The China Crisis

Andy Munro surveys the St Andrews scene and does not see a Happy New Year.

Of course, it all goes back to Sully, the Porn King, Brady, his Apprentice and Dave ‘Nicey’ Gold who sold our club at an exorbitant price to a group of Chinese speculators to supposedly take our club to the ‘next level’…well they’re certainly doing that, but not in the direction that we anticipated. Whatever stick ‘Deadly Doug’ got from the Villa ‘faithful’ at least he had the club’s interests at heart by refusing to sell to buyers who had to borrow first before being in a position to buy.

So where’s it gone wrong since that fateful day when the club changed hands? In my view, it’s a tale of financial and marketing incompetence by a group of Chinese who, quite frankly, couldn’t run a sing song in a karaoke bar. They failed dismally to excite the Chinese market with their only real ‘result’getting a kit supplier on board who undoubtedly would be on the hit list of Birmingham Trading Standards if they ever darkened these shores. Surely with the Chinese consumer market desperate to buy western brands it would have made sense, anyway, to  secure sponsorship from the Adidas or Nikes of this world…certainly doable when we were in the Premier League?

Carsson Yeung meanwhile has managed to avoid the justice of the Hong Kong courts who would make a kangaroo look like Rumpole of the Old Bailey. As proof of the financial nouse of this group of Far East Divestors, they have dropped into massive debt despite only making one marque signing, Ziggy, at a comparatively paltry (by Premier standards) £6 million . Meanwhile the Premier League payments, the subsequent parachute payments and substantial transfer receipts have evaporated .

Pannu has made a series of hollow statements saying that no money has been siphoned off – maybe he needs to consider the modus operandi of  Stoke City ,West Brom, Wigan and a few others who have operated in a fiscally sound manner. He challenges those that doubt his words to look at the books. Obviously the unaudited ones which aren’t worth the rice paper they’re written on.

However, let’s not criticise Mr Pannu too harshly because he obviously loves the club declaring passionately that he will never allow them to go into administration and, if necessary, will have a player fire sale. Could it possibly be that if the club goes into administration Mr Pannu and his henchmen won’t get a penny back and if he now sells £10 million+ worth of players and then cons another naïve Chinese consortium to buy the club at a price equal to the Paladini offering, it will be better for him?

And, on the subject of Paladini, Pannu’s reticence is supposedly because he doesn’t know the identity of some of the mysterious Italian backers. Is that because he thinks that there may be a chance to extract more money? The hypocrisy of it all, given the fact that most of the Chinese syndicate are anything but household names. My view is that any concern about the club is secondary to Pannu’s outfit just wanting a scenario that secures the most money for them. That’s his job of course so we can do without the crocodile tears and bull.

Finally he says that, while he doesn’t know much about football, he thinks he wants a holding midfielder to add to Mullins, Spector, Fahy, Diop and Reilly. This proves the man hasn’t a clue  because hasn’t he noticed that every time the ball is crossed into the opposition area Ziggy stands there like a lone totem pole while our centre of midfielders  are hanging around the halfway line afraid they might get a nosebleed if they venture further forward?

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