1) Back in April the Mirror reported that Yahya Kirdi was a "Gulf-based millionaire" - now he’s described as a Montreal businessman despite the Canadian press saying he is unknown in Montreal business circles.
2) Back in April those same reports suggested that Kirdi was an "International Unicef Representative" - this fact seems to have disappeared from many recent claims on his behalf. Trying to search for Kirdi’s connection to Unicef has yielded no links so far.
3) Similarly back in those innocent spring days Kirdi was promoted as being "commended by UEFA President Michel Platini for his work in sporting development". Again I’ve found nothing to back this up yet.
4) Who is the mysterious Avro? On July 22nd 2010 they posted this on an Aviation blog:
"Yahya Kirdi, a Syrian-Canadian businessman who represents private investors from the Gulf States, today signed a letter of commitment to purchase six Bombardier CRJ1000 aircraft. These 100-passenger jets will be configured with two-class cabins and advanced entertainment systems. Mr. Kirdi, who has recently applied for Canadian citizenship and is based in Montreal, has made it his mission to bring new Canadian business to the Gulf as a way of "giving back" to his newly adopted country"
This is something Jim Boardman investigated, with Bombardier denying the story. The blog comment, which reads as if it has come straight from the keyboard of a PR firm, appeared just a week before the Kirdi takeover story re-emerged in the press. This “mission” is something Kirdi has spoken about to the Canadian press subsequently.
5) Dan Diamond, Kirdi’s consultant/broker/spokesman for the proposed LFC deal, also told Jim Boardman that "Kirdi has worked on behalf of this investor group for more than ten years". In the meantime the UK press has been reporting that Kirdi “has worked as a senior consultant with AIG in the Middle East”. How many jobs did Kirdi have between AIG, this investor group, Unicef, his sporting developments, his continued football coaching and his pizza takeaway and off licences?
6) In all recent press Dan Diamond is described as either the President or a Partner of Gameday Leadship Management Consultants, a company which runs programs for athletes and coaches to train business executives. There is no mention of him on their website which hasn’t been updated in over a year. The only information on the site suggesting the leadership of GameDay LMC is a few references to Allan Turowetz as the CEO such as this press release announcing the formation of GameDay International. The Canadian press says this off-shoot of Gameday LMC helped promote a friendly between Syria and Haiti in Montreal on June 27th, 2009 and a game at which Gameday first met Yahya Kirdi.
7) The GameDay LMC website proudly states "GameDay LMC would not be the brand it is today if not without the continuing support and involvement of some key founding partners. In developing the core content for GameDay it was imperative to triangulate the realms and experiences of pro sports, big business and the halls of academia." It goes on to list two "leading organizations" as academic partners.
The first is the James McGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland. Unfortunately the Academy is no longer housed at the University and it’s own website is defunct.
The second is Concordia University’s John Molson School Of Business. The last collaboration with Gameday LMC mentioned on their website appears to be a leadership seminar held on May 19th, 2009 the date of which ties in with the last time GameDay LMC’s own website was active.
8) And finally Kirdi has made great play of his plans to finance and build a new stadium:
"I have a new plan which I have given George Gillett," Kirdi said of the stadium. "This one is not only a stadium but also a stadium and hotel, five star, and shopping centre. The facility would also include a solarium to generate solar power, which would be provided to Liverpudlians."
Anyone who followed the tortuous planning applications LFC have made over the last seven years will confirm that Kirdi has absolutely no chance of building a shopping centre or hotel on Stanley Park as part of his purported stadium plans. As it is LFC have had to agree to provide both the original Anfield site as a community green space and new sports facilities for the local community in recompense for the parkland LFC will lease from Liverpool council and build on.
There’s also the problem of building any large shopping centre in the Anfield/Walton area. Both the recently completed Grosvenor flagship Liverpool One development in the city centre, and the recent agreement regarding the Project Jennifer development plans for Great Homer Street area of Everton would make permission extremely unlikely under Liverpool City Council’s Unitary Development Plan. Everton’s attempts to reach agreement with the council to build a shopping centre on the site of Goodison Park has historically met strong resistance because of the fear of the effect such a development would have on the local commercial centre of Walton.
The recent decision by Land Securities to axe their £100m expansion of the St John’s shopping centre would also suggest Kirdi’s plans are on very shaky ground: “There is a local oversupply of retail and it would not be prudent of us to bring forward further space.”
So that’s just a few thoughts which have been milling in my head after reading Jim’s excellent article on Kirdi. In this takeover process all we ask for as fans is honesty and openness. The production of a clear, accurate spin-free CVs by both Kirdi and his associates and Huang and QSL (see Sporting Intelligence for their investigations on Huang’s background) should be a minimum requirement before we even address the source of any financial backing.