Andy Munro looks at a recent development at Birmingham City.
With Villa in the League Cup final, many more outs than ins in the transfer window and even the one in being a Villa cast-off who seemingly couldn’t cut the mustard at Stoke, things haven’t looked that bright for Bluenoses lately. So another EFL threat hanging over us is even more concerning, and to find out more I had a chat with Cliff Horrocks from the Blues Trust to try and make sense of things.
Cliff told me that the auditors signed off Blues’ end of June 2019 annual accounts on the basis of the ground sale. In his view the £22.8 million receipt is a fair value, unlike Derby County’s inflated price tag and Sheffield Wednesday’s ghost sale that never was despite its appearance in their accounts.
The only possible gliche is that the Land Register still shows the ground owned by the old company (Birmingham City PLC) and not the ‘new’ owners Birmingham Stadium Ltd. Iincidentally, the directors of both companies are generally the same but legally that’s not an issue apparently. The issue is probably around an outstanding query from the Land Registry bureaucrats.
However, presuming that query is merely to dot an ‘i’ then as long as there was a contract for sale signed in financial year 2018/19 and £22.8 million was actually transferred then it’s likely any issue is a minor one.
Regarding income forecast in the EFL agreed business plan, if the 2018/19 land sale was legit and even bearing in mind our sale of Che fell into financial year 2019/20 then our losses on paper of £8 million for 18/19 should be substantially within the £13 million limit allowed
Thanks to the club not being willing to be open about the issue with the most important people, ie. the fans, then the above is, of course, still supposition. So it’s still a bit of a mystery and probably more of a case of the EFL bully flexing its muscles on what is probably a minor transgression. Of course part of this manoevering means that Blues don’t own their ground anymore so let’s hope that we don’t end up asking Coventry City for a favour instead of the other way around. Thanks again to the Blues Trust for helping to unpick some of the issues.