Report from Peter Ridsdale's visit to Merthyr

Last updated : 08 September 2009 By Greg Davies
Ridsdale refused to duck any questions and most of those in attendance left feeling very positive on the whole, thanking Ridsdale for his honesty and for turning up after a strenuous week of travelling.

Ridsdale on.....

Ridsdale came back from the trip yesterday (Sunday). It is his second trip over to the far east on the clubs behalf. He feels that his conversations with the people in the far east will lead to investment in the club. Not a takeover, but investment which would help pay off historical debt and put new cash into the club to help fund the playing squad. Also, it will be a stepping stone into the far east, which is a massive market. He said looking into the possibilities of far east investment was well worth the price of air fare. He's expecting further announcements to come in the next few weeks, all positives for the club.

He believes the deal in Malaysia came bigger than he imagined and is part of the solution to pay the debt, Ridsdale also said that he'd be willing to discuss with anyone about eradicating the debt at the club as one single strand (Malaysia) will not solve everything.

The possibility of a deal came about when a businessman from the far east was trying to secure a trial at a club in the English League Pyramid. Most clubs laughed off the possibility but Cardiff City took him on trial, and although the trial was somewhat curtailed due to the bad weather (snow) that happened at the time, the business was impressed by the way the club treated his son, and with what he saw when he came to watch City vs Nottingham Forest. He and Ridsdale have kept in contact since via e-mail, and Ridsdale recieved an e-mail inviting him to Malaysia to discuss business.

Ridsdale believes this was just Mark Bloom sensationalism. He said if David Sullivan was interested in investing in the club, he has Ridsdales number and he'd imagine he'd go to him directly, rather than to the Echo first. He said he new it wasn't right due to the figures quoted. He said it's impossible to just buy 75% shares in a club, because after a certain point you'd have to go for a full takeover. Can't see it happening.

Ridsdale did say however, that if someone comes in with an offer which is right for the club he'd be more than happy hand over the reigns.

Ridsdale stated the clubs current debt stands at 25 million. He said they owe 15 million to Langston and 9 million to PMG for the stadium build. The other debt is from future transfer fees and from the day to day running of the club.

The Langston debt was considerably higher, but, through negotiations, he's managed to get it down to 15 million. Ridsdale also said he gets calls from a 'certain someone we all know' about when the Langston debt will be repaid. Ridsdale also believes that he can further reduce the Langston debt through ongoing discussions with Sam Hammam.

Whilst he's looking into the far east for investment to help pay the debt, the door hasn't been closed on any deal in the States. He touched on his trip to the US in the summer, saying he had an indicitive offer from banks in the US to discuss the debt and the possibility of taking over the clubs debt. At the time, the figures quoted were unacceptable to the club but they are still in talks, and Keith Harris was in the States on behalf of the club whilst Ridsdale was in Malaysia.

Ridsdale said that the club, although still in debt, the club is in a healthy position and has more assets than liabilities on the balance sheet, which is a long way away from where we were when he came to the club when on the friday before the second game of his spell, against Gillingham, he had to go to the tax office and persuade them not to put the club into administration. Thats how close we were. He said James Collins, Danny Gabbidon and Jobi McAnuff were all sold just to pay the tax man.

Peter Ridsdale announced that a sponsorship deal had been struck and he approved the logo for the shirts that afternoon and they should be on the players shirts for the Newcastle game on Sunday. He wouldn't give away the name of the sponsor though.(Interestingly, one of the sponsors touted was a bookmakers/gambling company. Ridsdale also announced a deal that afternoon with a bookmakers to have outlets in Cardiff City Stadium).

As for Stadium sponsorship, the club are in talks with a far east company about naming rights/sponsorship for the stadium. He expects to make an announcement in the near future.

Ridsdale thinks that Ledley has mixed emotions. He said while being a Cardiff boy, he wants, understandably, to play in the Premier League. He said every player wants to play in the Premier League and Joe is no different. The club have offered Ledley a contract, over four years, doubling his current wage. The contract has an escape clause that will let Ledley leave for a pre-determined price should a Premier League club come in for Ledley while Cardiff are playing at Championship level. If Cardiff themselves get promoted, that clause becomes null and void.

He has heard nothing from Ledley or his advisors other than he'd be happy to talk about a deal. Ridsdale will be doing everything to make Ledley sign the new deal.

With Jay Bothroyd out injured, Ridsdale was asked by Big Sam if there was any truth in the rumours about Hull's Daniel Cousin coming to the club to play in the target man role, as Bothroyd will be a massive loss to the team.

Ridsdale agreed with Sam about Jay being a big loss to the team, and that they are better with him. He also agreed that they need a target man at the club and will be doing his utmost to bring someone in during the loan window. He said Kelvin Etuhu, in from Manchester City, is a talented player, but is a naturally wide player. As for Cousin, Dave Jones has looked at him twice, once while he was still at Rangers, and once at Hull, but both times it was decided he wasn't right for the club. There was talk about a possible swap deal in the summe with Ross McCormack going the other way, but that was just talk from the players agent, who represents both Cousin and McCormack.

