Sometimes Wikipedia, despite often lacking the neutral tone of your average encyclopedia, does describe things best — in fact, precisely because of that. Witness the entry on Peter Ridsdale, former chairman of Leeds United.
Ridsdale became chairman of hometown club Leeds United in 1997 and enjoyed success in the first four years of tenure as Leeds reached the UEFA Cup semi-final in 1999–2000 and the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in 2000–01. During this time he enjoyed a good relationship with the Leeds fans. However, once the full extent of what Ridsdale and his board had done at Elland Road was discovered by the fans this relationship vanished and he is now best remembered by Leeds supporters for the financial nightmare that the club found themselves in.
Under Ridsdale’s stewardship the club borrowed £60m against future gate receipts, effectively gambling on Leeds qualifying for the Champions League in successive seasons, which they failed to do. Ridsdale has repeatedly denied any blame with regard to the later situation of the club but has also conflictingly admitted it was a mistake to allow David O’Leary to spend so lavishly on players. Ridsdale also claimed that he would have saved Leeds from subsequent relegations to the third tier of English football and the debt his board had incurred in the name of the club. The fact remained however that by the time Ridsdale stepped down in March 2003, Leeds were £103 million in debt and failing on the field.
So Ridsdale left and went on to Barnsley, where he showed considerable improvement in his club management skills, this time taking only a little over a year to run the club into the ground and get the hell out of there.
And then he showed up at Cardiff City; this time, he’s managed to make himself perhaps even more unpopular than ever before — quite an achievement. His latest bout of unpopularity comes after he convinced thousands of fans to buy 2011 season tickets at the end of last year to bring in revenue to be used on bringing in new players in the transfer window, only to then announce the money would be used to pay off unpaid tax bills and that new players would not be brought in. The fans are furious, and are calling for an Emergency General Meeting of the club.
Cardiff City supporters have called for an extraordinary general meeting so the club can explain why they will not be using fans’ money to buy new players.
Fans had expected an estimated £3m raised by advance season ticket sales to be used to finance transfers.
But Cardiff’s decision not to buy players is because of a cash crisis. “They have made a big mistake by over-budgeting. An EGM is what we need now,” demanded Paul Corkery, chair of Cardiff City Supporters Trust.
More than 10,000 fans invested in deals for season tickets for 2010/11, cash that manager Dave Jones said he expected to be used to buy new players.
And if Cardiff won promotion to the Premier League the fans were promised that money would be paid back to them in a scheme called “Golden Ticket”.
In response, Ridsdale said “I have two choices. I either run away or I apologise.” Unfortunately for Cardiff City fans, he decided to take the former option: “I won’t run away.”
- Portsmouth FC’s website went down earlier today (it’s back up) due to an unpaid bill — hardly surprising, if a little sad. Portsmouth’s supporters’ trust rushed to help out, hosting ticket information at their site in the meantime. Portsmouth have also cut funding for a development scheme in Guernsey, saving a mere £2,000. And they’ve just now warned staff their wages may not be paid tomorrow.
- Despite a considerable increase in the club’s spending, Barcelona managed to turn a profit in 2009.
- Sky Sports are claiming that their broadcast of Arsenal vs. Manchester United is the first to be aired to a public audience in 3-d. Maybe in the UK — the piece doesn’t specify — but this isn’t the case, as this was tried in Mexico many months ago.
- The Houston Dynamo apparently have an interesting new stadium option.
The Sweeper appears every weekday, and once at the weekend. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.