Definitely Not Guilty
Whatever David Sullivan and Karren Brady have done to attract the attention of the City of London Police and their football corruption enquiry here's a few things they've not done:
- Looked after the old fans in preference to corporate newcomers. I used to have a season ticket in the old Main Stand, great seats that we had way before Steve Bruce and the Prem became a possibility, and we were surrounded by people who'd had their seats for much longer. Then we had a letter telling us that those seats would become premium seats, and as such thousands of pounds a season. We were offered season tickets elsewhere in the ground, but at that time the ground was full and available seats were not in good supply. Our group of four decided against keeping up our season tickets. Although I still go down occasionally, I sit in the Kop and laugh at the empty (but now comfortably padded) seats opposite.
- Priced tickets reasonably for the opposition. While blues fans enjoy winding up villa fans, in a friendly way of course, charging ÃÂ£45 for an away fan to visit us isn't nice. It doesn't foster goodwill around the country. It's about money, the sort that football is both awash with and simultaneously moaning about not having enough of. The obsession with money that turns a play-off game into a "ÃÂ£50 million game" rather than one about glory, about promotion and struggle. Blues don't have to try so hard to be like that.
- Publicly denounced the 39th game idea. Although it was David Gold that ended up de facto spokesman for the stupid plan to add a Premier League game to be played abroad, after all the other club owners sensibly shuffled away, it wouldn't have taken much for either of these high-profile media figures to say "I don't think that's a great idea".
- Held back from bizarre sponsorship. A very funny, but quite childish admittedly, tradition at Birmingham is to do an elongated (and quite camp) mass "whoooo?" when an opposition substitute is announced. It's even funnier if the player is very famous. This has been spoilt recently because substitutions are sponsored. I can't tell you who by as I'm too busy going "whooo?", but now the crowd have to compete against the announcement of some dull company name.
Until they went spectacularly bust (remember them sacking people by SMS?) injury time used to be sponsored by The Accident Group, which was at least mildly amusing if annoying at often a nail-biting section of the game.
- Given the fans a scoreboard. It's a joke amongst opposition fans that St Andrews lacks the most basic of footballing amenities, while other teams have huge jumbo-tron TVs Birmingham City don't. You may think that it would be a fairly basic ability in a football fan to keep track of the score, after all it's not like Blues are regularly banging in double figures, but (in these days of no watches because we have mobiles with the time on) a clock would be really handy.
We've heard headline-grabbing promises of getting the screen from Henman Hill at Wimbledon, and even now a promise that there will be one in place for the 50th anniversary of the death of Jeff Hall (who our previous scoreboard was named in honour of) but I won't be counting the minutes. Well not in the ground anyway.
There are far worse owners and MDs in football, at least they haven't thought about changing the name of the team to Harchester United, and I wish Karren and David every success (it's so often tied to the success of the team after all), but a little more thought for us poor fans and we may well be even more supportive.