Ridsdale: Promotion with Cardiff would shut up the haters at last
Published 23:00 21/05/10 By James Nursey
Peter Ridsdale reckons his critics should finally shut up if Cardiff reach the Premier League today.
The Bluebirds chief executive and chairman is still hated by Leeds fans who blame him for their club’s crash from the Champions League to League One.
But Ridsdale remains defiant after claiming his spell in charge at Elland Road from 1997 to 2003 was more successful than he was given credit for.
And he hopes his work at Cardiff since 2005 has salvaged his reputation now the club are just one game away from the top flight for the first time since 1962. He said: “I seem to attract critics everywhere I go, but I don’t think people can question the progress made at Cardiff in the last five years.
“I hope people who like kicking me will at least reflect this wasn’t a bad job. I got labelled as if Leeds’ ultimate demise was down to me, but I don’t accept that.
“You can’t take chunks of your life and pretend it never happened.
“But there were a lot more successful times at Leeds than people give me credit for.
“Two European semi-finals and a top-five finish every year. They talk about the debt, but just go and look at every football club in the professional game and show me what their debt levels are.
“I made mistakes but what I have demonstrated at Cardiff is that if lessons needed to be learnt, I have learnt them.”
Today will be Ridsdale’s last game at Cardiff as he hands over power to the club’s new Malaysian investors, who will take over regardless of the result.
And despite a season of cash worries including two winding-up orders, Ridsdale says Cardiff are in far better health than when he arrived. He added: “We had £30million of debt, losing £10m a year and no cash.
“This was a club with massive debts and hemorrhaging cash and had a new stadium scheme which some people thought never had a chance of being built.
“What we have now is stable finances, a new stadium, new training ground and a new investor taking over.
“Subject to what happens on Saturday, we are closer to the top flight than we have been for 50 years. We have delivered against a backdrop of financial problems and also delivered in 2008 a first FA Cup final appearance since 1927.”
Ridsdale waves goodbye to Cardiff fans today but hopes to stay in football. He said: “I have proved over the last five years I know a bit about running a football club.
“If there’s a club out there who needs help, I would love to get involved.”