I don’t often watch international football let alone write about it, but I wanted to put down on metaphorical paper my thoughts following the European Championship. I’d never really considered myself an England fan; I’ve always been very much a club over country person but the last month really opened my eyes. Euro2020 gave me every reason to be proud to be where I’m from – and unfortunately, in the end it also showed why I’ve felt shame.
It doesn’t feel like that long since the last season came to an end but already the new one is upon us. Players have returned for pre-season testing, three new signings have already been made; and potentially most importantly, Blues have finalised their backroom structure that had been ripped apart by the sacking of Aitor Karanka and his staff and the subsequent departure of former CEO Ren Xuandong.
With the club close season well and truly upon us, the main source of gossip at Birmingham City is the transfer window; who will stay, who will sign and who will go. Lots of attention is focused on Croatian midfielder Alen Halilovic, who has not made a public decision on whether or not he will accept the contract that has been offered by Blues. Time is running out for the club – and Halilovic cannot keep them hanging on forever.
The lack of new CEO at Birmingham City since the resignation of Ren Xuandong in May has left some fans concerned to the direction of the club. Despite being an unpopular figure with many, Ren was a visible face of the board and his departure has meant that for some it’s much harder to understand what is going on. However, I believe it’s not Ren’s replacement people should be looking at.
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 last few days have been very successful for Birmingham City’s Academy. After the under-18s were narrowly beaten in the playoff semi-final on May 15, the under-23s won their playoff final on Monday and to cap it all it has been confirmed that the Academy has granted Category 1 status on Tuesday afternoon.
With the football season pretty much over, I wanted to turn my attention back to the ownership of Birmingham City. Although the departure of Ren Xuandong from his roles as CEO and Director of the club has been welcomed almost universally by Blues fans, I think there are still some reservations over how the ownership of the club will run the club going forward.
With the Championship season now ended for Birmingham City, attention turns to who will leave the club this summer and who will be brought in. The transfer window doesn’t really start until the new pre-season, but Saturday is the deadline for clubs not involved in the playoffs to submit their retained lists.
Less than 72 hours after the Championship season ended, Birmingham City announced that embattled CEO Ren Xuandong was to step down from his role with immediate effect. The immediate reaction online from Blues fans was of one of almost universal happiness that Ren is gone from the club.
If you’d have told me in the wake of the three-nil humping handed to Blues by Bristol City back in March that Blues would be mathematically safe with two games to go, I’d have laughed. Yet a 2-1 comeback win against fellow strugglers Derby County has done just that, putting Blues in a nosebleed 16th place to boot.