Does Birmingham City need new owners or a new model of ownership?

Blues fans seem to be united in wanting new owners to buy the club as soon as possible. There doesn’t seem to be any other way out of the financial mire the club is in.  When a club’s owners can’t find the money to keep the club afloat then new owners have to be found or the club goes into administration.

In the short term, I agree with my fellow fans, we do need new owners.  But my hope for the long term is to see fans more involved in running the club.  There is a widespread perception that fans can’t run football clubs but I think the people who hold that view are thinking of the fans that yell obscenities at games and get into fights with opposition supporters.   I’d agree that I don’t want those fans running Birmingham City but not all fans are like that.  Among the Blues fans at St Andrew’s there are many people of good will who live at peace with their neighbours even if those neighbours support Aston Villa.  There are also some who possess professional expertise and common sense, the kind of common sense that would have included a relegation clause in Zigic’s contract.

Supporters Direct have recently published an interesting article* on club ownership in which they say that there are business reasons for supporter involvement in running football clubs and suggested ways the Government could help.  They say that, “The record of supporter owned clubs in the UK illustrates that, quite apart from being the custodians of club identities, supporters and communities possess the expertise to make sports clubs sustainable, transparent, and capable of generating significant social value — unlike many private ownership models.”

* “Club Ownership: A paradigm shift” by Tom Hall and Ben Shave, pp122-126 in Making it Mutual: The ownership revolution that Britain needs, published on March 13th 2013.  Click here to read the article about it on the SD website and for the link to download a PDF copy of the publication.