Saturday, February 27, 2010

British Olympic High Jump Team

Cardiff City fans to demo before next week's home game

Peter Ridsdale may have thought his problems were over after surviving a vote of no confidence at Wednesday's E.G.M. (although I'm sure he didn't really!!!) but the supporters heat will be turned up another notch or two before next weekend's home game with Middlesbrough as supporters are being invited to meet in the car parks behind the Admiral Napier and Wetherspoon's pubs in Canton and match en masse to the new stadium in protest in running of this club and Peter Ridsdale being at its helm.

I will definitely be part of it!

While I have my doubts that the demo will achieve anything, I just feel that if fans do not like the way they have been treated (with contempt in my opinion), the way the club is operating (or barely operating!) and have no idea why the Chairman is still with us, then it is important to make your feelings known.

Nobody can accuse City fans of not showing patience in recent weeks and months and giving the Board plus Ridsdale plenty of slack but that has ultimately achieved nothing either.

Ever wondered about Guts or Balls...

There is a medical distinction. We've all heard about people having guts or balls, but do you really know the difference?
In an effort to keep you informed, the definitions are listed below:

GUTS - Is arriving home late after a night out with the boys, being met by your wife with a broom, and having the guts to ask: ''Are you still cleaning, or are you flying somewhere?''

BALLS - Is coming home late after a night out with the boys, smelling of perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the bum and having the balls to say: ''You're next, fatty.''

I hope this clears up any confusion. Medically speaking, there is no difference, since both ultimately result in death.

Friday, February 26, 2010

2008 Cup Final Meltdown - Pompey hit admin while Cardiff face more winding up orders

On the day that Portsmouth F.C. faced the inevitable and became the first Premiership club to enter administration, their 2008 F.A. Cup Final opponents Cardiff City had another winding up order confirmed in the media.

This week's E.G.M. and agreed land sale (there wasn't really any option for shareholders) may have paved the way to paying off the taxman for the time being and perhaps help the club get to the end of the season but their future remains shrouded in doubt.

Rumours hit the messageboards over a week ago - and were covered in this blog too - that a further winding up order was out there but with their usual expediency(!), South Wales Echo today confirmed the club face another major problem in the form of a £750,000+ winding up order from Newport family firm Shine in respect of the fit out of catering equipment in the new stadium.

Their petition was placed in the county court in Cardiff last December against Cardiff City Stadium Limited, a sister company of the football club for whom it carried out the work on the stadium and was two days before HMRC placed tjheir £2.7M winding up order for unpaid taxes against Cardiff City Holdings Ltd.

The directors of the stadium company are the club’s chairman and chief executive Peter Ridsdale and PMG in the guise of non-execs Paul Guy and Mike Hall, both major shareholders of the football club.

Perhaps the most extraordinary aspect was this was taking place at the exact time that the club were fully promoting its so-called Golden Ticket promising all advance season tickets bought for 2010/11 would be fully invested in new player purchases which collapsed leaving supporters understandably bitter and angry, it does feel like deception but has certainly broken down all trust in the hierarchy of the club.

It was at the time the club was still promoting its Golden Ticket offer, asking fans to buy season tickets in advance to help the club fund its push for the Premiership.

Shine's winding up order is adjourned until April 26 with the club unofficially cliaming half the debt has been cleared but Shine remain tight-lipped and there is no official confirmation.

A club source told the Echo that Shine had been happy to adjourn the case because the debt was being paid off and that half the debt had already been paid. Alan Flitcroft mentioned at Wednesday's E.G.M. that he was "hopeful" of agreeing a deal with Shine before the next April court date.

Rumours persist that a whole host of contractors and business have unpaid bills in respect of the stadium fit-out and that two or more further winding up orders are in the pipeline although this is yet to be verified.

I personally remain worried for the future of the club and dubious about the Board's ability to resolve the massive problems. It does feel like the club are running a log distance hurdle race with the hurdles getting higher and closer ... falling over one and flat on their faces could even be a matter of when rather than if it happens.

Footnote - Another CCFC, Chester City Football Club, were expelled from the Conference today and are set to shut down any day. You do feel football's problems are out of control and is hitting all clubs from the top to the bottom.

What a tackle!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


CARDIFF CITY FOOTBALL CLUB held an E.G.M. today to approve a land sale to raise vital urgent funds to clear a tax demand but they also agreed to answers shareholder questions relating to the current financial situation at the club.

David Sugarman, Cardiff City Supporters Trust Membership Secretary, provided this comprehensive report for messageboard users which I've copied here.

Representing Cardiff City Football Club (Holdings) Ltd at today's Extraordinary General Meeting were Chairman Peter Ridsdale, Group Finance Director Alan Flitcroft, Company Secretary Alan Whiteley and board member Steve Borley. Apologies were given for the absence of missing board members Keith Harris and Dato Chan Tien Ghee.

The Chairman opened the meeting at 10am by giving the shareholders some background information regarding the House of Sport land sale proposal, which was the only official item on the agenda. While doing so, he confirmed the board would take questions from shareholders later in the meeting regarding the club's current financial situation, and he then invited any questions specific to the land sale proposal.

