Editorial: The Beginning of the End

On May 18, 2016 a little known Chinese businessman by the name of Tony Xia bought Aston Villa FC. Catapulted into a blaze of publicity, Xia was feted by fans of Aston Villa as the saviour from the evil clutches of Randy Lerner. However, there were people who were sceptical that the Beijing resident had the funds or the ability to run an English football club.

Aston Villa FC

From the start, I’m going to be honest. I’m a Birmingham City fan, and I have a natural antipathy towards anything Claret and Blue.

However, despite not being a trained journalist, lawyer, stockbroker or accountant I’ve somehow become someone people look to for answers about Chinese football club ownership.

I ran the highly successful Often Partisan website and co-wrote “Haircuts and League Cups” with Hong Kong solicitor Will Giles about Carson Yeung and his fall from grace after purchasing Birmingham City. Even now, I maintain almajir.net where I keep an eye on the business side of things at my own club.

When Xia bought AVFC, I was immediately sceptical. As I outlined in this post over on my Birmingham City site, there was too much that didn’t ring true – and it reminded me of Carson.

I’d long heard rumours that AVFC were falling into financial peril; that failure to be promoted in the 2017-18 season was going to lead to financial meltdown.

It came to pass on June 5 when AVFC abruptly announced that CEO Keith Wyness had been suspended, amid rumours of an unpaid tax bill and a potential winding up order.

News, gossip and rumour about AVFC’s finances have been all over the news since, and there has been much dissection of just how this has come about.

Through it all, all I can see is the repetition of history. That once again a Chinese entrepreneur would hold on to a football club he could no longer afford to fund for as long as humanly possible, despite the advice of other more learned people.

I’ve set this site up to be a dispassionate collation and chronicle of the downfall of Tony Xia.

The intention is to collate news from both the UK and China to paint a full picture of what has happened so that people may understand fully just what is happening – and hopefully so that others may learn from this to help protect their own clubs.

I’ve completely disabled comments as I have no desire to get into arguments – especially when they are likely to descend into accusations of obsession, delusions of grandeur and downright insults.