Birmingham City fans call for more #BSHLOUT protests

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Blues supporters have called for renewed protests following last night’s defeat against Middlesbrough

Some Birmingham City fans have called for renewed protests against the club’s current owners.

Fans have held protests before the club’s home games in recent months following a social media campaign which began in January with supporters using the hashtag #BSHLOUT.

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Some supporters have demanded change at the top of the club during marches against owners Birmingham Sports Holdings (BSHL), although the protests have died down a little in recent weeks.

Following Blues’ 2-0 home defeat to Middlesborough last night (15 March), some supporters took to Twitter this morning to urge fans to renew the protests.

Blues fans protest outside the stadium prior to the Championship match between Birmingham City and Barnsley (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)Blues fans protest outside the stadium prior to the Championship match between Birmingham City and Barnsley (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Blues fans protest outside the stadium prior to the Championship match between Birmingham City and Barnsley (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images) | Getty Images

One person wrote: “This is without doubt in my opinion the most depressing and dangerous time at the Blues in my lifetime and if not all of ours? No ambition, atmosphere or real identity anymore. Let’s not let a lick of paint and a few kiosks stop us. Protests again please.”

Another tweeted: “It’s time for everyone to play their part and get BSHLOUT, don’t expect others to be the voice, get involved before it’s too late.”

You can see some of the tweets below.

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Why are fans protesting?

Supporters say they are unhappy with how the club is being run.

Under the ownership of Birmingham Sports Holdings, which took over in 2016, the club were found to have breached profitability and sustainability rules in 2019 after incurring losses of nearly £48.8m in three years, and were subsequently docked nine points.

Uncertainty over who actually owns the club, the state of their St Andrew’s ground -part of which has been closed for more than a year due to structural issues - and increasing financial losses have all been used in protest at the owners.

And with the club consistently struggling near the bottom of the Championship - narrowly avoiding relegation over the last few seasons, fans say there has been little information about what the owners intentions are for the club going forward.

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Last night’s defeat leaves Lee Bowyer’s men in 13th place in the Championship table and 13 points clear of the relegation zone.

Blues board respond to fans

Birmingham City’s chairman Wenqing Zhao recently issued a statement to the club’s fans to address their concerns over how the club is being run.

In the letter, Zhao spoke about a number of issues which fans are currently unhappy about , including St Andrew’s and the board’s communication with supporters.

With some fans saying there is uncertainty over who owns and runs the club, Zhao said in the letter: “I would like to be clear that ultimate control of the club lies with our two majority shareholders, Mr Paul Suen and Mr Pech Vong.”

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He has also said that the board and owners take responsibility for the growing discontent among the fans - you can read Mr Zhao’s letter in full, here.

The letter came after the club invited a selection of fans to meet board members on January 20 to address their concerns.

Blues issued a statement following the meeting and revealed that the owners have “no intention” to sell the club.

The club said: “The board stated that the club is not up for sale and the owners have no intention to sell. Like any business, it does have a value but the owners have invested, and continue to invest, heavily in the club.”

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During the meeting, board member Edward Zheng also described the ‘large cultural difference’ that has impacted communication with fans.

It was acknowledged by the chairman and the board of the club that the culture ‘has to shift’ and communication lines will be ‘more open moving forward.’

The club have been forced to close the lower sections of the Kop and Tilton Road End at St Andrew’s due to structural issues which has caused frustration among fans.

Birmingham’s project manager, Michael Moran, discussed the structural issues with St Andrew’s stadium, detailing the extent of the repair works required, and the reasons part of the stadium has been closed for more than a year.

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You can read what the club said about the issues with the stadium, here.

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