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Oct, 7, 2009

Bright times ahead for Birmingham

Birmingham chairman David Gold believes new owner Carson Yeung will drive the Blues to new heights.

• The Premier League's richest owners

Gold, who is keen to stay on as chairman, insists Yeung is unlikely to pour money into the club in the same way as new owners at Chelsea and Manchester City have in recent years. However, he promised Birmingham fans that Yeung, who hails from Hong Kong, is passionate about football and not simply a businessman.

Yeung took his shareholding beyond the 90% mark, and his investment company Grandtop Holdings intend to complete a compulsory purchase of the remaining shares with a view to taking the club off the Alternative Investment Market and into private ownership.

He will soon be handed the keys to the club, and Gold's brother Ralph, co-owner David Sullivan and chief executive Karren Brady are poised to depart. Sullivan last night played down reports he would look to invest in West Ham and said he planned to take a break from football.

Assessing Yeung's intentions for Birmingham, Gold said: "I don't think you're looking at another (Roman) Abramovich and I don't think you're looking at another Arab situation like at Manchester City.

"But I do believe you're looking at people who are committed that do have substantial funds, and I believe they are here not just to join a football club or own a football club and see it go backwards. They're looking to take this club forwards.''

The Gold brothers, together with Sullivan and Brady, arrived at Birmingham in 1993, when the club was acquired from receivers.

Reflecting on that time, Gold said: "I remember having paid a pound for the football club and arriving the following day to the stadium and thinking whether I could get my pound back. The stadium was in such a sorry state I thought I'd overpaid.

"They were dark days. It took us nine to 10 years to get into the Premier League and we achieved that against the odds and now the fans will know the Golds and David Sullivan have taken the football club to its present position.

"And maybe the new regime can take us that step forward. I actually believe they can. I've met with Carson Yeung and I've met with his people and I see them as extremely talented people. They're not just businessmen. These people strike me as footballing people as well as good businessmen.''

Gold wants to maintain his association with the club and impress on Yeung what he can bring to the boardroom.

"I'm not very fond of ambassadorial roles. I like to be active,'' he said. "I've been chairman of the football club for 12 years and I believe I've got an awful lot to offer the new regime. If it happens I look forward to the new challenge."

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