A shareholder asked if the price of the land in respect of the proposed deals with Borley Engineering Services Ltd and PMG Developments PLC had been valued independently. Peter Ridsdale confirmed that it had and stated that the council were fully satisfied that the best value on the deals had been achieved.

Shareholder Mike Roderick asked if the deal regarding the House of Sport was in the best interests of the football club as it appeared to him that a valuable future income stream was being sold off in order to service current debts.

Steve Borley explained that the value of the land where the House of Sport is to be situated was deemed to be nominal by two independent valuations due to the club's commitment to the council to build the facility. He said the House of Sport was never intended to be a money-earner for the club, but was instead one of the community benefits that formed an essential part of the original planning agreement with the council. Borley stated that the club desperately needs its own indoor training facility in order to satisfy the Football Association's criteria for Academy status, as the Vale has recently sold the indoor facility the club has been renting for the Academy players to the WRU. He added that the club was therefore in danger of losing Academy status if the House of Sport facility isn't built within the next eighteen months. He said he had been heavily involved in the club's youth structure since first becoming a director back in 1997 and he was desperate to ensure that the Academy continues to flourish.

Borley said that having his company build the House of Sport discharged a £3.5 million obligation the club could not afford at present. He admitted that his company's business plan in relation to the facility had been put together quickly in order to help ease the club's current cash-flow problems. He then assured the shareholders there was no financial benefit to him personally or for his company in building and running the House of Sport. With that in mind, he invited any shareholders present to join him as a partner in the project if they believed it would be a money-making scheme.

Alan Whiteley told the meeting that the club has an agreement with Borley Engineering Services Ltd to purchase the House of Sport at build cost within a period of twelve to eighteen months following practical completion of the facility.

Peter Ridsdale echoed Steve Borley's sentiments about the House of Sport being an obligation as opposed to a profit-making vehicle for the club, and said he felt it was very much in the club's best interests to pass that obligation on to Borley Engineering Services Ltd at this current point in time. He said the rental costs the club will have to pay BESL in order to use the facility once it is built will mirror the fees City are currently paying to use a similar facility at the Vale. Ridsdale added that the club's players and staff will be able to use a considerably better facility once the House of Sport is built, but on very similar financial terms.

Steve Borley said the rental figures he had used in his company's business plan had been obtained by comparing costs at other equivalent facilities. He said he could have cut costs and reduced the rental figures, but that would have meant the club's future players using a substandard facility, which would not be beneficial for their development. He added that some of the figures quoted in the press have been exaggerated with regard to the rental fees as the club won't be using it all year round.

Former-Chairman and shareholder Tony Clemo asked what would happen to the £450,000 Borley Engineering Services Ltd was proposing to pay for the House of Sport plot.

Peter Ridsdale stated the money would be wiped off the debt the club already owes to BESL for work the company has carried out on the new stadium project. He added the deal would significantly ease the club's current cash-flow problems as it would bring in direct funds through the second £1.8 million land deal with PMG Developments PLC.

A vote was then taken on the House of Sport land sale proposal. The Chairman revealed that proxy votes sent in by shareholders not in attendance at the meeting had amounted to approximately 22 million share votes for, and none against. He then asked for a show of hands. All of the shareholders present at the meeting voted in favour of the proposal bar two, so the motion was carried.

Tony Clemo asked when the accounts for the year ending 31 May 2009 are likely to be made available to shareholders and added a request for an Annual General Meeting to pass those accounts and the accounts for the year ending 31 May 2008.

Peter Ridsdale stated that the publication of the 31 May 2009 accounts is likely to be delayed due to an issue over the valuation of the land banks and stadium assets. However, he said he expected that issue to be resolved soon and the accounts to be published accordingly. Alan Flitcroft explained that the club is no longer required to hold an AGM under the provisions of the Companies Act 2006. However, the Chairman gave an undertaking to explore the possibilities of holding an AGM to pass the accounts, and in response to a request from another shareholder he also gave an undertaking to send the 2008 and 2009 accounts to all shareholders through the post.

Peter Ridsdale then gave a lengthy presentation outlining how far he and the board believe the club has come since 2005, when the Chairman first got involved with Cardiff City. He said when he arrived in South Wales, the club had debts of more than £30 million, was losing more than £9 million a year, was battling against relegation, the new stadium project was a pipedream and crowds were averaging 11,400.

Since then, he said the club's achievements have included four mid-table finishes in the Championship, an FA Cup final, the building and completion of a new stadium, the building of a new training facility at the Vale upon which the club has agreed a 15-year lease, and average crowds at present of 20,400.

The Chairman stated the board's business strategy in 2005 was: 1) to build the stadium, 2) to keep the club in the Championship, and 3) to sell players and assets in order to achieve the first two goals.

He said the board's business strategy in 2010 and going forwards is: 1) to seek new investment and funding, 2) to sell the club to new owners, and 3) to continually review overheads and costs until either of the first two goals are achieved.

