Tuesday, January 19

We're not Brassic anymore?

Finally we have a new owner. The Sullivan/Gold deal of buying 50 per cent of the club was probably the best offer on the table.

They were the only bidders with any experience of running a Premier League club and they did a decent job at Birmingham. The City fans might have complained, but when they arrived Birmingham was a poor Championship club with a rubbish ground. They now have a new stadium and for most of Sullivan’s time they’ve been in the Premiership.

They’ve also shown loyalty to their four managers, Barry Fry, Trevor Francis, Steve Bruce and Alex McCleish. This makes sense from a business and ethical perspective. And it appears they want to keep Zola and Clarke, which is good news, although Franco has yet to be tested in the transfer market.

Sullivan and Gold have twice owned shares in West Ham so it seems that as East Enders they do have an attachment to the club. Perhaps Sullivan’s indulging in a bit of clever PR talking up the debt to £110 million and saying he’d have been mad to take on the Irons from a business perspective, but as Londoners and apparent fans — and Gold is a former West Ham youth player — they are surely unlikely to asset strip us or inflict Glazer-style debt on us.

Even if he did make his money in razzle mags, Sullivan is a shrewd businessman. He’s already mentioned the idiocy of taking Ljungberg on 30k a week at Arsenal and then paying him 80k a week, which is the sort of straight talking we need. Presumably he will also get rid of Nani — a good thing based on the evidence of Savio — and ask Zola to select his own players.

The idea of moving to the Olympic stadium and competing with Arsenal has to make economic sense (and for the benefit of DC and the north London Irons it’s on the Silverlink). It would be painful to leave Upton Park, but can we ignore such a prime venue? We would have to relocate Ken’s CafĂ© though, and that is not negotiable.

Karren Brady will be vice-chairman and you would expect her to sort out the financial mess. She was certainly ahead of her time at Birmingham, introducing kids for a quid and some sound marketing ideas before they were fashionable. And we might get on The Apprentice.

The plan to invite investment in the other 50 per cent of WHU from the like of Tony Fernandes and other rich fans is, on the face of it, a progressive idea.

The downside of Sullivan and Gold is that it’s not exactly going to enhance our feminist credibility being run by the one-time publisher of the Sunday Sport and Asian Babes, but in this era we’re unlikely to get an owner without baggage. Man City had a geezer on human rights charges and businessmen running airlines and oil companies are doing more harm to the environment than Sullivan and Gold (who have after all encouraged men to, erm, make their own entertainment at home). And traditionally the East End has always housed the dirtier industries of the capital.

It’s also a problem that Sullivan might have loads of dosh but why does he wear that Russian-style overcoat with the dodgy red trimmings?

It might go horribly wrong of course. But surely nothing can be worse than the meltdown of the Gudmundsson era. We can now keep our players, buy a couple more, and look forward to Sullivan’s seven-year plan of Champions League football. Mind you, Gudmundsson promised that too…


DaDon said...

So you want rid of the man who brought in Behrami, Ilunga, Diamanti, Da Costa, Nouble, Daprela and Franco? OK Savio wasn’t a success but he was still young and never really got a chance to prove himself, Di Michele was erratic but had some very good moments, Tristan was catatonic but scored some important goals, Kovac has developed into a solid if not outstanding performer but who crucially is very good in the air. I’d say that's enough to suggest his ‘hit’ rate is as good as anyone’s and better than most, on an uber-limited budget. And he helped to engineer the departure of the grey man, also a key contribution.

Perhaps you might reconsider.

As for the rest of it, I’m concerned about the takeover, I cannot stand Karren Brady and I can’t find a Birmingham City fan with anything positive to say about Gilbert and Sullivan. However, if they usher in a period of stability and investment then it has to be better than what we have now. Overall though, for me, the jury’s definitely out.

DaDon said...

Thought you might like to read this:

"Comment from a Birmingham City fan on the Birmingham Mail website sports news page:

"Sullivan won't hardly put a penny in like at the blues. He built the Railway end on a rights issue from the share holders and got grants for the main stand and tilton. We had to wait years for a screen and undersoil heating. And he was going to buy us a second ... See Morehand screen. He bought a clock that was a joke and an insult. He scammed and got his wench to make it look like he was investing when he never really did. I can't wait to see west ham in 2 years time as he is telling the fans he won't be spending his sons inheritance on the club and doesnt want them to be another leeds yawn yawn. Those pair are like good cop/bad cop. Gold Mr nice guy, sullivan a complete ****er, and brady the brains behind the 3 of them".

Pete May said...

I'm sure Nani has his merits Don, but I'm not sure that the director of football model works in English football unless the manager and director are in complete harmony - and there's been lots of rumours that Zola is unhgappy with Nani.
Yes, we have to give Nani credit for getting Ilunga, athough my main criticism is that when we need a striker he's used our limited funds to buy lots of attacking midfielders such as Savio, Jiminez and Diamanti.
Diamanti could be a great if he can become a team player, and agree that Tristan, Di Michele and Franco were good value for frees. Kovac has improved afer a poor start but Lee Bowyer whom we let go to Birmingham was a better passer and worked hard too.
Nouble was presumably Franco's idea as he came from Chelsea. Jury is out on Daprela but he looked promising against Arsenal and similarly Da Costa has still to win a first team place but might be ok.
But I still think spending £6 million or so on an unproven kid from his old club that no-one in the game seemed to rate was a major blunder.
I wouldn't go out of my way to sack Nani, but if Sullivan did then it might at least give Zola freedom to sign who he wants.
But guess football is all about opinions. And we should never have sold football genius Christian Dailly…

Pete May said...

RE: the comment from the Birmingham fan...

Football fans are never entirely happy, but from what I remember Sullivan and Gold did spend some cash at Birmingham when they bought the likes of Upson, Savage, Dugarry, Dunn and Heskey.
And the club is solvent. Portsmouth did what the fans wanted and bought lots of players and look where they are now.
Sullivan might not have been liked — and the fact he's a flash cockney in the porn trade can't help in Brum — but he has left them with a solid base that McCleish seems to be benefiting from.

Pete May said...

Big Joe writes:

Can I point out that Richmond is also part of the Silverlink network
thus making the Olympic stadium much more accessible for our Sunbury-on-Thames branch - not sure how many tears were shed by Birmingham City supporters after Sullivan and Gold sodded off - still on a more positive note at least the squad won't be short of reading material on the bus travelling to away games.

Pete May said...

And Mike O'Brien writes:

Good blog Pete. At least something has happened at last. Don't think the Davids will tamper much till end of this season, and if they do buy this month can only be helpful. Personally believe that Upson / Cole / Noble / Ilunga will be sold in summer as this the last year they will command a high price, and could raise £25+ million between them.
But main thing is staying up this season, and hopefully performances like Villa second half will be be more frequent. Nouble looking really good too, so another good/cheap signing for next year.

Pete May said...

Lisa P adds:

I particularly like the way it appears next to a large advert asking: 'Debt problems? Want to know if you can wipe out all the debt you can't afford? Take the 30 second test.'
I bet feeding West Ham's vital statistics into the little questionnaire would send it into meltdown...