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Why Peter Ridsdale deserves another chance

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Matt Slater | 15:54 UK time, Friday, 31 December 2010

On an eventful Thursday, Plymouth Argyle announced a number of personnel changes. King Herod is the new boss at the youth academy, Harold Shipman takes over as club doctor and Alan Carr comes in as strength and conditioning coach.

Oh, and Peter Ridsdale will be helping the board with financial advice.

What?!? Ridsdale has been handed another football club's biscuit tin? Is that the sound of irony dying I can hear?

Erm...maybe, but here's the thing. I don't think this is such an apocalyptic appointment. In fact, I don't think Ridsdale is that bad.

There, I've said it but before you start waving garlic and crossing yourselves furiously, let me explain why football's most controversial executive deserves a more balanced hearing, balanced being the key word here.

I should probably begin by stating my starting position.

Like most fans in their late 30s, the mere mention of the 58-year-old's name was enough to bring memories of Seth Johnson's contract, rented goldfish and "living the dream" flooding back.

Rio Ferdinand and Peter Ridsdale

A record-breaking fee for Rio Ferdinand was typical of Ridsdale's recruitment policy at Elland Road

To me, Ridsdale was a sharp-suited cross between Icarus and a wrecking ball. Any press speculation linking him to my club would have had me erecting barricades.

That is still the effect he has on many. I know articles mentioning twitter irritate those who have resisted the micro-blogging bug but Argyle's new football consultant was "trending" all Thursday, making him one of the 10 most mentioned topics in the UK. The message boards were pretty riled too.

But in doing this job I've learned three lessons that have made me reappraise beliefs I previously took as articles of faith.

The first is to take people as I find them and not as press clippings or saloon gossip advertises them. The second is to never completely trust anything that anybody tells me. And the third is that football makes almost no sense as a proper business.

So caveats stated, let's return to Ridsdale.

A life-long fan, the former Top Man executive joined the Leeds United board as executive chairman in 1997. Champions under Howard Wilkinson in 1992, the Yorkshire giants enjoyed fluctuating fortunes over the next five seasons but Ridsdale's arrival coincided with the emergence of a promising team of largely homegrown talent.

Control of that team was in the hands of another seemingly talented youngster, David O'Leary, the former Arsenal defender who finished his playing career at Leeds. Overseeing all this was Ridsdale and a board of directors that would not have looked out of place in most FTSE 100 companies. Leeds United looked like a club prepared to take advantage of English football's boom. They so nearly did.

Given that the man himself took 356 pages to justify his actions, this is not the place for a forensic retelling of the Great Elland Road Debt Experiment but suffice it to say Ridsdale, his fellow directors and O'Leary availed themselves of every financial instrument the City of London could provide and thoroughly enjoyed the ride right up until the moment they ended up face first in a fence.

Top of the Premiership on New Year's Day 2002, Ridsdale's United would never have it so good again. The wins dried up, off-field scandal destroyed morale, O'Leary flapped and all that debt started to bite. They had forgotten the small print: the value of your investments can go down as well as up.

But was it all Ridsdale's fault? After the official confirmation of his (unpaid) role at Argyle, I asked him if he understood why many fans are, well, a bit frightened by his "baggage".

"People are very quick to talk about the downsides," he said.

"I was chairman of a club that went to a Champions League semi-final and was fifth in the league. Did I make mistakes? Of course, but who hasn't?

"Sometimes people talk about the baggage as if it's the only part of the story. There's much more to it than that. I've worked hard, I've got lots of good contacts and I've done lots of things well."

A qualified mea culpa, then. But let's remember that balance. There were good times and he did not act alone. His mistakes were typical of the time and in many ways Leeds United paid the price for all of football's sins.

But Leeds is only part of Ridsdale's story. After Elland Road, there was a brief interlude at Barnsley, where he rescued an ailing club only to leave abruptly when rising debts again forced a change. That, however, brought him to Cardiff City and the second act in his dramatic career.

The Bluebirds were struggling when then-owner Sam Hammam called in Ridsdale to get the club's new stadium project moving again. Negotiations with the council over planning had got bogged down and the club was slowly dying in its dilapidated Ninian Park home.

Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock and Peter Ridsdale

Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock enjoying the good times at Cardiff City in the Ridsdale years

The real problem, though, was Hammam (and the Byzantine complexity of his business empire) and it took his departure and Ridsdale's elevation to chairman in 2006 to make the move to the Cardiff City Stadium a reality.

Before we get to the "downsides" of Ridsdale's Welsh adventure, and you know they're coming, we should also mention the fact that Cardiff City have spent the last few seasons knocking on the Premier League's door and went to the FA Cup final in 2008, losing, somewhat ironically, to Portsmouth.

Sadly, there are a few items in the debit column, none bigger than an embarrassing episode a year ago. The club's "golden ticket" scheme was supposed to guarantee supporters a two-year price freeze on their season ticket if they renewed early. The money raised would then be spent on the promotion push. Already enjoying their new home, the fans loved it and renewed away.

The precise chronology of what happened next is still sketchy but it soon became clear the "golden ticket" money (and sums hastily raised by other means) would have to be spent on a £2.7m tax bill that Ridsdale had allowed to accumulate. At a stroke, all credit he had accrued in getting the stadium built evaporated.

By the time he left Cardiff in May 2010, the club had survived four winding-up petitions, lost a play-off final and racked up millions of new debt. That he had successfully found new Malaysian investors to take that debt on, the stadium is lovely and the team are still contenders is almost forgotten.

So would it be fairer to say Ridsdale's record at Cardiff City was mixed as opposed to bad? His take on it is typically bullish.

"When I came to Cardiff City they had substantial debts, no money and were fighting relegation. When I left they had been to an FA Cup final, had a new stadium and played in a play-off final. So I'm very happy and relaxed about my record there," he said.

So where does that lead me and "Rids"? Well, so far I don't think he has lied to me.
Everything he has said about Plymouth Argyle (and a couple of other clubs) has come to pass. He has also been nothing but approachable and friendly.

Clearly, he has a Machiavellian streak and he is perhaps a little bit too comfortable with risk. He is also, at heart, a businessman with an eye for an opportunity.

But he does care about his reputation and I think he sees Argyle as a win-win situation. Save them from the undisputed mess they are in and he might repair his CV a little - he will also be well placed for any Home Park renaissance.

I appreciate this blog reads a bit like a longer version of Fighting Talk's "defend the indefensible" round but I am inclined to give Ridsdale one more chance to do something unequivocally good in football. Getting Argyle out of their current predicament would be a fine start.

As well as my blogs, you can follow me when I'm out and about at


  • Comment number 1.


  • Comment number 2.

    I cant believe you are trying to defend this man!

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm sorry but this man should not be allowed anywhere near a football club ever again, outrageous!

