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Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust Statement on Cardiff City FC

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As many supporters are aware, the Trust has regular meetings with the directors and senior management of Cardiff City Football Club to discuss major issues which impact on fans, both on and off the field. These issues have included FFP (Financial Fair Play or Profitability and Sustainability as it is now called) and the conversion of the club`s debt due to Tan Sri Vincent Tan into shares with the aim of making the club debt free. Following recent meetings on these issues, the Trust is issuing the following updates.

FFP/P&S

This is a topic which has recently received extensive media coverage because of the case of QPR who face a potential fine of in excess of £50m for breaching the rules which were in place during their promotion season to the Premier League in 2013-14. There was a formula in place , known to QPR as well as all other Championship clubs limiting allowed financial losses in that season. QPR exceeded the allowed level of losses to an extremely large extent, but the calculated fine could not be levied by the League until their subsequent relegation back to the Championship. QPR appealed against the level of fine, but were recently unsuccessful in their appeal and now face a level of fine which will have a major impact on their finances.

Some fans may argue that such a high financial penalty is harsh. However, the counterargument is that, unless blatant breaches are subject to severe sanctions, there is no incentive for other clubs to adhere to the rules either.

In the case of our own club, Cardiff City has continued to work extremely hard to ensure that the club is compliant and so not face the very real risk of such fines and other sanctions. This is not an easy task if it is noted that in season 2015-16 (the most recent publicly filed accounts) CCFC had the third highest wages bill of all clubs in the Championship (behind only QPR and Fulham). As fans, we would all like to see major new signings and the best players attracted to the club but this is only really feasible if increased revenue streams and favourable financial conditions are in place and the club`s management should therefore be congratulated in the work they have carried out to date in significantly reducing the wage bill whilst still retaining a playing squad proving itself to be more than competitive in the Championship.

We know that CCFC was compliant with the FFP/P&S rules as at March 2017 because as at that date the club had to submit three year financial information to the League to be vetted for compliance. This information comprised audited accounts for two years (2014-15 and 2015-16) plus projected results for 2016-17. In March 2018, the club will have to submit the 2016-17 audited figures plus an estimate for 2017-18. The Trust is not privy to the 2016-17 figures but our discussions with the club lead us to believe that there is every chance that the work done to further reduce costs will also result in an ongoing compliance position.

A word of caution, which is meant to be realistic, not pessimistic. Fans should remember that there will be no parachute payments available to the club after July 2018.This will result in a reduction of income for somewhere between £10m and £15m for next season and this loss of income has to be compensated for by other means – either additional income from other sources or by further cost reductions. Fans can help in this regard of course by making efforts to turn up for home games in greater numbers!

Conversion of debt to equity

The current position is that periodic conversions of debt into shares have continued since the commitment to do so was made in early 2016. Since the latest published accounts date of 31 May 2016 another £20.7m of debt has been converted into shares, the most recent conversion being in June 2017.

The Trust`s understanding is that Tan Sri Vincent Tan is committed to  make the club debt free by further debt to equity conversions in the near future, subject to compliance with the regulations controlling such transactions.

Summary

The club continues to make strenuous efforts to make sure that it is not at risk of the type of problems facing QPR and perhaps other clubs currently in the Championship when they submit their results to the E.F.L in March 2018.

As fans, we need to be patient and understanding (as hard as that is as fans) when the club no longer spends fortunes on players transfer fees and wages. We need to get behind the team in as great a number as possible to help them on the road to footballing success and also assist on the financial front at the same time.

Keith Morgan, Chair

Memories from more long distance City fans

Thanks very much to a couple more Trust members who have told us about their long distance support for the Bluebirds.

IMG_0686 Nick Burnell from London talks about his memories and the journey from his London home

I’m a season ticket holder at CCFC, Grandstand Block 206. I live in SW London and get to, I would guess, 90 per cent of home games and London aways. Midweeks can be tough, but not impossible.

On a good day I can do it in 2.5 hours, but there ARE bad days. In fact, there’s a bloke
who sits near me and travels in from Ebbw Vale on public transport. He gets home at 7.00pm, whereas I can be home for 7.30. So, it’s Danny Baker on the way down then Call Rob on the way home (until Bath, when the signal fades and Sav takes over on 606). I’ll usually
check in to a cheeky local bistro I’ve discovered (Asda) for a bite with my brother before we head over to the game.

