Today is the last home game of the season, and as it draws to a close I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support.The first season back in the Championship was always going to require some adjustment and we are all disappointed that we are not in the play-offs or higher in the league than we are. However, I do believe there are some notable achievements over the last year. We have plenty to build on over the summer and going into the 2015/16 season.
The day we reverted back to blue will always stand out in my mind. It was an evening when the Club came together. The owner, board, manager and fans all spoke their mind in a professional and constructive manner, which with the support of hundreds of positive emails led to the ultimate decision of changing back to blue for our home games and red for away fixtures. There are so many people for me to thank. The Football League were understanding and took a quick decision to allow us to change for the Saturday game. Fulham could have spoiled the day for us by not agreeing to the change, but instead they asked their kit man to do a U-turn to allow us to play in blue. Thank you for being a true sportsman and a gentleman. South Wales Fire and Rescue Service also played their part on the day by resolving our roof damage – a real team effort by all.
The new Cardiff City crest has been revealed, has been positively received and will be worn on our kit from next season. I know how important the colour and the crest is to you all and I am indeed proud to have played a small part in making these changes. I am proud of you all in helping this to happen.
A key aspect of my role as Chairman is to ensure that Cardiff City Football Club operates in a viable, and financially sustainable manner. With the large squad we had at the beginning of the season, the fact is that we had to take action to reduce our wage bill. The Financial Fair Play (FFP) requirements mean all clubs have to do this, not just us, and it is not always popular. In short, we are all operating under similar constraints. The steps we have taken should ensure the Club is better placed to move forward into next year as a result and my thanks go to Ken Coo, our CEO, and Russell Slade for their work in achieving this.
There have been some memorable games and moments on the pitch this season that will live with me for some time. The pre-match atmosphere here at Cardiff City Stadium for our now historic 1-0 home win over Fulham was superb, and the over-riding sense was one of togetherness amidst a sea of blue. Secondly, the 2-1 win away at Brentford stands out; not just for the resolve and battling spirit shown by the players, but also the non-stop and very vocal support from all those supporters that made the trip.
We would all like to see our form pick up next season, particularly at home. Let’s try and harness the unity I mentioned in those games above into driving the team forward and make Cardiff City Stadium a fortress once again. We need to pull together to make that happen, and with your help, I believe we can do that. We also recognise the ongoing need to encourage a new and young generation into supporting Cardiff City. They are the future of this club and we want to look after them and encourage them now.
With that in mind, the Club is currently considering a number of initiatives to introduce across our supporter base, including today’s pre-match activities for the inaugural Festival of Sport. There are a number of dedicated and talented staff behind the scenes at the Club and our Community Foundation who I would like to thank for their continued dedication in recent years. It’s these people who will strive to bring us closer together and take us forward. They care deeply for Cardiff City Football Club and for that they have my gratitude.
We are here to win football matches. To do so we all need to come together. I am always surprised how many people I meet across the world who are Cardiff City supporters. I recently discovered that one of my new colleagues at work is a diehard Cardiff supporter. At Nice airport I was approached by a family on holiday who gave me a warm welcome and a strong lecture. I want to increase the connection between the club and the fans, particularly those within the local community. The supporters are the lifeblood of any successful club and we want to show you that your support is highly valued by us. We need everyone on board if Cardiff City is to achieve the success that its fans so richly deserve.
Thank you all. Enjoy the match today.