The Sound Of Silence
Last Thursday’s official statement from Birmingham City Football Club concerning recent media reports about the Blues Women’s team was both welcome and refreshing. It was late….several days late….but it did at least attempt to explain the Club’s position on a matter very close to the hearts of many Bluenoses, both female and male. In fact, it was a thorough and insightful statement which provided a degree of assurance, although it was difficult not to draw the conclusion that the statement was only made because of the national media coverage and the intense reaction that it provoked.
But it was still welcome because the Club all too frequently pays scant regard to the sharing of information with its supporters and other key stakeholders.
Consider another issue from last week, namely the story which appeared in the press concerning the Club and nine other Championship rivals. The report explained that the ten listed clubs were facing a transfer embargo because of a breach of EFL rules. It later transpired that the matter in question concerned an administrative mix up regarding the late submission of accounts. A number of the clubs involved, and in particular Coventry City and Luton Town, were very quick to put out robust statements which both explained and defended their positions in an attempt to reassure their supporters. And from BCFC……? Nothing.
But then, sadly, nothing is what we Blues supporters have come to expect from the owners and executive of our football club. Yes, the Club can be quick to acknowledge events of national importance or make supportive statements about current initiatives involving the wider football community. Swift recognition of the death of The Duke of Edinburgh and the announcement of a temporary withdrawal from social media in the light of racist abuse are two recent, and indeed worthy, examples of that. But information concerning the Club itself…..? No, that is a very different story.
This linked article makes for an interesting read if you have some time to spare. It originates from Sunderland FC and is an account from a recent meeting its new owner held with supporter groups.
It’s interesting not so much because of the content, but because of what it represents….the first in a series of meetings between the ownership and supporters. Hold that thought for a moment.
There are many other examples of good supporter liaison. Check out the Fulham Supporters Trust for example. Or Brentford. Or Wycombe Wanderers.
Now the cynics amongst us might point out….perhaps correctly…that the Sunderland owner is new and wants to make an early impression, or that there are many other examples of football clubs out there which also do not engage with their supporters.
Ok, but what would you hope for from our club? Which approach would you prefer?
BCFC offers no regular and structured dialogue with its supporters. It doesn’t even meet the minimum requirement set out by the EFL. Blues Trust has tried repeatedly to start a supportive conversation with the club about matters of concern to our members and supporters, but to no avail. We do not even get the courtesy of a response.
So the question is, why is the Club slow at best….and completely reluctant at worst….to engage with its supporters and to share basic information with people that care deeply about it? What is there to be frightened of, particularly so in this age of speedy digital communication?
If our owners are concerned about things being lost in translation, or they are worried about being unable to communicate effectively, then they should appoint someone or some organisation to do that on their behalf. An awareness and understanding of what is happening, and why….not every time where business confidentiality is concerned of course…but frequently, would dispel an awful lot of anger and frustration and, surprise, surprise, might actually help to improve matters all round for everyone….including the beleaguered owners and executive.
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines a club as “an organisation of people with a common purpose or interest, who meet regularly and take part in shared activities”.
A football club is no different.
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Hi Sorry to sound like the mean one but I support the guys team and its all I am interested in. There is nothing more annoying when newsnow birmingham city announces signings then you realise its just for the female team. Its great for womans football that we have a team but I am pretty sure a high percentage of male fans feel the same.
Personally I don’t trust or believe the board. As you quite rightly stated they took days to give an explanation and even then probably only because of the media coverage.
I have said before that they only put into print anything that makes them look good and quite honestly I don’t think they give a damn for anyone at any level, it’s a case of “I’m alright Jack”.
If they did care then this matter would never have arisen in the first place, it has been well documented that the owners and board won’t release funds for the women’s team, not even paying to have a game moved to St. Georges when the ground at Solihull Moors was unplayable. They are weak, have no backbone and certainly no loyalty to the Birmingham fans.
I believe that the message they sent out was simply to appease the supporters to hopefully stop them from demonstrating; the board will now no doubt do the absolute minimum to keep the teams onside and pretend that nothing happened. We must have the most pathetic owners and board within the EFL and beyond.