Ridsdale suggested that five Championship clubs are currently receiving Premiership parachute payments, thirteen are being subsidised by wealthy individual owners and six are attempting to be self-sufficient. He said those six clubs are Cardiff, Doncaster, Plymouth, Preston, S****horpe and Swansea.

The Chairman pointed to the three main reasons as to why he believed the club had encountered serious cash-flow problems since the summer months:

1) The board had anticipated two major player sales during the close-season but only one deal had been struck (he later admitted that Joe Ledley was the second player the club had expected to sell)

2) The majority of the money the club had received from Birmingham City for Roger Johnson was immediately reinvested in the squad

3) The directors had been given assurances that new investment ranging between £2 and £6 million would be coming into the club, but so far only £500,000 has materialised

He added that the above issues had come against a backdrop of the club having to find money to build and fit out the stadium, meet repayments on loans to former directors, make repayments on the debt owed to PMG and make repayments to the Langston Corporation.

In answer to a question from a shareholder, the Chairman stated the only future income stream that had effectively been mortgaged at the new stadium was the catering contract which is being handled by Compass. However, he said that the royalties Compass pay the club is still well in excess of the money the club earned from the catering facilities at Ninian Park.

Ridsdale concluded his presentation by saying that the current cash-flow situation is a short-term issue as opposed to along-term problem. He admitted that mistakes have been made by the board, and he issued an apology for those mistakes, but he assured the shareholders that the directors are fully committed to tackling the current problems and they are confident they will be able to do so. The Chairman then opened up the meeting to questions from the floor.

Tracey Marsh of the Supporters' Trust asked how much money the Platinum Ambassadors season ticket scheme had raised and how that had been spent.

Alan Flitcroft responded that the scheme had raised a total of approximately £2.6 million a sum that was smaller than the season ticket sales from the same period in 2008/09. He said that since the scheme had been launched, the club had paid out £2.3 million in wages and a similar amount in taxes. He admitted the season ticket income had largely been spent on those areas, although he stated the situation was far more complex as the club had also raised money through various other means and had spent money on other running costs during the same period.

After Keith Morgan of the Supporters' Trust had clarified several technical points in relation to the financial figures quoted in Peter Ridsdale's presentation, shareholder Annis Abraham then called for a vote of no confidence in the Chairman. He also asked Steve Borley if Ridsdale has his backing as regards his position at the club. The vote of no confidence was seconded by shareholder Sam Murphy.

The Chairman stated that if any shareholder wishes to stage a vote of no confidence in either him or any other board member, they need to call a General Meeting for that specific purpose and obtain the backing of at least 5% of the company's shareholders in order to table such a resolution, as required by the company's constitution. Steve Borley then asked Annis Abraham what he thought he was trying to prove by asking such a question. Abraham stated that he wanted to know if the Chairman had his backing and the backing of the other major shareholders, such as Paul Guy and Mike Hall. Borley confirmed that the Chairman does indeed have his backing.

Shareholder Mike Roderick asked if the anticipated investment which had apparently failed to arrive before Christmas had been delayed because the Chairman had been unprofessional and had not made the potential investors aware of the club's true financial position.

Peter Ridsdale stated that neither he nor the club's other representatives have had any meaningful meetings with potential investors without revealing the club's full financial liabilities. He maintained that he had informed one potential investor of the HMRC winding-up order on the same day that he had first learned about it.

Responding to an earlier question from Keith Morgan, the Chairman stated the club had made significant operating losses in recent seasons in its attempt to stay in the Championship, as losing its Championship status would have been a disaster. He confirmed that an operating loss will again be made during the current season on the basis that the club has spent substantial funds in order to fit out the new stadium. When pressed by a shareholder, Ridsdale refused to put a figure on this season's losses on the grounds that the relevant accounts have yet to be audited or published.

Geraint Jones, Secretary of the Supporters' Trust, asked Peter Ridsdale to list the club's short-term creditors. He also asked what those creditors are owed and how the club intends to service those debts. The Chairman responded that he was unable to give a list of short-term creditors as the information was confidential and commercially sensitive. However, he said he fully understood the concerns of the shareholders with regard to that situation. He stated that the directors are acutely aware of the requirement to pay all of the club's creditors and they are doing everything within their powers to make sure cash is available to meet those debts. He added that £2.3 million has recently been paid to the Inland Revenue and more money will be paid to them next week.

Shareholder Steve Perry asked if the club faces a further winding-up order in April from a firm owed a figure of approximately £700,000 in relation to services provided at the new stadium.

Alan Flitcroft confirmed that there is currently a petition for a winding-up order against Cardiff City Stadium Ltd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cardiff City Football Club (Holdings) Ltd), and that order has been adjourned until April. Flitcroft said he hoped the club would be able to reach a satisfactory arrangement with the company concerned before the matter goes back to court.

A shareholder asked if director Keith Harris is paid a six-figure salary by the club.

