Cardiff City Fans: To March Or Not To March
Cardiff City fans have been subjected to the full range of emotions over the past decade from a third division side beating top-of-the-Premiership Leeds United, to 2 Wembley appearances and an FA Cup final. A flourishing academy, yielding some exceptionally talented youngsters (Cameron Jerome, Joe Ledley, Chris Gunter, Aaron Ramsey and now Adam Matthews) was put in place by Sam Hammam, and in this way Sam`s legacy lives on and his new stadium and Premiership football dream is halfway there at least. However, another part of Hammam`s legacy lives on in the crippling debt accumulated during our rise to the Championship, and in the current Chairman whom Hammam brought in to save the club.
Peter Ridsdale is a peculiar character. His track record is nothing short of appalling with Leeds United and Barnsley FC sympathetic to our plight and in no doubt as to their feeling towards 'The Riddler`. Essentially he is a politician, using spin and a silver tongue to curry favour and sway opinions his way. For the first part of his association with Cardiff City, Ridsdale did very very well. It`s easy to forget how bad our situation was, and he did work tirelessly (albeit for heft rewards) to get the Cardiff City Stadium agreed with the council and finally built after years of false promises. Additionally, we have seen a significant improvement in squad quality during his tenure with the likes of Michael Chopra, Ross McCormack and Jay Bothroyd replacing less impressive players such as Steve Thompson etc. While serious mis-judgements were made (Hasselbaink, Fowler, Sinclair) - these were footballing gambles and could have yielded positive results, thus making them forgivable mistakes and ones to learn from.
Now, Cardiff City are in the position that the mistakes we are seeing are not footballing mistakes, mis-judgments or a legitimate gamble. The current problems are bourn out of serious financial mis-management, risks, arrogance, greed and ignorance such that the future and very existence of CCFC is threatened. As such, as many as 2000 fans are preparing to demonstrate this week prior to the home clash against Middlesbrough.Whilst the season ticket 'scam` is fundamental to the anger felt by the supporters, it is by no means the only contributory factor. Peter Ridsdale has persistently massaged the facts, and even told barefaced lies to supporters in a bid to paper over the cracks. HMRC brought a winding-up order against the club, which we were led to believe was a minor short-term cashflow problem. This soon escalated to a further winding-up order and reports of numerous other creditors owed money by the club. The fact that a Malaysian consortium, considering investment or a full takeover, was not informed of the winding-up order was shameful and no doubt contributed to the lack of progress in talks so far.
The purpose of the demonstration is and must remain to show intent that the supporters will not stand by and watch the mis-management ruin the club. A large group of Cardiff City supporters will assemble in Canton at 1.30pm before marching en masse to the CCS. This is an example of the fans uniting under one banner, and assuring the board that this is not acceptable. Around 10000 fans took up an offer to receive a season ticket on the premise that all funds raise would go towards squad strengthening. That did not happen, and after it emerged the board knew of the outstanding debts - the offer seems tantamount to fraud. The apology that followed was insufficient on every level and although fans still have a good offer on their season tickets - for Ridsdale to use words such as 'guarantee` to the fans, whilst he was only 'confident` of securing further investment is scandalous.
Whilst many fans are simply desperate to find some positive way of venting their frustration, and feel like they are doing something - we remain in a precarious position and quite simply desperate for investment. At present, the fans have very little pull over the board or any kind of influence as to internal club affairs. All we can really do is to support our battered and weary players on the field. The likes of Bothroyd, Wildig and Gyepes have all played through the pain barrier in recent weeks - when they should really have been rested.
The demonstration could also have the undesirable affect of deterring investors, more specifically the Malaysians. Many press representatives will be there to cover the march, and if we are seen to be a riotous bunch, venting fury and bitterness at the current board - would we be appealing as a business venture? Quite simply, the Malaysians would surely be aware of our predicament - much more so than the fans having been in discussion for months and undertaking significant due diligence using the financial accounts. Therefore, they can easily see that the demonstration is borne of concern, frustration and the overwhelming passion that underlies the Cardiff City support.
The time for sitting back, and debating concerns, frustration and lack of confidence in the club is over. Cardiff City fans are free to join, or not join, this peaceful demonstration. There is nothing to be lost by this symbolic yet determined gesture and as 95% of the fans present were around before the abnormally large nose of Peter Ridsdale appeared on Sloper Road - we will, all 100% outlast him. The club has been mis-managed and all we want is proof that we have a viable plan to get out of this mess, based on FACTS not on spin, confidence or gambles.
Cardiff City Supporters March: Canton Car Park (behind the Admiral Napier), Saturday 6th March at 1.30pm. We will march to the ground, and show that we do not support the board`s management of the club. Come 3pm, we will show that we do support Cardiff City Football Club. The banners, songs and support will, as always, be 100% behind THE BLUEBIRDS!!!
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