Cardiff City v Langston. He said, she said

Last updated : 18 August 2007 By Michael Morris
With Sam Hammam wanting to be the umpire it turning into a bit of a farce but what's likely to be a very expensive one if it's not sorted out soon.

We know the background. Langston, via their lawyers have demanded around £30m because of an alledged payment default.

Cardiff City have denied this and Peter Ridsdale has been extremely active throughout the media assurring fans that the club is in the right and that payments are not overdue and that the debt is correctly in order.

On Wednesday eveing Peter Ridsdale answered fans questions of the GTFM Phone In. In fairness he responded to all questions that was asked. He was very sure in his delivery that the club were in the right and he had documentary evidence to back it up.

The whole show is available here to DOWNLOAD. It's in .mp3 format and is 26mb in size.

Then on Thursday we find out that Sam Hammam is in South Wales rounding up his old friends. One of them, Vince Alm from the Supporters Club, was less than impressed by the return of Sam Hammam.

"Two days ago I could not have cared less who the loan note holders are. Now they have put my club under pressure," Alm told the Echo.

"I asked Sam questions and he did not answer them. He kept talking, but he did not give out the information we asked for.

"How can he expect me to support him in those circumstances?

"I am not a supporter of the current board, current directors, former owners or former chairmen. I want what is best for my football club, who I have always supported.

"I went in with an open mind and he did nothing to allay my fears. I am gutted and I told him he had lost an ally in me today."

The whole Echo article which is headlined "Hammam Plot To Buy Buebirds" can be found here.

There has been some petty bickering as well with Hammam appearing to be ignoring the club in all of this saying he's not able to speak to Peter Ridsdale. Hammam is claiming some sort of mediators role but won't speak to one of the parties?

Then on Thursday a further statement from the lawyers representing Langston.

Hextalls LLP issued a statement saying, "We have noted the numerous press comments and statements which have been issued by or on behalf of Cardiff City FC and we have been instructed by Langston to clarify matters.

"The press releases issued by the club appear to contend:

That the club does not know the identity of Langston and that the club's only point of contact was or is Sam Hammam;

That the club has not ignored attempts by Langston to enter into dialogue;

That Langston is either ill-informed or its position is ill-founded.

"Langston responds to these contentions as follows:

The club knows the identities of the directors of Langston;

The club has the address of Langston in Switzerland;

A current representative of the club has met the Swiss representative of Langston;

There have been numerous communications (both verbal and in writing) between the club and the Swiss representative;

Following the formal letter that was sent to the club, a current representative of the club contacted the Swiss representative;

It follows that it is not true that Sam Hammam was or is the sole point of contact that the club has had with Langston;

It is misleading for the club to suggest it is, or has been, unable to communicate with Langston;

Langston did ask Sam Hammam to contact the club and his attempts to generate dialogue over the last few months have been ignored;

Langston remains confident that it is in a very strong position and that its claim will be determined on the basis of all documents and not extracts of documents, which may well be misleading."

Cardiff City chairman Peter Ridsdale responded, "The club stands by the statements it has given on this matter.

"We are very firm in our view that under the terms of a revised agreement with Langston, we do not have to make any repayments before 2016.

"We have never suggested that Mr Hammam is the only link we have ever had with Langston. But it is rather odd that shortly after trying to distance Mr Hammam from Langston, Hextalls then go on to say that he has been some kind of intermediary.

"In my early days at the club, when Mr Hammam was still in charge, he wanted me to meet an accountant from Switzerland who was acting for Langston. But he was not an employee of Langston. I have no idea who the directors of Langston are.

"I have managed to contact Mr Hammam via a former club director acting as an intermediary. He has said that he will only meet us in the presence of his lawyers, who he said were Hextalls. I am very happy to meet him.

"We have received the writ from Hextalls acting for Langston demanding £31m, and I have passed it to our lawyers. We will most certainly be defending it."

On Friday Peter Ridsdale challenged Sam Hammam to a public debate.

"I spent an hour on a radio phone-in answering questions from supporters. Why don't Sam and I go on the same show as soon as possible - and let fans ask us any questions they want. After all, Cardiff City Football Club belongs to the shareholders and supporters.

"The only winners if this goes to court are the lawyers. We must all be open and transparent. The only way to solve this problem is to talk. Nobody at Cardiff City FC knows who the people are at Langston," said Ridsdale. "We have met one representative, but not any directors or executives.

"If Sam Hammam or anybody can tell us, I personally guarantee to contact them immediately and arrange a meeting."

"No payments, on either the principal sum or interest, are due until that date," (Dec 2016) said Ridsdale. "We have not missed any deadlines. None at all."

What next?