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Trust Quizzes Club On Key Questions

Trust chair Keith Morgan held an online meeting with Cardiff City chief executive Ken Choo and other club executives earlier this month. He asked questions sent to us by members and below is a transcript of that meeting.

Present

Keith Morgan  – for Trust

Ken Choo – CCFC CEO and Executive Director

Wayne Nash – CCFC Head of Operations

Mark Denham – CCFC Head of Communications

Mona Sabbuba – CCFC Head of Ticketing

Amy James –CCFC Head of Fan Engagement

Ben Jones – CCFC Fan Engagement Officer/Disabled Support Officer

Each of the questions raised by fans are set out below in bold in the format in which they were received from the Trust member concerned. Below each question is then set out the answers given by the club in summary format to include points arising from the discussions held.

Q. How will the club be replacing Adam Gilliatt as Supporters Liaison Officer and link to the Disabled Supporters Group. These are roles required by EFL rules and Adam was extremely good at his job and very well-liked by fans` group representatives. Also, those groups were not informed he was leaving and have not been informed who his replacement is.

A. The club spent a lot of time trying to persuade Adam to stay in post right up until he made his final decision to leave but were unsuccessful. Plans to replace him, both permanently and in the interim period are at an advanced stage and fans` representatives will be informed as soon as this is finalised. Adam`s departure (with a thank you for his services) was included in the Bristol City match day programme. Technically he was still employed in the role until his notice period ends as at the time of this meeting which is why he is still listed on the club`s official website. 

(Comment – it is worth noting that Adam Gilliatt was very helpful in resolving Trust Members’ queries when the problems of season ticket renewal were at their height and he always made a point of calling in on matchdays to the Trust Office to see if there were any problems. It is hoped that his replacement in the liaison role continues his good work. The match day programme is only purchased by a relatively small percentage of fans and therefore Adam`s departure was not brought to the attention of most fans).

Q. Have the major problems with season tickets encountered with the outsourced supplier now been resolved and when can fans expect their new physical season tickets to be issued? 

A. The problem with the outsourced work has now been overcome. Resolution of this issue was not helped at all by the great shortage of staff available in the ticketing department caused by a number of factors. Staffing levels have now increased to nearer pre-pandemic levels. The process of sending out the new (enhanced) season tickets has already started and all season ticket holders should receive them very shortly 

(Comment – the understaffed ticket office received a great deal of angry reaction from season ticket holders despite the cause of the problem not being down to them. Senior management at the club could have done more to address the staffing shortages to help protect the Ticket Office staff from misdirected levels of criticism and abuse from fans).

Q. In a recent Fan Engagement Survey published in the Daily Telegraph and elsewhere, CCFC were ranked an extremely embarrassing 87th out of 91 clubs surveyed for its fan engagement. This came as a shock to CCFC fans reading the results and has led to us being mocked by fans of other clubs particularly those of far smaller clubs who have no in house resources whose job it is to deal with fan engagement but appear to be doing it far better than us.

A. The survey was done by an individual whose source of data is far from clear as he did not liaise with the club as to answers to questions raised in the survey and published it without the opportunity for the club to preview it and comment on any errors in it. The club, therefore, believes the survey results to be inaccurate and an unfair reflection of its actual engagement with its fans. One of the key factors for the very poor score, in the club`s opinion, was the comment about the lack of fan representation on the football club board.

(Comment – neither the Trust nor CCSC has consulted ahead of the survey being published to give their input as elected fans` representatives. Our comments, both supportive and critical of the club where appropriate would have given a far more accurate reflection of reality than the published survey did. In terms of supporter representation on the club board, there is of course a long term fan present in Steve Borley. However, he cannot be seen to be an independent voice for fans due to his close financial links to the club and its owner).

 Q. In July this year, it was announced that Abdul Jalil BinAbdul Rasheed had been appointed as a non-executive director of Cardiff City Football Club and its parent company. His exact role and the extent of his involvement in the football club rather than his main employment as a senior executive of Berjaya Group and advisor in other Vincent Tan businesses is somewhat unclear. What is his role and how does it fit in with the existing roles of the Chair and CEO at the club? 

