Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Yeung plans to stop Birmingham yo-yo

Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung

New owner Carson Yeung has long-term dreams of Birmingham City becoming one of the best clubs in Europe.

But his immediate aim is to ensure Blues stop yo-yoing between the Championship and Premier League.

The Hong Kong businessman spoke publicly for the first time at St Andrews yesterday since taking full control of the midlands club in an £81.5 million buy-out.

Yeung originally acquired 29.95% of the shares in City two years ago, becoming their largest individual share-holder in the process, but has had to wait until now to assume full control.

He said: “What is the target for Birmingham City? Maybe 10th or ninth this season, maybe better next season, not to be a yo-yo club anymore.

“Our aim is to work hard to secure our position in the Premier League, not only for this year, but for many years to come.

“It's a long, long target, but we hope Birmingham can become one of the best clubs in Europe. Let's take it step by step — but why not?

“We want to be as big as possible and competitors for Aston Villa.”

Yeung has pledged to spend £20-£40million on new players and their wages during the January transfer window.

He has also given his backing to Blues manager Alex McLeish and said: “I am very confident in Alex. He is a good coach and a good leader.”

Yeung admitted: It has taken a long time to buy the club - but finally I have got it.

“There were problems with each other regarding communication. When I took out the original 29.95% stake, I did not say I would then buy the club 100%. It just depended on the right time and now I am so happy it has all gone through.”

McLeish has already spelt out his desire to bring in new players during January to help City in their fight against relegation, and Yeung is to give him substantial backing.

Asked what finances will be available to the manager, Yeung said: “My first plan is to support the club for about £20-£40million for players and wages in January.

“In the short term I just care about January, but in the future there will be more money.”

Yeung also has his eyes on the lucrative Chinese market to help Birmingham financially.

He said: “Longer term we believe there is a major opportunity to build Birmingham's fan base in China and to generate new sources of revenue for the club.”