Neil Warnock said recently that he hoped Fulham would get promotion last season, but I’m glad they didn’t because it’s an easy 10 minute stroll from mine – and a nice place to watch football. It would be a neasy option on a more permanent basis, but you can’t chose your team.

I was taken to my first game at Estadio Ninian in the 68/69 season against Fulham. It was midweek and under lights. The dye was cast. City>were going well at the time in the old Second Division and it was that team that started “Davies, Carver, Bell, Sutton……” that people of a certain vintage can rattle off in their sleep. Inevitably, and as if to prepare me for the next 40 odd years (and there have been some ODD years), City lost 2 nil. It was Fulham’s only away win of the season as they finished rock bottom (their second relegation on the bounce).

Up top that evening were Toshack & Clark, still my favourite combination. I remember the morning my father showed me the back page of the Western Mail detailing Tosh’s transfer to Liverpool. I burst into tears.

We’ve had some fine teams since then. I fondly remember Jimmy Andrews’ team that came up from the 3rd in some style and Dave Jones’ side tha twas tearing up the second tier at the start of the ’06-07 season. Players? I’ve mentioned the big lad from Canton, but there was Ian Gibson then Alan Campbell in midfield. Willie Anderson could do it when >the mood took him. Phil Stant and Joe Dwyer would run through brick walls and Blakey had all the ability. As did Tony Evans and Adrian Alston, Bothroyd & Chops. I also think Kav would have got in to any of the teams I’ve seen at Cardiff.

Highlights? The draw against Palace in ’74 to keep us in the Second Tier and the win against Hereford in front of 35,000 a couple of years later to (virtually) take us back there. I also recall a 4-1 victory over Sunderland just after Xmas of ’73. City were already 1 down when we arrived but turned it around. All but the very young will remember that bizarre period when going to Wembley became almost boring, given that previous reasons to visit north London involved fixtures at Barnet.

The promotion night against Charlton was a catharsis, I suppose, but, let’s face it, the football (and other things) that year wasn’t brilliant. And, yes, I missed the Madrid game. Lowlights? Well, after a long mental editing process, I remember losing 2 nil to Leeds in the rain in the 5th round of the Cup (in front of50,000). Relegations seemed to come more regularly than promotions did
for a time and Alan Durban took the blame. The Durban years will probably come to be regarded as Cardiff’s Dark Ages, but the guy had nothing to work with. The club was in meltdown. I actually enjoyed the period when City were a fixture in the dungeon far more than I enjoyed some of the performances under Uncle Russ, which were just awful.

Controversially, perhaps, but I also didn’t enjoy our one season sojourn in the promised land of The Premiership. We weren’t wanted there and the club became something of a laughing stock. I remember being in a pub in Chelsea after the game there and some local fans were pointing at the then club crest in the match day programme and wetting themselves with laughter. The worst thing was, I agreed with them.

So, here we are in 2017/18 and Warnock’s City have gone off like a train. I doubt it will last (hey, I’m a City supporter) but you never know. City and Fulham to go up?

Richard HartshornRichard Hartshorn, pictured with one of his prized cows he shows, is another Trust member clocking up the miles to follow the Bluebirds.

He said: “I live in Shropshire. I’ve been a Bluebird all my life even when I lived in Scotland and have been going there from the days of Ninian Park being over-full to queing to seeing them play Hereford United.

“I missed the whole of the first half of the Hereford game in the queue. I finally got in at half time and was lucky to be by the goal where City scored the goals to win the game.”

If you’re a Trust member and a long distance fan we’d be delighted to hear from you. Email members@ccfctrust.org

The Dedicated Long Distance City Fans

imageFor many of us a visit to the Cardiff City Stadium is a short trip across the city or down from the South Wales valleys.

But some Cardiff City fans regularly travel from all across the UK – including Staffordshire, Norfolk and Poole – to watch the Bluebirds’ in action at our stadium. Some fanatics even make special trips from abroad.

One of those long distance supporters is 57-year-old Ian Dixson. Ian said: “My first match was in 1969 when I was eight. I live in Kinver in South Stafforshure, north of Kidderminster. Door to stadium door it’saround 2 hrs/100 miles.

“That said my parents live in Rhiwbina so I usually visit them for lunch first then go to the stadium. I have held season tickets on the Bob Bank and Canton 104 and used to travel with my son when he was younger. He now lives in Portsmouth and we can only meet up for occasional home/away matches as he doesn’t own a car…..so most matches I travel on my own now.

