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Ridsdale to buy Plymouth for £1

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Ridsdale to buy Plymouth for £1

Post  1892NUFF on Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:21 am

Former Leeds and Cardiff City chairman Peter Ridsdale is to buy Plymouth Argyle football club for just £1.

The controversial figure - blamed by many Leeds fans for the financial implosion that wrecked the club on and off the field - will take over ownership of the Devon club as part of a financial rescue package that will allow the Pilgrims to come out of administration, according to The Guardian.

The paper quoted Ridsdale as saying that "I am a reluctant acquirer of these shares," adding that the rescue deal will see the club cede their property assets - which include development land as well as the Home Park stadium - to Cornwall-based property developer Kevin Heaney.

That is the case because Heaney owns Truro City and so cannot be involved in the footballing side of Argyle under FA rules.

Ridsdale, currently Argyle's interim chairman, was appointed as a consultant to the club in December. The team went into administration in March, and failed to pay the salaries of players in March and April. It still owes creditors up to £20m, including around £4m in player wages.

There are also issues further clouding the deal in the shape of a court action brought by Cardiff City Council, which alleges that he indulged in unfair trading and fraud via a promotional offer while chairman of Cardiff City, and his ownership of another company he cannot wind up due to an ongoing investigation. That company, set up to receive his football club wages, collapsed into liquidation in 2009 owing around £350,000 to HM Revenue & Customs.

He said on Monday he would not decide his wages for work done at Argyle. "Whatever I am paid in fees won't be arranged by me," he said. "At no time at all, irrespective of my shareholding, will I determine what fees can be paid to me; that will be the role of the other directors."

Ridsdale, 59, was chairman of Leeds United from 1997 to 2003 as they plunged to over £100m in debt.

He later took the helm at Barnsley, and though he initially saved the club from folding he nearly guided them into liquidation further down the line before new owners stepped in.

He then became Cardiff chairman, and though his time with the Bluebirds saw them make the FA Cup final, he left the club £66m in debt and fighting a winding-up order from the courts.

Despite his chequered past, Ridsdale claims that he has an "eminently sensible" business plan to save the club - and has even bragged that the side's League Two rivals will soon be "casting envious glances" in Argyle's direction.

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