Yeung promises cash for new Blues

Topics

* Yeung promises 4-5 million pounds for new players

* Planning to keep McLeish, Brady on (adds more quotes, detail)

By Stefanie McIntyre

HONG KONG, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Hong Kong billionaire Carson Yeung, whose investment company is bidding to take over English Premier League side Birmingham City, promised on Monday he would splash up to 5 million pounds of his own money on new players.

Grandtop International Holdings Limited, which already owns 29.9 percent of the club after an aborted 2007 bid, last week paid a 3 million pound deposit and offered 100 pence per share, valuing the club at about 80 million pounds ($132 million).

"I have already contacted some players .... We have bought the club with company money but I personally will invest 4-5 million pounds if we get along with the players," Yeung told a news conference on Monday.

"Before the Sept. 1 transfer deadline, I hope I can buy some useful players."

Club manager Alex McLeish earlier this month asked the board for more cash to reinforce his squad, saying the playing talent at his disposal was not equipped for a Premier League campaign.

Yeung, speaking as if the purchase was a done deal, launched his first bid to take over the club in 2007 but it fell through.

"All along we have never given up," Yeung said.

"This year they were promoted, so of course we want to buy it. But you know the British people, we had some reservations ... We have different cultures and ideals.

"You can't tell me to buy -- when I'm ready, I'll buy."

LONG-TERM INVESTMENT

Grandtop had no intention of selling the club on, Yeung said, they saw it as a long-term investment and planned to market Birmingham heavily in China, adding that if it was not against the rules, they would buy another club.

Sammy Yu, Grandtop's chief operations officer, said McLeish and managing director Karen Brady would be retained and there would be a role for former England midfielder Steve McManaman, who is an executive director at the company.

The 2007 bid prompted the departure of then club manager Steve Bruce, who cited the uncertainty of his position under the potential new ownership as the reason for his move to Wigan Athletic. McLeish came in and although he was unable to prevent the club from being relegated in 2008, the Scot brought them straight back up to the top flight last season.

Birmingham have made a solid start to the new season with a win, a draw and one defeat leaving them eighth. (Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Beijing, editing by Peter Rutherford;To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)