  • Comment number 4.

    If you're so keen on Ridsdale, why don't you ask him to join the board of your club? Don't inflict him on me and mine.

    A Plymouth fan.

  • Comment number 5.

    You say he found the Malaysian investors, Cardiff fans say they found the investors & they insisted Ridsdale left the club before they put their money in - who is telling the truth ?

  • Comment number 6.

    Oh dear poor Plymouth, they are next on the Ridsdale rollercoaster to chaos! Financial advice? Steer well clear of it!

  • Comment number 7.

    Leeds fan in peace!!!
    I refuse to read this blog as nothing that anybody tells me can change my mind on Risdale - I just want to express genuine sympathy for Plymouth fans,
    a) at their current financial plight
    b) at the fact that Risdale is getting involved
    The man came very close to bankrupting the club that I love, when will owners/chairman realise that they are merely caretakers of clubs - it is the fans who have kept clubs going for years and they will be there before during and after their reign.
    I don't think any proper football fan wants to see any football club potentially going under.
    Good luck Plymouth!!

  • Comment number 8.

    A good blog, on a very touchy subject, but i agree with you for the most part.

    I do not know the full story, and anyone correct me if i am wrong, but what happened at Leeds happens in business and football all the time. The club invested money and spent money based on future income they planned on getting through league positions and CL money. When this didn't happen they got into trouble. Companies spend money based on future revenue all the time, and clubs other than Leeds have done the same. They spent money based on projected revenue and came unstuck when they didn't succeed as they thought they would. He never intentionally went out to damage the club, and was naive in a business sense and he himself has admitted that the fact he was a fan also caused his business sense to go for a time.

    What he did at Leeds was bad business, and how often have we seen that in football over recent years.

    Cardiff were in big trouble when he arrived, and although they do have substantial debts to their names and the winding up orders having gone against them during his time, he has left them in a better state now than what they were when he joined. THe new stadium is fantastic, and the club are in a much better position on the field than when he took over.

    The fact the Plymouth are the fourth club to have sought his help seems to show he still has a decent reputation in footbaall depsite everything that has happened, and variuos negative media comments.

    I reaslly hope he succeeds, for Plymouth's sake. As a fan of a fellow Devon club it would be such a shame to see such a big club, with such a great history, go under.

  • Comment number 9.

    Your points about taking people as you find them are good ones well made. But not all statistics are lies and damned lies.

    Ridsdale had his 'another chance' at Cardiff and he blew it. Even now, the club is paying off debts which Ridsdale either racked up or, in the case of a certain Langston Corporation, claimed he had dealt with satisfactorily.

    He is the sort of character who 'inspires' (for want of a much ruder word) extreme reactions in people, which immediately sets a combative tone for any debate about him. You are either for him or agin' him, when the truth is somewhere in-between.

    Of course, in his case, that truth is far from halfway in-between. He has been a failure in football business and should not get ANOTHER 'another chance' - however "approachable and friendly" he may be (he isn't known as PR-Pete because of his initials).

    It is more of a comment on the shambles that is football finance in the UK that Ridsdale can be seen as any sort of solution to any sort of problems involving money. And it is a savage indictment of Plymouth's recent financial history that he may yet be a source of improvement for the club.

  • Comment number 10.

    #8. At 18:07pm on 31st Dec 2010, LeeTUFC wrote:
    A good blog, on a very touchy subject, but i agree with you for the most part.

    I do not know the full story, and anyone correct me if i am wrong, but what happened at Leeds happens in business and football all the time. The club invested money and spent money based on future income they planned on getting through league positions and CL money. When this didn't happen they got into trouble. Companies spend money based on future revenue all the time, and clubs other than Leeds have done the same. They spent money based on projected revenue and came unstuck when they didn't succeed as they thought they would. He never intentionally went out to damage the club, and was naive in a business sense and he himself has admitted that the fact he was a fan also caused his business sense to go for a time.

    What he did at Leeds was bad business, and how often have we seen that in football over recent years.


    All fair points and admittedly if it had come off I would be singing his praises, no two ways about it, but there is a fundamental difference between businesses and football clubs (the fans!!) and the sooner chairmen/owners realise this the better!

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm a Plymouth fan through and through. What people need to do is accept this because, at the end of the day, it isn't down to the fans anymore. As cruel as it sounds, football is sorted more off the pitch than on it these days and i'm getting a bit fed up with it in a way. Of course football will remain a large part of every British man's culture for eternity so it doesn't matter whether money is ruining it or not.

    As for Risdale, he may defend himself... being a human he's capable of doing that, but whether he comes in or not we're a stone's throw away from extinction. He isn't the white horse we need (referring to Matt's other blog) but at the moment he's all we're getting so up comes those famous 3 words that as fans we'll have to understand, DEAL WITH IT.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    No he doesn't.

  • Comment number 14.

    the man is a joke and should be banned from football all together!! first leeds then cardiff who he supposedley was working for free but banked over £1m in consultancy fees for battling court cases in the run up to the cup final (so all the prize money went into his pocket) he shouldnt ever be allowed near a football club again he nearly ruined two football clubs how many more clubs does he have to put in that mess again b3efore he is banned!!the league talk of a fit and proper persons test if thats the case he should fail every time!! i feel for the plymouth fans at this time as we were taken in by him at first and he screwed us big time and if it wasnt for steve borley (our vice chairman) the new investers wouldnt have came in as they wouldnt even work with the cow boy and only agreed to invest if he left!!if people from outside football and the country can see it why cant the fa!!!good luck argyle fans youll need it!!

  • Comment number 15.

    i cannot believe that anyone can be paid to write a blog that defends such a man (ridsdale) when his track record is so awful at wrecking football club's and the people who support them!!! the man is a kinx and a terrible chairman who should not be allowed near a football club, especially after what he did at Leeds

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    For a man with an iffy record, being photographed with Kinnock was not wise . . . not wise for Kinnock either, come to that.

    But at least Lord Kinnock's in the first class carriage of the gravy train, so he doesn't have to worry. Whereas Ridsdale seems determined to push on until he improves his reputation. Like a gambler on a losing streak determined - hoping? - to recoup his losses.

    Plymouth will probably be his last throw. Fail there and he's out of chips and credit.

  • Comment number 18.

    I've heard and seen some absolutely stupid, ill-informed articles in my time, but this one takes the biscuit.

    I suppose you're one of the people who thought Joey Barton, Marlon King and Lee Hughes 'deserved' another chance in football.

    The game is rotten to the core and parasites like Ridsdale are to blame.

  • Comment number 19.

    Watch him like a hawk, I would say.

  • Comment number 20.

    Ridsdale is like someone who wins £9mil on the lottery, but spends £10mil and wonders what went wrong.

    A total tool.

  • Comment number 21.

