Former Birmingham City co-owner David Gold barred from St Andrew's
David Gold, the former co-owner of Birmingham City has been barred from St Andrew's, when West Ham United arrrive for the Premier League fixture this weekend.
Initially, Blues opted to deny him a directors box seat and entrance to the boardroom. But after a re-think, a total ban was placed on Gold, for safety reasons.
Blues were concerned that Gold would still turn up and either watch from an executive box or sit with away fans.
The move came in direct response to Gold’s comments in The Daily Telegraph today (Friday) about the club he jointly owned between 1993-2009, and particularly Peter Pannu.
Gold described Pannu as ‘disgusting’ in relation to when the 73-year-old was denied the chairmanship in the aftermath of the sale to Carson Yeung.
Gold said insinuations from Pannu were that he had lost his mind.
Pannu and Blues have always stated that it was never guaranteed Gold would stay on as chairman - Vico Hui was appointed - and he rejected a vice-president position.
And Blues opted to maintain a diplomatic silence on the whole issue of Gold and David Sullivan’s return for the first time since the £81.5 million takeover - until now.
A email was fired off to Hammers secretary Liz Coley on behalf of the Blues board.
It stated that due to the Gold’s ‘inflammatory comments’ the board "has taken the decision to withdraw Mr Gold’s personal invitation to our fixture tomorrow and he will therefore not be permitted to enter the directors seating or boardroom area".
It continued: "The board feel that they are left with no other option but to withdraw Mr Gold’s invitation due to the above and that this is the appropriate action to take, in addition the board are also mindful of potential security issues for Mr Gold and a possible adverse reaction that may arise from the Birmingham supporters as a result of the comments made.
"Furthermore, as our president [Carson Yeung] will also be flying in for the game, the board felt that a harmonious boardroom environment should not be affected as we all want a good atmosphere on the day and a good game of football."
Another email was then sent to West Ham informing them that Gold was banned from any part of the ground.
It is a remarkable new twist to a saga that has seen barbs fly back and forth between the old and new regime, High Court action and even investigations by West Midlands Police.
Gold, who made £18 million from the sale of his Blues stake, told the Birmingham Mail on Thursday that he had ‘some trepidation’ about revisiting St Andrew’s because of how fans might react.
And although he praised Yeung, his references to Pannu, vice-chairman executive and finance, were pointed, but not to the extreme of today’s scathing assessment.
Blues later issued a statement, with Pannu - the acting chairman when Hui is not in Birmingham - hinting a legal action.
It read: "Blues acting chairman Peter Pannu, whilst refusing to be drawn into a war of words with the previous owners, wishes to clarify that Carson Yeung and co had never offered David Gold to remain behind as chairman, which would have made absolutely no sense.
"He was offered an opportunity to remain as vice-president (non-executive) upon his request, which he refused.
"All the current allegations are false and untrue and the club will keep all options open."
A blanket boycott by West Ham’s directors is not thought to be on the cards, with Sullivan, joint-chairman along with Gold, still keen to turn up.