Watching events at St Andrew's always tends to be an illuminating experience – not least because of their own, on-going takeover saga that ended at that famed 29.9% mark.
More of Peter Cullum's return to the ring in a moment.
First, however, a couple of lines that popped up on the Sky Sports website of late courtesy of an interview with Birmingham City owner David Gold.
Given that Gold's fortune is, in part, down to the adult end of the UK retail market, it tells its own story when that sector of the economy starts to feel the pinch.
“As painful as the crunch may be, though, it has also brought a degree of realism to the game,” said Gold, Blues' hopes of a swift return to the land of milk and honey boosted by last night's 2-1 win over Ipswich Town. They look on a roll right now.
“You have to balance the books and clubs are doing this aggressively,” added Gold. “Going around the boardrooms as I do, there is no panic. Everyone is being realistic.
“But when they go to their banks now to increase their overdraft from ?10 million to ?12 million, they're being told, 'No, reduce it to ?8million…'”
It is a line that will not only echo through the boardroom of Carrow Road as City's own principal shareholder Delia Smith prepares to pick up the pinnie once more in a bid to keep the bank manager at bay with an additional ?3 million injection this season, but will also ring a chord in the boardroom of Towergate Partnership – the 'biggest independent insurance intermediary in Europe' we were reminded today.
For if City's 'overdraft' is currently running at ?19 million and rising, Towergate's 'overdraft' facility was reported to be near the ?580 million mark by the Financial Times recently; another ?100 million facility with you, me and the Royal Bank of Scotland was agreed in July.
And, according to those same FT reports, Towergate have been busy of late looking to renegotiate the terms of such facilities after the 'King Of Deals' aggressive buying spree over the last decade.
“I can confirm that we are in advanced negotiations with our lenders regarding fine tuning our banking facilities in line with our latest plans,” Cullum's right-hand man Andy Homer said in a recent statement to the Insurance Times.
“This is a process we regularly undertake and we expect a successful conclusion will soon be reached… It is expected that we will announce our largest acquisition of 2008 shortly, still leaving us with a war chest of over ?40 million to deploy before the year end if we so choose.”
The point? The point is that, yes, Towergate and Co still have cash to splash, but they are not immune from the crunch that we're all feeling.
In fact, given the level of their borrowings – the servicing of which led them to reporting a ?15 million loss for the year end to December 31, 2007 – you could argue that they are likely to be feeling the heat more than most.
They will be being squeezed very, very hard. You just need to add a few noughts to Gold's statement.
All of which means?
That if Cullum wasn't about to dig too deep this time last year when it came to buying Delia and Michael's majority share-holding out, he sure won't be this autumn. As he told the Eastern Daily Press today, he wasn't about to “stick a big fat cheque on the desk”.
No surprise there given that Towergate reported a loss for 2007, 2008 has hardly been a bed of roses for any of us and Cullum is not forseeing an upturn till 2010 at the earliest.
But then, according to a written letter sent to the Smiths' representatives earlier this autumn and revealed at the club's Annual General Meeting, nor was he actually going to pursue his interest in the Norfolk club. It was all off.
Only now it's not. He “wouldn't just stand by as a spectator…” he told the paper. 'I won't let City crash' ran the headline.
Which means, what? That if the club were really, really on its knees and Football's 'Mr Fixit', Keith Harris, failed to find a buyer in these challenging economic times, that he would step in? Only without sticking a big fat cheque on the table?
So does that mean that the big, fat ?20 million cheque that was initially offered this time last year for Glenn Roeder's transfer kitty – on the understanding that control of the club would pass to Cullum – was now off the table, too?
At what point such offers of 'help' actually become a hindrance must be something of a moot point. For having thought the chapter marked 'Cullum' was now closed, so the 'King Of Deals' merely proves the master of the tease as he does – or doesn't – return to the table.
When you're truly, truly desperate give me a ring, would appear to be the line today – one that doesn't necessarily do the man too many favours.
You're either in. Or you're out. And if you're on the pot… then you know what to do.