In looking at other directorships listed at the club it is also not clear what the following directors are contributing to CCFC

Marco Caramella – appointed 2017

Derek Chin – appointed 2010

Danni Rais -appointed 2012

  1. Jalil Rasheed (as he is known rather than by his full name) is a highly regarded director in Berjaya Group who has been tasked with creating and implementing a longer term strategy both in the UK and elsewhere for the football club rather than being involved in its day to day operations which remain under the control of the CEO and Chair. He is in regular frequent contact with Ken Choo and is keen to visit the club (with Vincent Tan) as soon as global travel restrictions (particularly those in Malaysia) allow. It was also clarified at the meeting that his recent reference in the media to “we” having taken a majority shareholding in FK Sarajevo was for Vincent Tan and another unnamed individual and that CCFC have not taken a shareholding or other investment in that club.

Marco Caramella is currently based in Cardiff, where he was born and bred) and acts as its “ambassador” in Malaysia where he has significant business influence.

Derek Chin is a senior legal advisor in Berjaya Group and acts as the professional link between the club`s UK legal advisors and the owner Vincent Tan

Danni Rais – a high profile person in social media in Malaysia whose father is a highly connected politician in Malaysia.

(Comment– it would be helpful if a “pen picture” of each of the above directors could be posted on the club official website so that fans can better understand their contribution to CCFC. Jalil Rasheed should be encouraged to try and hold an online meeting with fans representatives pending him being able to travel to CCFC to meet people in person to clarify his strategic plans for the club. The Trust will continue to liaise with Ken Choo to bring this about).

Q. Could you provide a brief summary of the current legal cases being brought against the club by Nantes FC, Sam Hammam and Michael Isaac the existence of the latter two being brought to the attention of fans and the media by Mehmet Dalman earlier this year?

A. These matters are currently at different stages of their legal process but the club remains confident based on legal advice that the claimants will not be successful in their claims. Prior to providing any outline/summary of the current position, Ken will need to speak to the club`s external legal advisors for their guidance.

(Comment – it is right that the club seek legal advice before formally commenting on legal actions being brought about but, subject to that consent being given, Ken has stated that a brief summary can be made available. One point that was made was that no date has been set by CAS for a hearing of the Nantes FC Emiliano Sala case – delays are not down to CCFC. We are still yet to receive the latest update from the Club’s legal advisors but will update members as soon as it is received.)

Q. The club`s tribute to Peter Whittingham at the first match day opportunity v Barnsley was very well done and very well received by fans. Are there any plans to have a further (possibly more permanent) tribute to Peter in the near future.

A. The club is fully committed to further honouring Peter. There are certainly plans to have a further tribute but exact details cannot be finalised at present and will only be done with the consent and support of his family. Timings of, for example, a tribute match would be dependent on gaps in what is going to be a very congested fixture list.

(Comment – The specific request of the renaming of the Family Stand as suggested by Trust Members has not been ruled out at this stage but a permanent commemoration of Peter is very much under consideration. As fans we need to “watch this space” and the Trust and CCSC will be kept fully informed of developments as and when they occur.).

Q. The club has rightly received widespread praise for its initiative in providing a socially distanced area of CCS for fans who do not still feel comfortable sitting in their previous seats due to the ongoing Covid pandemic. Is it planned to continue this facility for the foreseeable future? However, some fans have expressed their concern that areas in the ground such as toilets and food franchises are not being policed by stewards to ensure that fans are compliant with face wearing requirements under the club`s fan conduct rules in those areas.

A. It is the club`s plan to continue to provide the socially distanced seating facility for as long as ground capacity and attendance numbers allow. Although stewards may not always be visible at toilets and food outlets they are present in the locality within concourses with instructions to remind fans of the requirements.

(Comment – stewards might be present in concourses but they are certainly not visible at “pinch points” such as toilets and food outlets to remind fans of the requirement under the fans` code of conduct (on the club website and a condition of attendance at games) to wear facemasks in those areas. No point having a code of conduct if no efforts are made to enforce/police it.

