BCFC – Gong Xi Fa Cai

Birmingham City embraced the culture of the club’s ownership this weekend with a celebration of the Chinese New Year at St Andrew’s, complete with “red pockets” given out to fans entering the stadium.

Birmingham City FC

While I think many would have preferred three points on the pitch to anything else, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for the club to indulge in a marketing giveaway that potentially helps fans connect with the “other side” of the business.

Red Pocket
Photo taken by Andrew Purcell

I’ve always been disappointed in the past that Blues never did much on this front.

Having been to a fair few of the CNY celebrations around the Chinese quarter of Birmingham it always surprised me that a club with HK/Chinese ownership wasn’t involved in previous years.

After all, the city of Birmingham has a sizeable Chinese community – surely it would be good to connect with that community to bring in more fans and more revenue for the club?

Of course, some have criticised the timing of the club’s push on everything Chinese, suggesting that they’d prefer actual communication from the board / owners rather than a quid off a pint of Fosters or a free chocolate bar.

Red Pocket BCFC
Taken by Dean Poyner

Some people on the Facebook page for this website also suggested that rather than Blues fans understanding their culture, it would be nice of the owners to understand Blues fans and their culture.

I can understand all of this. I wrote only last week that I thought fans should demand more from the club – so why shouldn’t fans point this out when we have these kind of marketing attempts?

One thing I noted is that despite people agreeing with my piece last week, and other people on forums and social media demanding communication from the board/owners, is that I don’t think many people have a complete idea of what communication they actually want from the owners.

That being said, I do understand this.

Communication is a fine balance. While some fans might want the owners to be more open and vocal about things, I only have to point to the vitriol various directors have received on Twitter to show why the board might not want to say much via that medium.

Likewise, while some people (like me, for example) want to understand the long-term plans for the club, most people when asked on Facebook were happy with whatever the owners did as long “as the money kept coming” and “the money was clean”.

It seems that there is no actual consistency in what fans want to hear – just that there are fans who want to hear “something”.

After writing that piece last week I got asked by a fair few people on social media and on forums what fans could do to demand better from the club.

I’m going to be truthful here.

I know what I can do to demand better – but then again, I know pretty much what I want from the club and I have certain ideals for how football should be run. Those feelings and ideals may not be the same as others feelings and ideals though – and because of that, I can’t really advise people what to do.

New Year in any culture tends to be a time of reflection and of thinking what we want from the year ahead. It’s a time when many try to set themselves new goals and aims in life – and my single hope is that if people do want demand better, that they reflect on what they want and how to achieve it.

As our friends in China would say, “恭喜发财” – wishing you prosperity in the new year. Let’s hope the Year of the Dog is a prosperous one for Birmingham City Football Club.

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