Peter Ridsdale stated that Harris is not paid a six-figure salary by the club. He said he believes that, to date, Harris has not been paid any fees at all by the club, and if he has they are certainly not in six figures.

Phil Nifield of the Supporters' Trust asked the board to confirm or deny if the club is currently under a Football League transfer embargo, and if it is to state when that embargo was put in place.

The Chairman confirmed that the club is currently under such an embargo and will be until such a time that the current tax situation is satisfactorily resolved. He said the embargo initially came into effect during the autumn.

Phil Nifield asked why the club was promoting the Platinum Ambassadors season ticket scheme by promising fans that the squad would be strengthened in January with the proceeds when the club was in fact under a transfer embargo.

Peter Ridsdale stated that at the time of the season tickets launch, the board was fully expecting money to come into the club in the form of new investment which would have enabled the tax debts to be cleared and the season ticket cash to be spent on new players. He said that investment hadn't materialised, and therefore the club hadn't been able to clear the tax debt as expected.

Alan Flitcroft stated that he wasn't going to attempt to kid anyone and confessed that of course he had known when the season ticket campaign was launched that the club owed HMRC a significant amount of money. He said the messages the club was putting out about backing manager Dave Jones during the January transfer window were based on commitments that had been given to the board by potential investors. As those commitments were not honoured, the board couldn't spend the season ticket money as they had wanted to. He admitted he was embarrassed by the situation and apologised to the shareholders for it.

On the subject of investment, the Chairman stated that before the General Meeting had started he had asked his colleagues if they felt the club would be more likely to attract the new investment they are currently working to secure if he were to go than if he were to stay. Ridsdale said the board's view is that new investment is more likely to happen if he stays than if he goes. He added that if their answer had been the opposite, he wouldn't have been present at the meeting.

A shareholder asked what the annual cost of servicing the club's long-term debts is.

Alan Flitcroft said the club is committed to paying £1 million a year to Langston, £1 million a year to PMG and approximately £720,000 in director's loans. He said that while these are obviously significant sums, he feels they are affordable within the club's current budget.

The same shareholder asked if the club was likely to have sell players this coming summer.

Peter Ridsdale confirmed that the club almost certainly will have sell players during the next close-season, just as it has done in previous years.

Dave Sugarman of the Supporters' Trust asked if Dato Chan Tien Ghee is a director of the club and, if he is, why hasn't his directorship been registered at Companies House.

Alan Whiteley confirmed that Dato Chan is a director, but he said the form which was sent to Companies House in order to register him as such was rejected because it was filled out incorrectly. Whiteley added that an amended form is in the process of being registered.

Dave Sugarman then asked if any of the club's directors have been awarded bonuses in relation to the completion of the new stadium and, if so, how much were those bonuses.

Alan Whiteley stated that three directors were paid bonuses in recognition of the work they had put into the scheme. He said Peter Ridsdale had been awarded a bonus of £100,000, while he and Steve Borley had been awarded bonuses of £50,000 each.

A shareholder asked how long the Chairman felt the club could survive without further investment.

Peter Ridsdale said the club has money coming in from various income streams every day of the week. He stated that if the directors didn't think the club could survive long-term, they wouldn't be sitting in a meeting like this one but would instead be busy taking other action. He added that it was only because the board believed in the financial viability of the club that they had set up the General Meeting in order to help take things further forward.

The Chairman then refused to answer a question from shareholder Mike Roderick in connection with WH Sports Group Ltd, the liquidated consultancy company through which he was initially paid fees by the club. He merely stated that he was happy that his affairs in connection with WH Sports were being appropriately managed.

Tony Clemo asked what sort of form the board believes a potential takeover might take in view of the fact that almost all of the shares from the 2007 issue have now been subscribed to.

Alan Whiteley said a takeover may take the form of existing shareholders selling their stakes to a new investor, or a new share issue may need to be set up, in which case the shareholders would have to pass the resolution at a specially-convened General Meeting. Peter Ridsdale added that the club is currently talking to four groups of potential investors, and those groups include people who have said they are interested in both types of takeover.

A shareholder made a statement that he believed a vocal minority at the meeting were pursuing their own agendas and did not represent the feelings of the majority of shareholders. Another shareholder then asked how far the talks with potential investors regarding a takeover had progressed.

The Chairman said he couldn't answer that question with any degree of certainty as the board had received written commitments from potential investors in recent months which hadn't been honoured. Therefore, he said he didn't feel in a position to make any definitive statements about the progress on new investment. However, he added that there are two interested parties who he believes are very strong possibilities for future investment, both of which he has spoken to again this week.

Ridsdale said he is totally committed to finding new owners for the club as a matter of urgency so that he can hand over control to them, which he said would no doubt please some of the people in the room. He stated he believes the club can only continue to compete at the top end of the Championship or get promoted to the Premiership if new investment comes in, and the board is determined to deliver such investment in order to avoid a situation whereby the club goes backwards. He added that he and his colleagues are spending many hours each day trying to ensure that new investment does come into the football club as soon as possible.

