Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Peter Ridsdale: The Ultimate Groundhopper?

Peter Ridsdale

So Peter Ridsdale is becoming the new chairman of Preston North End? Wait a minute though. Wasn't he the chairman of Plymouth Argyle who sacked Peter Reid after Reid had sold his football medals to pay the club's heating bill? Or was he the guy who was chairman of Leeds United when they unscrupulously and negligently spent millions and millions of pounds on players only to end up near to bankruptcy and plummet down the divisions? No, I'm sure he was the one that Cardiff fans were protesting against for ruining their club - or was that Barnsley?

The correct answer is all of the above. It is like one of those multiple choice questions in a quiz where the options are so ridiculous that they couldn't have been made up. Its always 'all of the above' in those situations.

So what exactly is he up to? This sounds like a candidate for the 'nobody knows' joker in QI. One possible explanation, however, is that he has taken the concept of groundhopping to a whole new level. It takes a special kind of dedication to commit to visiting all 92 league grounds. However, Mr Ridsdale seems to laugh in the face of such feeble efforts. He is going to own all 92 league clubs. Now there's dedication for you! Five down and eighty-seven to go. If he really is on such a quest then Preston fans may not have to deal with him for long!

Dedication or madness? I'm really not sure. He certainly appears to be thick skinned. After all, you can't say that the man hasn't had his fair share of abuse down the years. Maybe that's it? Maybe he is just one of those people who likes to be controversial and stir up emotions - the Frankie Boyle of the football world. Perhaps.

It is easy to dismiss Peter Ridsdale as someone who has caused a lot of turmoil and damage at the clubs that he has been at. Leeds United fans are unlikely to ever be sending him Christmas cards. However, at his other clubs he may well have shown signs that he learned lessons from his time at Leeds. Cardiff are doing well in the championship and are now on a reasonable financial footing. Plymouth Argyle are still here. That doesn't sound like much of a compliment, but it was touch and go for a while and a year ago Plymouth fans may have settled for the dizzying heights of 'still being here.'

Time will tell how the story of Peter Ridsdale and Preston North End unfolds. We don't know yet whether the headlines of tomorrow will be about the happy ever after or yet another messy divorce. As a club with a proud heritage though, I hope Preston do not suffer as a result of this new partnership. The footballing world needs clubs like Preston North End. They are our history, our story and the foundations of the game we love.

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