Gold says takeover bid is 'dead in the water'

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The Independent Football

David Gold, the Birmingham City chairman, has insisted the club will not entertain any more takeover bids until at least next summer as he called for "a period of stability" at St Andrew's.

Gold claimed the potential takeover bid by Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung was "dead in the water" and downplayed reported interest in Birmingham from the Russian oil billionaire Vagit Alekperov.

A spokesman for Alekperov denied that the world's 48th-richest man according to Forbes magazine, had asked about bidding for the club.

Neither Lukoil, Russia's largest independent oil producer, nor Alekperov are interested in buying Birmingham, a Lukoil spokesman Dmitry Dolgov said. Earlier this month, Dolgov said Alekperov was not considering buying Tottenham Hotspur after reports that he was.

Gold is adamant the main priority is to help the new Birmingham manager, Alex McLeish, and his staff to keep City in Premier League.

Yeung technically has until Friday's deadline set by Gold and co-owner David Sullivan to come up with the additional 35m needed to buy out the duo. But because of takeover rules and the time process in such dealings, it is already effectively too late for him to meet all criteria in two days' time.

Gold said: "We now need a period of stability. That is 100 per cent correct. We will do nothing now. We can't stop people making inquiries. We will concentrate 100 per cent from now until the end of the season on Birmingham staying in the Premier League.

"We won't entertain anything until the summer. Our fans have been to hell and back and so have the staff. The board has also gone through a difficult time over this.

"Now is the time to focus on staying in the Premier League everyone worked so hard to get back into last season."

Gold added: "It is still technically plausible that Mr Yeung could walk into the football club and put a cheque on the table but, according to takeover rules, there is a time factor and that time factor has expired.

"The process would have had to have started by now. As far as I am concerned, the deal is dead in the water."

Elsewhere, Al Bangura's appeal against the decision to deport him has been taken to the House of Commons by the Liberal Democrat MP and Watford fan Mark Oaten.

Oaten tabled an early day motion which has called for Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to urgently review the 19-year-old Watford midfielder's case and prevent him being sent back to his native Sierra Leone.

The motion read: "This deportation affects not only Mr Bangura but his girlfriend and newly-born child and ignores the valuable contribution he has made to his community through playing for Watford Football Club.

"This house calls upon the Home Secretary urgently to review the case of Mr Bangura and grant him indefinite leave to remain in the UK."