Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Saturday, 6 March 2010

Cardiff City chairman Ridsdale urges fans over protest

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Fans on the march expressed their frustration with the financial situation at the club

Around 2,000 supporters, carrying banners and a coffin, held a protest march ahead of Cardiff City's home match with Middlesbrough.

Earlier, club chairman Peter Ridsdale had challenged fans taking part to "look in the mirror" and decide if they cared about the club.

Adverts taken out in local papers had asked fans to join the protest at the club's financial situation.

Mr Ridsdale said the board have the club's best interests at heart.

He asked fans to question if they did too.

The club is due back in the High Court on 10 March facing a winding-up order over money owed to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Around £1.75m is outstanding after the club paid off £1m earlier this month.

The sale of land at the Cardiff City Stadium, which will be used for a House of Sport complex, is worth £450,000.

Ahead of kick-off, hundreds fans walked from the Canton area of the city to the stadium following an appeal by prominent Bluebirds' supporter and shareholder Annis Abraham.

'Purse strings'

The protest aimed to show their fans' dissatisfaction with the current board before they supported the team during the match.

Supporter Tony Jefferies, from Llanishen, Cardiff, before the protest, said: "I think the march is very important. The club needs to tighten the purse strings.

"If you were out of work you would look at your bills and cut out the luxuries.

Peter Ridsdale has been trying to find new investors for the club
It is now time for all Cardiff City supporters to decide whether they want this club to thrive
Peter Ridsdale, Cardiff City chairman

"The club thinks it is in the Premier League and it's not."

But Mr Ridsdale has suggested that march organisers wanted supporters to "destabilise" Cardiff City.

'Thrive'

"We are currently seeking external investment," he said in a statement.

"Will a march against the current management or the club assist that? The answer is simple. No.

"This club has made tremendous progress over the last five years. A new stadium, an FA Cup Final appearance, the highest league finish since 1971 and positive net assets for the first time for many years.

"We have short-term cash challenges like many football clubs. Now we have the new stadium and with positive net assets we have a chance to attract external investment.

"This will not be forthcoming if they see our supporters demonstrating in the streets.

"It is now time for all Cardiff City supporters to decide whether they want this club to thrive and move forward or to throw away everything that has been achieved over the last five years.

"We only have the best interests of Cardiff City at heart. I hope that this is a mutually shared objective.

'Half empty'

"Anyone thinking of joining this march should look themselves in the mirror and ask if they really care about Cardiff City Football Club and its future.

"If the answer is yes, then come straight to the ground, enjoy the match and support the club. If the answer is no, then join the march."

Cardiff City manager Dave Jones called for unity ahead of the match.

He told BBC Wales: "There are a lot of good things going on at this football club, and lot that are not so good.

"But if we're always looking to knock ourselves, hit ourselves between the eyes and say the glass is always half empty, it's about time we started rallying around, putting aside our personal issues and making sure collectively we're starting to turn things around."

Paul Corkrey, chairman of Cardiff City Supporters' Trust, said: "Although the supporters' trust has not been involved in the organisation of this event, we recognise the fans' right to protest peacefully.

"Meanwhile, the trust's board are requesting an urgent meeting with Bluebirds officials in order to discuss the current situation and seek assurances about the club's financial stability in the short, medium and long term."



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SEE ALSO
Cardiff win land sale green light
24 Feb 10 |  Cardiff
Cardiff fans hold finance protest
30 Jan 10 |  Wales

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