That Friday Feeling: Football finance guru, Peter Ridsdale TSS December 17, 2010 Leeds United 14 Comments The devil wears Primark Quite what Plymouth Argyle were thinking when they brought Peter Ridsdale in to advise on their financial problems is anyone’s guess? Maybe they fancied a few headlines and knew Ridsdale would be able to escalate their financial problems ten fold within an hour? Or maybe I’m not giving them enough credit – maybe their problems are already irreversible, so they attempted to bring Ridsdale in as a scapegoat? Whatever the reasoning behind Argyle’s apparent moment of madness, Peter Ridsdale did what Peter Ridsdale does best and milked every second of PR he possibly could from the opportunity. It was during this media blitz that Ridsdale gave his enlightened opinions to the BBC. I did question the BBC’s spending when I heard they were interviewing an over-publicised former chairman, turned adviser to a League One club but in an interview centred around football financial lunacy, I suppose Ridsdale is the best first hand experience one could possibly hope for. Particular highlights from the interview include Ridsdale revealing that he and his group of mercenaries… I mean investors… have recently had an offer for a Championship club turned down (if that was you Ken, all is forgiven!). The fact that this man is still allowed within 100 feet of any professional football club, let alone try to buy them, gets closer to the route cause of the problems with football finance than the rest of his interview combined. That shouldn’t deter you however, because there are still plenty of other little gems of wisdom. My particular favourite is the revelation that a club “can’t budget for relegation!” Now, I didn’t know this, but apparently it’s absolutely impossible. You can budget for finishing fourth in the Premier League, but any attempt to put 18th or lower into a calculator results in mechanical failure, which could potentially have a butterfly effect and send the rest of the world spinning out of it’s own orbit. Lucky Ridsdale is such a shrewd operator then… henry vincent lewis Plymouth are desperate! Any port in a storm. Mr Ridsdale knows all the pitfalls. He has fallen into most of them! You have to admire his pluck! He is a constant reminder that the FA is complete waste of time. They almost destroyed us, with their punishment, but let him move to another football club; and another ; and another ……… Crazy. Come on the boys!! Sir Quej Asking Peter Risdale for Financial Advice is like asking the McCann’s about childcare….. What on earth are Plymouth thinking ???? Stuart Charlesworth Well I love reading the scratching shed but I have to ask why is it you see fit to write an article about Peter Risdale every time he is in the news for another stupid reason… We all want to forget Risdale and the antics he brought to our club. There are many things you can write about Leeds United and thats why I like this site, but its getting tiresome reading a Risdale article every few months. Talk Leeds thats what this site was created for. Let Plymouth have there dodgy douchebag, it will only hurt them in the end. TSS @Stuart Charlesworth I understand your comments, but Ridsdale will forever be synonymous with Leeds United now, so while ever he’s alive and gaining publicity from the disaster he left at ER, we will continue to make fun of him. We consider it our duty Colin The lack of control of the finances at Leeds is not what annoys me about Ridsdale. He took a gamble and it could have paid off. I understand that and that’s fair enough. However, what is absolutely unacceptable is that he is a habitual liar: Live on Sky Sports News – “we won’t sell Rio Ferdinand” – 2 days later he’s sold. That finished off O’ Leary. He told Venables – “if we sell Fowler, I promise we won’t sell Woodgate” – He sells Woodgate. That finished off Venables. Press Conference – “Now that we’ve sold Woodgate, we’re financially back on track. There’s a lot of PL clubs that could go into administration, but not us.” Hmmm. He lied not only to the fans, but to managers, players and investors. KarLLL I really think this man should be banned from football, if there was a footballer who destroyed as many fellow footballers carrers like he has football teams finace there would be alot of people calling for them to get banned so whats the difference??? Paul C It is funny how history becomes muddled . It is true Ridsdale screwed up , big style, but there are a few other contributors to the sad state this club has found itself in recent years. Ridsdale will continue to pop up as the sole destroyer of the club of course but that is only because of the laziness of most journalists and the apathy of fans who prefer to look at the easy answers. I could cite many other reasons how we have ended up at such a low point that we ended up in the hands of the likes of Ken Bates. We could start for instance with the disgusting behaviour of a group of our players and their friends outside a nightclub in Leeds 10 years ago and the damage that caused to the clubs reputation ..oh and then there was greedy stupid behaviour of a manager so obsessed with money and his own importance he decided to write a book and divide further an already divided group of players ..which led to a run of poor results ..oh and a group of players who towards the end just..well …. gave up! Ridsdale was if anybody thought to research it just a front man , a PR man when he was at Burton and a PR man at Leeds for the likes of Allan Leighton and the others on the board. He is basically a PR man for whoever has now shown an interest at Plymouth. Ridsdale does not have the sort of money that buying a club requires. Funny thing is though, I