Earlier this afternoon club Chairman Datuk Chan Tien Ghee (TG) issued this statement on the club’s official site. So, there you have it, we won’t be playing in red as our first choice kit next season. Time to start popping the Champagne corks then – not for me though thanks, because I’ve got this strong churning feeling in my stomach. I’m not certain what’s causing it, but it did come on just as I was hearing Alan Whiteley read out the fifth paragraph of TG’s statement at the meeting I attended at Cardiff City Stadium a few hours ago – anyone who feels that today’s news is a cause for celebration should have another read of that paragraph and think about it for a while.
Perhaps after they have done that they could tell me where the good news is in learning that the man who has been writing the cheques every month for the last couple of years to keep the club solvent has his spokesman saying “but the club inevitably now faces bold and real world decisions should we want to see the club survive. As romantic and simplistic a notion as it may seem, maintaining our current course without growth or change, is not, and cannot be, an option.”? Before anyone says we can go into administration if Vincent Tan is no longer prepared to bankroll us or that he won’t walk away after he has put millions of pounds into the club, let’s not forget that this is not a Langston situation where the debt is unsecured, at the moment this is a secured loan which he is entitled to in full if the club goes to the wall.
As for us popping into administration for a couple of months and then coming back after as good as new again with some other billionaire owner, well I draw your attention to this story in the local press today which talks of our £70 million debt – strikes me that any administrator might have a bit of a problem finding a buyer for a Championship (emphasis on the word “Championship”) club with debt levels like that. This is far from a day for celebrating, this is not a day for messageboard banter (I hate that word!) or triumphalism, this is a day when we should all hope that there is a way out of this mess because if there isn’t, I think the future is too awful to contemplate.
For those who are looking for some feedback from today’s meeting, it got very heated at times as the twelve people present proved that, whatever else they are, they are passionate supporters of the club. Once again, I’d like to thank the four club employees who hosted the meeting, but the lasting memory I’ll take from it was what one of them said regarding Vincent Tan’s commitment to the club. The person I’m talking about decided to stay at a less well paid job at Cardiff City after he had been accepted for a position at a Saracens RFC. I think that says all you need to know about Julian Jenkins’ commitment to the club and so, while I cannot speak for the others present, when he says that Vincent Tan has already put tens of millions into the club without getting a penny back, that he has connections with 350 shops in the Far East which could be ready to stock Cardiff City merchandise and that plans have already been drawn up for the stadium expansion and new training facilities, that an agreement with Sam Hammam was imminent regarding the Langston loan note debt and that Malky Mackay and Alan Whiteley have already been in negotiations with transfer targets, I believe him.
If there was any good news to come out of the meeting, then it was that the Malaysian investors had agreed to a change to incorporate a Bluebird into the badge we had been shown on Tuesday (it’s below the Dragon and motto). As I said when asked about it, for some mysterious reason, club colours, badges and Bluebirds mean little to me, so I was hardly the person they should be seeking an opinion from, but, what I could recognise is that there had been a spirit of compromise shown by the Malaysian investors.
Unfortunately though, I came out of the meeting believing that something I had been suspecting for a couple of days might well be true – there are cultural and behavioural differences between Cardiff and Kuala Lumpur that are hard to breach. On the one hand, we find it very difficult to understand something that Vincent Tan seems to believe in implicitly – that is that changing our colours to red could have transformed the club’s fortunes, but, without knowing all of his thinking on the matter, it’s impossible to be persuaded. That shouldn’t mean that his ideas should be dismissed out of hand though – speaking as someone who has spent the best part of half a century watching us cock things up and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory so often while wearing blue. maybe he has a point!
On the other hand, it would appear that the Malaysians have been genuinely upset by behaviour that we probably dismiss as ill judged, but passionate. Speaking for myself, I was surprised that they would abandon their plans as quickly as they did, but then again, I don’t understand the Malaysian psyche (very few of us do) – confrontation (which is what messageboards and social networking sites sometimes seem to thrive on most) does not sit well with them.
I’ll finish by saying something about a message I read when I got in that had been posted on one of the boards after the statement by TG which, once again, set me thinking that Malaysian values may be the right ones to follow. Now, although I probably don’t show it often enough on here, I have a stoical outlook when it comes to my team – there’s not too much that upsets me about them and I can usually find something to laugh at when it comes to all things Cardiff City. However, it was a good job that my cat was out when I saw a thread titled “The Malaysian Ownners can stick their money up their arse if money is the only motivation.” because she would have been kicked from here to kingdom come! Thankfully, I’m pretty sure that the message has now been deleted and, on the off chance that TG, Vincent Tan or any other of the Malaysian investors get to read this and saw that abomination, I can only apologise for what that moron posted. We aren’t all like that you know – perhaps a few of us should have done more to make that clear over the past few days, because I’ve a nasty feeling that the damage might already have been done.