Posts Tagged ‘Wales football’

cardiff cityThere will only be one place to be in Cardiff this evening; the Cardiff Stadium as our City team take on Charlton Athletic to gain that crucial one point to take them into the Premier League.

As Swansea has shown, the economic benefit for Cardiff could be truly immense, as well as placing us on the global map.

I read in today’s South Wales Echo that Professor Tom Cannon estimates City’s promotion would generate up to an additional 5000 jobs and a £120 million bonanza for Cardiff!!  What a wonderful prospect for the capital and its residents.

Good luck Cardiff, we are backing you all the way! Pob lwc Caerdydd!


Becky jamesAs we begin the celebrations to honour our patron Saint, St David, on Friday, we can remark on the wonderful few days of Welsh glory we had this weekend!

Once again our nation proved what talented, inspired, dedicated sports men and women we nurture.  A new double world champion in the form of 21 year old Becky James from Abergavenny, who was quite outstanding in her domination of the World Track Championships in Minsk, certainly lead the way for me, but in no way diminishes the wonderful team effort, from Manager down, of the Swans in picking up the League Cup Final in Wembley on Sunday.  These exploits, in addition to our boys in Red beating the Italian Rugby XV in Rome on Saturday and our Cardiff Bluebirds who continue to remain at the top of the Championship, really does show how Wales can succeed in any sport against often better equipped, better funded and unique opposition.

The Welsh magic shown by our sports stars can, and is reflected in other walks of Welsh life as well. From business to theatre, to academia, to science, to language, to writing, to acting, to music…our small nation is continually fighting above its weight.  Let’s really celebrate this week; the pride, the passion and the modestly shown by our sporting heroes and heroines.  If we all step up to the mark and go that extra mile in whatever we do, Wales really can look forward to another golden age. Well done Becky, Ryan, Michael, Ashley, Mark and all those involved in making last weekend one to remember for a very long time!

With Hull’s victory over Cardiff City last night still a sore point for some attendees, it was perhaps less than timely that a Hull graduate should address the Breakfast Club this morning. However, Jonathan Ford, CEO of the Football Association of Wales (FAW), impressed supporters of both Welsh football and Welsh business with his inspiring and dynamic presentation, firmly demonstrating the sport’s transition from ball game to business.

The game is undoubtedly the UK’s most-watched sport, with the least-watched game in 2004 still garnering significantly more viewers than the year’s other defining sporting moment, Kelly Holmes’ Olympic gold.

In Wales, too, the default to rugby is not as clear-cut as one may assume. There are 100,000 registered football players in Wales, and 1500 clubs. In comparison, Wales has 50,000 registered rugby players, in 340 clubs. While Jonathan acknowledged rugby’s immense popularity was a particular challenge to football in Wales, interest in Welsh football is not that far behind. He praised the incredible show of support for Cardiff City’s recent Carling Cup final, and also highlighted the fact that the media coverage it received was comparable to the same weekend’s rugby match against England.

Jonathan stressed the fact that in him the FAW were appointing a businessman, not a footballer; a break from tradition in the sporting world. The business model he has put in place is reaping rewards, and is no longer reactive, but proactive. An example that sparked questions from the floor concerned the FAW’s revenue streams. 35% of the FAW’s income is generated through television coverage of games, yet coverage received is directly dependent on the team you are drawn against – a game of chance

'Innovating, evolving and getting stronger' - FA Wales

that causes significant financial “peaks and troughs”. With similar problems experienced by other UEFA countries, a centralisation process has been put in place to allow a much steadier return – and greater long-term planning and investment.

Jonathan firmly believes in the power of football to “improve people’s lives here in Wales”. FAW profits are ploughed back into the development of the game at all levels. Having “torn up” the previous strategic plan, Jonathan’s centres the new FAW around team work, communication, evolution and, of course, “winning more”. Ultimately, it is “all about qualification”, with sights firmly set on the Brazil World Cup 2014 and the Euros in 2016.

With Jonathan’s “forward-thinking, modern FAW” laying the building blocks,Wales should have no problem capitalising on our players’ undoubted talent when qualification comes. As one attendee said after the presentation – “See you in Brazil!”


The next Breakfast Club meeting will take place on the 27th of April, with Suzi Clay of Land Securities. If you would like to reserve a place, please email