(Further comment – there is quite possibly going to be a Welsh Government announcement soon about an extension of mandatory rules for attending large attendance events such as CCFC games. In terms of keeping socially distanced seating, it is evident from the Club’s response that it will not pass on a possible opportunity to fill the stadium. However, they think that this situation is unlikely to arise).

Q. Are there any plans for another (probably online)meeting with fans and the media similar to the one held by Mehmet Dalman earlier this year?

A. Possibly, but nothing specific at the moment. However, as previously said in an answer to an earlier question the new non-executive director has stated that he and the club owner Vincent Tan club wish to visit CCS as soon as practicable when current travel restrictions allow – Malaysian travel restrictions are even stricter than in the UK.

(Comment – as stated above, whilst awaiting a physical visit to the stadium by the new director and/or the owner, there is nothing to stop a virtual meeting being held to update fans. A similar online meeting was held by the club Chair earlier this year. The Trust will continue to press for such a meeting.).

Q. Keiffer Moore has recently missed three Wales games because of being a close contact of someone with Covid and had to isolate for 10 days. And yet many of CCFC`s playing squad have not taken the opportunity to be vaccinated. What pressure has the club put on the players to get both their vaccinations?

A. The club cannot contractually force players and other staff to have their vaccinations. However, they continue to strongly recommend that they do so on both medical and commercial grounds. An outside independent advisory resource is due to come to CCS in the next week or so to speak to the playing squad to reinforce this message.

(Comment – The club is at risk of one or more of its playing squad assets being unavailable due to enforced isolation while still having to pay them several tens of thousands of pounds in salaries. The Trust, like all City fans would like to see player availability maximised.

Q.There has been recent media coverage of the strong likelihood of “safe standing” being introduced at clubs later this season and certainly by next season. Does the club have any plans for this?.

A. The club has already carried out a significant amount of work on this with the relevant authorities such as Government and Ground Safety officials. An announcement on the specific plans will be made in the near future.

(Comment – without being able to go into specific timing details, it is anticipated that positive news on this development will be made available very shortly).

Q. Are the club aware of the political pressure the Trust is currently bringing to bear on Cardiff Bus to reinstate a shuttle bus service from Cardiff City Centre to CCS and back on matchdays that they have withdrawn for this season?

A. Although the club wasn`t aware of the Trust work on this, the club itself knows that the service had been withdrawn and have also requested that the service (which appears to cover its costs in fares paid) be reinstated.

(Comment – this is an area where the Trust and club will continue to work together to reinstate a service for our fans).

 

Have Your Say On Policing At Football Matches

A UK-wide survey has been launched to gauge fans’ experiences when they attend games.

The Football Policing Unit, which has created the questionnaire, wants to hear from supporters.

The survey can be accessed via the link  https://www.homeofficesurveys.homeoffice.gov.uk/s/UKFPUFANSURVEY/

The link, which is live, will close on September 16th, 2021.

We’d appreciate it if members could give their views.

Keith Morgan, Trust Chair 

​Graham Keenor: A Tribute

It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of Graham Keenor, whose uncle was Fred Keenor, Cardiff City’s FA Cup Final winning skipper.

Graham played a key role in Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust’s fundraising campaign for a statue in honour of Fred Keenor and the 1927 team which was delivered in November, 2012.

Graham, who lived in Cardiff, died peacefully at the age of 78 after suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease for a number of years. He leaves a wife, Jackie and daughter, Judith.

Trust vice-chair David Craig, who was the project manager for the statue campaign, said: “Graham was a key member of the Trust’s statue committee and worked really hard as we campaigned to raise £8​5​,000 for the tribute to Fred.

“There was, of course, the family connection and Graham was full of pride when the dream of a tribute was realised because, he believed, Fred’s unique contribution to Cardiff City history should be recognised.

Graham Keenor in the middle along with Trust board members David Craig and Phillip Nifield with a prototype of the Keenor statue.

“We offer our deepest condolences to Jackie and Graham’s family at this difficult time. He will be sorely missed by friends and relatives alike.”

Trust Quiz Winner And The Answers

Congratulations to Trust member Jon Lovibond, who correctly answered the quiz questions set in the June edition of Moving to a Different Beat. He was the lucky person to be drawn out of the hat and wins the first prize of £50.

