Sunday People



TWELVE years of tortuous Far East ownership at my club Birmingham City ended this week.

It was sold by David Sullivan and the late David Gold to a bloke who once was a Hong Kong hairdresse­r.

A few years down the line, he was convicted for money-laundering.

Then it changed hands, staying in Chinese ownership.

The Football League couldn’t even identify who was pulling the strings – and still haven’t – which speaks volumes about their catastroph­ic owners and directors test.

So anyone who doubts the need for an independen­t regulator in football needs to think again.

First, more rigorous questions could be asked of any new owners.

Secondly, what it would have done – in the case of Birmingham City and others – is ask questions surroundin­g the identity of the owner and the source of the club’s funding within an hour of someone being appointed to look under those rocks.

Appropriat­e action could then have been taken. And a lot of supporters’ heartache avoided.

And that’s why it needs to happen.

TODD BOEHLY is turning Chelsea from champs to chumps all by himself.

Never mind the chaos the American has inflicted since assuming control from Roman Abramovich.

Never mind the obscene £660million January spend in the transfer market.

Never mind landing ex-boss Graham Potter with a bloated squad he had no chance of succeeding with.

Never mind that he signed Frank Lampard’s managerial death warrant by calling him back to Stamford Bridge.

All those can be seen as honest mistakes. Clueless and a prelude to sporting disaster but all made in good faith.

However, if you want a snapshot of why Chelsea are going to the dogs, then it was contained within the measly 31-word pay-off to Mason Mount (far right) this week.

After the £60m move to Manchester United was sealed, the great man spoke.

“Mason is a consummate profession­al and a popular figure at the club. We want to thank him for all his efforts on and off the pitch throughout his time at


That was it.

A two-sentence salute that might have been a two-fingered gesture for the volumes it spoke about the complete lack of class and understand­ing of what the player did for the club.

Whatever I might think about Mount – and to be honest, I’m not exactly sure why Erik ten Hag has bought him – he deserved better than that.

This is a bloke who joined Chelsea at the age of six.

He came through the academy, worked his socks off and made it not only to the first-team but was also part of the Champions League success story under Thomas Tuchel. This is a guy who was blue to the core and devoted 18 years of his life to making himself a profession­al footballer, but also gave his all for the badge.

He went to Holland on loan with Vitesse Arnhem. Then Derby County on loan – all with the aim of returning to play in Chelsea’s first team.

He ended up making over 150 appearance­s, won the Champions League, the Super Cup and the Club World Cup.


You might think that this is a violent overreacti­on.

I mean, Chelsea have sold him for a huge profit. Another reason to wonder why his send-off was so insipid.

And players are sold all the time, right? But the point is this: Big clubs do the small things well. And it might

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