A simple story of Laurence Bassini, Simon Jordan and Birmingham City | Soccer


It may be a giant club, but life hasn’t always been easy for Birmingham City. In 1993-94, during a desperate run, manager Barry Fry was informed of an alleged curse on the club, which stood in the way of them moving out of the old First Division and into the Premiership . Bazza, under the instruction of a curse-lifting specialist, marked his scent all over their St Andrew ground. “I’m not normally superstitious, but after three months I was ready to try anything so I went for a getaway on the four corner flags,” he tweeted. “It took me a while – it’s not that easy.” Fry was desperate to knock Birmingham out of the Premier League, and it worked – they were relegated a few months later.

This story may be apocryphal and certainly embellished but frankly who cares could represent a golden age of rational behavior in Birmingham if Laurence Bassini succeeds in his bid to take over the club. We’ll be honest, we hadn’t heard of Bassini until he launched several on TalkSport earlier. But a quick look through Fiver Towers’ archives shows its financial dealings are about as pristine as the flags around St Andrew’s Corner after Fry worked his exorcist magic. English football has had many owners, but none gave an interview quite like Bassini’s on Friday morning. It was a breathless pantomime of narcissistic excess that left even vet Jim White in shock. At one point, White pulled a face, as if suffering from some sort of medical emergency. Then he put his head in his hands for a few seconds, before emerging with the expression of a man who had just seen his dear old chick doing a striptease to the soundtrack of Horny by Mousse T.

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definitely worth listening to The whole Bassini interview. He started by bragging about his £235million assets and the fact that he owns shops on Oxford Street, which, if nothing else, reminded us that we had to play Monopoly with Weird Uncle Fiver. Then he started talking about credit cards, stopping short of telling everyone what his Egg card balance was on that date 20 years ago. After what felt like weeks but was probably only days, Bassini turned to buying Blues. “I sent £30m to the solicitor who spoke to the directors and owners of Birmingham City,” he claimed. “Well, I’m also going to invest, whether it’s bank balance or assets, another £70m, £80m to £100m – do you know why? I will stay in football because I will show you a lot and I will win the league. How’s that for clarity of purpose?

The best part came when Bassini turned his attention to Simon Jordan, the TalkSport presenter and former owner of Crystal Palace, with the two yelling at each other for what felt like days but probably weeks. If The Fiver had played a drinking game every time Bassini shouted “Simon!” Simon! we would have been out of action before brunch. Bassini challenged Jordan to a £100million charity fight, which he would be trained by Tyson Fury for, before making unsubstantiated claims that would make lawyers blush with a teatime email. But then things took a left turn that even we didn’t see coming. “Simon! You did a movie with Kevin Spacey and it failed,” he hissed, hinting that a successful movie starring Spacey would have been something for Simon! shout. We didn’t make any of this up, you know. This is modern football and modern England. Oh for more innocent times, when a man could solve his problems by unloading on the four corners of a football field.


“The Nordic referee, who was refereeing a game involving a Nordic team, gave away a penalty. I’m not saying for a single minute that it was because she was the referee, I’m just saying those stats were there” – Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels continues to make friends and influence people after their one-sided 4-1 Women’s Euro defeat by Norway.

Famous Guro Reiten (Time for Guro). Photography: Harriet Lander/Getty Images


“The truth has come to light during this trial and I deeply thank the judges of the court for the independence of their decision. In this case, there are culprits who did not appear during this trial. Let them count on me, we will see each other again because I will not let go and I will go to the end in my quest for truth” – after he and Sepp Blatter were acquitted of fraud by a Swiss court, Michel Platini is ready to channel his inner Charles Bronson and hunt down the “culprits” behind the case against him.

‘I won’t let it pass’: Blatter and Platini react after being acquitted of fraud – video


“I hope Leeds follow up on the signing of left-winger Luís Sinisterra (Yesterday’s News, Bits and Bobs) by enticing ex-loaner Dexter Blackstock to step away from his property portfolio and play on the right. And to think that my Latin teacher once said that I would never achieve anything” – Steve Allen.

“Andrew Want (yesterday’s Fiver letters) correctly claimed that anyone who mentions Fiver merchandise wins the letter of the day. I’d like to test this theory to its limits by saying that Fiver merchandise seems like a mediocre idea at best, and I highly doubt I would part with my hard-earned money for such a tattoo” – Joel Flood.

“I hereby volunteer to purchase and wear one of David Maddock’s (Fiver letters passim) limited edition pedantic t-shirts. A maths expert could no doubt confirm the odds of any of the Infamous 1057 pedants, or any other Fiver reader, living here in New Zealand, being less than zero percent. So wearing said shirt becomes a kind of Schrödinger’s cat and even more useless than The Fiver himself” – Rod de Lisle.

“How about putting ‘I read The Fiver…for the letters’ on a T-shirt? I mean, I’m not going to. That email was enough effort” – Richard Saunders.

Send your letters to [email protected] And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our invaluable letter of the day is…Steve Allen.


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Jack Wilshere, in happier times.
Jack Wilshere, in happier times. Photograph: Scott Heavey/PA

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