    Why Peter Ridsdale deserves another chance

    Why Peter Ridsdale deserves another chance

    I have repeated this just to emphasise what was actually written.

    It's almost like a talksport controversial 'let's get them responding' headline.

    As a Leeds fan I have a profound dislike of Ridsdale.He was THE man who single-handedly nearly brought down our great football club.The ex PLC man and self proclaimed Leeds fan should not be allowed near a football club after the Leeds debacle that has now entered the vocabulary of football failure.

    My take has always been after Graham departed for Tottenham Ridsdale was determined to prove George had made a wrong call in proclaiming Spurs a bigger club.He was blinded by this desire to show Leeds could compete at the very top that he forgot all the basic rules of economics.And despite him looking to share the blame the fact of the matter was his reckless gamble caused the club to almost implode under a weight of vast debt.Our loyal fans have suffered agonies over recent years but the pain has been lifting following our recent improvements.Long live Leeds and reckless Ridsdale, the man without shame, should be told to find another hobby.

  • Comment number 22.

    Im an Argyle fan and I'm not convinced about him either

    Risdale is in a win-win situation here

    Fail, and the club was already too far gone for him to make a difference
    Succeed, and new found hero status in football for the slippery one

    After all it was done at voluntary basis and its a full time post

    The truth is we dont really have a choice, if he hadnt of got involved, administration (Which may still happen anyway) and liquidation (again a possibility) are almost certain. At least he having a go trying to help us.

    I dont see to many others coming around the corner if you do let me know....

  • Comment number 23.

    This man is a football parasite. Not only did he nearly take may great club oblivion he then did the same to Cardiff. It fine saying 'we lived the dream' the nightmare we endured was far deeper and worse because of his inept undstanding of basic mathematics. The FA should ban him from any involvement in football clubs again.

  • Comment number 24.

    Argyle immediately require £760k to secure their future. If a prominent figure in football, who owned (forget about ruining) a former champions league team, cannot at this point guarantee three of Rooney's weeks wages then what is he actually bringing to the outfit? Any clown could walk into the chairman's position and bring about a new age of austerity. How about the hard cash? He harks on about his "contacts." Ask any Cardiff fan about his "contacts."

    Answer = he has no hard cash. Rather, he seeks cash from the clubs he buys, as opposed to bringing it to the table. Ask any fan of Leeds, Barnsley, and Cardiff.

    Ridiculous article.

  • Comment number 25.

    When Ridsdale arrived at Cardiff, Leeds fans in South Wales (and believe me, there are thousands of them here!) warned me about him, but, until November 2009, I used to answer them in much the same manner as you have done in this piece - Peter Ridsdale got us the new ground and had provided us with a good team, where's the problem with that?

    On 25 November 2009 it was reported that Cardiff City were due in Court later that day for non payment of taxes - although there had been rumours that we were in financial trouble, this was the first most supporters knew about HMRC taking us to Court.

    Ridsdale reacted by calling the actions of the local paper that had reported the story that morning "despicable", but he really came under pressure when the Malaysian business man who is now our Chairman revealed in an exchange of e-mails with a supporter that he had been unaware of the Court case. When asked at a meeting with supporters a week or so later, how it was that the Malaysians did not not know beforehand about the club being summonsed by the taxman, Mr Ridsdale said he hadn't told them because "they didn't ask about it"! From that moment, I lost all faith in the man and saw why he has such an awful reputation.

    Just before Christmas 2009 we had a game with Leicester postponed because of a hard pitch - this despite it earlier being trumpeted by the Chairman that we had "state of the art" undersoil heating at our new stadium (it turned out that it hadn't been fully installed in an effort to save costs).

    Another example of Mr Ridsdale being economical with the truth came when the club first tried to sell us season tickets for 2010/11 in October 2009 and he dealt with the inevitable queries about what this said about the club's finances by declaring that there was no ulterior motive behind this, it was just the club's way of "rewarding" fans for their loyalty (prices had been frozen). When the take up for this offer was much less than expected, the club had another go just before Christmas as more "rewards" were added, but it was only the promise of new players in January from season ticket receipts which finally got the response the club wanted.

    In early January 2010 Peter Ridsdale told reporters that he "guaranteed" new signings in the transfer window and said he would be holding a press conference later in the month to welcome the newcomers - we all know what happened next!

    In his last year at Cardiff, and despite all of the club's financial woes, Mr Ridsdale continued to draw on a wage which was exorbitant when compared to most others in the Championship doing a similar job while also employing cronies from his Leeds days - a second Stadium Manager was appointed (allegedly on a six figure annual salary), as well as a media man whose name, as far as I am aware, never appeared in the written and broadcast media in all of his time at the club!

    In March 2010, I went on a protest march before a game with Middlesbrough in which supporters gave vent to their feelings about how the club was being run. Given Mr Ridsdale's habit of claiming the credit for any good news at his club, it was inevitable that he would be the focus of attention when things went wrong and, effectively, the protest was about him.

    Cardiff City might be in fairly good financial health now, but, for me, this is despite Peter Ridsdale not because of him - I feel sorry for Plymouth fans and, if the "fit and proper person" test meant anything, that man would never have been allowed near another football club again.

  • Comment number 26.

    I posted my previous comment having not read your article. Then I read it. Quote this:

    "I am inclined to give Ridsdale one more chance to do something unequivocally good in football."

    That quote single handedly proves that you care not one iota about Argyle nor lower league football. You shamelessly state that you care more about this thrice failed chairman getting one more chance than you care about the future of one of the the UKs oldest football clubs. Shame on you.

  • Comment number 27.

    .... more to the point, why would anyone care about him? He's one pathetic little businessman in a world of pathetic businessmen. What has Ridsdale done to deserve another shot at running a football team? Donated money out of the goodness of his heart? Written off loans because of his love of the beautiful game? If it was YOUR football team, would you feel that this poor, misunderstood man should be running it, on the basis of "he's tried before, it ain't worked out, but "I'm inclined to give him one more chance?"

    If it was YOUR team, you wouldn't be inclined to give him one more chance. But no, it's little old Argyle, so yes, let's give "club killer" the one more chance he deserves, shall we?!

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    Blimey, another BBC apologist for another ruinous football figure.

    Do you people have no shame at all?

  • Comment number 30.

    As a Leeds fan I may be a little biased, but I am still entitled to my opinion. I've got to be honest and say that I find this article distateful in the extreme. For all the money, rising stars, commercial promises-my club won absolutely nothing. Ridsdale comments that he took us to the Champions League semi finals...Great stuff Peter, but thats as far as it went and if you ask ANY Leeds fan if they would take Premier League mid table mediocrity over League 1 and debts, I'm sure most would chose Premier League obscurity like we had for the latter part of the 1990s.

