Football Management

Commentary on the management of over 160 English football clubs by Dr John Beech, winner of the FSF Writer of the Year Award 2009/10 Twitter: @JohnBeech Curator of! Football Finance

Planet Ridsdale

Posted by John Beech on September 10, 2009

One thing that can be said for Cardiff City’s Chairman Peter Ridsdale is that he can certainly ‘talk the talk’, as anyone who has read his United We Fall account of his Leeds years will probably concede, even those participants in the downfall of Leeds who don’t exactly agree with his analysis of events and their causation.

His years since, at Cardiff City, where he took over from Sam Hammam, a man who also had a history of failure, have not been entirely smooth.  He’s made the headlines a number of times, notably in his long-running battle with Langston over repayments of a loan. Ridsdale joined Cardiff initially as a structure and finance consultant, and pledged to save the club, then with debts of £30m (1) and having to turn to the PFA in order to page the players’ wages (2).  In October 2006 he became Chairman in place of Hammam (3).

Ridsdale said then: “We will end up within 12 months being [a] debt-free business and having a new stadium” (4), neither of which turned out to be even vaguely accurate forecasts.

A recent globe trot has yet to produce significant new investment.  Latest nominees by Risdale are based in Malaysia and the States he reassured fans (5).  What particularly caught my eye was the following statement of his: “We are running this club as a business.  Every bit of profit we make is going into the playing squad“.  That would be excellent news, apart from one or two inconvenient facts – Cardiff City last made a (modest) profit in 2005/06, just before Ridsdale took control; this was the only year the club made a profit in the period I have records for – from 1998/99; long-term liabilities in the most recently published accounts still stand at over £26m.  So, every bit of what profit exactly would that be that is going into the playing squad?

As Ridsdale adds to his Air Miles, there still remains the possibility that his optimistic patter may yet produce a serious investor.  After three years  however, this seems an increasingly desperate strategy.

What if he does not succeed?  He may have put off paying any money back to Langston in the immediate future, but the club’s debt mountain is a ticking time-bomb.  This is not the ideal scenario in any circumstances, but, with an unpaid-for new stadium, Ridsdale is pursuing a very high-risk strategy indeed.

One Response to “Planet Ridsdale”

  1. […] Posted by John Beech on October 31, 2009 I have blogged before on the rather curious way that Peter Ridsdale can use the English language (see Planet Ridsdale). […]

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