“I took voluntary redundancy last year so, in theoryhave more time to attend matches but, after 34 yrs in education now enjoy
cheap out-of-school holiday trips so now book matches on a “when available” basis and have just started using a flexi- ticket.I can still be found in the Canton 103/4.”

Thanks to Ian for letting us know about his long distance trips. If you travel a long way to home games, please let us know at members@ccfctrust.org

 

 

 

Trust statement on Season Ticket issues

Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust was made aware by a number of its members of a problem in respect of the non-activation of their season tickets leading to entrance problems at turnstiles. The Trust understands that the problem was quite widespread at the Aston Villa game and to a lesser extent at the Sheffield United game.

Trust chairman Keith Morgan has been in discussion with the club’s senior management over the issue and we can report back to supporters as follows:

“The club was aware of the problem, which was caused by a software issue. Alternative procedures were put in place as soon as the problem was identified and the club is currently in discussions with the system provider to try and eradicate the problem as soon as practicable and, if possible, ahead of the next home game.”

 

As Safe Standing demands grow, Trust chair sets out our position

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Football fans are campaigning for safe standing to be offered at stadiums in England and Wales following its introduction at Celtic’s Parkhead Stadium in Glasgow.

Shrewsbury Town supporters have launched a crowdfunding campaign for the so-called rail seating to be installed. Bristol Rovers’  president has also said he is keen to install it when their ground is redeveloped while Liverpool fans voed overwhelmingly in favour of bringing rail seats to football stadiums in the EFL’s top two divisions.

Commenting on the developments, Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust chairman Keith Morgan said: “There is a growing demand from football fans for safe standing to be available in grounds across Wales and England.

“Cardiff City Supporters Trust has long been involved in the issue of safe standing at football. Several years ago we hosted a presentation in the old Ninian Park pub to local politicians , the media and senior management of the club to display and explain the rail seating system and this was very favourably received.

“The overriding problem with safe standing at grounds in the top two divisions is that it still requires a change of legislation in England and Wales before a start could be made on considering the practicalities of installing rail seating or similar.

“Shrewsbury’s stadium, although all-seater,  is not required to be so by law. So they can make use of  a process recently put in place by the Sports Ground Safety Authority to enable EFL clubs not subject to all-seater legislation to apply for consent to install rail seating.”

“As a Trust, we will be active and supportive of the principal of safe standing. When developments make this possible we will work with the club and supporters to help implement such a scheme. We believe that fans who want to stand should be allowed to do so in a designated area and that will improve the atmosphere in grounds on match-days.”

Trust chair’s message ahead of 2017-18 season

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A Message from Trust chair Keith Morgan

With the new season 2017-18 now imminent, there appears to be a new air of positivity and excitement amongst us supporters. The uplift in fortunes following Neil Warnock`s appointment as manager part-way through last season after what can only be described as a dire, uninspiring, start to the season, lifted the spirits of the fan base. The football was better, the relationship between fans and the management team grew as the season progressed, and people started to look forward rather than dwell too much on past problems.

Some fans may have had the opportunity to see many of our new summer signings playing in the pre-season friendlies but, for most of us, it will be either Burton away on Saturday, Portsmouth in the cup next week or Villa at home in the league on August 12 which will be the first chance to see most of them in action. Neil Warnock has certainly made several additions to the squad to refresh it and I think it now far more accurately represents the squad, he believes, is good enough for a promotion challenge this coming season.

Several players have also left the club, some because of the ongoing efforts to reduce the club`s wage bill and make it more financially stable and compliant with the Financial Fair Play (Profitability and Sustainability) regulations, but also because few of them were likely to be regular squad members in the future. Some further departures are likely before the transfer deadline at the end of this month.

I think that all fans will join me in wishing Neil Warnock and his team, with the support of the club`s board of directors and owner, the very best for the season and to give our support to his plans by turning up for games in as great a number as possible. Working together, we can only get better and stronger.

Off the field, the Trust continues its dialogue with the club`s board on key issues such as Financial Fair Play and the owner`s ongoing plans to convert all of his debt into equity to make the club debt free. These discussions at a senior level will continue on a regular basis throughout the coming season and beyond. In addition, the Trust continues to develop its relationship with the club`s Foundation, working on joint projects to help further the club`s relationship with the communities it serves. As always, any members of the Trust who would like to get more involved in its activities, at board level or otherwise, are most welcome.

Again, let us hope for a successful and enjoyable season. In what will be my 56th consecutive season as a fan (please feel free to comment that I don`t look old enough), I am more optimistic than I have been for very many of those seasons. Onwards and upwards.

 Keith