have a feeling he will be back in football again , fronting for another consortium wanting to buy another club ..but we are safe , we all know how principled our current chairman is , there is no way he would sell to anybody associated with Peter Ridsdale…..would he? TheReaper08 @Paul C A heck of a lot of truth there. Sort of disagree with Ridsdale being just a PR man though. He was an appointed board and club chairman and if he disagreed with what was going on he had the power to veto/block decisions. If he felt really strongly he could have gone to the markets and advised of the situation or just resigned in protest. Instead as Colin states above he just repeatedly lied to us. Paul C @Reaper I hope you don’t think I was defending Ridsdale , he has much that he needs to take responsibility for. My point was simple there were dozens more people who brought my beloved club to its knees and into the hands of Bates . For that alone they should all hang their heads in shame in my book ..unfortunately being part of the football world they will believe they have nowt to be ashamed of! Meanwhile Ridsdale continues to attract the most stick whilst others giggle from the sidelines at our collective stupidity. TheReaper08 @Paul C Oh no I didn’t think you were defending him and I totally agree with you. I think several slippery characters have been allowed to slip off into the night whilst Ridsdale is hated and ridiculed in equal measure. henry vincent lewis I know the other clowns on the board but the Chairman carries the can. Remember Professor John McKenzie. He resigned from the board saying he was going to China to find a buyer. Did he ever come back? Maybe he is still looking? None of the board suffered by our demise. They just abandoned ship and moved to other businesses. They grabbed the lifeboats and left us to drown! I am sure Mr Ridsdale loved Leeds, and maybe he is trying to make amends at other clubs? Who knows? The other big factor that accelerated our slide was the collapse in player transfer prices. We bought high but had to sell low. Other clubs took advantage of our situation knowing we were desperate to unload a crippling wage bill. Twas ever thus! John from Live Football Plymouth fan here.. It shows how far we have fallen that we (allegedly) came within hours of liquidation, and could still face winding up by February 2011, and the only saviour on the horizon is Peter Ridsdale – talk about “out of the frying pan”. He’s clearly looking for a way back into football, and is no doubt head of the vultures circling PAFC at the moment – should we enter administration then we suddenly become a viable investment opportunity, as all the local companies that are owed huge sums of money (not forgetting HMRC of course) can whistle for their money, and a new investor can pick up a club with decent potential on the cheap. If that happens, then Ridsdale will no doubt appoint himself as CEO, on a nice large salary, hiring himself as advisor for even more large fees, and simply siphon off as much money as possible from the football club whilst securing debts against the club. Right now we’re around £7m in debt – this could be peanuts by the time Ridders has finished.. or of course the gamble could pay off this time.. Colin I’m just concentrating on Ridsdale for now as he’s the guy who this blog is about. I could write a book about the other clowns in the Leeds circus if I wanted to. The danger with Ridsdale is that he has a piss poor understanding of finance and how to balance the books. With Leeds, he took out huge loans and spent big on players. Leeds couldn’t afford the wages of the players and couldn’t replay the loans. He did the same to Cardiff, who were £40m in debt until a consortium saved them and he was promptly given the elbow. None of the consortiums who own clubs trust Ridsdale to be their chairman. The only way he has risen to where he is in football is on other people’s money, mortgaged against the football club he’s involved with. His intentions may have been genuine at Leeds and Cardiff, but they were impossible dreams. Ridsdale maintained that the problem at Leeds was not qualifying for Champions League 2 years on the trot. In my opinion, bullshit. As we know now, the amount of debt that Leeds were in, it just wouldn’t have been possible to balance the books even if Leeds had qualified. The problem was the amount of money that was going out of the club – £700,000 on lease cars, private jets, £20 a month on fish treatment. It was being paid by loans. The amount going out was always more than the amount coming in. And yet at no point did Ridsdale think of stopping the easy stuff – like the lease cars and instead kept paying for it with debt. And this is the problem for Plymouth – the Ridsdale solution would be to borrow to improve the club – get better players and climb the league. Wrong – the club need to get to a position where they get the same or more coming in than going out and Ridsdale has never managed that. I think he’s the wrong person to ask for advice. Plymouth should steer well clear. If Ridsdale was worth his salt, one of the rich owners in football at the moment would have taken him on. They haven’t. Mike There is absolutely no defending of Publicity Pete. The Chairman has total control and PP’s absolute lack of expertise on finance is eclipsed by his absolute refusal or incapacity to accept responsibility and exercise that control. No matter what anybody says about Ken he never abdicates his responsibilities, there are few people in the football world who could have turned our great ship around like he has without huge spending, arsehole he may well be but credit where credit is due and the FA simply have to be bent to tolerate PP.