New Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung has vowed to bankroll a St. Andrew’s revolution, promising manager Alex McLeish £40 million to spend in January.
In his first press conference since taking ownership of the club, Yeung revealed his ambitions for Birmingham, with investment in new players his first priority.
"Birmingham can become as big as possible. We are competitors for Aston Villa,” claimed City’s owner in a clear statement of intent.
Yeung’s Grandtop International Holdings investment company completed the drawn out takeover of City last week, in an £81 million deal.
And Yeung looks set to open his chequebook again when the transfer window opens in January.
"I will talk to Alex about his needs first. My first plan is to support the club with £20-40 million," he said.
While Yeung’s pledge will no doubt inflate the transfer values of potential transfer targets, his vow to spend big is part of a much needed PR exercise to win over City fans.
The Hong Kong businessman’s arrival heralded the end of the David Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady era at St. Andrew’s, but it has not been a seamless handover.
The investment tycoon embroiled City in a failed takeover attempt two years ago, and many supporters have yet to forgive him for unsettling the club.
The ownership saga was a major factor in a dismal 2007/08 campaign, which saw Birmingham relegated and manager Steve Bruce leave the club.
And Yeung acknowledged that his takeover has been a protracted affair, saying: "I'm happy to be here. It has taken a long time to buy the club - but finally I have got it.
"There were problems with each other regarding communication. When I took out the original 29.9 percent stake, I did not say I would then buy the club 100 percent.
"It just depended on the right time - and now I am so happy it has all gone through."
Yeung hinted to his long-term plans for Birmingham, but admitted that the immediate concern is keeping their top-flight status.
"In the short term I just care about January. But in the future there will be more money, and longer term we believe there is a major opportunity to build Birmingham's fan base in China and to generate new sources of revenue for the club," he added.
"But for this to happen, our first priority must be to establish Birmingham as a Premier League club."
And Yeung is adamant that McLeish is the right man to spearhead the Birmingham revolution, saying: "I will be supporting the manager. We have an excellent management team.
"Our aim is to work hard to secure our position in the Premier League, not only for this year but for many years to come.”comments