It’s pretty obvious by now that the owners are not interested in the supporters opinions and don’t value their loyalty either. In my sixty years as a supporter I’ve seen owners come and go but we’ve never had owners who don’t seem to care about the club’s supporters like the current ones.
With everything that’s gone wrong since the acquisition it’s pretty obvious there is a major problem with the general management of the club but they seem powerless to correct things. Following the sale of the ground to another business it’s obvious that borrowing constraints are being applied. To alienate supporters who provide the vast majority of the clubs income is therefore short sighted and potentially disastrous. They should look back into the clubs past when in the 1990s home gates slumped and the club couldn’t financially support itself. This could well happen again.
People always say that the Chinese hate to lose face. My question is, how do you not lose face when you are the laughing stock of English football?
Continual sackings of managers, the debacle over the state of the ground, and the fact that we have sold it to some anonymous shell company, the state of the Womens’ team, the 10 point deduction last year, the fact that fans have to display banners at matches and put up placards outside the ground. How much before you realise that a different approach is needed?
I’ve said it before that when Ernst and Young were set the task of bringing in new owners after the Carsen Yeung debacle, they chose the wrong person (Paul Suen Cho Hung). The man was known for coming in and rescuing failing companies, but, the problem was he had no interest whatsoever in Blues, he was only interested in the HKSE listing. For me E&Y failed in their duty to bring in suitable owners and should be held accountable, unfortunately this is never gonna happen.
They are Chinese and it’s seen has weak to bow to outside demands. They will not discuss finances with the likes of us. They will not discuss policies with the likes of us. They see it as none of our business. And if we ask to see these things they see that as disrespect.
And with old information for as long as possible. Then when it is released it is released on their terms and not that of our demands. Within the media report things that have not yet been released or talked about they see this as an attack on them and the best way for them to fight that attack is to stay silent.
What ever happened to this fit and proper issue in regarding buying a football club, the FA are doing nothing to protect clubs.
I’ve said it before the FA/EFL fit to own a football club scenario and package is totally unfit for purpose. You only have to read “Haircuts & league Cups” written by Daniel Ivery to realise that there are serious faults with this whole setup.
A certain person is an arrogant little dick … No more no less it really is that simple …he is desperate to be accepted by the rest of the EFL directors and the establishment and comes across like a puppy who is locked out in the garden jumping up at the window while the family inside eats and ignores him…. I would love to see a full St Andrews pointing an accusing finger at him in his box shouting “GET OUT”
I’m with you there my friend
To achieve real success as a football club the board, players and fans ideally need to come together and work in harmony.
Open and transparent communication would be a great place to start as far as Blues are concerned, and this is up to our board, as they are the silent party here.
The examples you cite in the article above where boards have been proactive in this (ie. at Sunderland, Fulham, Brentford, Wycombe, etc) put our owners to shame.
I think it’s been mentioned before in a comment to a previous article, but one man who we can trust and who I believe is involved at board level is Michael Wiseman.
How often is Mr Wiseman in touch with the owners and could he be the link between the fans and the board, at least to begin some constructive dialogue?
Mark R, I had to come in here but no. My opinion I admit. Wiseman not the required link.
I may offer another question in all this? do we know what’s happening to Carson for some reason ive had it in back my head for couple months now. Do any these owners and new groups that keep being announced to run Birmingham international holdings have an association to Carson and hes Cronins? Just a thought he has massive vendetta and point to prove.? Or am I over thinking and putting all Chinese owner in the same brush as Carson?.
As ever in Lee Bowyer we trust and kro.
The one person who can probably answer you is Daniel Ivery, the last I heard Carson Yeung was him going into prison in about 2014 for six years. Of course he has been released now but we don’t know if he still has the contacts or indeed the finances to still be involved. He appears to be like an octopus with fingers or tentacles in several pies so it wouldn’t completely surprise me to find that he still has an interest though he’ll never be allowed to be a director in a professional English club again.