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By ESPN Staff
Feb 7, 2008

Birmingham determined to battle Yeun's plans

Birmingham are bracing themselves for another battle with their leading shareholder Carson Yeung who wants to appoint former Liverpool star Steve McManaman and ex-Crystal Palace defender Fan Zhiyi as directors of the midlands club.

Blues have already been frustrated with Yeung who failed to carry out his promise to take full control at St Andrews after buying a 29.9% stake in July.

Now the club's managing director Karren Brady has advised shareholders in a letter to vote against Yeung's proposal to bring McManaman and Zhiyi on board at St Andrews.

Ex-England winger McManaman is a United Kingdom affairs advisor for Hong Kong businessman Yeung who angered Birmingham co-owner David Sullivan and chairman David Gold after he failed to meet their deadlines to buy the club.

City are making no public comment apart from informing shareholders of the proposal as they are required to do so legally.

But sources close to the club claim they are angry at Yeung's attempt to add two of his associates onto the board after he let them down over the takeover.

One source close to Birmingham said: 'Yeung looks to be trying to flex his muscles as the club's biggest single shareholder. He wants to appoint two people to the board, but the owners cannot see the purpose.

'He may have 29% of the club but the control lies with the current board who have 47%. Yeung will not be offered a seat on the board but he appears to be testing their resolve.

'They know they are having a difficult time this season but a lot of the reasons for that are of Yeung's own making. It was Yeung's takeover attempt and the uncertainty of that which eventually saw Steve Bruce leave.

'The board had to appoint a new manager midway through the season so the directors are not very happy with Yeung anyway.

'But to then try and bring two new directors into the club to work with people who've been here 15 years is just being seen as potty. The board will oppose it.'

Brady, in a letter to shareholders, said: 'We are legally obliged to put these resolutions to shareholders, even though we do not support them, nor do we believe the appointments are in the best interests of the company.

'Whilst we recognise that both the proposed appointees (McManaman and Zhiyi) enjoyed illustrious football careers at respected clubs, we question whether they have the necessary business experience to make an effective contribution as directors of a public company.

'Moreover, we question whether the actions of Grandtop (Yeung's company) are in the best interests of the company and its' shareholders. Accordingly, your board recommends that shareholders vote against the resolutions.'