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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 March, 2005, 10:53 GMT
Angry fans mob City chairman
sam and crowd
Mr Hammam was surrounded as he arrived
Furious Cardiff City fans mobbed club chairman Sam Hammam, demanding that no more players will be sold.

He encountered angry scenes as he arrived at Ninian Park on Saturday - just a day after his shock decision to sell the club's captain.

"I have let the fans down, it is my responsibility and I intend to get us out of this problem," he said.

The club is in financial turmoil, with debts approaching 30m.

Supporters are worried that more players will have to be sold to keep it afloat, but Mr Hammam has insisted his club can overcome its financial crisis.

As fans demanded answers from him, he told them :"I feel I have promised certain things that I have not been able to honour at this point in time.

"I'm personally shattered. I have to continue fighting for this club until I have got them out of these problems."

Mounting debts forced the sale of captain Graham Kavanagh to Wigan on Friday, and fans fear that others may be sold.

Mr Hammam has not ruled out the possibility of selling more players but said he hoped he would not have to.

The club's official accounts, released on Saturday, showed it was almost 30m in debt.

Later, as fans arrived for the clash with Sheffield United, the game itself was just one of the things on their minds.

'No promises'

They wanted assurances that no more valuable players would be sold to ease the financial pressures.

Speaking after a meeting with directors at Ninian Park on Friday, Mr Hammam said: "I read today that a lot of players could be going - this is not the case.

"Some might still go but we hope none go. We don't promise one way or another," he added.

"We, the club and the fans, all have to stand together and we might have to accept to do very, very painful things indeed in the next few days or weeks," Mr Hammam said.

Auditors have been called in at the club, which is said to be 30m in debt.

Ninian Park players and staff have not been paid this month and it is believed the club's total wage bill each month is near to 750,000.

Ironically the sale of the Graham Kavanagh comes less than 24 hours after the team's manager said no player would be sold before Saturday's home game against Sheffield United.

Lennie Lawrence
Lennie Lawrence is worried about further sales

On Friday, Bluebirds manager Lennie Lawrence, also could not rule out more sales after Kavanagh, who was Cardiff's first 1m purchase in 2001 and was a driving force in the club's recent rise.

The Republic of Ireland international had been an integral part of what Mr Hammam insisted would be a march towards the premiership when they were promoted in 2003.

Mr Hammam insists Cardiff City's future will be safe when work begins on the new stadium in July or August, but many Cardiff fans have turned against the chairman they once regarded as the club's saviour.

Some fans have voiced deep concerns over the future of the championship side.

Vince Alm from Cardiff City Supporters Club said: "We've had some bad chairmen in the past - I'm not going to name them - and bad times, but never as bad as this."

But Gwyn Davies, spokesman for the Valley Rams supporters club, was more optimistic after meeting Mr Hammam on Friday night.

He told Radio Wales on Saturday : "I was absolutely distraught. These are tough times, but I feel a lot better than I did yesterday.

"Graham Kavanagh going is a massive sacrifice, but put in the context of would we rather lose some of our young talent, you've got to put it into perspective."

Further departures from Cardiff could follow, say sports pundits. Nottingham Forest have been linked with striker Peter Thorne, West Ham are keen on Wales defender James Collins, while wing Jobi McAnuff is another thought to be in demand.


SEE ALSO:
Hammam offers apology to Cardiff
06 Mar 05 |  Cardiff City
Cardiff financial plight revealed
05 Mar 05 |  Cardiff City
Wigan complete Kavanagh signing
04 Mar 05 |  Cardiff City
Cardiff stadium work put on hold
01 Mar 05 |  Cardiff City
Cardiff financial worry continues
02 Mar 05 |  Cardiff City
Hammam defends election letter
06 May 04 |  South East Wales
Cardiff fans bitten by police dogs
14 Nov 04 |  South East Wales
Stadium retail plans held up
15 Dec 04 |  Wales
Work on stadium 'to start in May'
20 Jan 05 |  South East Wales


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