Keith Morgan asked if proper due diligence has been carried out on the potential investors. He pointed to the recent situation that had arisen with supposed investor Ben Steele, who had subsequently proved to be something of a timewaster as far as the club was concerned.

The Chairman confirmed that the people the club is currently talking to are known to be genuine. He admitted the situation with Steele had been unfortunate, but pointed out that it was Steele himself who had been building himself up in the press. Ridsdale said he felt the board had a duty to the shareholders to investigate anybody who expressed an interest in investing in the club, and he was confident that the groups who are currently in talks with the club are serious in their intentions.

A shareholder then suggested that a number of people in the meeting had come along merely to stir up trouble and he implored the supporters who would later be speaking to the press to talk in positive terms about the club. He said the fans should get behind the current board for the next few months and hope they can turn things around for the club. His comments received an ovation from a fair percentage of those present.

Peter Ridsdale wrapped up the meeting, which had lasted almost exactly two hours, by thanking the shareholders for their attendance. On behalf of the board, he apologised for the current cash-flow problems and the Platinum Ambassadors season ticket situation. He admitted mistakes have been made and stated that he and his colleagues are fully committed to solving the issues which have resulted from those mistakes. He closed by saying the board is also fully committed to finding new investment which will help to take the club on to the next level.

The meeting ended at 12:03pm.

Dave Sugarman
Membership Secretary
Cardiff City Supporters' Trust

Questions raised in teh Welsh Assembly about Cardiff City

Cardiff City's failure to invest funds from the sale of season tickets to fans on new players was raised at the National Assembly today by Plaid AM Leanne Wood in questions to Alun Ffred Jones, the Sports Minister.

"Do you share my concern that fans of Cardiff City Football Club were promised that if they bought their season-tickets early for next season the funds would be invested in new players - the so-called Golden Ticket - but that the management reneged on the offer? Many fans believe that they were misled by Peter Ridsdale", she asked and added, "Do you also share fans' concerns about the future of Cardiff City, one of Wales' top football clubs, because of very significant financial challenges faced by the club that have been highlighted in the media? I'm aware that a number of football clubs across the UK appear to face similar financial issues."

The Minister responded: "I am not in a position to comment on the situation with Cardiff City Football Club. The fans who have been loyal and raucous to the team deserved to be told the true story. Though the stories this morning about the general state of football clubs in the UK and the huge debts they have racked up give great cause for concern."

Leona Lewis, Fonty Bird

As someone who spent almost 20 years of my life caravanning with the family at Fontygary Bay caravan site and who still has lifelong friends and endless experiences from it, I had to smile reading this in today's Echo.

SHE’S a global singing sensation who jets around the world staying in some of the most exclusive hotels on the planet.

But some of Leona Lewis’ favourite holiday memories are of summers spent at Barry Island and Fontygary, the megastar has revealed.

Leona’s mum Maria is from Penarth and brought the fledgling singing star to visit relatives in Wales during summer holidays.

The former X Factor winner, who has sold more than six million albums worldwide, says she loved Barry Island and the funfair in particular. I’ve been on the log flume and the pirate ship but my favourite was Quasar,” she told the Echo.

“All my mum’s relatives are from Wales and we’d go to Barry Island every weekend when we visited.”

Leona, 24, who was born in London to father Joe from Guyana and her Welsh mother, and brought up in Hackney, also explained her fondness for another unlikely destination for a global superstar – Fontygary Park in Barry.

“We’d stay at Fontygary and I used to love to go horse riding down there in the countryside,” she said. "I always lived in London but never saw myself as a city girl. I used to love that because it was somewhere free, not small confined spaces.”

While those wonder years have left her with a golden glow about Wales, speaking the language has not had such a profound effect.

“Well I can say ‘bore da’ and sing happy birthday in Welsh,” she said.

Ah but has she been banned from the Fontygary Inn, sneaked free golf and tennis games, smashed a shop window playing football ... I doubt it!


Thank You, now get my taxi ready for the plane!

CARDIFF City striker Michael Chopra spent the early hours of Sunday, following the club's home defeat to Barnsley, in Newcastle police cells and picked picked up in a drunk and disorderly state on the streets.

Chops - seemingly going back to his hometown every week and after most Cardiff matches - was out with friends and arrested along with an 18 year old. Police released the usual type of statement, "“Two men aged 26 and 18 were arrested in Grey Street, Newcastle city centre on Sunday, February 21 at 1.30am on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.”

Chopra was fined £80 - a fair bit to most of us but less than 0.5% of Chops' weekly wage off the club!

The Guardian tell it like it is about Cardiff City and Ridsdale


This article in today's Guardian clarifies the complete mess and carnage caused by the indefensible running and operation of the club. e-cardiff-city-finances

Peter Ridsdale warmed up for today's Cardiff City shareholders' meeting with an interview on Radio 5 Live. "We haven't borrowed a penny from the bank since I came here: we've been self-sufficient and we don't have a bank overdraft," said the Cardiff chairman. It was PR Pete at his best.

