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TRUST SET TO MEET TG OVER CITY INVESTMENT

Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust has asked potential investor Dato Chan Tee Ghee (TG) to meet its board members when he next visits Cardiff.

On his return to Kuala Lumpur, TG told board member Anthony Wedlake, who contacted him on behalf of the Trust,  that he hoped that meeting could take place ahead of the Cardiff City-Swansea City derby on Easter Saturday, when he is due back in the UK

In an email to TG, Anthony Wedlake said: “The Trust has been established for just over one year and has already established itself as the democratically elected voice of Cardiff City supporters with a fully paid-up membership of nearly 1,000 fans, a greater number than that of, for example, Arsenal Supporters Trust.

“The supporters’ trust movement in the UK has become increasingly influential and successful in representing the interests of ordinary fans. As you will appreciate, fans don’t have the luxury of changing ‘brands’, we are fans for life and it is important that we have a say in how our club is run.

“We would welcome an open dialogue with you as a new fan of Cardiff City and as someone with the potential to take the club forward.

“We believe, as you must do, that the club has tremendous potential with Premiership football a real possibility whilst also becoming a vibrant business,” added Anthony.

Tim Hartley, Acting Chairman of the Trust, said: “We’re delighted that TG responded so positively and promptly to our request for a meeting. We felt it was important to establish lines of communication with a potential investor and we hope a deal for additional investment into the club can be concluded as quickly as possible.”

WIN-WIN SHOPPING SCHEME LAUNCHED BY TRUST

FANS can help raise funds for Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust by using a website which links into more than 2,000 of the UK’s best-known retailers.

It won’t cost you a penny extra to shop via “Easy Fundraising” but it does mean that the Trust will receive up to 15 per cent from every online purchase made from the website.

Once you’re logged on you shop with the retailer directly and complete your transaction online.

John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Next, Amazon, Dell, Argus, WH Smith, HMV and National Express are among the big names you can link to from the website.

The site even has a special offers page which is regularly updated with new Internet-only discounts, special offers and even money saving eVouchers. There are hundreds of offers, many are exclusive to easyfundraising members, so you won’t even find them on the retailer’s own website or in-store.

Trust board member Anthony Wedlake, who has been behind the initiative, said: “Like all organisations we are always looking at ways to raise funds for our work.

“This online scheme is very hugely popular among supporters’ trusts in the UK, charities, schools and other good causes. We know that the East StirlingshireTrust in Scotland which helped us has found it financially rewarding.

“It’s really a win-win scheme for the Trust, our members and City supporters in general.”

Anthony explained: “For example, if you’re looking to buy a book from Amazon just go to the Trust website and click the link to https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/cardiffcityst and then, after you have logged in,  you go straight to the Amazon website or, indeed, any other.”

“If you make a purchase from Amazon, we get 2.5 per cent. The amounts the Trust can obtain in commission varies from under one per cent to 15 per cent. And you don’t pay any more with this scheme than if you’d gone straight to Amazon.

“And fans can even help earn the Trust cash simply by using https://cardiffcityst.easysearch.org.uk as their search engine rather Google or Yahoo. In other words, supporters don’t have to buy anything to earn the Trust money.

“We’re hoping people will get onboard this excellent fundraiser and help the Trust help the fans of Cardiff City.”

A permanent link on the Trust site will appear shortly. You will need to register the first time you use the site and then log in before making any purchases. It’s really quite straightforward.

  • Trust members are based during match-days in the concourse of the stadium between Aisles 108 and 109 (Ninian and Canton Stands). Individual membership of the Trust starts from just £1 per month. Come along and find out more about the work of the Trust.

Statement from Dave Sugarman (Membership Secretary)

It is with regret that I hereby announce my resignation as a member of the board of directors of the Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust with immediate effect.

Having carefully considered my position, I have reached the conclusion that my involvement with the Trust at board level is proving divisive and is having a detrimental effect on the organization’s continuing development.

Since November 2007, when work to establish a supporters’ trust for Bluebirds fans first began, a small group of mostly-anonymous antagonists have seemingly been hell-bent on using my personal views and opinions about our football club in their incessant quest to undermine the Trust’s credibility.

