A Catalyst For Change

19 Jan 2022 | 24 comments

Blues Trust

​It is clear from correspondence we are receiving, comments on social media and the organisation of protests that many of us fans are disillusioned and concerned about what is going on at our club. We are all looking for action that will address the decline we are witnessing, and it is clear change is needed. But how to do this effectively is a more difficult question. It becomes an individual decision how and what to get involved with.

At Blues Trust we believe that meaningful dialogue with the club, leading to change in how the club is run at the highest level together with transparent engagement with fans, is the best way the Trust can currently influence matters. We also feel that the recommendations in the recently published Fan Led Review  of Football (FLR) will, if implemented, facilitate many of the changes needed at our club (and indeed many others).

All change needs a catalyst and it is our view that the main recommendation of the FLR, that of the independent regulation of football being imposed by government, will be that catalyst.

The administrative management team at Birmingham City have responded favourably to our requests to discuss the FLR and its implementation. We have held initial meetings and the club has indicated a willingness to take on board some of the recommendations being made before they are imposed by government legislation.

These significant changes in governance will take time to design and implement, and will need the support and approval of the BCFC Board and probably parent companies. Therefore this is going to need ongoing discussion over the next few months to move forward. Blues Trust is committed to this process and, with support from the Football Supporters Association (FSA), will work tirelessly and in good faith to make this the catalyst for positive change and reset the club’s engagement with its fans.

We acknowledge that past requests for dialogue by the Blues Trust have been blocked by the club. However, since the departure of the former CEO we have seen a more welcoming attitude to fan engagement. This is the first time that we have been able to pursue an agenda with the club through dialogue, and we are keen to make the most of the opportunity and follow it through to conclusions.

Blues Trust and the club have undertaken to keep fans up to date with progress. The club will be organising a series of meetings with key stakeholders to discuss current issues and the contents of FLR.

Blues Trust is pleased to take part in a debate being organised by Tilton Talk next Monday evening 24 January, and so will be available and happy to explain our approach and answer questions.

The FLR report can be seen here. It is the result of a number of years work behind the scenes, preparing evidence and lobbying government with the FSA, to bring about change and independent regulation to English football. It is anticipated that the shadow regulator will be set up in the next few months and if things go well (if government and cross party support is maintained) then the recommendations should progress into law around summer 2023.

Pursuing this approach does not mean that there is an acceptance on the part of the Trust that the owners are currently acting as well as they could do and in the long-term best interests of the club. Rather, the Trust believes that discussion and the decisions the owners take going forward could and should embrace the recommendations from the FLR.

Taking this to its logical conclusion, if the owners want to own Birmingham City for the long term then their identity and investment plans will become clear through the FLR changes. Equally true is if the owners wish to remain unrecognised then there will be growing pressure on them to sell the club prior to the government implementing the Independent Regulation of Football.

Blues Trust



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  1. Mitchell

    This report should be read by every loyal, genuine blues supporter. Hard work alone will be vastly added by sheer numbers supporting the Trust. Numbers are vital. At last it appears BCFC are connecting with the Trust.

    • Wiggly 2020

      We need to get these owners out ASAP their killing this club I’ve going for 60 years and it the worst I’ve ever seen it, don’t be conned by these liars

    • Stephen allen

      You do not represent the fans Yes men Action is needed Time to kiss the owners arse is long gone Pussy footing around like you normally do about hot water and other such crap #BHLSOUT

      • Blues Trust

        A very disappointing and unhelpful contribution to the discussion. You are entitled to your opinion of course, but it seems you lack understanding of the Trust’s purpose and its work

  2. Robert wiley

    Waiting till 2023 for implementation of the FLV could be to late for us as the deterioration is getting worse week by week.The owners have no intention of dialogue with the fans and management at the club don’t have any influence,it’s owners we need dialogue with and as stated they don’t want to know and just want to keep hiding away .The fans have had enough now ,they want the club sold now and BSHL out

    • Michael Prince

      Even with dialogue and a new line of communication, who would trust what they say? No amount of crap which is what came out the one time they teied to communicate will get the real fans back on board. The trust is clearly too out of touch themselves. Maybe time you re-evaluated your roles at the trust gents because if you listen to the media and 99.99% of our fans, we want them out and confidence in the board is 0.01%. That 0.01 being you. Shameful and do not represent us in my opinion.

      • Blues Trust

        The Trust does not share your view Michael but, in time, you may be proved right of course. We cannot be certain about the final outcome any more than you can. We absolutely want change for the better at our club, and we will continue to do everything we can to try and help achieve it. It’s important to remember though that the recommendations in the FLR, if they become law as we hope they will, are for the long term and will have implications for whoever owns Birmingham City…..be that BSHL or not.

    • Blues Trust

      We are not waiting for 2023 Robert. We hope a number of changes will be made before then. 2023 is the expected deadline if the recommendations in the FLR are approved in Parliament and then imposed by government. Tracey Crouch MP (author of the FLR report) believes most of the recommendations can be implemented prior to that time with willingness on the part of individual football clubs. We understand that past experience leads to believing that the Board / owners will not be influenced by fans and club management. But this has not been tested before because it has been blocked. In our view the block was mainly Mr Ren, and now that he has departed we think communication channels can be opened up. Initial discussion has been positive and we must progress dialogue to find out.

  3. Ronald clive

    Ron. I would like the owners to come clean and spell out what ambition thy have for our club.starting with finishing the repairs to the stands so we can purchase new season tickets not like the last cock up.we need iota of cash to spend on new players most of the team are past there best and loan players are not the answer.if they are not willing to put money into the club the should sell up give the fans a chance to buy shares There are some. Big owners out there Birmingham is the second city in Britain they have a very good fan base so I say to the owners wake up and smell the coffee before it’s to late.

