McLeish unconcerned by Birmingham unrest

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The Independent Football

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish insists "it's business as usual" after the latest off-the-field events at St Andrew's.

The club's owners are in dispute with the investment bank Seymour Pierce, who have won a court order that effectively gives them control of the club's shares.

Seymour Pierce have sued to recover the fee it said it was owed for laying the groundwork for Carson Yeung's takeover of the club.

While Seymour Pierce were not ultimately involved in Yeung's takeover of Birmingham last year, they successfully argued that they were still due a "success fee" under the terms of the original agreement.

Last month, Birmingham were ordered to pay Seymour Pierce £2.2million. That payment should have been made by Monday but as Birmingham failed to meet the deadline, Seymour Pierce have now won a court order that gives them a charge over Birmingham's shares.

It means that Birmingham cannot pay a dividend or raise money through a share issue.

Birmingham are still bidding to appeal the original ruling that they should pay £2.2million and are also contesting a separate High Court action after issuing a writ against the club's former owners.

The news puts a negative light on what has largely been a season of success on the field for McLeish and his team, and the manager said today: "I have not had any new directives from anybody else. It's business as usual.

"It looks a technicality that the board will sort out. I've no idea if the club will finish up paying the money because it is not a department I immerse myself in. It is an administration part of the club.

"It is probably one of those cases which is agitating and it is up to Carson Yeung and Peter Pannu (vice-chairman) to sort it out.

"I cannot see it escalating because it is hopefully a technicality which needs to be sorted out.

"So far as I'm aware there is not anything to panic about. The club were aware I was doing a media conference and they could have put me on my toes against anything that we should be avoiding or be troubled by."

McLeish does not believe it will have affected his players and he added: "I think the players only read about themselves and do not start looking at the business section of newspapers.

"I don't think they are going to rush out and buy the Financial Times.

"They are only really bothered about is getting their name on the team-sheet and that they get their wages.

"If the case gathers momentum people will notice what is going on.

"It's in its infancy in regard to newspaper headlines and hopefully it will be resolved."

While the financial dispute is not concerning McLeish, money has been on the agenda when it comes to finalising his transfer budget for the summer.

McLeish has insisted that nothing will be done in terms of signing players that could affect the long-term future of the cub.

He said: "There have been meetings between myself and club officials where we have agreed that we are not going into those kind of areas where we are spending £40million on players and wages.

"We felt it was a step too big. Everyone is agreed that we take one step at a time.

"Whether we spend £40million is highly debatable. That sort of money could be spent over two or three transfer windows if we can continue to improve the quality of the team.

"We have had fruitful discussions about going forward. We have discussed budgets, we have discussed wage budgets.

"It is healthy enough. For me it is progress and I have to make sure we spend the money wisely.

"We have to be prudent in a lot of our business and I wouldn't have it any other way."

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