceless people what our club means to the supporters and drive them into selling the club to football people with the club at heart and not a listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange so if the blues supporters from everywhere wrote or emailed one correspondence to our so called owners in Hong Kong telling them what we really think of them it may be a start and we don’t have to be ignored or disrespected we as supporters are the future of our club players managers and owners come and go supporters are forever

  3. Gazal

    I don’t understand why people are so concerned with who owns the ground when the numbers tell them that it was something that had to be done to protect BCFC. And does anyone really believe that they could sell it for more than they are into it for.

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