'Why should we subsidise their incompetence?' - former Birmingham chairman criticises Blues and uses St Andrew's owners to explain EFL funding deal failure

Former Birmingham chairman David SullivanFormer Birmingham chairman David Sullivan
Former Birmingham chairman David Sullivan | Getty Images
Premier League club executives were accused of 'parking the bus' as a new cash offer for EFL clubs failed to materialise earlier this month

David Sullivan has used the ‘incompetence’ displayed by Birmingham City’s owners as a reason why West Ham United voted against a new payment plan for Football League clubs.

The 75-year-old Hammers chairman - who bought into Blues in 1993 before selling his stake in the St Andrew’s club in 2009 - criticised Birmingham owners Shelby Companies Limited for their sacking of John Eustace back in October and replacing him with Wayne Rooney. He said the club ‘messed up’ that decision, with the former England and Manchester United player departing in January following a disastrous 15-game spell in charge.

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And he claims it’s that sort of ineptitude shown by Championship clubs that put him and other Premier League owners off granting EFL clubs a cash boost that could have provided the league’s 72 clubs an extra £900m over the next six years. Instead, top flight clubs focused on bringing in a replacement to the controversial profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) at their latest meeting in mid-March - a decision that has since come under criticism.

In an interview with The Sun, Sullivan said: “The flaw in the system is the Championship. These clubs are having financial problems because they’re paying too high wages and agent fees and some have managers on £1m a year.

“If you look at Serie B (Italy’s second tier), the managers don’t earn that nor are players on £30,000, £40,000 a week.

“If the EFL can’t work with the funds we give them now, what suggests they can work with another £50m or £100m? They should manage their finances better and stop paying silly money. But they don’t want to because they’re competing to get into the Premier League.

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“If we give to the EFL what they want, in five years we’ll be exactly where we are today.

“Some EFL owners are richer than those in the Premier League. Yet some clubs have got into trouble because their owners have gone for promotion but got fed up.

“Then there’s my old club, Birmingham. They sacked a good manager, John Eustace, when they were on the verge of the play-offs to bring in a flagship name in Wayne Rooney. It messed it up. Why should we subsidise their incompetence?”

Birmingham were sixth in the table, after a 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion, when they took the decision to part ways with Eustace. Blues then found themselves 20th in the standings when they took the decision to sack Rooney at the start of the year. They currently sit 21st in the table after Friday's defeat at QPR.

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