Sure, Cardiff do not have an overdraft. But they do have a few mortgages to their name. Like the one that means the proceeds from potential transfers of about a dozen players, including Joe Ledley and Stephen McPhail, would not go to the club. The lenders on that mortgage are the former Wales rugby international Michael Hall and his business associate Paul Guy, both of them non-executive directors at Cardiff's stadium company. Presumably that is Ridsdale's idea of self-sufficiency. Indeed, Cardiff have hocked more of their assets to Hall and Guy, with all stocks, shares and credit balances as security, and all their property (at least that which isn't leased from the local council). Then there is this season's Football League merit award and television money, due at the season's end but which was advanced from Barclays last October (but not borrowed: Ridsdale has not had "a penny from the bank"). Even the jumbotron screen at Ninian Park was registered in a mortgage with Barclays.

And finally there is the "unsecured redeemable loan stock" (the word "loan" is key here), which is now believed to require a £10m settlement in December or increase in £1m increments each year it remains unpaid.

The taxman has a high court application to wind up Cardiff City, insisting "viable businesses" are routinely given time to pay. Ridsdale says it is only a "short-term cash issue". Obviously he knows best. Why else would he have earned £1m in 2007 while Cardiff made a £4.7m loss?

Cardiff City drop to 6th as they head into E.G.M. Day

It's E.G.M. Day at the Cardiff City Stadium today where Bluebirds shareholders and The Supporters Trust can finally - and hopefully! - ask the questions about the short, medium and log-term future of the troubled club and get factual answers rather than the flowery flannel peddled by Peter Ridsdale.

I say hopefully as the E.G.M. is called by the club to approve the land sale around the stadium, a move that will raise funds to clear City's current tax debt with a winding up court hearing due March 11th with HMRC. That is the sole agenda item but there should/will be an Any Other Business section to the meeting, it remains to be seen how much time and lip service the club will devote to this as they should be set to face a wave of awkward questions and possible votes of no confidence in Chairman Peter Ridsdale and, maybe, the entire Board after the club have rung up record debts and problems, the full extent of them still aren't entirely in the public gaze.

24 hours after follow 2008 F.A. Cup finallists Portsmouth admiitted defeated in their bid to stave off financial ruin and will go into administration, supporters just want to know what's happened to their Golden Ticket season ticket money and, more importantly, if the club manage to get through this season, how they hope to perform given future season ticket monies are spent, all income streams have been sold or exhausted and the outgoings of the club (£1.2M per month on wages alone, let alone the Chairman's bonuses) are apparently out of control.

The club will, this morning, also be looking nervously over their shoulders in the play-off campaign as, after having cemented 4th spot with a sfaety margin, they suddenly find themselves occupying 6th place and the final play-off spot following Leicester's 1-0 victory at Doncaster last night.

City have traditonally fallen away in the 2nd half of the season and another year where they didn't bring in players in January leaves them painfully limited. City still enjoy at least a 4 point advantage, game(s) in hand and a vastly superior goal difference over sides below them but there will be fears they could run out of steam ... and players!

1 Newcastle 32 34 66
2 Nottm Forest 33 24 61
3 West Brom 32 29 60
4 Swansea 32 7 53
5 Leicester 32 8 51
6 Cardiff 31 18 49
7 Blackpool 33 10 47
8 Sheff Utd 32 1 45
9 Middlesbrough 33 6 44

Not a Barry girl ... but could be

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Greg Scholl is back with another DEVO missive

Video of the Week - GENE, Where are they now?

Blimey, can't believe this is 13 years old already. GENE were a fantastic group who were great on receord but, undoutbdstedly for me, even better live.

Their career seemed to be caught up with them being labelled as copycats of The Smiths but I could never see that.

Anyway, what's not to like about a group whose lead singer is a Cardiff City fan?

As this song asks, Where are they now?

Wurzel jailed for 4 months for throwing a programme at Michael Chopra

This from last night's Bristol Evening Post.

Looks like Cardiff City fan can laugh at him again, what a charmer he seems to be!

A Bristol City fan has been jailed for 16 weeks for throwing a football programme at an opposition player as he prepared to take a corner.

As well as losing his temper during the match, lifelong Robins fan Kevin Crehan lost his cool at Bristol Magistrates' Court this week when he realised his rash action during the 6-0 home defeat to Cardiff City had reactivated a suspended sentence.

Magistrates were half way through reading their sentence when it dawned on Crehan that he faced jail.

Waving his hand dismissively at the bench, he said: "Push off,

I've had enough of you".

He then took his coat off, stood at the end of the dock behind glass doors, and squared up to court security guards, saying: "Come on then."

As two guards moved towards him he violently kicked one of the fixed chairs out of the ground and began wrestling with the two men.

It took seven security guards to subdue him and carry him kicking from the court to the cells below.

The incident occurred after Crehan, 28, of Springleaze, Knowle, pleaded guilty to throwing a programme on to the pitch from the Wedlock Stand at Ashton Gate on January 26, during a Championship match in which Bristol City were thrashed by their rivals from South Wales.