Which former Cardiff City player appeared in all 4 Old Firm Derbies in the 2020-21 season?

Allan McGregor. Still going strong at the tender age of 39. After a serious back injury sustained the previous season, Allan, when fit again, found himself down the Hull City pecking order behind our very own David Marshall. In January 2017 he was loaned to us to regain match fitness and help us as things weren’t going too well between the sticks for us. At the beginning of the season we had signed Ben Amos on a season-long loan from Bolton Wanderers where he had found himself to be second choice behind Cardiff City failure Mark Howard (remember him ? I struggled to do so, he appeared in 2 losing games to Barnet and The New Saints in 2006/07 before being released). By Christmas 2016 it had become apparent why Calamity Amos was not first choice at Bolton so along came the experienced Scottish International Allan McGregor and a very decent job he did for us playing 17 times. At the end of the season Allan returned to Hull, Amos returned to Bolton and all our goalkeeping problems were resolved in July 2017 when we signed Lee Camp – haha !!

  1. Which Cardiff City player am I describing? He was part of the Cardiff City Championship winning squad of 2012/13, he won a Bronze Medal at the 2012 Olympics and also played for Wigan Athletic.

Kim Bo-Kyung. Signed by Malky from Cerezo Osaka in July 2012 at the beginning of what was to be our memorable promotion season. I suppose his most memorable moment for us was scoring that dramatic late equaliser at home to Manchester United. He is one of only 13 South Koreans to play in the Premier League. Sadly, he was not up to the standard of the 2 most famous South Koreans, Son Heung-Min currently at Spurs and Park Ji-Sun who played 134 times for Man Utd.  It seemed to me that he did have a bit of skill about him but he did disappear during games and his slightness of frame did mean that he got pushed about a bit. He won his Olympic Bronze Medal at the Millennium Stadium in a 2-0 win over Japan. In January 2015 his contract was cancelled by mutual consent and he was signed by the Wigan manager Malky Mackay until the end of the season. Malky was sacked by Wigan at the end of the season, Kim’s contract was not extended. Blackburn were interested in signing him but a failure to obtain another work permit in this country resulted in him joining a Japanese Club.

  1. He scored against Barcelona in the Champions League and scored 2 goals for us in 2015-16 whilst on loan from Charlton Athletic – who is he?

Tony Watt. As a player, he definitely seemed to have something about him but perhaps there are other drawbacks that might explain why in 10 years he has had 12 spells at various clubs in 5 countries. The manager of Belgian Club Lierse said of him “Today I am glad we have him but tomorrow I might want to murder him”. He started his career at Airdrie making an immediate impact at the age of 17 and drawing attention from Liverpool, Fulham, Rangers and Celtic. He made his debut for Celtic as a sub scoring twice within 5 minutes of coming on. He really hit the headlines when he scored what turned out to be the winner against Barcelona in the Champions League in 2012. It was after leaving Celtic that his footballing odyssey started. We signed him on loan from Charlton where injuries and rumours of training ground rows had made him a peripheral figure. He played 9 times for us scoring twice against Bolton and Brentford. He returned to Charlton as, if we wanted to sign him, we couldn’t as we were placed under a transfer embargo in the January 2016 window. Some things don’t change! 

  1. Which Cardiff City manager also managed Torquay United 3 times, Weymouth and Iran? 

Frank O’Farrell. I remember him being referred to as “General Frank O” reflecting the name of the infamous Spanish Dictator. This may have been instigated by his insistence when Manchester United manager that players could only see him if they had made an appointment. He succeeded Jimmy Scoular as full-time manager in November 1973. Having previously managed Leicester City and Manchester United,  he was a big name appointment. During his short reign as City manager, he broke the club transfer record by paying £62,000 for John Farrington from Leicester and also signed on loan the memorably diminutive but aggressive Willie Carlin. However, in a season where we were flirting with relegation, he only lasted 158 days before leaving for Iran where Ayatollahs take on a whole new meaning. Jimmy Andrews took over from him and lead us to relegation the following season. 

