The second article in my series looking at where Birmingham City have spent money in recent years focuses on St Andrew’s stadium. The stadium has been the centre of news throughout most of the current regime’s tenure due to the sale of the stadium to Birmingham City Stadium Ltd to get around P&S rules; the closure and partial reopening of the Tilton and Kop stands due to structural issues and the ground share deal with Coventry City FC.
Back in August, I’d hoped that by the time of the October international break we’d be close to knowing when the final work on the Kop and Tilton stands would be at St Andrew’s. Yet here we are not even sure that the upper part of the Kop will be open for the visit of Swansea on October 23.
It’s now less than 48 hours until Birmingham City play Derby County and Blues season ticket holders still don’t know if they actually have a ticket for the game or not. Although we’ve had confirmation from the club that the works for the upper Tilton stand have been verbally signed off, it appears that a paperwork issue is now holding up the final sign-off of the safety certificate to open that part of the stand.
It’s less than a week now until Birmingham City play Derby County and there still has not been any announcement with regards to the works to the Kop and Tilton stands. Fans with seasons tickets in the affected stands are still unaware if they will be able to take their usual seat for the Friday evening kick off and with time running short once again the rumours are in overdrive.
Birmingham City have confirmed in a brief announcement that work on the Tilton and Kop stands has not been completed in time for any part to be open for the opening two home games of the season.
Birmingham City’s Chief Operating Officer Lungi Macebo confirmed at a Supporters Forum held on Tuesday afternoon that the work on the Kop and Tilton stands at St Andrew’s was both more extensive and more expensive than first thought. The rumour that work on the lower tiers has not been started was confirmed; with repair costs of more than £2.5million to be shelled out.
Birmingham City Stadium Ltd confirmed a raft of changes to Companies House yesterday which sees the exit of former Blues CEO Ren Xuandong as a director along with Edward Zheng Gannan. More importantly, Vong Pech and Kang Ming-Ming were newly appointed as directors in a move which would seem to confirm the sale of the St Andrew’s by Birmingham Sports Holdings is complete.
The announcement that Birmingham Sports Holdings are to sell their remaining stake in Birmingham City Stadium Ltd offered more questions than answers for Blues fans. One of the big questions right now is just how safe the club’s tenure at St Andrew’s will be once the sale has completed.
Birmingham Sports Holdings announced to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday afternoon that it had agreed to sell off its remaining 75% stake in Birmingham City Stadium Ltd. The sale passes St Andrew’s Stadium into the hands of a British Virgin Islands investment vehicle – and further muddies the water of how the club is run.
On December 16, Birmingham City confirmed in a brief statement on bcfc.com that following an annual structural survey of St Andrew’s stadium, remedial work had been identified which meant that both the Kop and Tilton stands needed to be closed until further notice. Nearly three weeks later, nothing more has been said – so what’s going on?