Some of the people concerned have apparently been unable to differentiate between things I have said as an individual supporter and statements I have made as a Trust representative, despite the differences being crystal clear.

Sadly, the situation has deteriorated rapidly in recent weeks due to comments I made before and after the protest march which took place a fortnight ago. The opinions I expressed about that event, which were very obviously my own, have wrongly been attributed to the Supporters’ Trust.

As a direct result of my observations about the march, I have been subjected to numerous abusive telephone calls and text messages, several of which have involved threats of violence. I have also received a number of abusive e-mails, including one that contained an anonymous death threat.

At the same time, a sustained campaign aimed at discrediting me as an individual and the Trust as an organization has been taking place on a couple of internet message boards. This has involved a series of false allegations being levelled against the Trust board and some blatant lies being written about me.

This latest load of nonsense comes just months after a serious but thankfully failed attempt by a regular Trust opponent to damage my civil service career. While such rubbish is water off a duck’s back to a large degree, I could nevertheless live without it.

It seems I have now found myself in a position whereby almost everything I say on the message boards, my internet blog and even in person in some instances is being automatically linked to the Supporters’ Trust, which is a ridiculous state of affairs.

My role on the Trust board is not only having an adverse effect on the standing of the organization but it is also stifling my ability to comment as an individual on the issues which are affecting our football club. That situation does not sit at all comfortably with me and it clearly cannot be allowed to continue. Therefore, I feel I have no option but to resign from my positions with the Trust, both as Membership Secretary and a board member.

Despite my resignation, I should point out that I intend to continue giving the Trust my full support and I would encourage as many members as possible to start playing an active role in the organization.

There are some very talented and capable people serving on the Trust’s board and sub-committees, but they are going to need far more help from the membership in future. The number of supporters who have been actively involved in the Trust since its formation has been relatively small and that needs to change if the organization is to continue to grow.

The Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust was set up in order to give Bluebirds fans a democratic voice and a platform upon which the fan-base can strengthen its relationships with the football club and the communities it serves. I am extremely proud of the work we have done to get the Trust this far despite opposition from some of the club’s supporters and apathy from many others. It is now up to the members to step forward and help move the Trust onwards from here. I wish them every success.

Dave Sugarman
19/03/2010

COUNCIL TO HELP FUND KEENOR STATUE

Cardiff Council has thrown its support behind a plan to build a statue in honour of Cardiff City’s legendary FA Cup winning captain Fred Keenor.

Keenor famously lifted the cup at Wembley Stadium in 1927 after the Bluebirds beat Arsenal 1-0 to become the only team outside of England to win the coveted trophy.

The Supporters’ Trust Fred Keenor Statue Campaign committee has launched an appeal to raise money to have the statue made and Cardiff Council is pledging £15,000 towards the project.

Councillor Nigel Howells, Executive member for Sport Leisure & Culture, said: “Fred Keenor is an iconic figure for this city and the image of him lifting the cup is one that is very special for the people of Cardiff.

“I think it is right and proper that we have a statue immortalising Fred and the achievements of the Bluebirds on that very special day back in 1927.”

“Fred Keenor was also a prominent Welsh International, winning 32 caps for his country and I am delighted that Cardiff Council is able to contribute towards the building of this statue.”

Llantwit Major-based artist Roger Andrews has won the contract to build the Fred Keenor tribute following a poll organised by the Supporters’ Trust.

The statue’s location has yet to be finalised but the most likely site remains in the grounds of the Cardiff City Stadium.

David Craig, from the Fred Keenor Statue Campaign committee, said: “This is obviously wonderful news because it is the first clear offer of financial support for the campaign and a great boost for us. It’s early days and this is a spark for our fundraising efforts. This is very much appreciated and we are grateful to the Council for their offer.”

Tim Hartley, acting chair of Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust, which has already pledged a £1,000 contribution to the Fred Keenor statue campaign, said: “We’re delighted that Cardiff Council is putting its financial support behind our campaign to honour a true Cardiff legend. We now hope to see the Welsh Assembly Government and businesses across Wales, as well as individuals, follow the council’s lead.”

