Tag Archives: Coventry City FC

Inadequate owners

Fan explaining Blackpool situation

Blackpool fans are rejoicing because their club has been put into receivership and that means the era of Oyston ownership is over. Blackpool’s game against Southend next Saturday will be the first home game since this happened and the Guardian reports that:

“Supporters are planning a party, starting with a celebration march from the promenade, and perhaps in some small way it can be a reminder for every other club that has inadequate or reviled owners, that things can change for the better, that it won’t always be one crisis after another, and that one of the reasons why this sport pulls us in, why it is so damn addictive, is that the bad times always make the good ones seem so much better.”

The same article includes accounts of other owners who have endangered the futures of their football clubs. Charlton’s owner has suggested that the Football League buy the club.  There are reports of Bolton not paying staff and players. Notts County is at the bottom of League 2 and HMRC has issued a winding-up petition against it. If Coventry City can’t find a place to play next season it could be expelled from the league.

Not all owners are inadequate or bad but there have been enough problems to suggest that the system needs changing.  There needs to be a better way of ensuring that people who buy football clubs are fit and proper and also know something about the football business. When problems occur there needs to be a way of sorting them out quicker.

Blackpool is one example of how long it can take to get rid of a problem owner.  Owen Oyston bought the club in 1988. His wife and then his son took over after he was convicted of rape in 1996. Valeri Belokon bought a 20 per cent stake in 2006 and became chairman. Owen and Karl Oyston began suing fans who criticised their ownership on internet forums. Five managers came and went in the space of two years and 27 players left before the start of the 2014-15 season. In 2016 some fans started to boycott games and pledged never to return until the Oystons had left. Valeri Belokon instigated court proceedings against the Oystons. On November 6, 2017 the Oystons were defeated in the High Court and ordered to buy out Valeri Belokon’s shares for £31.27m after it was found they had “illegitimately stripped” the club. You can read the timeline  yourself if you want all the gory details.

As a Birmingham City supporter, I know what it feels like to have an owner convicted of money laundering. I can sympathise with other fans whose clubs have inadequate owners. That is why I believe that there needs to be an independent regulator for English football. Let the English Football League concentrate on organising the leagues and let someone else regulate the business of football.

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Thoughts on Sunday and today’s game

It is a pity that Sunday’s game is probably going to be remembered for the clappers that were used as missiles rather than for anything that happened on the pitch.  Clappers, inflatables, big flags and flames are not necessary to create an atmosphere at a Birmingham City versus Aston Villa game; you only need the fans. Continue reading

Fans not numbers

Values are important in football. To quote from an earlier post that I wrote: “I believe that it’s good for managers, players and fans to be grounded in the world outside football, with family, friends and values that keep them from being crushed by what happens on the pitch.”  Continue reading

Do we care about Cardiff?

What do Birmingham City fans mean when we sing the words, “All we care about is BCFC” or wear them on scarves round our necks?  I assume and hope that this is hyperbole. We care about a lot of other things in addition to caring about our club.  Continue reading

More change needed

On Tuesday evening it felt as though everything had changed for Birmingham City.  It had only been a couple of weeks since one manager was sacked and eight days since a new one was appointed.  Our previous home game on October 25th had ended 0 – 8, utter humiliation, but hope was renewed following our no-score draw away on November 1st. The crowd too was transformed, from miserable silence to loud support.  I stayed to the end of the Bournemouth game because the team that had capitulated were my team and I felt I needed to be there as long as they were on the pitch. On Tuesday night, I stayed because I wanted to. Continue reading

Not simple

Today’s page in my Worst-Case Scenario Daily Survival Calendar lists 18 ways of soothing babies, some of which are contradictory. For example, the list includes

  • Go outside
  • Go inside
  • Put on soft music
  • Put on loud music
  • Turn off music

It reminds me of the advice that some fans direct at Lee Clark. Some sound as though they believe that if he followed their advice and changed one thing, then a losing situation could be instantly transformed into a winning one. Life is rarely that simple and managing a football team never is. And the financial mess and uncertainty at Birmingham City’s must make it worse. Continue reading

Bears and other animals

Beau Brummie and BelleThere’ll be a mascot race at Edgbaston this evening, to mark the first of the T20 games.  Among those taking part will be a blue elephant, Coventry City’s Sky Blue Sam. According to an article1 on the Edgbaston website, the race is back by popular demand after the thrilling inaugural race last year.   Continue reading

Protests and boycotts

Today on Radio WM, Adrian Goldberg1 posed the question, “Should Birmingham City fans boycott matches at St Andrews?” He interviewed Ash (full name not given) who runs the “BCFC fans united -protest group” Facebook page and Twitter feed. This group believes that Blues fans should boycott home games.      Continue reading

It can get worse

Small crowd at the Ricoh

Small crowd at the Ricoh

I remember thinking, “I can’t imagine anything worse than this,” as I looked at the sprinkling of supporters that made the Ricoh arena seem vast.  It’s bad enough at St Andrews when the crowd is small but less than 11,000 in a 32,000-seater stadium felt worse.  Even though Coventry knocked Birmingham out of the League Cup, I left the game feeling sorrier for their fans than I did for myself. Coventry City had been relegated to League One the previous season, didn’t own a stadium and faced an uncertain future. Continue reading