The Birmingham City manager, Alex McLeish, has hailed the contribution that David Sullivan and Karren Brady have made during almost 17 years at St Andrew's and believes exciting times lie ahead under the club's prospective new owners.
The plc chairman, Sullivan, and the chief executive, Brady, announced on Wednesday that they will leave Birmingham if the Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung completes his takeover. Their final home game is set to be the Premier League match against Bolton on 26 September.
Yeung has now formally lodged his bid for the Blues. His company, Grandtop International Holdings, already owns 29.9 per cent of the club and, with co-owners Sullivan and the Gold brothers, David and Ralph, indicating they will sell their 50 per cent stake, Yeung is already well on his way to complete control.
Although David Gold appears likely to stay on, the takeover marks the end of an era for Birmingham that has lasted close to two decades and taken the club from the depths of despair to England's elite.
"They've done a great job at Birmingham over the years, they dragged the club up from pretty desperate times," McLeish said. "The stadium, the whole infrastructure, they built it up to what it is today.
"David has admitted he can't take it to the next level, if there is a next level, but I'd like to think I've got the ambition to see a next level here at this club."
He added: "David has run it in such a way where he's probably caught between overspending, risking the ruin of the club, risking the club going to League One as that's happened to some illustrious names in the past.
"One thing they have done is kept a tight rein on the finances, at the end of the day Birmingham have been able to sell the club for the price they got because there's absolutely no debt here."Reuse content