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Andy Street asks for clarity from the EFL on Birmingham City ownership
In an open letter published on the Mayor of the West Midlands twitter account, Andy Street has vowed to back the fans of Birmingham City as they demand answers on the clubs ownership.
Do not adjust your sets! Birmingham City have won more league games than any other West Midlands Football League representative this season. This is not a drill!
It is a pretty low bar, Villa, Wolves and Albion don’t have permanent managers and seem to be in a competition with each other to see who can score the fewest goals in a season. Walsall have petered out after a strong start to the season and Coventry are slowly picking up momentum, but have only won 4 games a piece.
It’s City’s 5 league wins that puts them top of the Midlands pile. This isn’t newsworthy in itself but given the 15 year circus that has surrounded the club since Carson Yeung, the Hong Kong based hairdresser, purchased the club in 2009 and their slow decline, the fans will take it.
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Many Noses were hoping for a new era at the club after a summer of speculation over potential new owners. It looked like it was finally happening.
Who could forget Laurence Bassini and his talkSPORT rants? Local Businessman Paul Richardson and Maxi Lopez being interviewed outside St. Andrews a week before the season started all but confirming that they had bought the club? So much so that Richardson and Lopez were posting photos of themselves on their personal social media accounts with the new Birmingham City summer signings.
But yet, here we are, nearly in November and nobody is any clearer on who actually runs the football club. The fans for a long time now have been calling for the current ownership to sell up, they want rid. The trouble seems to be however, nobody really knows who actually owns the club.
I don't think there will be any fan reading who thinks that the EFL are in any way competent, so expecting their Fit and Proper Person test to be a fit and proper system for weeding out charlatans and money launderers was always going to be a big ask.
This week in an unprecedented turn of events, the Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street published an open letter to all Birmingham City fans. Many fans felt he was ignoring the club's plight, which he addressed in his letter and explained to the fans the processes and meetings he has had over the past few months to ensure the club will still be around in generations to come.
It would be fair to say that the Bassini/Richardson ownership showdown over the summer led many to believe that it was certain Birmingham City would have new owners. Add to that the Commonwealth Games over the summer in the West Midlands, Andy Street probably felt his time would’ve been spent better elsewhere, rather than sticking his oar in into an issue that was likely to be resolved.
Mr Street’s open letter revealed that he has in fact been trying to open dialogue with EFL Chairman Rick Parry to no avail. As part of the statement released, Mr Street also published the letter addressed to EFL Chairman Rick Parry in which he expresses his concerns for the club on behalf of the fans and asks for answers on some fairly simple questions.
To paraphrase Mr Street, those questions were:
According to the EFL, who is the actual owner of Birmingham City Football Club?
Can the EFL confirm that the new potential owner will be subject to the ODT (owners and directors test)?
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What role, if any, does the EFL have in respect to the clubs ownership and ensuring good governance to an important community asset?
Mr Street confirmed he has yet to have a response from anyone at the EFL but assured fans he and his team were pressing them for answers.
I forgot to mention. The letter to Rick Parry was dated 12 July 2022. 3 months ago. Three months and not even a ‘Thank you for expressing your concerns’. So it would appear that either Rick Parry and the EFL don’t care, which I think most fans believe, or Rick Parry and the EFL don’t actually know who currently owns the club.
The incompetence is astounding and truly worrying. It also sends a clear message to fans up and down the country that you don’t matter and the EFL do not have yours or the club's best interest at heart. If a respected figure like the Mayor of the West Midlands cannot get an answer from them then what chance does the little guy have?
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