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

Another Cardiff City curiosity

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).

Last Wednesday he was reported as saying the following to Malcolm Bloom of the South Wales Echo (1):

“I am confident that the stadium will be debt-free in 12 months by paying the money we borrowed off PMG,” said Ridsdale.

“The funding for that fee will be done through normal financial institutions and nothing to do with any new potential investment.

“The stadium debt is a totally separate debt to Langston.

What can this mean?  Repaying the debt to PMG ‘through normal financial institutions’ surely means ‘by taking out another loan’, which will hardly mean that the stadium is debt free!

Does he mean that the club will be receiving a gift from ‘normal financial institutions’?  If so, he obviously knows a trick unknown to all the other Chairmen living up on Debt Mountain.

Next day up he pops on the BBC website (2) with:

“This club has two levels of debt, one of which is the stadium and the other is to do with Langston and we are actively through normal financial routes looking to repay both those levels of debts.

“The first one is simple because it is known, which is the cost of the stadium and the other one is less easy to quantify because when I arrived at this football club the debt was £24m and we then did a deal in 2006 to make it £15m.”

He continues:

“I am confident that when we have the Langston agreement signed there are routes to pay off our debts in the shorter term not the longer term and by that I mean the next 18 months not the next six years.

“Whether that be routes that we have already talked to routes we haven’t thought of, time will tell.

“We might substitute one level of debt for a different level of debt but at least it might be with somebody with a name over the door we recognised rather than somebody we don’t know who they are.

“The current debts that we have we intend repaying and we intend in part refinancing and if we can pay it off completely.”

The ‘people who he didn’t know who they were’ refers to former owner Sam Hammam, the man behind the Langston debt.  How does this square with his assertion made on October 15 to the South Wales Echo (3) that “We have been in constant negotiations with Sam Hammam and I have met him personally over the last couple of weeks a number of times”  (3)? Or on 26 May “I am in regular dialogue with (former City chairman) Sam Hammam as Langston’s representative” (4).  I could go on.

Good.  I’m glad that’s all been cleared up.  😉

One Response to “Another Cardiff City curiosity”

  1. John Beech said

    Clarity/confusion continues.

    Latest from WalesOnline (1) is that Malaysian tycoon Dato Chan Tien Ghee has agreed to invest in Cardiff City. As you read on, it emerges that: ‘“We expect an initial investment this month,” said Ridsdale last night. “Anything beyond that would depend on sorting Langston out. What we agreed yesterday is that he (Chan) will make an initial investment. We will then meet for further discussions…. We’ve been talking to him (Chan) for some months and we hope to announce some investment in the next few weeks,” added Ridsdale‘. So, that’s clear, either there is some investment or there may be some investment. 😉

    Back on 11 September, Ridsdale said “I spent four days in Malaysia and it was the second time I have been there. These talks are always sensitive in terms of saying exactly where we are”. Quite!

    Of the Langston debt, Ridsdale’s latest news is “An outline agreement has been reached, including monthly payments to start almost immediately, and that will hopefully be signed off within the next week or so”. Now there is a sure-fire way of reducing debt – actually starting to pay it back! Odd perhaps that it hasn’t been tried before. Especially as in March 2008 the costs of fighting Langston were estimated by the club at being almost £500,00 up until then (2).

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