Mel Griffin Speaks

Sunday, 13 January 2002, 0:01
4 mins read

“Can I just give you some of my background and why I am looking to get involved with you all at Swansea City? I can assure you that I am not a small time property developer. Generally, we buy old industrial estates and add value by developing residential homes on there in conjunction with the big house builders.

“As you know I got involved with Hull City when I bought the ground off David Lloyd for £1.1 million. This was achieved by getting investors in with me and at present this has a rent figure of £172,000 per annum. We applied for planning permission to build houses on the site when Hull move to their new stadium and these have a value of approximately £18 million, I’m sure that you agree that is not a bad return for money that was probably receiving 3-4% in the Bank.

“We actually raised the money in three days and got it through investor funds rather than taking any finance from the Banks which gives an indication of the capabilities that I have. I am semi-retired and I wish to say that I would not get into anything that I felt would give me plenty of grief, I don’t need to or have any desire to do so.

“Contrary to what was written, I do not live in a house boat on the Thames. I have a wife and three children and my wife does not like the water, so why would she want to live on a houseboat! I actually live in Surrey.

“I don’t approach football clubs to buy them, they approach me. Jim Moore was approached by Mike Lewis last October about Swansea City and that has eventually led to where we are today. There are many of the second and third division clubs who are in similar positions to Swansea and I believe that the club has potential to be in a better position than it is now.

“You only have to look at Hull. When we first went in there, they were getting average gates of around 1500, now they have an average attendance of 9000, the best in the Third Division. This is something that I would love to see happen at Swansea City.

“I wouldn’t be interested in getting involved in Swansea unless I thought we could help and I believe that we can. I don’t want to be involved in the running of the team at all – I have local people in mind for that. The club needs people with the right expertise in various departments on the board. I will not be on the new board at Swansea City in any capacity although I will have some of my consortium there who have the expertise that I am looking for.

“You will have probably read some of the Hull reports and see that I teamed up with their Supporters co-operative and this is something that I would very much like to bring to this club. There should be no reason why this club can’t get attendances of around 8000-10000 per game and to do that I know that I have to win the fans round.

“I know it seems to you all as if you have been fighting a battle and I can assure you that if this deal goes through, you will have won the battle.

“Swansea City needs around £750,000 to keep it alive through this year and next year and I would not think about getting involved if that money was not available to me. I will not be involved in the development of the new Morfa Stadium, I believe that the deal for the construction there is a ‘done deal’

“All I would like to say to the fans is that I see a better future for this football club if I gain control and that together, we can work towards a bigger and better future for Swansea City Football Club.” responds: Having spoken to Mr Griffin at length this morning, I find him an amicable person and I see no reason not to trust him. You only have to look at the change around of Hull City’s fortunes in the last twelve months to realise what we could be getting. We have no reason to think that it cannot be achieved here, we know what the capabilities are, most of us have lived through the good times in the not-too distant past.

Mr Griffin has not come up with “Five Year Plans” that we have had in the past or made any promises to us about what he is wanting to achieve from the football club. We have a huge catchment area and I firmly believe that he wants the best for Swansea City.

Of course, the viewpoint of the fans is that we wanted Mel Nurse to take control of the club but my personal opinion is that Tony Petty would not sell to Mel. On that basis, Mel Griffin is, after my conversation with him, the next best option that we had. He appreciates what the fans are thinking at the moment and he is not asking for immediate trust towards him but he is assuring that he does want the best for the club.

I don’t at the moment see any reason to doubt that. He is under no illusion as to what the fans think – clearly he has read this site to see the article – and feelings are well documented on what the fans think via the Message Board.

The Football club is in serious trouble at the moment and if Mel Griffin is the man to get us out of that trouble than so be it. After speaking to him, I believe that we owe it to him to give him a chance – talk of boycotts now are pointless, Swansea City needs our support and, although I understand why people don’t trust him, let’s give him that chance until he proves us wrong or right to do so.

You can be assured that I have passed on some of my own thoughts as a fan of Swansea City – it’s up to him whether he hears or acts on what I said to him, that’s his choice.

It was a pleasant conversation with Mr Griffin this morning and I can say with a degree of confidence that this club could be in safe hands.

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.

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