Date:Sunday January 8 2006
In a bizarre (and somewhat amusing) turn of events, Crystal Palace chairman has claimed Blues have never made a bid for striker Andrew Johnson, much to the confusion of absolutely everybody.
Despite David Sullivan claiming Blues had had a bid of £3 million plus two players turned down - a deal worth £6.5 million in total - Simon Jordan used his Observer column to claim that Blues have never spoken to anyone at Palace, and that a bid was never received.
Jordan wrote: 'Birmingham have not spoken to anyone senior at Palace, haven't made a bid, haven't made an inquiry. They haven't been told we'll sell him in the summer - they haven't been told anything.
Sullivan has misled the press, his fans and ours, all - I'm guessing - in a sad attempt to make Birmingham look ambitious.'
This statement was met by total bemusement by Blues spokesman Andy Maxey, who insisted Blues had made a bid:
'These comments by David Sullivan relate to an inquiry we made about Andrew Johnson four weeks ago,' he said. 'At that time Simon Jordan made it clear that Johnson wasn't for sale so we won't be making a bid.'
However, these comments only served to further infuriate Jordan, who angrily denied there had been any contact whatsoever:
'Absolute rubbish. They've never made an inquiry: it's nonsense.'
If there was no bid, as Jordan states, then it is bewildering why Sullivan declared we had one rejected in the first place.
However, bearing in mind Jordan's previous antics, the animosity between the two clubs, and my 'perfectly neutral' standpoint, the more likely explanation is that Jordan is trying to besmirch the name of the club by making false accusations.
Considering that the Press Association, who originally released the story, are sticking by it, and that Jordan has a history of using his column to attack anyone and everyone, it would be unsurprising if Palace had actually received a bid - especially considering our spokesman was able to detail exactly when it was sent.
The history between the two clubs relates to the transfer of Clinton Morrison in 2002. Jordan was unhappy with the way the transfer was conducted, and said at the time:
'They offered £5m for Clinton Morrison, which we rejected. Their interest in the player then appeared in the press, the player became unsettled and we ended up having no choice but to sell for a massively reduced fee of £3.5m.
It felt like a mugging. It made taking Johnson from them really sweet compensation.'
Jordan's comments make it all the more confusing as to why we sold Morrison back to Palace, especially as Norwich were also interested. If it turns out Blues actually did submit a bid, then a retraction from Jordan would be expected - but don't hold your breath.
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