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.
As the old cliché goes, a week is a long time in football. That’s certainly the case at Birmingham City, where there seems to be positivity in the air despite a 3-0 defeat to Watford on Saturday. Although Blues remain just three points above Rotherham in 22nd having played four games more, there seems to be a feeling that Blues can get out of this that wasn’t there last Saturday.
72 hours waiting for 21 words. Just over three days after Birmingham City rolled over and had their tummies tickled by Bristol City, Aitor Karanka’s reign as Birmingham City came to an end. No “thank you”, no “good luck” – just a terse two sentences confirming the Spaniard had exited the building.
Based on results alone, it seems inevitable that the reign of Aitor Karanka had to come to an end. While it’s not been confirmed at the time of writing, practically every outlet has reported that the 47-year-old Basque has departed Blues. So what next?
What’s in a name? Quite a lot if you judge the buzz on some Blues Facebook groups recently. News and pictures that Birmingham City have removed the former sign outside Wast Hills proclaiming the “Trillion Trophy Training Ground” has been met with thoughts that the club is being sold. Unfortunately for them, it’s not the case.
Not much is known about the current largest shareholder in Birmingham City, Vong Pech. Although he owns just over 40% of Blues via Cambodian development company Graticity Real Estate Development Ltd and BVI investment company Oriental Rainbow Investments, nothing has been forthcoming from Vong about his purchase of a tranche of the club. In this third piece on Vong, I’ve taken a look at another project he part-owns in Cambodia, and it’s links to another Hong Kong listed company.
News broke on Thursday that Coventry City were close to agreeing a return to the Ricoh Arena having shared St Andrew’s with Birmingham City for two seasons. The return would end Coventry’s second recent spell in exile away from their home city – and more importantly for Blues give the St Andrew’s pitch a chance to recover.
Birmingham Sports Holdings announced their interim accounts to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Friday. The unaudited figures confirmed that the listed company made a profit of HK$75.924M (just over £7m) for the six-month period to December 31, 2020, which represents a huge change from their normal loss-making performance.
Defeat to Norwich on Tuesday was not an unexpected outcome. The best team in the division away from home against a team that can’t buy a win at home right now were always going to be the favourites to pick up the points. However, manager Aitor Karanka’s comments in the aftermath show one of the chief problems the club faces.