Last month, I had a life changing experience. To be precise, it was my wife’s life changing experience, but my life will now never be the same. A distant uncle with no relatives left the sum of £100m to her in his will. Now that’s a life changer. Like the wonderful woman that she is, she said, “Let’s split it 50-50, but you must invest at least 50% of your share.” So £25m goes into the bank and I’m earning more money in interest than I can spend. Life is good. And better still, I’ve got that £25m to play with.
So what to do with my £25m? Suddenly, I realised what this meant. This is my chance, I thought. I can invest the money in my dream – to help build Cardiff back up to become one of the top teams in Europe.
So, three weeks ago, I approach the board at Cardiff Arms Park with my proposal and business plan – a massive cash investment to develop the stadium and surrounds, a complete overhaul of the support staff and training facilities, and serious investment in the playing squad.
“Thank you very much for your gift,” they said.
“Hang on a minute!” I replied. “I’ve got more than just money to offer. I would like to retain some influence to ensure my cash is used in the way I’d like. Let’s convert my cash into shares.”
“Not possible”, came the reply. “We can’t issue shares from Cardiff RFC Ltd – the company that owns the Cardiff Blues – because part of the shares are held by Cardiff Athletic Club (CAC).”
“I don’t follow”, I replied.
“Well, under the company structure of CRFC Ltd, a certain percentage of shares must be held by CAC – and they don’t want to buy any more shares, so we can’t convert your gift into shares without them also buying shares.”
Dumbstruck by the control still held by an amateur organisation, I was shocked. “So what you’re telling me is, even though I’m offering you a £25m investment, you cannot offer me a stake in the business?”
“I’m afraid so”, came the reply.
I was angry. I was frustrated. All those dreams I thought I could realise were suddenly shattered. I lashed out and said something stupid, “In that case, I’ll take my money to Newport and invest it there instead!”
“You can’t do that either. They’re 50% owned by the WRU.”
Ah well. I wonder if there’s a club across the border who would be interested?