The court heard that during the second half, Crehan ran down towards the corner of the pitch to throw his programme at Cardiff striker Michael Chopra as he prepared to take a corner.

The programme narrowly missed Chopra's head, and Crehan was immediately arrested by police.

In interview, Crehan told officers that as the player came over to Bristol City fans, he was making gestures and waving his fingers to signal the 5-0 scoreline at the time.

Defending, Selena Hunt invited magistrates not to impose a custodial sentence, saying normally they wouldn't consider custody for throwing a programme onto the pitch.

She said: "Prior to this there was an event that caused lots of people to throw their programmes onto the pitch.

"What my client did is respond to that by singularly throwing his programme on to the pitch. It didn't hit him."

She added Crehan had suffered huge embarrassment after the incident, that the Cardiff fans were laughing at him and making fun of him when he was arrested.

In a verdict interrupted by Crehan's violence, presiding magistrate Patricia Lee said: "This has been suggested to us as being minor, but we view it seriously.

"It was preceded by a positive action to run down the stands to the playing area, and you threw a rolled-up programme at a player."

Magistrates said the incident would activate a suspended sentence handed to Crehan on December 9 for assault, meaning he would serve 16 weeks behind bars. No separate penalty was given for the charge of throwing the programme at the pitch.

Crehan had arrived at Bristol Magistrates' Court just after 10am. His case was heard at about 4.45pm, and he had been angry that people who had arrived after him had their cases heard before him.

Ms Hunt said he was a vulnerable adult who suffered brain damage after an accident.

Adam Baker, spokesman for Bristol City Football Club, said: "It is an offence to throw anything onto the pitch and we don't condone it in any way, whether it is bottles, coins or, in this instance, a programme."

Great moments from BBC Wales

This from last Friday night ... I bet Derek the weatherman got excited by it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

More Dark Days at Cardiff City - local press banned & a new winding up order?

I don't think we'll be allowed to concentrate on the football only at Cardiff City anytime over the remainder of this season and, quite likely, beyond that too.

Wales Online this morning carried an interview with Bluebirds boss Dave Jones after he met reporter Mark Bloom earlier in the week and opened up, for the first time, on his feelings over the so-called 'Golden Ticket' farce in which supporters £3M for advance season ticket sales were apparently used to clear debt and he did not get promised funds for new players.

It seemed a good interview, a fair and balanced piece and was mainly dominated by Dave Jones' quotes such as these;

“I was let down and angry, I am disappointed with what happened because I didn’t get what I wanted.”

“I have a working rapport with the chairman. I can have an argument with the chairman on anything, but I will not let things fester because that is when things break down. Of course I’m disappointed, of course I’m angry. I’m sure the chairman is too, because he couldn’t give me what I wanted."

“I have not fallen out with the chairman. Have I had arguments with him? Yes, over a host of different matters, but I have arguments with my coaching staff, too. That’s the way it is."

“My rapport with the chairman has not changed one bit. I was not happy with what went on. I think everybody was let down. Even the chairman senses he let people down because he couldn’t do what he wanted to do. Look, it was a massive letdown, I don’t think people realise how big it was. I had discussions with the chairman – but what can you do? He is down because of everything that has gone on while he is in the hot-seat."

“I have never thought of walking away from this job. There are a lot of things I have locked horns over and the hierarchy have said no to, not just the chairman but also the board. So, while you are disappointed, you get on with the job.”

However it would appear the Gaffer took exception to the interview being published. Despite admitting that he was not misquoted, he was reportedly abusive and banned Wales Online - Echo and Western Mail newspapers - from a press conference while confusion currently reigns over whether they are also banned from matchday press facilities.

As if that isn't sideshow enough, more (so far unconfirmed) reports this evening tell of a new winding up order by a Gwent based catering company apparently owed £700,000 for catering equipment supplies at the new stadium. It is well known privately the list of contractors and creditors for the new stadium are long and wide but this one may just head the list.

More as it arrives.

Tomorrow, City with their depeleted squad and walking wounded, take on Barnsley lookingfor 3 points to stiffen their play-off challenge under almost impossible circumstances and aiming to avenge a last kick of match defeat at Oakwell earlier in the season.

Winter Olympics: Four years preparation for this

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Video Highlights - Cardiff City 1 West Brom 1

** Cardiff 1-1 West Brom **

Gianni Zuiverloon's equaliser against Cardiff takes West Brom back to the top of the table (UK only).

The Best Hospital Sign in the U.K.

Thank You Northampton!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

DEVO to play 1 hour live show on NBC for Winter Olympic Awards Nights

This and more DEVO news for the uber-ironic Greg Scholl.

I wanna piece of the pizza pie!

Di Matteo happy with draw

** Di Matteo bemoans Cardiff penalty **

West Bromwich Albion manager Roberto di Matteo explains to BBC Wales reporter Rob Phillips why he felt Cardiff striker Jay Bothroyd went down too easily for the Bluebirds' penalty in Tuesday's 1-1 draw at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Dave Jones full of praise for City

** Cardiff 'hanging in' promotion chase **

Cardiff City manager Dave Jones tells BBC Radio Wales reporter Rob Phillips why his team are "hanging in the promotion chase" after his team's 1-1 draw with West Brom.

