Laurence Bassini, a solo soap opera Birmingham City does not need


Birmingham City have not been doing very well for long enough, but fans at several clubs already know that Laurence Bassini is not the answer here.

Birmingham City supporters haven’t had a very good decade. Over the past nine years their team have failed to finish above tenth in the Championship and in the past five they have failed to finish above seventeenth. sustainability rules of nearly £ 10million between 2015 and 2018.

On top of that, the start of this season saw two of the stands at St Andrews closed for safety reasons, due to corroded steel beams, specialized steel mill paint and missing or damaged bolts. This work is partially completed, but will not be fully completed until May 2022.

Birmingham has been for sale by its Hong Kong-based owners since March, but so far there have only been rumors of attempted purchases from a football club that has been in stasis for so long, only reports of an attempted buyout of the club by former Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino, who sank in the first stroke of the pandemic. Cellino, who was temporarily disqualified from supervision of club affairs by the Football League in 2014 because he was convicted of tax evasion in Italy, would have been a controversial enough new owner for the club, but even he would have paled in comparison to the name that has started to circulate as a potential buyer for Birmingham City now.

“Controversial” was the word the Daily Mirror used, but when it comes to Laurence Bassini it only scratches the surface. Bassini’s involvement in the game in this country has been a decade-long soap opera, with two bankruptcies, a name change, several court cases and repeated attempts to buy clubs that have collapsed because he did not ‘provided no evidence of having the means to do so. But it is nothing if not persistent. If he persisted in his interest in Birmingham they would become the fourth club he has attempted to buy in the past two years.

Bassini bought Watford in May 2011, but he already had a troubling history, having previously been declared bankrupt in 2007 following a business failure. As a result of this insolvency, he changed his name from Bazini to Bassini in order, to quote him, “to make a new start”. After borrowing £ 4.5million to fund the club, he only lasted thirteen months as the owner before selling to the Pozzo family. Under Bassini’s watch, the club lost £ 7million, and club accounts later confirmed that £ 606,302 in transfer fees and £ 900,000 in Football League award money ” were borrowed on behalf of the club, but the funds were never directly received by the club ‘.

In March 2013, an independent disciplinary commission found Bassini guilty of misconduct and dishonesty over financial issues relating to his time at Watford and barred him from holding a position of authority at a football club for three years. The commission found that he had been “dishonest in his dealings with the league and with his fellow administrators” and “practiced secrecy and deception” by not informing the league or other Watford administrators of his secret arrangements. term financing.

And by March 2014, he was back in court, this time making unfounded claims in a case brought against him by the Russos for over £ 3.5million they loaned him. Bassini lost the case and in July 2014 he was declared bankrupt for the second time. To give an idea of ​​the good reputation of his stay at Vicarage Road, a few months earlier, his tenure at Watford had been the subject of an April Fool’s Day article in the local newspaper.

Since 2019, Bassini has been looking for a new project. In April of the same year, it was confirmed that he had made a deal to buy the financially troubled Bolton Wanderers from Ken Anderson, but that deal fell apart after repeatedly failing to show proof of funds to the EFL. Four months later, with Bolton under administration and the players not being paid in full for several months, the club’s administrators were on the verge of closing a sale to Football Ventures Ltd., only for Bassini to get an order from the club. court at the last minute. , blocking the sale. The sale was finally closed a month later, with Bolton on the brink of liquidation.

Apparently not deterred by what happened at Bolton, Bassini has sniffed at two clubs since then. In March 2020, he told Sky Sports he had made a deal to buy Oldham Athletic, which at the time was on the verge of going into administration and had a pending lawsuit, only for it to emerge. during the trial that there was “no truth at all” in the reports that a deal had been reached. Oldham was spared by the administration, but protests against the owner continued.

Bassini, meanwhile, has moved on again, this time to Charlton Athetic, another club that has had its fair share of problems in recent years. It had only been a few weeks since the Oldham Athletic debacle, but this time the negotiations quickly collapsed, with Bassini telling Sky Sports News there were many difficulties with it, including issues regarding who still owned The Valley and Charlton training ground. He told reporters at the time that he intended to explore the possibility of unwinding the Bolton buyout a year earlier, but nothing seems to ever come of it.

At this point, of course, these are just rumors, and it goes without saying that the world’s most credible buyer would have a lot of work to do to secure the purchase of a multi-million pound business. here. Bassini has once been described as a ‘tire launcher’ and ‘attention seeker’, and it should be remembered that those 13 months at Watford ten years ago remain his only experience managing a football club.

And it’s always worth considering where a person declared bankrupt twice would have a chance to get the kind of funding needed to buy the club and ultimately fund it. He certainly hasn’t been able to do it in the Bolton Wanderers case, so how could he do it with Birmingham City? Would have you lend someone with his story millions of pounds? Laurence Bassini’s warning signs have been there for years, but in 2019 Bassini claimed to have passed the EFL Owners and Administrators test.

Some would doubt anything out of his mouth, but even if he did manage to get through that and take control of Birmingham City, there is nothing in the whole story of Laurence Bassini’s relationship in and around football which suggests he should be allowed anywhere near any club, let alone one in the delicate state Birmingham has been in for the past few years.

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