    Risdale also graciously (I say that tongue in cheek) holds his hands up, saying he made a mistake, who doesnt? I'm sorry, but that does not cut it either. A child makes a mistake in their homework-you can not afford to make a mistake on the scale he did. It wasnt just a 'mistake' It was astounding and horrendous lack of judgement and foresight.

    And as for this excitment about 'the ride', I refer you to my earlier question that you could ask ANY Leeds fan. If you ever read this Peter, I loved your letter and poll to the fans asking whether to move to a new stadium or develop Elland Road-such careless, blind and misplaced optimism. I shall never, ever forgive you for destroying my club.

    I am disappointed that any journalist would seek to defend this man. Whatever he has 'achieved' with other clubs, his greed and lack of judgement destroyed Leeds and nearly left a great city without a club altogether. A very poor article.

  • Comment number 31.

    Ridsdales business plan: -

    Exhaust all income streams to generate huge cash sums now. Draw a hefty wage whilst enjoying the good times. Leave once the cash dries up and recall the good times to anyone gullible enough to believe them. Move on to next club and repeat.

    Anyone can do this but most of us have too much respect to sink this low. This man should never pass a fit and proper persons test but we all know that's a joke too.

  • Comment number 32.

    So basically you paint the man as a liar and a constant failure in the end and then defend him.

  • Comment number 33.

    I have had to read this twice just make sure that my eyes wern't playing tricks on me!!!
    The man should never be allowed anywhere near a football stadium, never mind being a Chairman!!!
    Give him a balanced hearing?
    There was nothing balanced about the way he nearly put both Leeds and Cardiff out of business, whilst still collecting a fat pay cheque.
    Maybe if you had spoken to the fans of the clubs he very nearly destroyed, then one of your opening gambits such as "balanced hearing", would have been deleted. In fact maybe this article would never have been published at all!
    At the risk of having this post not published, how can a man like Ridsdale be defended? Absolute rubbish......

  • Comment number 34.

    Yes, Ridsdale is an iffy character.
    Yes, Argyle seem to be heading for liquidation despite having a public company/ex-Man U chairman.
    Yes, in the last year a maze of associated companies have been formed whereby we fans have no idea who owes what to whom.
    Our board under the chairmanship of Sir Roy and his sidekick Todd and tthe Japanese investors have turned one of the best run clubs (Deloitte's award some years ago).

    Nobody with resources has come forward ( certainly since Sir Roy's and Todd's dream of being a world cup city went down the plug) to take on new debt to settle the HMRC and other debts.
    Argyle are simply not generating enough income to reduce the debt and are operating at a loss thus increasing the debt.

    It seems that Ridsdale is the only person to come forth and offer (unpaid) help.

    We at Argyle seem to have no choice !!!

    Long live Argyle !!!

  • Comment number 35.

    A thread in favour of the Devil within!..

    Its an odd one but sometimes the indefensible have to be defended!..

    Can someone ask in all his time of reaping havoc in the Football world who really is to blame, him for dibbling in what he hasn't a clue about or the People at the top that have yet again proved that they don't have a clue when it comes to letting People carry on doing what they have already shown they cant do!..

    Not only should Ridsdale be Vetted for a Post in the world of Football, the People that are supposed to do the Vetting should be Vetted, and then when they find they are not fit to do their Jobs, then they should be shown the door, and then maybe People like him would only get one crack at the Whip!..

    Once would be enough in the normal world, (I would have lost my job for less!) but a Forth attempt, he will take someone down sooner or later, all the Argyle fans can do is Pray like the rest of us, and all the rest of us can do is hope they have as much luck as we did, if you can call what happened to my team/club luck!..

    The People at the Top are just as much to blame!..

  • Comment number 36.

    Matt, you've not really justified Ridsdale's appointment at all. He is a terrible person for any football club.

    The fact that the FA have allowed him near another club again is further evidence of their sheer incompetence.

  • Comment number 37.

    On his watch, Leeds built up something like £140m debt, and gave players like Fowler and Danny Mills eye watering contracts.
    Either Ridsdale isn't good at Maths, or he had a Plan B somewhere.

  • Comment number 38.

    You can complain about individuals comments but not the blog. This man whoever he is knows absolutely nothing about football or economics, so why is he allowed to comment on such matters.

    If the bbc has any idea about what people want to read about they would sack this idiot.

  • Comment number 39.

    Without some external help there is no hope at all - the state of club today compared to in the 'hey day' under Holloway a few years back is a disgrace...

    If the help happens to be in the form of Risdale then we should grab hold of it with both hands as, without some external intervention, we may as well just shut the place down and start playing tiddlywinks instead!!

  • Comment number 40.

    Hard luck Argyle!! Nice to have known you. This man will kill your club as he nearly did at Cardiff & Leeds. All you need now is R Hodgson as manager and the job will be complete. If in doubt ask a scouser!!

  • Comment number 41.

    Skipping over the catastophe he nearly caused at Barnsley in less than half a paragraph is to your immense discredit. The man is a ruinous parasite, vermin and should not be let near any business. He did not rescue our ailing club, that had already happened. What he did do was nearly drop us back in it before our Chairman promptly told him to get stuffed.

  • Comment number 42.

    Afternoon all and happy New Year. I didn't think this would be a popular one but I thought it would make for a decent debate. So, without further ado, some replies:

    hudjer (37) - Yep, his six-year tenure at Leeds saw them run up huge (unprecedented for football at the time) debts but I think the actual figure was more like £100m. And you're right to point out the wage issue, I alluded to it above with the Seth Johnson comment. The interesting thing about Fowler and Mills, though, was not so much their wages (which were high but on a par with the clubs Ridsdale saw as Leeds peers) but the fact that Fowler was bought at all (I think he was their fifth decent striker) and the lack of any exit clauses (relegation, for example) in Mills' contract. That is a mistake that football clubs continue to make....Plymouth Argyle being a prime example. As for Ridsdale's maths/plan B, I disagree. He's not bad at maths at all and he did have a plan B (buy good young talent, sell if things go wrong) just didn't work out. Lots of reasons for that, to be fair, bad luck/timing being one of them. The market turned south just as Leeds missed their CL target, triggering the cashflow/debt imbalance. That was compounded by fact that not all of those signings were that great in the first place (all his fault?) and relegation the following season. That's not an excuse, of course. But it is an explanation.

    PeteG_1984 (36) - You're right, I haven't justified Ridsdale's "appointment" at all in this blog but I did pretty much do that in my last blog. If you didn't see that one I'll briefly recap here: Plymouth A are at death's door and there isn't any sign of the cavalry coming over the hill. Ridsdale is at Argyle because the club's long-standing director Paul Stapleton has begged him to help the club out. Stapleton's fellow local directors have put out the welcome matt too, and the majority shareholder Kagami is desperate for somebody to get him out of this hole. These four, comprising 87% of the shareholders, voted to make PR chief exec three weeks ago but he declined. He has, however, agreed to advise them on an unpaid consultancy basis. I also think you're guilty of a pretty common misconception (not that I really blame you because I sympathise with your view), the FA has long since abdicated responsibility for regulation of the club game to the two leagues. So this is a Football League issue and, to be honest, they take their lead from the Premier League...he who pays the piper etc

  • Comment number 43.