    • Blues Trust

      We cannot predict the outcome of where we will get to with dialogue Ronald, but the recommendations in the FLR will require clear business plans and open communication with fans. The FLR recommendations also require clubs to produce a transition plan – which in essence is a plan to keep the club functioning while a change of owners is sought.

  4. Sausage n Egg

    Take a big bag of Saxa with you then you can take what they tell you with a pinch of salt…I’m done with them and want them gone .softly softly isn’t working let’s see how they like pelters flying there way…..BSHL out!

    • Blues Trust

      Your point is well made but there are many ways to try and achieve change. We currently believe that progressing dialogue can help bring about long term change for the club to be run in an open and sustainable manner, with the fans involved in decisions regardless of who the owners are. We are pursuing this in good faith. It does not mean that we are against protest as a way of tying to achieve change – as we said in the article each individual will choose what action they take. At the Trust (like the organisers of most of the protests) we would simply appeal for them to be peaceful, non racist and within the law.

      • Sausage n Egg

        They have ruined the match day experience for the fans ..time they had match day ruined ..and other days if needed…if it wasn’t for the online momentum they would have still treated us with contempt ..don’t be fooled by these idiots..BSHL out

  5. Chris

    So how do Blues Trust feel about Edward Zheng blocking anyone and everyone on twitter?. Doesn’t sound much like he wants to talk.

    • Blues Trust

      We don’t know what the situation with Edward Zheng is Chris, but generally we feel people in high level positions at our club should be available on social media and willing to communicate with fans. Open communication has to be a good thing, even when there are challenges to be faced. But we do understand that turning off / mass blocking of social media is sometimes the only way to escape personal abuse and trolling.

  6. Peter Sparrow

    I’m afraid that I think this approach is extremely naive. BCFC’s Board and management team have a responsibility to communicate are with ALL fans. This should be a given. I think that the club are stringing you along. What can’t they even tell supporters who have already purchased season tickets when the lower Kop & Tilton will be open? The time for reasoned dialogue (not that the club will engage openly anyway) has gone. The club won’t even admit that Wang Youhai (aka Mr King) exists! Ask yourself why that is! So to think they will share his intentions for the club are naïve. We need to make them uncomfortable and increase the pressure. Protests, pitch sit ins, tennis balls, whistles etc are all necessary to force these owners out. Enough is enough. The time for polite requests for dialogue has passed.

    • Blues Trust

      Your point is also well made Peter. Whilst the dialogue is at an early stage, it is already clear the club agree that they have a responsibility to communicate with ALL fans and need to improve in this area. We very much hope that will begin to happen very soon. But, of course, we’ll see. Regarding your points about being strung along and protests – these are similar points to those raised above by sausage n egg and Robert so we would ask you to also check our comments made there.

  7. Cassano

    Stop being so silly and believing anything the liars tell you. The time for taking has passed, it’s over. Demonstration and refusal to purchase season tickets is the way forward now.
    Give up Trust others are taking the baton now. The worms are turning and don’t want to talk to parasites put in place by “ owners” who won’t show themselves
    And we all can make a good guess as to why. BSHL Get out of our club.

    • Blues Trust

      We completely understand and accept that there have been problems for a long time Cassano. Those of us on the Trust board are also dedicated supporters of longstanding. However, there are many ways to try to influence change when it is needed. The Trust is not against protest and we acknowledge that several campaigns are currently underway. And we take the view that individuals will choose what they want to get involved with, or not, as the case may be. But we believe that as a member organisation, the best way for the Trust to try and influence change for the long term is through meaningful dialogue.

  8. Tammieblue

    How confident is the Trust that this isn’t just junior members of staff telling the Trust what they want to hear, knowing full well that the board and owners won’t sanction any change in communication / operations etc ?

    • Blues Trust

      That’s a very good question Tammieblue, but it is one that is difficult to answer with absolute certainty. Truth is, we have never been here before. But at least we have started talking now and both parties have committed to ongoing dialogue so that is encouraging. The meeting that took place this week…which is not the first contact by the way….was with the management team at the club. So senior staff with access to the Board.

      Our initial discussions give us some confidence that what we are saying / trying to change was understood and well received by the management team, and there is alignment in many instances with their view of the future regarding communication and operations etc. It is clear the management team have already started Board engagement regarding the FLR. We need to try this approach, now open to us and the management team, following the departure of the former CEO, to see if it can be successful and helpful for the long term future of our club.

  9. Dean Giblin

    Absolutely delusional if you think the owners want to talk after 10 years nothing has changed. When we set up the trust in 2011, I thought that we still wouldn’t be in the mess we are, albeit with TTA, BSHL etc. Time for direct action such as almajir’s point about emailing HKSE to get them to delist BSHL. Communication is a 2 way st, and these faceless owners don’t want that. Time the trust woke up and smelt the coffee and actually did something constructive to get the owners out #BSHLOUT

    • Blues Trust

      Our approach to use dialogue is one that has not been tried before Dean. We cannot predict the outcome, but the blockage between fans and club and owners, mainly the former CEO, has been removed. We believe it is a good thing to pursue dialogue and use the FLR as a catalyst for change. The Trust as an organisation is uniquely placed to do this. We have said in other comments that this does not mean we are suggesting fans should not protest. Individuals will choose for themselves how they want to promote change.

  10. Mitchell Bray

    For those damning the Blues Trust-stop and think for a second. Just read an awful piece on News Now headlining Bowyer being already being lined up with a potential Championship replacement. Is this what decent reporting is about? would you seriously want BT to serve up such stuff. I am no Angel but I can separate decent motives and trust from other sites who are not around in the long term.

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