BCFC: Edging Closer

6 Jun 2023 | 6 comments

St Andrews

As was likely the case for most Blues supporters, Blues Trust was delighted to see yesterday’s announcement that the EFL has given its approval for Shelby Companies Limited to acquire 45% of the club, including full ownership of St. Andrew’s stadium. A statement made by the club’s owners, Birmingham Sports Holdings Ltd, confirmed that the game’s regulators had given the deal, first revealed with a public announcement on 7 May, the necessary green light to proceed.

All that remains now for the acquisition to be finalised is compliance with the strict requirements of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange followed by shareholder approval at BSHL. Hopefully, both of these are formalities and happen very soon.

So after many years of frustration and disappointment, during which Blues fans have campaigned long and hard for ownership change to drive improvement in the fortunes of the club, at last it now appears that a new beginning is within reach. And whilst it is true that the current owners will continue to remain on the scene at St. Andrew’s, a 45% stake, ownership of St. Andrew’s and operational control of day to day affairs is very significant. With, of course, the prospect of a full takeover further down the line.

Although there is understandable excitement in the air that better times are now coming, Blues Trust has made the point before, and does so again here, that the proof of the pudding will be in the eating as it always is. Time alone will determine how significant and successful the introduction of Shelby, a subsidiary of Knighthead Capital Management run by American financier Tom Wagner, will be.

But the Trust’s view is that the professional conduct of Tom Wagner and his team has, thus far, been exemplary and so gives real cause for hope and optimism. The facts that:

  • negotiations have been conducted in private for a considerable period of time, and without leaks or public posturing;
  • the accessibility of Tom Wagner and his open engagement with fans at the final match of last season against Sheffield United on the day the announcement of an agreement was made;
  • the clear public statement of intent from Mr Wagner, made the same day, which set out goals and objectives for the new investors including, importantly from the Trust’s perspective, an absolute commitment to full engagement with supporters in keeping with the principles of the recent Fan Led Review, and;
  • there’s been full recognition of, and respect for, the EFL rules by Knighthead with compliance at every turn.

All of these actions, and others, have given Blues Trust confidence that this time around the club will be getting serious involvement from successful business people who know what they are doing, appear to share the same aspirations as supporters and want to breathe new life into a club that has been stagnating for far too long.

The new football season is now less than 8 weeks away. The time that remains represents a crucial period for the club in terms of its preparations for the new season, not least given the need to seriously strengthen the playing squad and make progress with the long overdue stand repairs. So yesterday’s announcement was both welcome and important. Let us hope that all outstanding matters can be resolved quickly, and that Tom Wagner and his team can very soon begin to exert their influence for the good of Birmingham City FC. Blues Trust wishes them well.

Blues Trust


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  1. Peter Bates

    All the very best to all involved with Shelby companies,at last it seems we can look forward to a new season with good sound business people running the club the right way welcome all and kro

  2. Roy Smith

    I do hope that Blues fans have a realistic view of what the immediate future holds, and don’t get disillusioned when we don’t get promoted next season. We still have the constraints of FFP, we are still losing money hand over fist and we still have a first team that needs to be greatly strengthened. It is going to be a long long road, but at least we seem to have started the journey.

  3. Mitchell Bray

    Important we keep ‘onside’ throughout now and not veer the other way when a few hiccups crop up, as invariably they will. We all have the belief and we all have faith in Tom Wagner. Getting used to being wanted as a club is definitely strange which is totally new to us. As one blues supporter belted out to me last week ‘put your trust in Uncle Tom’.and that’s exactly what I intend doing. No room for doubt now.

  4. David

    This is the best news I’ve heard in at least a decade and all the best to Tom wagner and his team of wonderful people and hope they are there for years to come

  5. Ed Truman

    I agree David. It is good news. We’ve been pushing for change for such a long time and now it seems it’s coming. And with serious people involved. More welcome news last night about the expected involvement of Garry Cook as CEO too.

    I agree with the Trust that the people coming in don’t seem to have put a foot wrong so far. No guarantees of course, but I’m more confident and excited about the future than I have been for longer than I care to remember.

  6. IL Roth

    Let us give Mr Wagner and Mr Cohen time to assess the job they have in front of themselves. This will be a slow but hopefully a deliberate and rewarding process. We fans have been waiting for some good news for years. Let us hope this is it.

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