    LUFCGermany3 (35) - Good point, well made. I've been banging on about proper tests for owners and directors in football for years...the level of regulation is shocking compared to US pro sport, for example. But I would slightly question your comment about people not getting 2nd, 3rd chances in the real world....that's not my experience at all. I was a business journalist before I did this and I was always amazed at how many directors/senior execs walk away from wrecks to resurface elsewhere. Don't believe me? Let me give you a few who are relevant to the Ridsdale story: Allan Leighton, Richard North and Adam Pearson at Leeds (miraculously unscathed by what happened 'on their watch'....they probably owe Ridsdale a drink), and Sir Roy Gardner and Keith Todd CBE at Plymouth (worth looking at their recent career histories away from football)? What's my point? Ridsdale is no better or worse than most of them.

    anglo_dutch (34) - You're absolutely right. Plymouth are in this mess because of decisions taken by directors going back at least two or three years. And you're also right to point out that some of these directors are supposed to be titans of British business and stalwarts of the local economy. Sadly, this is a story that can be told of clubs up and down the country. Who was it that so nearly took Sheff Wed to the wall last month? Yep, a fine collection of local dignitaries and high-ranking football officials.

    ed (33) - But I did talk to fans of his former clubs, quite a few, to be honest. And while many said similar things to you, there were dissenting voices. Funnily enough, the most balanced assessments of Ridsdale came from two long-standing members of the supporters trusts at Cardiff and Leeds. The latter, in particular, described Ridsdale as a guy who has become an all-too convenient pantomime baddie, and said that genuine understanding of what he actually did at Elland Road is thin on the ground.

    boils (32) - Do I paint him as a "liar and constant failure" though? I'm sorry if that's what you took from my piece because it would mean I had failed to get something a bit more nuanced. There is no doubt that he did fail at Leeds but my point is that the failure wasn't his alone. What happened there was not a Nick Leeson-style bit of rogue trading or Enron-like fraud. It was a collectively agreed strategy - entirely legal - that nearly worked but ended up failing spectacularly. Fault for that must be shared between Ridsdale, the rest of the board, the manager, the players (why Leeds fans don't get angrier about the Majestyk episode I'll never know), the media (he didn't hide what he was was all done with surprising amounts of transparency) and even the fans....did they complain when four or five new signings arrived every summer? No, but then fans never do, at any club. We're all guilty! I see Ridsdale's Cardiff adventure a bit differently. Did he tell fibs? Yes. But did he believe the ends justified the means (the Machiavelli bit)? Definitely. I asked him about this last week and he admitted there was a balance to be struck when letting fans know about the financial difficulties their club was in. On the one hand, you want to be straight and appeal for help/patience, but on the other, you don't want to cause panic and scare off potential investment. Now I believe he got this balance wrong at Cardiff and I think he would acknowledge that. But he also firmly believes that he got a good "result" for the club in the end. I think it's probably too early to tell but I do wonder why Ridsdale is so despised in Wales when Hammam, for one, is rarely mentioned.

  • Comment number 44.

    SimonCCFC (31) - You've just outlined a business plan that has been implemented at dozens of clubs over the last decade or so....not many of them, however, have a new stadium, decent team and committed new benefactor to show for it. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with your take on Ridsdale at CCFC, I'm just saying it wasn't that unusual and it didn't turn out so badly.

    Mareklev (30)- You don't need to explain why you deserve to have your opinion aired, just air it, that's what these blogs are for. But as you've started the "I'm a fan, so I know" game I'll join in. I'm interested by the comment you make about your years of mid-table mediocrity in the late 90s. I lived in Leeds for 5 years in the 90s and while not a fan of United I went to a fair few games at Elland Rd and considered the team my unofficial favourite 'big club'. Now off the top of my head I can only remember 2 seasons of mediocrity during that decade and I could swear that the natives absolutely hated it. I was at the game that pretty much finished Wilko (4-0 defeat at home by Man U) and there was no sign that day of people being satisfied with mid-table. Which is why, when Ridsdale and pals took over and started looking at clever-clever ways of closing the financial gap to teams like Man Utd (teams that had accelerated away from the pack thanks to Champions League money and related commercial revenues), he was heralded as a genius by Leeds fans. OK, you didn't actually win anything over the next few years but you competed. Then it all went pear-shaped and it was all Ridsdale's fault. Even the relegation to League One. And before you get too sanctimonious about what Leeds fans would be willing to accept as their proper station, the team relegated from the Ch'ship that year went down fair and square, just like my team, Southend. My team, however, didn't cynically play the administration game during the last few weeks of the season.

    CoalitionoftheWilling (29) - You're going to have to do better than that. What other BBC 'apologist' and which other 'ruinous football figures'?

    SJyelsnya (26, 27) - Sadly I know more about lower league football than is really healthy. But to answer your main (only?) question, yes, I probably would welcome PR to the board of my club right now. We are run by your more usual, common or garden football suit and he's making a right pig's ear of it. Like Rids, though, he has the gift of the gab when the mood takes him, I just don't think he's very smart. As for your claim that I don't care about Argyle, you're wrong. Pay attention in coming weeks and I will try to show you how I do care and, even better, might be able to help.

    Right, that's enough for one sitting. Thanks for reading and good luck to all your teams in 2011.

  • Comment number 45.

    Your obviously not a leeds fan, try seeing things from all points of view next time

  • Comment number 46.

    Peter Ridsdale? absolute amatuer compared to a certain Mr Ron Noades who is the real deal when it comes to messing up football clubs. At least Ridsdale hasnt yet tried to play football league manager with any of his toys unlike a certain Mr Noades who almost destroyed Brentford FC by running up millions of debt and then running away when it didnt work. People like this should realise that football is NOT a computer game and that you are not playing with a theoretical posistion but real life.

  • Comment number 47.

    I am a Leeds fan, who now lives in Plymouth. Ridsdale did not get any protests or complaints when things were going well, everybody WAS living the dream, but dreams end, and reality sets in. From other articles, i think Argyle need about £4m. the £750k is for one debt only, others still exist and other court cases, i think are still pending. Neither PR or anybody else is going to stump up £750k of their own money, with no guarantees that this will save Argyle, and safeguard their money. Argyle, basically have very few assets, so there is nothing to offer as security for investors. The previous execs, as has been pointed out, are hardly the "Lord Sugar's" of the business world. Everything was gambled on the 2018 World Cup bid and the gamble failed. Was this not another example of trying to live a dream?