Ridsdale says that player sales in the past have been for survival. Kavanagh, Collins, Gabbidon, McAnuff, Chopra were all sold to keep the club going. Now the club sell players when it's right for the club, like Ramsey and Loovens. They turned down a 6 million pound bid last year for Joe Ledley, and could anyone ever imagine Cardiff City turn down a 6 million bid for a player??

Roger Johnson left because he wanted to go. He personally phoned Peter Ridsdale and asked him to go. Interestingly, he trained with CCFC for a week after sealing his transfer to Birmingham, and after training in the new stadium and seeing how the club was moving on, on his last day, he left teary eyed wondering if he'd made the right decision in leaving.

Also, Ridsdale has said he has never sold a player from under Dave Jones feet, as Jones sanctions all transfers at the club.

The new stadium cost 65 million, including the building of the new athletic stadium and for highways improvements around the ground. Ridsdale said its a stadium to be proud of. He said the budget for this season is an average around 18,000 per game, and that will leave the club showing a small profit. Last season, the budget was 13,000 at Ninian Park and when they showed their business plan to Deloittes, the accountants, they doubted the club could reach 13,000 per game at NP. They avergaed 18,400.

As for the ground share with The Cardiff Blues, Ridsdale said that he was invited to meet the council and was told that the council were giving the club a 40 million land bank and was asked entertain the possibilty of a ground share with the Blues. A 20 year agreement was struck which see's the Blues pay Cardiff City and annual rent, all their own match day costs and 25% of the annual cost of running the stadium for all events.

The Premier Club was brought up by a number of disgruntled people, saying they're aggrieved that they have paid up front, plus a monthly fee for the Premier Club seats while the club are selling them on a match per match basis for prices as low as £65. Ridsdale answered this by saying that the Premier Club members have signed a 5 year commitment and that includes a price fix, so were the club to get promoted, they get Premiership football at the same price, and buying the seats over 5 years is a good long term investment. As for selling the seats on a match basis, Ridsdale said he wants people to use the opportunity to see what the Premier Club is all about and that hopefully, after having a taster, would commit to buying long term Premier Club seats.

The Stadium can get to a capacity of 35,000 without touching the current roofline, although the club still have planning permission to increase the capacity to 60,000 should the clubs success warrant it.

As for Ninian Park, everything has been tied up and the NP will be knocked down this autumn to make way for a new housing estate called Ninian Park.

Peter Ridsdale is meeting with David Collins of the FAW on Thursday about the possibility of switching or hosting Wales International fixtures at CCS. Ridsdale said he will assist the FAW and Wales wherever he can. He said they've paid 1 million for the deso playing surface and that it would be able to cope with International games as well as the regular football and rugby played on it, and thay he would be delighted to accomodate Wales.

On the possibilty of leaving the FAW and joining the English FA, Cardiff City have been invited by Mahwinney and Treismann to join the FA and Ridsdale would like the club to join as it would be beneficial to everyone, but it is in FIFA's hands and he awaits their decision. He can understand why the FAW want to keep CCFC under their banner but as the only way CCFC could qualify for Europe is playing in the English system its the logical move.

Ridsdale says he won't be happy until all travel restrictions on Cardiff City supporters are lifted. He said there is no reason for fans to be subjected to bubble trips, or the sorts of arrangements we have become accustomed to. Unfortunately, though, he said just as it seems we are geting there, incidents like Birmingham away last season occur and puts us back to square one. Ridsdale announced that, after discussions with Police, Bristol City will no longer be a bubble trip due to the good behaviour on both fans parts over the last few ties. That is a move in the right direction but he will not be totally satisfied until all restricyions are lifted. He understands Cardiff - Swansea, but he was in charge of Leeds for large scale games against Manchester United and ther were no bubbles and the games went without incident. He will be working towards making sure fans are not subjected to anymore restrictions.

Ridsdale stated Keith Harris role within the club is to use his network of contacts to gain access to funding, as through funding is the easiest way to pay of debts.

The Michael Chopra deal was a bold decision for the club, Ridsdale said, but it's a good deal as Chopra is doing the business. Despite figures bandied about, the club have paid 500,000 upfront for Chopra, which could eventually rise to a maximum of 3 million. This has nothing to ndo with any monies owed to us by Sunderland, as that deal was concluded and paid up.


Ridsdale denied 100% that Dave Jones lost the dressing room. He said after the Burnley game it was almost as if everybody assumed we were in the play-offs and took their foot off the gas and were not psychologically prepared for the last 4 games of the season. Ridsdale was telling people at the time that something was not right and that what happened was inexplicable and unacceptable and he let people know, in no uncertain terms, that he would not put up with a collapse like that again and that 7th place is not good enough.

and finally....

Peter Ridsdale thanked the Cardiff City fans for their loyalty, and said it was a privelage to be chairman of the club. He said over the last 3-4 years, the supporters have taken the club forward. They have been outstanding and perhaps don't get the credit they deserve. He said his proudest moment in football was when the CCFC fans stayed behind at Wembley to watch Portsmouth lift the FA Cup and that on that day, Cardiff City fans gave the FA Cup back to the fans where it belongs, and we recieved worldwide praise for it.