HEAD DOWN SOUTH, MR. MINISTER

Mr. Minister, why are you heading for London to talk to clubs when there is a club owner in Malaysia?

Read my earlier postings on Cardiff City and you will find that there is a certain Dato from Johor Baru that has bought into Cardiff City and he might be able to help you land a few places for Malaysian players to train at the club.

And read further down and you will notice that West Ham too many have a Malaysian owner by the end of this week.

No doubt it will not be as big as the clubs your advisors would have put into your head Sir, the likes of United ( not Leeds), Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Man City, but truly if training or a break is what you are looking at then the likes of Cardiff, Hull, Wolves and west Ham will be the ones you should target Sir.

Oh yes, while you take the drive down south, stop over at LCCT and maybe yu can convince Dato Seri Tony Fernandes to buy over West Ham, thus giving you more options to place Malaysian players.

And another thing Sir, before I forget, there is this document that FAM presented to the Sports Advisory Panel in 2005. It says the formative years, between 8 to 12 are the best years to build footballers, so isn’t 23 years old a wee bit too late?

Another thing Sir, maybe its time you sought the opinion of Windsor John Paul, truly Malaysian ambassador in footballing world, for he can open the doors for you, not those who are like jellyfish when they had coffeee with you.

I know you mean well Sir, but do those around you mean well too, or is there another agenda?

The battle for ownership of West Ham was hotting up following a big hint by millionaire Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes that he is ready to bid for the beleaguered Premier League club.

There were weekend reports that former Birmingham co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan were well advanced with their negotiations over a £46million bid for a 50 per cent stake for the Upton Park club.

However, Fernandes, who had intimated he would not be making a bid, made a strong indication he may have changed his mind with a Twitter post at half-time of West Ham’s FA Cup third-round tie against Arsenal. The Hammers led 1-0 at the time before eventually losing 2-1 and the message read: “Great half for the young Hammers. Soon they will have an owner who will make a difference and care.”

Fernandes, who owns Air Asia and is behind the formation of the new Lotus F1 team, was born in Malaysia but educated in England, at Epsom College between 1977-83, during which time he became a firm West Ham supporter.

The 45-year-old earned his reputation as a businessman when, after re-mortgaging his house and against expert advice, he bought the failing government-linked airline AirAsia and turned it around. He has subsequently had more success with the creation of no-frills chain Tune Hotels and his personal worth is estimated at around £300m.

West Ham supporters, who are worried the club will be forced to sell at least one of their big-name players this month, are keen for something to happen soon and a popularity poll on one fans’ website put Fernandes at the top, just ahead of Sullivan and Gold.

Fernandes is due back in London ahead of West Ham’s next match, at home against Wolves on Sunday, and while Icelandic bank Straumur, effectively the owner of West Ham, has repeatedly said it is in no hurry to sell, it looks likely there will be major developments in the next 10 days.

The Sullivan/Gold bid had the advantage of being the first submitted to Rothschild Bank, which has been engaged to deal with potential investors, and it has received a 50-page shareholders agreement document as part of the due diligence process.

With Fernandes now seemingly also seriously interested, the future ownership of West Ham now seems less cut and dried, while a third potential consortium, the city-based Intermarket Group, are also due to lodge a formal bid today.

Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola insisted after yesterday’s third-round FA Cup defeat that he will not be forced to sell any players this month regardless of what happens with a possible takeover.

“Everybody knows the financial situation – I think we have stability and do not have big problems,” said the Italian. “I don’t expect anybody to leave. I hope the team remains the same because when everyone’s back, it is going to be a different story.”