    I don't exactly see loads of people rushing to Home Park, cheque books in hand, to bail Plymouth out. So, if Ridsdale is offering to help, accept it. You never know, ot might work.
    On another note, whilst i do not want to see any football club go under, why should tax payers have to wait for football clubs to pay tax bills. They owe HMRC, like everyone else, but seem to think that they can use the collected tax to finance the club. HMRC will take a club down to set an example, and I fully agree with them. I would not be allowed to defer tax payments and then go to court, claiming I am awaiting investment and get a stay of execution, so why should a football club? A football club is a business, just like any other, when tax payments are due, pay them. Fans who believe football clubs are different, need to get in the real world. A football club is an entertainment business. Businesses fail and are re-born, this will always happen, it's called the market economy. Argyle may go into administration or liquidation, but someone will buy the "shell" and start again.

  • Comment number 48.

    "But I would slightly question your comment about people not getting 2nd, 3rd chances in the real world....that's not my experience at all. I was a business journalist before I did this and I was always amazed at how many directors/senior execs walk away from wrecks to resurface elsewhere."

    Matt!..fair comment mate, but the problem is in my little,(the normal working persons world!)is that People in such high places do as they feel, and there isn't many above them that can say hold on, that won't work!..

    People like these have full control over what they do and the People that work for them, that's one reason why others walk before they do, they are the ones that see how far its got, and when it goes to far,(which it is very obvious it did at Leeds!)then the one that can do something about it should say, hold on, I'm doing this and its not working, maybe I should step back, take a look and see what I'm doing wrong!..

    Ridsdale new how far it had gone and he should have put a stop to it before it got to far!..

    Was he not in charge of the Board that should by rights have said it wouldn't work, or did they all have their fingers in the Honey?..

    If he was a General he would have lost a lot of his Soldiers and maybe the Battle, oh, he did that didn't he, not once but twice!..

    People in his position are the ones that run things, and if they get it wrong they should be made accountable not given a second chance, I wonder how many Managers are shown the door by these People when it was the running of clubs that wasn't in order and cost the Manager his Job!..

  • Comment number 49.

    a blog that starts with a Harold Shipman joke and gets worse from there on...

  • Comment number 50.

    As i life long Leeds fan, I have sat near and next to this man on several occasions, travelling to Leeds' Champions League games etc. and this man seemed perfectly honest and knowledgeable about how he was running our club. So i can understand why you think he deserves a second chance. But he doesnt. This man deserves nothing, he created complete turmoil at our club and he walked away completely unaffected!!! the fans took the administration, the fifteen points, the relagations. this man ruined our club, and simply invested in another. Ridsdale should not be allowed in business, never mind football. the fact that the Football League have allowed it, is a joke. Sorry for Plymouth fans

  • Comment number 51.

    Two words: Rio Ferdinand.

    Wanted to jump ship cos he had no loyalty whatsoever and join 'them', O'Leary walked out because of it, Venables dropped the entire first team in favour of 2.5million pound Nicky Barmby, and all of Risdales wishing and plotting went up in smoke.

    One week we were 7million in debt. Rio goes for 30million. Now we're 70 million in debt.

    Most of our team were academy players anyways so who knows where the money went.

    Good luck and God save ya Plymouth!

  • Comment number 52.

    As a lifelong Leeds' fan I guess it comes of no surprise to say that memories of Mr Ridsdale are not of a positive nature. That said, Mr Ridsdale was not alone in sanctioning the reckless transfer policy, we were a plc and he was representative of the entire board. Mr O'Leary was also responsible for our decline given the array of talent at the club and the distinct lack of silverware.

    He clearly has contacts in the game and people therein who continue to want to deal with him. On that basis good luck to him and to Plymouth. Just don't come near Elland Road again!!

  • Comment number 53.

    Good Luck Plymouth.

    The 'Teflon One' should never have been allowed to practise his style of business management on real corporations and clubs and the fact that he can continue to do so merely reflects on the inherently 'dodgy' nature of how the sport continues to be governed.

    Was/is Risdale NAIVE? Well NO AND YES. NO in the sense that he is not averse to risk and very astute at identifying how to line his own pockets regardless of the result of his direct actions and promises. YES, in the sense that, as we know, nothing lasts forever and it would be supremely naive for him to lay claim to a seat to dine at the Top Table of Football. Another failure and even his Masonic mates who control the game will have to distance themselves, lest the teflon coating starts to wear and the 'dirt' finally sticks far and wide.

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    R.I.P Plymouth........... where is my leeds shares money Ridsdale ?

  • Comment number 56.

    i can't help but notice that Leeds (MOT) have still not managed to get back to the premiership after finally sorting our finances out, barnsley slipped down and still haven't recovered, Cardiff who will have a difficult evening tomorrow are in massive financial problems and all these clubs have one thing in common.

    Why would you do it to yourselves Plymouth?

  • Comment number 57.

    As a Cornish man, give the man a chance, he knows where the pitfalls are. Perhaps he might save Plymouth and at last become the hero. You wont get success playing it safe... 2014 Plymouth may kick off in the prem..... well you can always dream.... the way things are going and this financial climate who knows if Plymouth would be around in a few years without him. I really think it's worth the risk.... There is no substitute for experience. Give the man your support is what I say.

  • Comment number 58.

    Matt Slater, feel free to give Ridsdale 'another chance' at your club, the rest of football doesn't want an 'economical with the truth' Ridsdale at their club.

  • Comment number 59.

    Matt, why is this on the Leeds page? Is it's purpose solely to antagonise us Leeds fans?

    The man set out a blue print on how not to run a football club and caused possibly the biggest fall from grace in footballing history. It is us Leeds fans who are paying the price and to tell us to 'give him another chance' is quite simply offensive.

  • Comment number 60.

    A chance to do what?

    Pay himself £1,000,000 pa. whilst bankrupting yet another club?

  • Comment number 61.

    Unbeleivable! This man is a danger to football, He singlehandedly came close to sending my club (leeds) to oblivion and came pretty close to sending Cardiff the same way! All he has done is gamble with clubs finances and lost in a big way, he should have been banned from every club in the game. Isay this from the heart, good luck Plymouth! You don't deserve this.

  • Comment number 62.

    Ridsdale should never be allowed to be part of the management of a football club - but given the FA's inability to regulate the game properly yet another club will be subject to his incomptence - Plymouth fans you have my sympathies

  • Comment number 63.

