Paladini could spell more trouble for Birmingham

After transfer embargos, numerous delays in the publication of club finances, the President being arrested for money laundering, Birmingham City would be forgiven for the avoidance of the constant of the field unsettlement the club has persisted to attract in recent years. However, with Peter Pannu, the acting chairman at St Andrews whilst president Carson Yeung remains incarcerated in the far east ahead of a November hearing for financially-related crimes, looking for outside investment, the Blues’ soap opera mybe about to take another twist in its far-fetched plot-lines.

Gianni Paladini is the man at the head of a consortium primed to invest in the Championship club that on the field, has remarkably remained pretty stable despite numerous sanctions which failed to stop Chris Hughton guiding them to last season’s play-offs, a Carling Cup was even won by Alex McLeish the year before, it has been a kind of internal paradox to the external madness that exists in the exotic boardroom of Birmingham International Holdings.

Now the time has come, as decided by Pannu, for outside investment and when that is being predicted to be supplied by Paladini, you start to worry. A quick check through the Italian’s past history in English football will flag up allegations of blackmail and payments to friends and businessman associated with Paladini, with his position as chairman at QPR being used as a vehicle to line the pockets of agents and array of associates to the tune of amounts that the club could barely afford.

In admitting his interest in becoming involved with Birmingham (his consortium have already had a £12 million bid rejected), Paladini claimed he did a good job at QPR and one would tend to agree when it is considered the man from Naples first helped Rangers rise from administration and oversaw their rise from League One up to the Premier League. But it wasn’t achieved with settled calm, since Ian Holloway was ousted following a series of bust-ups with Paladini in 2006, the Loftus Road club tore its way through 13 managers under the stewardship of Paladini which came to an end in 2011 when Tony Fernandes took control and demoted the Italian to a consultancy role.

In setting out his stall for his proposed acquisition of Birmingham, Paladini also had to deny the involvement of close friend Flavio Briatore in his consortium, the Formula 1 mogul who played such a prevolent role, together with Bernie Ecclestone, in the 2008 takeover of billionaire Lakshmi Mittal. The turbulence that this boardroom, in situ at Loftus Road for three years, was that remarkable that it was seen fit to be documented in the BBC’s The Four Year Plan film in which Rangers’ rise to the Premier League was given a detailed expose through the volatile practice involved despite the eventual success on the pitch.

Paladini took Fernandes’ consultancy role for three months before moving on to now show an interest in getting back to the football boardroom in the form of an uncertain Birmingham City. Paladini will use his long-term chairmanship at QPR as justification for another crack at the whole football promotion project that provided the natural observer with so much entertainment at Loftus Road, however, it remains to be seen that with Birmingham currently on the roller-coaster of football’s rocky ground, whether they can withstand the madness Paladini will inevitably bring.

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