  1. Which former Cardiff City player acted as Caretaker Manager of Sunderland for one game against Burton Albion December 1st 2020?

Andrew Taylor. Malky signed Andrew Taylor from Middlesbrough (where he spent 4 seasons in the Premier League)having previously played under him at Watford. A steady and reliable left back, he got to play at Wembley in his first season against Liverpool in the League Cup Final. Like many others, I remember being somewhat bemused (or was it panicked) when Anthony Gerrard stepped up to take the final penalty. I remember thinking “Hang on, of those left on the pitch there’s got to be a better bet with a penalty” than the less than cultured Gerrard and Andrew Taylor was the first that came to mind. Mr Reliable. Still, it was not to be but Anthony Gerrard should not be criticised as he stepped up to the plate to do his bit. After he left us in 2014 he joined Wigan where he linked up again with Malky after he took over from Uwe Rösler. He finished his playing career in 2019 at a Bolton Wanderers club in major financial difficulties, beset by players’ strikes where non-payment of players sadly became all too common. He was appointed to the position of First Team Coach at Sunderland and when manager Phil Parkinson got the sack Andrew got his chance in the dugout for one game only as caretaker. 

  1. He played for us in the 2008 FA Cup Final and also won 12 caps for England – who is he?

Trevor Sinclair. There were some ageing legs turning out for us in what turned out to be Cup Final season and 35-year-old Trevor Sinclair owned two of them (Robbie Fowler’s were a bit younger but Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s were older). Trevor only scored 2 goals for us in 27 appearances one of which was in a 4-2 League Cup win over WBA when all 4 goals were scored by the 3 sets of aforementioned ageing legs! Like Fowler he spent a lot of time on the treatment table after having gone under the knife. In the 86th minute of the Final, he came off the bench for Gavin Rae in what was to be his last appearance in a Cardiff City shirt. At the end of the season his contract was not renewed and he retired. Six years later he made a short-lived comeback at non-league Lancaster City. His subsequent brushes with the law don’t make great reading.

  1. He played 118 times scoring 29 goals between 2000 and 2003 and shares a first name with 3 Kings of the Belgians – who is he?

LFW. Leopold Fortune-West. With 23 clubs in a 25-year career he certainly got about a bit. At 6’4” he was an imposing presence. When Sam Hammam arrived in a blaze of publicity, cleared the City’s debt and announced there was a kitty of £750k available for transfers (quite a sum in those days in Div.3) it seemed to me that other clubs were alerted that there was a few quid to be made in inflated transfer fees if we came knocking. We paid Rotherham United £300,000 for his services which, to me, seemed rather a lot at the time. He made an immediate impact scoring on debut in a 4-2 win over Halifax. We were 3-0 up in that game and cruising to the extent that former City player Craig Middleton scored and Halifax eventually brought it back to 3-2 creating panic amongst the 5,087 crowd until sub LFW came on and made it 4-2 and we all relaxed. Not really a prolific goalscorer but in the lower leagues his nuisance value was considerable. A real handful, perhaps his most memorable moment was in the 2002 Leeds United FA Cup game when he came on as a sub for Gavin Gordon and, in the 87th minute from the 3rd of a succession of corners, he  nodded the ball down for Scott Young to make history. What a memory!

  1. He played 33 times on loan for us in 2008/09 scoring 2 at the right end and 1 at the wrong end, won 63 International Caps and retired in 2015 after diagnosis of a heart condition – who is he?

Eddie Johnson. Oh dear!  A lovely bloke apparently. It always seemed to me that, growing up in Florida, someone must have said to Eddie “You’re quick and athletic, ever thought of playing soccer ?” as he didn’t appear to have much natural instinct for the game. He was definitely quick and certainly willing but certainly not up to it in Championship football. He was out of his depth. We got him on loan from Fulham. I’ve tried to research how much Fulham paid for him from Kansas City Wizards. I couldn’t find anything. It must have been too embarrassing for them to publish it but they did have an initial offer of $6,000,000 rebuffed. He only played 19 times for Fulhamwho quickly realised their mistake and he spent the vast majority of his 3-year contract on loan to us, Aris Salonica and Preston. His debut goal for us was against Doncaster Rovers on March 7 2009 and a moment of great joy for him. The game against Derby County on April 8 2009 was a real goal fest for him as he fastened on to a mistake by a Derby defender and, with great panache, ran on to put it past, a future nightmare ‘keeper for us, Stephen Bywater. Not satisfied with only one goal he managed to score a consolation goal for Derby in the 90th minute. His final appearance in a City shirt was the farewell NinIan Park game against Ipswich Town and the less said about that the better. Eddie returned to the States and in 2015 whilst with DC United he was diagnosed with a heart ailment resulting in his immediate retirement. 

