Club meets fans to explain red kit decision

Last updated : 08 May 2012 By Dave Sugarman

Representing the football club during this evening's meeting at the Cardiff City Stadium were Chief Executive Alan Whiteley, Stadium Manager Wayne Nash, Director of Marketing Julian Jenkins and Media Manager Barrie McAuliffe.

The Bluebirds supporters present were Vince Alm, Mark Watkins and Rob Davies, who were representing the Cardiff City Supporters' Club, Tim Hartley, Tracey Marsh and Keith Morgan, who were representing the Cardiff City Supporters' Trust, Tony Jeffries and Dave Sugarman, who were representing the club's Away Travel Group, Mike Morris and Paul Evans, who were representing CCMB, Annis Abraham and Carl Curtis, who were representing AAMB, and Gwyn Davies.

After a brief introduction from Julian Jenkins, Alan Whiteley opened the meeting by assuring those present that the changes which are going to take place at the club during the coming months are not being entered into lightly. He said an investment package from major shareholder Vincent Tan was vital to the club's continued progress and would provide it with long-term stability. The package, which was said to be worth a sum in the region of £100 million, will involve the following:

1) A large amount of existing debt being turned in equity.

2) The clearance of the historical debt to the Langston Corporation.

3) Significant changes to the club's internal infrastructure.

4) Major investment in new state-of-the-art training facilities.

5) An increase in the capacity of the Cardiff City Stadium to 35,000.

6) Significant investment in the playing squad in a bid to earn promotion to the Premier League.

One of the conditions that Vincent Tan has laid down in order for this investment package to proceed is a final settlement of the Langston loan notes debt. The Chief Executive reported that this matter has not yet been finalised, but added that he believes an agreement between the club and Langston representative Sam Hammam is close. He anticipated that a deal should be concluded in the very near future as it is in the interest of both parties to do so.

Another condition of the investment package is that the club will change its first-choice colours from blue to red from next season onwards. Therefore, the home kit for 2012/13 will be a red shirt with black trim, black shorts and red socks. The away kit will be blue. The club's badge will also be altered to incorporate a red dragon as opposed to a bluebird.

The change of club colours and badge will take place regardless of whether the rest of the investment package comes to fruition or not.

Contrary to rumours earlier in the day, the club's name will not be changed and the blue seats inside the Cardiff City Stadium will not be replaced by red seats before the start of next season. The stadium expansion is set to be completed before the start of the 2013/14 season, while the plans for a new training complex are already with the architects.

In terms of the club's historical debts, Alan Whiteley stated that an agreement with PMG Estates Ltd is already in place to repay the balance of the monies owed to them before the end of 2013, although the option to convert elements of that particular debt into equity has now expired. Meanwhile, the existing agreement with the Player Finance Fund regarding the monies owed to that company will remain in place and has not changed.

The settlement of the Langston debt will be a straight cash deal and will not involve any conversion of debt into equity. It is also anticipated that the deal will not involve the stadium naming rights. 

None of the conversion of existing debts into equity will need to be ratified by the shareholders at an EGM as there is sufficient headroom in the previously-ratified agreement to cover the latest conversions.

A straw poll of the thirteen supporters present was conducted on the subject of the changes to the club's colours and badge. One was in favour; two were indifferent, while the remainder were opposed and in some cases very strongly opposed. However, it was acknowledged by all present that the views of those attending the meeting were not necessarily representative of the fanbase as a whole.