PMG – A Joint Statement from the Cardiff City Supporters’ Club and the Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust

Despite being granted a 56-day stay of execution in the High Court last week, it appears that Cardiff City Football Club’s future is once again on a knife edge.

We have been reliably informed that administration is virtually inevitable before the end of March if significant new investment in the club has not materialised by then. We understand the Bluebirds’ cash reserves are practically exhausted, there is little money available to pay this month’s wage bill and debts are now estimated at almost £40 million.

The situation is clearly perilous, although we are led to believe there may be light at the end of the tunnel thanks to a written offer of investment from a Malaysian consortium. The group’s front-man, Dato Chan Tien Ghee, is said to be arriving in the UK on Thursday for a series of meetings with Bluebirds’ officials, during which the club’s fate will effectively be sealed.

The men who appear to hold the key to the football club’s future are Cardiff-based property developers Paul Guy and Mike Hall. Their company, PMG, is the club’s biggest shareholder and also its largest secured creditor. Consequently, they are certain to be central to any takeover negotiations.

During recent years, PMG has benefited from a series of lucrative land deals connected to the Cardiff City Stadium project. Not only has the company become the sole owner of the successful Capital Retail Park, but it was also chosen to develop and build the Glamorgan Records Office, which stands adjacent to the new stadium.

In addition, PMG recently purchased another large plot of land on the stadium site, upon which a hotel will eventually be developed.

It is clear that PMG has been doing very nicely from its relationship with Cardiff City, but the current state of the football club’s finances suggests the benefits of this association have not been entirely mutual.

It should be acknowledged that Paul Guy and Mike Hall were largely instrumental in getting the new stadium project off the ground. They advised on all stadium development issues, while PMG advanced the club £9 million of the funding required to build it. The loan was secured against future income from the Premier Club seating area and attracts interest estimated at £500,000 pa.

In December 2006, while he and his colleagues were in the process of taking control of Cardiff City, Mike Hall claimed the new investors were local people who were interested in the football club’s long-term future. He also described former-owner Sam Hammam as being motivated by “total greed and self-interest.”

We sincerely hope that Messrs Guy and Hall will not put themselves in a position whereby they will be open to similar accusations from Bluebirds’ supporters during the coming weeks. We therefore call upon them to set aside their personal interests and do what is right for Cardiff City Football Club in the critical days ahead.

Joint Statement from the Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust and the Cardiff City Supporters’ Club

The supporters of Cardiff City were relieved to hear the club has been given a further 56 days by the High Court to clear its outstanding tax debts. However, fans were also alarmed to hear the Bluebirds described as “plainly insolvent” by the barrister representing Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

It is obvious that our football club is in a wretched financial state and yet there appears to have been none of the drastic cost-cutting measures we have seen at other clubs who have encountered similar problems. Instead, it seems the only remedies being offered by the Cardiff City board are hopes of substantial foreign investment or promotion to the Premiership.

Given the club’s perilous position and our team’s poor recent form, both solutions seem wildly optimistic. Consequently, these are very worrying times for Bluebirds fans.

Despite the club’s increasingly desperate plight, its management and players have continued to collect their hefty wages, and there are suggestions that some of the major shareholders have ensured monies owing to them have been paid ahead of those owed to HMRC.

Meanwhile, supporters have been asked to dip into their pockets time and again, and they have done so. Within the space of the last twelve months, the club has benefited from record season ticket sales and its highest attendance levels since the early-Seventies, so the fans have clearly been playing their part.

At present, the feeling amongst the Bluebirds’ support is that we are being badly let down by those who are in control of our club. We were led to believe the move to our new stadium was the dawn of a bright new era, but in recent months it has been developing into a nightmare and there are genuine fears that things will go from bad to worse in the near future.

The board of directors and major shareholders are the custodians of our proud football club and, as such, they have a very clear duty to safeguard its future. We therefore hope they acknowledge their responsibilities and start to act accordingly.

On behalf of Cardiff City’s thousands of loyal supporters, we hereby call upon the directors, shareholders, management and players to set aside their personal interests and do what is right by our beloved football club during the critical weeks ahead.