Apology no good say Cardiff fans

Last updated : 30 January 2010 By BBC Sport

Cardiff City Supporters Trust is to hold an open meeting after being left unsatisfied by chairman Peter Ridsdale's apology for misleading fans.He accepted the club had led fans to believe money raised from advance season tickets would buy new players when in fact it will now settle debts.

Cardiff City owes £2.7m in tax and faces a winding up order.

The trust says the club should have settled bills ahead of other payments, including fees to Ridsdale himself.

An investigation by the Sport Wales programme, to be broadcast on BBC TWO Wales on Friday at 2200 GMT, has learnt the trust intends to press ahead with calls for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) at which it will demand the club's board gives a full picture of Cardiff's finances.

The trust, which has 700 members after less than a year in existence, will first hold an open meeting on Monday. It would need 5% of shareholders to be in agreement before an EGM could be forced.

Trust board member Keith Morgan, a partner in accountants PKF - said: "People feel aggrieved that - shall we put it politely - they have been misled as to what the purpose of the (season ticket) money was.

"I suspect that if the club had been honest and straight and had said 'we actually need some the money to deal with some debts now to give us the chance to move forward' then the majority would have contributed anyway - because they are fans and they wish to help the club out.

The last set of accounts submitted by the club show a deficit of £38m, but also reveal that Ridsdale and his consultancy company have been paid a total of £1.5m in wages and fees over the past two years.

Keith Morgan from the supporters' trust added: "Certainly, issues like paying the tax man should come before player pay rises, or new signings, or bonuses to directors, or anything like that. We feel that sometimes the club might have got its priorities wrong."

Around 10,000 Cardiff fans bought season tickets for 2010/11 after the club told them the cash raised would be used to bring in new players.

But with a winding up order brought by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs due in court on February 10, the club has since admitted it will use the cash to settle debts.

Ridsdale apologised to fans on Thursday and insisted misleading them was not deliberate. He said no advance season ticket fees would be repaid unless the club reached the Premiership.

He said: "We undoubtedly have some short-term challenges and these challenges will be addressed fairly and squarely, and it would not have been appropriate to add to our overheads by bringing in players until they've been resolved.

The club says it has been in discussions with potential overseas investors.

But Prof Tom Cannon of Liverpool University, a leading UK authority on football finance, has told Sport Wales he believes the types of investors being linked with Cardiff offer little hope for the future.

He told the programme, "None of them offer any great hope in my opinion. The truth is that when you are up to your neck in it then you are usually desperate for anybody to come along.

"The trick is not to get up to your neck in it."

Sport Wales - BBC TWO Wales, Friday 2200 GMT

Source: BBC Sport

Source: BBC Sport