    ... (59) - To be honest with you, I agree. This shouldn't be on the Leeds Utd page and can only assume that the sub-editor in charge that day agrees with you. I don't think he/she did me many favours with the headline too (have a look at the URL and you'll perhaps guess my original choice). Sadly, I'm not in for a few days so you'll just have to accept my assurance that I'm not trying to wind you up. I stand by the piece and I know that even some LUFC fans understand where I'm coming from, but you're right, this piece isn't really about your club and is doing me, you or PR no favours as the current 'featured' feature on the your page. Likewise Barnsley and Cardiff, so if anybody at the website is reading this perhaps you could take it off those pages.

    rory88 (45) - I think what you really mean is "why don't you agree with me?" You're right, I'm not a Leeds Utd fan. But do you really think you speak for every Leeds Utd fan? Because I've spoken to a few and I can assure you they don't agree with you. And that's just Leeds Utd fans. This is a blog for fans of all teams and even those who aren't fans of a particular team at all. I've had my say above, feel free to have yours below. That's how it works and I don't mind if you don't agree with me.

    Sonic Boome (51) - I'm sorry to single you out but your comment highlights something that I've noticed happens when most LUFC fans talk about the Ridsdale years...a gap between fact and legend. Yes, you had a great crop of homegrown players (as mentioned above) but you also bought four or five top players every year for five years. And as you brought those players in on good wages, you raised the wages of the players you already had to keep them/reflect their status as 'Champions League' players. I've just checked back at the team that lost to Valencia in CL, only four were homegrown and one of those (Batty) was re-signed after long spells at other clubs. It's a similar story the day you beat West Ham to go top of the PL (NYD 2002). Don't get me wrong, most clubs would love to have four homegrown players in the starting XI, but let's not pretent the bulk of your team wasn't bought in.

  • Comment number 64.

    He shouldn't be allowed near any football club ever again. Simple as.

  • Comment number 65.

    "... (59) - To be honest with you, I agree. This shouldn't be on the Leeds Utd page and can only assume that the sub-editor in charge that day agrees with you. I don't think he/she did me many favours with the headline too (have a look at the URL and you'll perhaps guess my original choice). Sadly, I'm not in for a few days so you'll just have to accept my assurance that I'm not trying to wind you up. I stand by the piece and I know that even some LUFC fans understand where I'm coming from, but you're right, this piece isn't really about your club and is doing me, you or PR no favours as the current 'featured' feature on the your page. Likewise Barnsley and Cardiff, so if anybody at the website is reading this perhaps you could take it off those pages."

    I'll take your word then. I didn't notice the url, and that is a much more fitting title than the why he deserves another chance bit. I still think it was a terrible decision to post this as the featured article, with that title, on the club's page that the bloke destroyed. I don't agree that he deserves another chance, and personally I think he should be banned from the game, but I understand that as a journalist it is your job to offer an alternative perspective on a situation.

    I suppose the editor making the decisions here has never spent a few weeks wondering whether he will have a club to support in the coming season.

  • Comment number 66.

    I heard that Leeds paid Plymouth a lot of money to keep him as far away as possible. lol.

  • Comment number 67.

    First of all to those posters above accusing Matt of not caring about football (lower league or otherwise) or failing to research, shame on you.

    If you bother to read any of his previous columns you will find out that he is, in fact, one of the few BBC writers who bother to cover the financial/boardroom side of lower league football at all (see in-depth coverage of how the cricket spot fixing scandal might affect Croydon Athletic.) Not only that but he does it in a manner which is both considered and well researched.

    As a Leeds fan I would never forgive Ridsdale for what he did to us but at the same time it is fair to point out that others were also to blame.

    The Bowyer/Woodgate/Majestyk incident cost us a huge sponsorship/naming rights deal with Nike setting back the club's financial plans significantly. Apparently it would have involved redevelopment of the West stand and a massive increase in corporate revenue (something Ken Bates is trying to achieve now a decade later).

    David O'Leary lost the dressing room with his outrageous act of 'selling out'. He should have had more sense than to publish that book when it came out and morale never recovered from that point onwards.

    I would take issue with one of your points though Matt. At (43) you state that Adam Pearson owes Ridsdale a drink for taking his share of the blame. I wouldn't expect you to have read 'Leeds United: Trials and Tribulations' but in an interview in that book Ridsdale and Pearson both admit that the money spent on Fowler and S.Johnson had been earmarked to redevelop the stadium (thus generating corporate income and softening any financial blow caused by failing to finish 4th). Pearson didn't want to gamble but Ridsdale did and as a result of the rift Pearson quit the board.

    Ultimately though PR Pete has to carry the can as Executive Chairman, he should have managed his staff and assets better. Still football is one of the last bastions of the 'old boys network' and until that changes he will keep messing clubs up whilst the governing body says FA.

  • Comment number 68.

    No Joke he did a fine Job at Cardiff.

    Sam Hamman put the club in £30 million debt at the point we were bust.

    If I were a Plymouth fan I would want him on board - whether I would buy a second hand car from him is another matter.

    Cardiff are second in the Championship with a fine Squad and fine facilities. Thank you Peter Ridsdale.

    Good Luck Plymouth.

  • Comment number 69.

    He also nearly killed the club, lied many times to the fans and nearly lost our only chance of savour (new investment).
    I do recognise that he did some good, but you can't deny he also did an awful lot of bad (he is the same as Hamman in that respect).

    In any case, good luck to Plymouth. You need it.

  • Comment number 70.

    The best thing Ridsdale has done at any football club is leave.

    I agree with homeparker (22). The man is a self-serving scumbag who has tried weaseling his way into a win-win situation.

    As a Leeds fan, I find the most unforgivable thing he did was lie to Cardiff fans as to what the money they were spending on season tickets was going to be used for. That fact alone should have seen him banned from any involvement in football.

    Suppose he went someway to unite Leeds and Cardiff fans in their hatred of him. Maybe thats another ggod point about him.

    Good luck Argyle - no fan deserves this

  • Comment number 71.

    First and foremost, football is not a business as such, especially in the premiership where teams must buy players at over inflated prices to be seen to be competing with the Jones's.

    This is the reason so many clubs are owned by benefactors such as Abramovich and the like who have vast tax accounts just ripe for writing off many millions spent on these so called star players.

    if you want to compete with these clubs and you don't have a benefactor then you must take risks, some you will win some you will lose and Ridsdale lost, not because he was too risky but because the team failed on the pitch.

    A lot of things contributed to Leed's downfall, the Bowyer/Woodgate incident was a big factor, this fractured the team and subsequently the club, morale was at an all time low.

    Yes I do blame Ridsdale to an extent but without him we would never have got to a CL Semi and a UEFA semi, unfortunately though Leeeds are not a fashionable club mainly because of our questionable past (the Revie years) and we are not based in London!.

    Don't get me wrong here I would never have a go at Revie, he was a winner but a winner at all costs (dirty tactics, boring style of play) but he got the job done as all winners do, Revie will always be a god in my eyes and no one can tell me different but I would like to have seen fair play and entertaining football nevertheless!.

