Cardiff City's life in Hammam's hands?

Last updated : 20 December 2006 By Michael Morris
It's emerged that the completion of the deal to put hedge funders in place last Friday with Sam Hammam seeing his share %age dliuted did not happen.

Speculation in the League Paper on Sunday suggested Sam Hammam might be looking to fight his corner and keep his shareholding. That of course is disaster for Cardiff City with the business plan doomed to fail if Hammam retains control. The council will not deal with him and the only way the club can move forward into a new stadium is with the new investment plan fronted by Peter Ridsdale.

The newspaper speculation led to the following statement being placed on Cardiff City's official website,

At a Board meeting held today, (Monday 18th December 2006), the Board took the decision to call an EGM to put to the shareholders the share subscription restructuring that the Company requires to continue to trade and to finance the football Club's new stadium project.

The EGM is anticipated to be held on 12th January 2007 at Ninian Park, Cardiff.

The Company's shareholders will be asked to ratify the new investment proposed under the Club's recently announced restructuring scheme. The funds to enable the share subscription to proceed are in place. If such restructuring is agreed, then the Club can trade into the future and the new stadium project can go ahead as planned.

The Council have already made the successful completion of this restructuring exercise a pre condition to the new stadium being given the final go ahead. PMG Estates who have already made a £3m short term loan facility available to the Club are due to make a further £9m loan available as a part of the new stadium funding process. They have indicated that these monies will not be forthcoming if the planned financial and management restructuring are not voted through at the EGM.

There has been suggestions that Ridsdale and Hammam have been in talks last week that were due to continue this week. It seems that whatever plan was in place for December 15th did not come off resulting in the EGM called for January 12th. There has to be a period of time when an Extraordinary General Meeting is called hence Jan 12th being the date.

Now this could all be formality, talks with Hammam might be finely poised with the deal awaiting completion. There could though be the scenario that Sam won't play ball and will rather see the club fold than have his shares diluted.

I'm speculating here, how can anyone see that sending the club into administration will benefit anybody. Hammam it's thought would be the man who would have to tell the mysterious loan note holders he's blown their £24m.

Maybe Hammam is trying to broker himself a better deal. Under the current plan Hammam's shares will dilute to about 8%. Then if the club prospers his share value will increase and he can get a 'nice little earner'. Maybe he's not happy with that and he wants cash? I don't know. I'm just looking at some of the possibilities.

On Tuesday morning Hammam was quoted in the Western Mail saying

"I have made a decision, I moved on from Cardiff City a while back and what happens to the club is now in the hands of those charged with its day-to-day operations.

"What happens next lies in the hands of the chairman Peter Ridsdale and the board of directors. There are other people in charge now and it would not be appropriate for me to comment further at this point in time.

"Those people are the ones who will control the future of the club, not myself."

That follows the news from a couple of months ago that Hammam would step aside gracefully. Peter Ridsdale has told me in the past that Hammam has signed the deal already to allow the takeover to happen. So why the fuss now? The Echo have gone for the sensational angle with front page headlines on Tuesday announcing

"HAMMAM COULD SHUT DOWN CLUB IN 24 DAYS" They might be right. They have certainly caused a wave of panic throughout the supporters.

Why the change in tone from the morning paper to the afternoon paper I don't know. Maybe Hammam's quotes in the morning were not quite correct. He was saying nothing to the Echo.

As if seeing team performances slump wasn't enough now we have the threat of administration within the next four weeks.

As I mention above, all might be fine and dandy. We don't know exactly what's going on. At a time when Dave Jones needs some backing to improve his squad it's possible he won't start dabbling in transfers until after the EGM? Again that's a possibility that he will have his hands tied until this matter is resolved.

Hopefully for the sake of Cardiff City and it's supporters the right thing will happen and we will move forward.

Here are the links to the Echo stories on Tuesday December 19th.

Stadium Plans Face Meltdown

Bluebirds Bank On Crunch Meeting

Sam Silent Over Cardiff City Decision