BCFC: A Special Day
The much anticipated Extraordinary General Meeting of Birmingham Sports Holdings Limited was held in Hong Kong a few hours ago. A few moments ago it was confirmed to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that, as expected, the meeting had ratified a series of agreements enabling Shelby Companies Limited to become significant investors in Birmingham City Football Club. See this link. This marks a new era for the club, with Shelby expected to assert significant operational control from now on.
The agreements also address a number of the serious issues that have caused Blues fans concern of late. Not least, financial restructuring with the writing off of significant debt. And bringing ownership of the ground and a significant part of the club back together. Overall, these changes will put the club on a much sounder footing.
Although the agreements contain no details as to how Shelby will assert their influence, or how the company plans to acquire the remaining shares from BSHL shareholders and , the Trust has confidence that Shelby has anticipated these matters and will have clear strategies in place to address them.
It is expected that Shelby will announce its plans for the club shortly, but already there are encouraging signs. Anyone reading the detailed documents that BSHL circulated to their shareholders ahead of the EGM could not fail to be impressed with how well the agreements protect the buyers, reflecting the professionalism of the new investors. The press have also reported that Birmingham born Garry Cook, who led Manchester City at the start of its transformation, will be taking an executive role at the club. Again, if correct, this underlines the seriousness and ambition of the new investors.
Blues has often been described as a sleeping giant. But over the last decade or so the club has languished due to poor investment and neglect. However it retains genuine potential, carrying the name of England’s second city with one of the youngest populations in Europe. Hopefully, the new investors have the ambition to start realising this potential. Given the state the club is in, significant change will be needed both on and off the field to achieve this.
Blues Trust believes, as it has for a long time, that the future of the club is best served by having a proper long-term plan in place which seeks to develop the team and infrastructure in a way the owners can sustain and which is visible to the fans. The new investors would seem to share this view and exciting times are hopefully ahead.
Blues Trust, alongside most other supporters of the club, has been pushing for changes to the ownership for several years now and it is gratifying for all of us to at last see some significant change. Of course, that does not mean that the job is done and the Trust will continue to try and influence the new investors. In particular the Trust will be pushing for the club to adopt many of the recommendations included in the recent Fan Led Review. And specifically so around fan engagement and the introduction of a Fan Advisory Board so the club can more clearly understand the fans’ perspective. The current regime has dragged its feet on this issue for far too long. But initial conversations with Shelby have been very encouraging and the Trust hopes that this will proceed apace now.
Blues supporters of whatever generation will all have experienced special days associated with the club. Watching Trevor Francis in his pomp. The majesty of Christophe Dugarry. An unforgettable night in Bruges in October 2011. The triumph at Wembley earlier that same year. Darren Carter and that penalty. We can go on and on. And further back in time even. For today’s generation of Bluenoses, and those still to come, it’s possible…just possible…that the events of today will, in time, be seen in the same light. Let us all hope so.
By making comments:
- All we ask is that it relates to the Club that we all love. It can inform, question, challenge, criticise even….but it should not be written to threaten and/or cause personal offence.
- By making comments on the above article, you agree to Blues Trust retaining your email address should we need to make contact with you for admin purposes. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not wish us to do this. We will not give out your email address to any 3rd party sources.
The Trust reserves the right to moderate any comments made (in consultation with the writer) or to deny publication if comments are considered to be inconsistent with the requirements identified above.