Championship: CARDIFF CITY 1 West Bromwich Albion 1 match report

CARDIFF CITY continued their play-off challenge – and it is a challenge rather than a push – with another hard fought, committed and spirited to draw 1-1 with West Brom, now Championship leaders, in an open and entertaining game but which produced few moments where either goalkeeper was tested.

Given Cardiff City’s continuing troubles and extreme lack of bodies in the squad, most fans would have settled for this result before kick-off and both sets of fans were pleased with a point apiece at final whistle.

Cardiff’s on field problems have not worsened but the threadbare squad meant the likes of Jay Bothroyd and Gavin Rae have to play on while unfit, sub options are minimal and to call midfield makeshift would be an understatement yet City weren’t too far off their strongest side.

CCFC: Marshall; Kennedy-Gerrard-Gyepes-McNaughton; Burke-Rae-Wildig-Whittingham; Chopra-Bothroyd.

West Brom moaned about players absent injured or suspended but oh to have a squad of the quantity and quality, they wouldn’t know how it is to compete at the top with our resources. They were not just out to seal their place at the top but avoid City landing a double over them for the first time in more than 80 years and had a strong line-up to boot.

WBA: Carson; Mattock-Olsson-Zuiverloon-Tamas; Koren-Brunt-Dorrans-Slory; Moore-Nouble

The attendance was an excellent 20,785 including 1,200 from the West Midlands and it made for a vocal occasion and it was City fans who roared first as the Bluebirds strong start and liveliness produced its reward with an 8th minute PETER WHITTINGHAM penalty opener slamming home his spot kick, his 19th goal of the season.

This came after Jay Bothroyd latched onto a Burke ball over the top, cut into the box in front of a defender and was crafty enough to wait for the challenge behind him. There was not a single doubt in my mind that it was a penalty even if Jay played for it but the ref was hesitant and only gave it after the lino signalled it. The defender involved was neither booked nor sent off which was brought into more focus later when he was carded.

West Brom looked rattled for a long period and Cardiff were playing some excellent football but the visitors gradually turned the tide and showed what quality they had, running the show for a 10 minute period with Slory so unlucky to see his effort beat Marshall but came away off the inside of a post. Shots were peppered on goal but not on target while Cardiff defended strongly and fought to preserve their lead even if it wasn’t always pretty.

A blow came midway through the half as Whitts had to depart injured bring Ross McCormack on a sub. We need him back for the weekend.

Just as it looked as though City were taking an interval lead, The Baggies boinged boinged levelling it with the last kick of the half, a soft goal taken by Zuiverloon flicking home after Marshall saved his initial free header.


The second half was open and end to end and, as Dave Jones rightly remarked, it looked like two boxers slugging it out in the final rounds as they gave everything they had.

The amazing thing was that there were so few clear chances of the back of it and when they did arrive, the lines were fluffed. Final passes, blocks, luck, whatever it was but neither keeper was required to save.

City survived two goalmouth scares including Burke clearing a scramble off the line in the final minute while

Wood put a free header wide from 4 yards but with Chopra chasing every lost cause and Bothroyd showing quality, City always carried a threat too, Bothroyd and McCormack both went close, and should have won it when Chops’ cut back took a kind deflection and left Chris Burke with a free shot on goal in the last 5 minutes but he placed his effort wide.

Gerrard and Gyepes both limped through large chunks of the second period while there were gasps and groans as Jay Bothroyd pulled up sharply with a hamstring pull looking the problem but, thankfully, it turned out to be cramp.

Honours even then and neither side could complain. Cardiff’s efforts are quite heroic and given the depleted squad and players clearly playing when they would not in ideal circumstances, it is churlish to criticise those who had poor displays such as Mark Kennedy, Gavin Rae and Steve Gerrard. Instead, they need support and they certainly got it from the fans. City are playing with spirit and fight that you can only admire and applaud.

Stevie Wonder as a Cat?!?!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

R.I.P Doug

The Knack always struck me as DEVO wannabees and their sole hit and known song in the UK, My Sahrona, was almost more DEVO than DEVO themselves.

Sad then to hear that lead singer and songwriter Doug Fiegerhas died age 57 after battling cancer and brain tumours for 6 years. The Knack's drummer Bruce Gary died in 2006 at the age of 55 of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer.

"My Sharona" immortalised Fieger's then-girlfriend Sharona Alperin.

R.I.P. Doug - another one from my punk/new wave youth has passed on but the song will always remain.

"Weight" for it

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tonight's CARDIFF CITY phone in show

Reviews Cardiff's excellent performance in the weekend F.A. Cup defeat at Chelsea, looks ahead to tomorrow night's home clash with West Brom and includes an excellent interview with 'the Gaffer', Dave Jones.