  1. Which former Cardiff City player is currently with Sheffield United and has won 5 caps for the Isle of Wight?

Simon Moore. Perhaps his International career as an Isle of Wight international was more memorable than his Cardiff City career?

Malky signed him from Brentford in July 2013 prior to our first Premier League stint. Never likely to replace David Marshall as No 1 keeper Malky sent him on loan to the Wurzels in January 2014 having decided that Joe Lewis was the backup ‘keeper for him. He only got a run of games for us under Russell Slade and what was probably most surprising was that we got a transfer fee of as much as £500k for him from Sheffield Utd. after only 17 games for us. In the 2009 Island Games, Simon turned out for the Isle of Wight in the football tournament in the Åland Islands ( I looked it up they belong to Finland and are in the Baltic). They were drawn in a group with Jersey, Rhodes and Saare( Estonia) where they finished third. However, third place in the 4 groups was sufficient to qualify for the final stages and IOW eventually lost the 9th place playoff game to Gibraltar (since when has that been an island ?) The tournament was eventually won by the mighty Jersey. At the time of setting the question Simon appeared on the Sheffield United website as a player but has since joined Coventry City.

10. He played 133 times for us scoring 45 times between 2008 and 2011 having previously played in Italy with Perugia with the son of Colonel Gaddafi – who is he?

Jay Bothroyd. A very talented player with a seemingly flawed character. He was chucked out of Arsenal by Head of Youth Development Liam Brady who wasn’t prepared to tolerate his behaviour. He joined Perugia in 2003 via Coventry. It was at Perugia he played alongside Al-Saadi Gadaffi, the son of everybody’s favourite Libyan dictator. Gadaffi had been a prolific goal scorer in the Libyan League but statements to the effect that his transfer was “on merit” paled into insignificance when rumours persisted that Silvio Berlusconi had facilitated the deal in order to improve relations between Italy and Libya. Apparently, Jay and Gadaffi became firm friends off the pitch enjoying the high life at the Monaco Grand Prix, Gadaffi paid for Jay’s honeymoon and holidays in Los Angeles and Hawaii.  Jay found himself in even more august (is that the right word?) company when Gadaffi employed Diego Maradona and disgraced Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson as personal technical and fitness consultants. Anyway, one failed drugs test and Gadaffi and his gravy train was gone. In  2008 he found his way to us from Wolves where he had been signed by Mick McCarthy who, 2 years later sold him to us. I think it’s fair to say that Mick and Jay aren’t on each other’s Christmas card list as Jay described Mick as an “idiot” who made his life a “living hell”. As it turned out, in his career, Jay played most games and scored most goals whilst playing for us. Also, he won his only England cap. So, playing for us must have been the highlight of his career. It was all downhill for him after he left.

Cardiff City Memorabilia Auction

Trust Chair Keith Morgan has written to members after we became aware of the sale by auction of 15 bound volumes of Cardiff City programmes dating back to the 1920s.

The Trust has been supportive of the proposal to establish a Cardiff City Museum at the stadium and was active in encouraging the club to acquire a substantial amount of memorabilia at auction in February 2020, which is now forming the basis of the planned museum.

The lots for sale can be viewed in the enclosed link

https://www.mullocksauctions.co.uk/auctions?auction=278&p=2-40&fs=cardiff&fi=Football%20Memorabilia

We have already notified the club of the forthcoming auction and suggested to them that this is exactly the sort of memorabilia that the club should be acquiring.  The club has been very supportive previously in acquiring valuable memorabilia and has identified an area in the stadium where a future museum could be set up.