Editorial: No Need for Negativity

It’s been two months since news broke of the Often Partisan Limited bid to take over Birmingham City with very little updates on progress. Although the radio silence has been understandable after the Maxco fiasco earlier in the season, the longer it has gone on the more nerves are starting to show among Blues fans.

BSHLOUT Protest March

This nervousness was not helped on Friday afternoon with an article published by Neil Moxley on the Mirror website, which stated that time was running out for this takeover to take place due to the issues surrounding the club.

Moxley’s article went into depth regarding the money required to make the bid feasible as well as the logical implications as to why it would not be seen as favourable by investors.

I’ve often called for calm and circumspection when overly optimistic news has been published and I think it’s only fair I try to do the same again when things are looking negative.

Megaphone Diplomacy

Whenever I read a newspaper story like this, the first thing I try to think to myself is why the article has been written.

I’ve been around long enough to understand that while some stories are written as clickbait, sometimes there is a deeper motivation.

I know there are some out there who will immediately make the assumption that Moxley’s reasons for writing an article like this are nefarious in nature.

I want to make it clear in this piece that I do not believe that at all, and from what I know of Neil Moxley everything he does regarding the Blues comes from the heart.

Like all of us, I know Moxley is pained by what has happened to the club and I firmly believe he is trying to do what he can to make things better.

What I believe Moxley is trying to do is called “Megaphone diplomacy”.

This is an idiom referring to a position particularly in international politics where one party or country tries to force another into adopting a desired position utilising negotiations held through press releases and announcements.

I’ll freely admit that I do this myself at times.

More than once I’ve written articles on this website in a particular way to send a specific message to try to force things the way I think they should go.

It’s my feeling that Moxley has written this article to put pressure on the owners of Birmingham City to sell the club as soon as possible due to the length of time negotiations has seemingly taken.

I think it’s also possible that Moxley has written this article to put pressure on the EFL and maybe even OPL themselves to get a deal done.

With this in mind, I think it’s important not to take the article as being as negative as some are.

I think the issues mentioned are mostly already known, while the implication of time running out is not aimed at making us worried as much as it is to give people in Hong Kong the hurry up.

However, while in normal times I would be all for putting Birmingham Sports Holdings under pressure I think right now it’s maybe not the right thing to do.

I’ve tried to be the voice of reason when it comes to takeover speculation, and I think right now it’s time to try to do that again to calm people down.

The Endgame

The chief reason I have for thinking pressure is not needed is because I firmly believe there is already enough pressure in place on BSH to sell. I also think that we’re going to see the results of that fairly soon.

We know that the EFL have been investigating for some time the influence and control Wang Yaohui (aka the elusive Mr King) has on Birmingham City.

While there is still no timescale on when those charges will be made public, what we don’t see is what is happening in the background.

I’m in a fortunate position because unlike most fans, I have access to documentation of past EFL charges against the club.

It’s given me an insight into how the system works and has helped to reassure me that things are coming to an inevitable conclusion.

One of the things I know from this paperwork is that clubs are made properly aware that charges are going to be filed against them before those charges are made public.

There is a period of potential negotiation before charges are announced where the EFL will make the club aware of the evidence they have and what punishment the EFL thinks is appropriate.

The reasoning for this is it gives clubs a chance to decide to accept a punishment straight off rather than go through the rigmarole of an independent disciplinary commission.

It’s not hard to understand why either.

It might be a club will hold their hands up and admit they’re bang to rights in the hope of a more merciful punishment.

It also might be that a club decides that the punishment isn’t worth the hassle of months of legal argument.

What that means in the current situation is that I’m almost certain that the EFL will have sent through their evidence regarding the Wang investigation through to Birmingham City for their comments, which I’d expect would have been forwarded to BSH in Hong Kong.

This investigation puts BSH in a very difficult position.

The allegations are serious and in all probability comes with the implication that BSH has misled the HKSE as well as the EFL.

It’s my belief that when the EFL announces the charges in relation to this investigation, trading in shares in Birmingham Sports Holdings could well be suspended while the HKSE starts its own investigation. I’m sure the board at BSH will have similar thoughts too.

Suspension in trading makes life very difficult for BSH and has the potential to set off a chain of events in the same way that Peter Pannu’s tirade on Often Partisan had back in 2014.

The difference is this time the issues are much more grave; in short, the shit will hit the fan.

Even the thought of that happening must put incredible pressure on the BSH board.

In turn, it’s my belief that changes the current dynamics of the potential sale of the club to a position where the buyer is in the box seat.

This could then spur a virtuous circle where a complete takeover of the club in one go becomes possible, which would not only be good for us but also for the EFL.

With Wang out of the picture, the EFL will have got one major embarrassment out of the way which I would hope ensure any punishment levied against the club would be drastically reduced.

Before anyone gets excited, I don’t for one second think it’s game over yet for BSH. There could always be a twist in the tale, a variable that I don’t know of or haven’t even thought about.

Yet the feeling I’m getting from speaking to people both here and in the far east is that we’re now entering the final boss fight.

More importantly, for the first time in a long time I am starting to feel that we might see the boss getting taken down.

It won’t be easy, and I think it might even be a little bit scary for a short amount of time when the EFL charges are announced.

Now isn’t the time for talking about everything that might go wrong.

Now is the time for belief that things are going to be okay.