The reaction to Matt Hughes’ piece on social media was bad as Blues fans piled in to pillory the article and the writer.
As I said at the time, there is much more to this story.
The first and most obvious thing to take into consideration is why the article was written and who by.
The simple fact is I think the sensational headline belied the brevity of the article; it was merely a quick 200 words to try and entice readers to sign up for the Times’ paywall.
However, that doesn’t mean that the story is a complete fabrication. It’s just much more involved and complicated with nuances that wouldn’t fit into the space provided.
When the EFL and Birmingham City released a joint statement in August about the breach last summer, the EFL made mention of a “business plan” imposed on the club which “have the objective of meeting the requirements of the P&S Regulations moving forward.”
As referenced in my last piece, part of that plan was a requirement on Blues to raise a set amount of “fresh income” by February 1.
This could be raised in a couple of ways – transfer profits or new sponsorship deals for example.
Judging by what Matt Hughes wrote in the Times, it seems apparent that Blues did not meet that requirement.
However, to say that Blues could face a charge for not selling Che Adams specifically is a bit misleading – because the club was not told how to raise the money, only to do so.
It might be that the board of BCFC promised to sell Adams prior to the transfer window to keep the EFL off the club’s back, but that would be incredibly difficult to prove by anyone not intimately involved with the situation.
I will also once again affirm that I believe that the club did the right thing.
I do not believe that the consequences of not selling Adams outweighs how much trouble the club are in for holding onto their prized asset.
My real complaint with Blues through all this is not that they’ve broken the rules, but that the powers that be have not understood the political game that needs to be played.
I’m not sure what was going on in the summer but at a time when a lot could have seemingly been rescued, the board instead chose to spend their time chasing players they couldn’t sign.
By the time the winter window has rolled around, the board has found themselves in a position when the club could be in more trouble which was preventable.
I’ll admit I’m no businessman, but the solution to me appears to be quite obvious – to use the commercial path.
I believe having Chinese ownership could have benefitted us in this regard; for example a deal to licence Blues’ name to football academies in China could have been sold.
As long as the other party isn’t directly related to Blues the EFL cannot say anything about how much money this sponsorship was sold for.
I accept that this is much easier said than done; but I believe if we’d have played the political game correctly it might have been easier to meet the EFL conditions.
In essence, the lack of awareness of how the world of football is what is going to get Blues into any further trouble; the sale of Che Adams is just a red herring.