    Ridsdale did what Revie did, win at all costs, its just he did it in the board room and with the clubs finances rather than on the field.

    I am a life long Leeds fan but I am not happy with just being in the Premiership, I want to compete for honours each and every season and if that means taking risks then so be it, we had a good few years under Ridsdale and I thank him for that, yes we followed that by dropping down divisions but its been an entertaining journey getting back, we will get back to where we belong but when we do I just hope we have the balls to at least try and compete.

    That's what Ridsdale has in abundance..... balls!

  • Comment number 72.

    Taking people as you find them has it's positives, but sometimes the acts that they have committed cannot be excused. I bet some of histories great "wrong doers" were actually quite good company.

    Leeds might have only had 4 home grown players in that CL semi (Harte,Kewell, Batty-bought back admittedly and Smith) but Robinson, Kelly, Woodgate and McPhail (all capable of playing in the Prem at that time) were on the bench. Bowyer, purchased as a teenager was also at the club pre O'Leary and Lennon, Milner and Killgallon were yet to come through.

    Wilkinson had put the Youth system in place and the vastly underated Eddie Gray had nurtured those players. The crime is the Risdale destroyed that group of players by bringing in ones that were no better or not required (with exception of Viduka and probably Matteo).

    That for me is the real tragedy and why the sight of that man still upsets me.

  • Comment number 73.

    #68 and #69, it is hard to know what the truth was behind Risdale's time at Cardiff. There were a lot of ups and downs, with the club almost going bankrupt a few times, but they had already had a couple of near misses just before Risdale arrived.

    It is hard to argue that Cardiff were in a much better state when he left than they were when he arrived, although it is hard to say whether that is down to Risdale or just down to luck.

    Equally at Leeds very few fans were complaining when Risdale was making all the big money signings. Risdale gambled the clubs future trying to get instant success. Clearly a huge mistake, although who knows what would have happened if the big money squad had delivered on the pitch.

    It is amazing how often on 606 we see fans of Arsenal (and probably other clubs) calling for their board to follow the Risdale strategy.

  • Comment number 74.

    Football is essentially a very risky money losing business run by business men who need a hobby which in turn gives them the grace and favour of the club and city they happen to own or run. We, the fans, support our team through thick and thin with our attendance and support. Argyle are in deep trouble and have been since Holloway left; together with the makings of a great team of players who are doing very well in the leagues above us. Holloway left because the board didn't have the bottle, and to be fair, the expendable wealth to take Argyle to the Premier League as Holloway was willing to do. We are now at the bottom of the decending spiral with no where to go. What do we do, who do we turn to with cap in hand? The only person willing to come forward is Peter Risdale. Whatever we may think of the man, and come on, be honest with yourselves, football fans are a fickle bunch, we have no choice but to give the guy a chance. So, let us get behind the team, we have rid ourselves of the foolish situation of the World Cup bid board and let us look forward positively to the challenges ahead and leave the business aspects to those who have the influence to change those things. Keep believing and supporting our team. Argyle till I die!

  • Comment number 75.

    ridsdale, all u have to do is look at his record. leeds, barnsley, cardiff all ended up in debt problems as he left. cardiff had to make sure he didn't stay! he opens a cheque book but forgets to close it when the money is gone. someone football could do without. sorry plymouth this is what you've got.

  • Comment number 76.

    Whatever you think of Ridsdale joining your club, just thank your lucky stars that he's not Sam Hammam!

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.

    How in gods name can you defend this parasite! Typical for the BBC to back someone like this, its an outrage what he has done to football clubs and the fact he refuses to take the blame just shows his arogance. WShen he mentions about the champions league semi....I would much rather still be a premier league club than have 1 season in that competition...What a joke of an article!

  • Comment number 79.

    Matt Slater,
    Why couldn't you have let me do this interview with Peter Ridsdale? I was part of a small group at Leeds United, who were constantly trying to get answers from Mr Ridsdale regarding what we believed were the unsustainable nature of the borrowing at Leeds United for 2-3 years before the bubble burst.
    When questioned about finances Mr Ridsdale would always shoot us down as negative and not 'real supporters'. For a while we had been concerned at the way the accounts were spun, that borrowing was not a problem because of the way the debt were structured i.e. they were essentially backed by season ticket sales. My constant question to Ridsdale was 'yes, but where does the rest of the money come from to pay for salaries and transfers?'.
    From my calculations, even if Leeds United had won the Champions League or Premier League over the next 2-3 seasons, then the debts would have still mounted and there was no way the club would have ever been able to pay without a massive influx of capital. This is the thing, it wasn't a risky gamble because there was no sustainable long-term financial plan. I believe it was an ego trip from a man who wanted to be lauded with some silverware.

  • Comment number 80.

    Matt - you;ve succeeded in this debate if the main purpose was to attract comment but as for your main proposition... you can be as nuanced as you like - the man is thoroughly unlikeable, untrustworthy, shows a lack of any charm (unless you're the media) and certaintly does not do humility. He has never made a full apology to the people of Leeds. The football history books in 10, 20, 50, 100 years time will rightly record him as a pariah and not football's friend.

    Your article smacks of a type of Pontius Pilate's "What is truth?" - the truth is right in front you, you just can't see it.

    What I most object to however is your assertation that 'we're all guilty': in what way could supporters influence Peter Ridsdale's decisions - take to the streets? Hold banners up shouting 'live within your means?' You should know that ultimately, if you want to influence anything in football, you need to be on the pitch or in the boardroom, no matter how much we kid ourselves that the crowd is the 12th man.

    I really don't care for your assertion that Leeds fans didn't get angrier at the Majestyk incident. It's pretty offensive and most Leeds fans were left with an incredibly bad taste - ultimately the law dealt with it and the two players moved on. The vast majority of Leeds fans were sort of unsurprised by the actions of Bowyer (he had history) but were just left with profound sadness about Woodgate. I speak for many Leeds fans when I say I didn't want either of them to pull the shirt on again.

    Again, not sure what else supporters could do about getting angier - but if you like just check out the letters from the Yorkshire Evening Post from around this period, I think you'd get a very clear appreciation about Leeds' fans anger. Sure, you could cherry pick a few apologists, but the response was pretty unequivocal. In the pubs if their names were mentioned at most supporters mumbled into their pints and changed the subject, thoroughly embarrassed by the situation that had tarnished our club's name. By the way, the person who could have drawn a line under the incident by selling them off immediately to recover our reputation was .... Peter Ridsdale.

    By the way, my 'small club' is Southend. Hope the Shrimpers rise from the ashes of the old 4th division and give the Roots Hall faithful something to cheer about. One thing is for sure, I'd take absolutely anyone but (Potless) Peter Ridsdale to reconstruct the club and I am sure 99% of Southend fans would agree with me.


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