Bradshaw Continued

Wednesday, 27 March 2002, 0:00
5 mins read

Home > Story Index >David Bradshaw (continued)

PS: The newspapers seem to be churning out an interview with Nicho on a weekly basis at the moment are you still talking to him?
DB: To say that he never rings me would be a lie but he is doing this off his own back. He is hurt you can’t dispute that. I think what hurts him is that when he was at Barry he had a lovely job but he can’t go back.
PS: Do you still keep in touch with Mike Lewis?
DB: Very rarely. I did negotiate with him the other day and told him he should agree for the 5p in the £. I don’t have much to do with him these days.
PS: Most people felt that Mike was out of his depth when he was chairman – I’m sure you are aware of fans feelings towards him?
DB: I’m not trying to defend him and I was as annoyed as anyone when Petty took charge. Mike should have made sure who he was selling the club to. I’m sure Doug Sharpe used to take a bond of people before he would consider a proposed purchase. Mike Lewis’ excuse was, and I’m guilty of this, when he thought the club was going under no-one would get involved in the purchase. I’m not along in being guilty on that either.
PS: You mentioned earlier about your sister looking to take over?
DB: My sister wanted to get involved in something in Swansea because of my Dad. She came over with a view to investing in the club. McClure initially wanted £4million for the club and she was going to get involved with some arab friend of hers. She felt the club was hopelessly insolvent and there was no guarantee of a new stadium because they couldn’t show her anything in writing. The guy from Dubai was going to come over but Neil (McClure) wanted him over sooner than he could make it. It basically just didn’t materialise but in defence of McClure I would say that when I had a friend down from Yorkshire with a view to buying the club he did say to him the pitfalls of buying the club.
PS: Were you ever offered a directorship?
DB: Mike Lewis offered me a directorship a couple of years back and I said I didn’t want it. I run a business that takes me all over the country and I think you have to be local based every day of the week.
PS: There was a story about six months ago of a Swansea fan from Russia who stated that you were threatening to turn his lights out?
DB: I have a little recollection of this one although I was told that it was a 51-49 situation and I was the 49. If I ever spoke to the bloke again I would apologise to him. When we used to go to the matches we’d get dropped and go to the Potters, the Garibaldi and the Harry Griffiths and sometimes we were half cut. On that occasion I will put my hands up and say that I was probably out of order.
PS: There was a statement on the internet a few weeks back about your association with a £7k debt on the creditors list?
DB: Total fiction. Because of my ‘involvement’ in the club I have always made sure that I have never had anything out of the club. Whenever I have gone out for a meal with the club I have either foot the bill or paid my own way. No-one can ever say that the club has paid my way. I was annoyed when I read that – it seemed to me that because I am not on the committee that one or two people were trying to make out that I was having something out of the club.
PS: What would you say to your knockers?
DB: To the ones that don’t really know me they can talk to anyone connected to the club they will be told that all I am doing is trying to help the club. To the one or two that are having a go at someone for their own ego or covering up their own past I find it ridiculous. Only one of my mates said I should go public with all this all the rest said that they know me and it doesn’t matter. I am Swansea as much as the next man. I am lucky as I do earn a few quid but that may not last. I don’t miss games, I go to them all. If the club ask me for anything then I will do it for them. I met with Huw Jenkins last week in the Marriott and wanted to clarify a few things. He told me that there was no problem and that he could remember me sponsoring the club and he wanted me to continue doing so. But it doesn’t encourage you when you keep getting knocked all the time.
PS: So would you say face to face criticism rather than on the internet?
DB: Definitely – if the odd person criticises me rightly then fair enough but I don’t think I deserve constant criticism. I helped as much as the next man to get rid of Tony Petty, the Evening Post will vouch for that. To the two people that had freebies off Tony Petty I think they have a bleeding cheek. I never had any freebies off him – none whatsoever.
I must stress this. The lads that have the club now need the backing of everybody. Instead of constantly having a pop at people on the internet they should be thinking of more ways to support the club. The tables could turn if people don’t agree with what is happening and it is a long slog ahead of them at the moment.
PS: If you were approached by the consortium to invest would you do so?
DB: I would rather do it through sponsorship. I have already spoken to a couple of people in the club today with a view of increasing what I am putting in. I don’t want to be a part owner of the club. The reason I buy my tickets every year is that no-one can accuse me of having freebies. I’m prepared to do my bit by helping with the sponsorship side. The year before Petty came the only sponsor bigger than me was the main sponsors, Stretchout. I know all the staff at the club because of my involvement – I’ve taken past and present staff to games – never charged them but people don’t seem to realise this.
I’ve also started sponsoring away games. I sponsored the match ball last weekend and took Wayne from Amman Travel, Phil from the Gate and my mate Dai Porter. I think this is a good thing to sponsor away games and why shouldn’t it happen?
If I was Neil McClure, Mike Lewis who was on £80k a year, Martin Burgess or Tony Petty who in his case screwed the club I wouldn’t mind the criticism but I’m not them all I’ve done is give. Last time I lent a car to the club, I foot the cost of insurance which was £150. No bill to the club. Don’t get me wrong, I have quietened down a bit and things used to get out of hand like with that chap but I stand up and say so.

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Bradshaw Continued

Wednesday, 27 March 2002, 0:00
8 mins read

Home >Story Index> Bradshaw : “I Want To Put The Record Straight”

PS: What was your relationship with Mike Lewis?
DB: Well, funnily enough it’s no secret that I sponsor quite a few games. When Mike Lewis was chairman of the club he used to come into the sponsors lounge and he used to give his speech – you know the talk like Dave Jones gives now. At that time I didn’t really know Mike Lewis at all but I used to go to the casino quite a bit and whenever I was there I used to see this man that was chairman of Swansea City. I would never deny the fact that I used to get on quite well with him – he used to flutter on the roulette and I used to flutter on the cards. But, as any football fan would you start asking questions about the club and it developed from there really. I wouldn’t say it was a case of us being big mates I used to go into the casino after a night game or on a Friday or Saturday and Mike was always in there.
PS: Were you a sponsor of the club in Ninth Floor Days?
DB: I was sponsoring in those days but I never really got to know Neil McClure until briefly at a later stage when my sister came over for discussions about a possible buy out of the club. I only met him about three times to talk to and one of them was when I was with my sister.
PS: How did you come to sponsor games?
DB: I’ve always stood on the North Bank with my mates. I’ve got two young children who were 8 and 9 when we took on West Ham in the FA Cup. That was when I first started getting involved in sponsorship because the kids all of a sudden started getting interested in football. Because they were so young I didn’t want to take them on the North Bank so what I started to do was to sponsor a couple of games where the boys were mascots. I got so used to this because I work long hours and after a long drive back from say London you don’t necessarily feel like standing on the North Bank after that do you? You get a little spolit by the cup of tea and a pint before the game. From then on I did sponsor in the club quite heavily.
PS: Some of the criticism that has been aimed at you is the fact that you always seem to be in the sponsors lounge and the viewpoint in some quarters is that you are more of a hanger-on than a sponsor?
DB: I have never had anything free off Swansea City, I have always paid for everything that I had. Don’t get me wrong I am fairly lucky at the moment. I’m not a millionaire by any stretch of the imagination and I don’t try to make myself out to be one otherwise I would have owned Swansea City several years ago. I’m a season ticket holder at Swansea and also a VIP holder, something which I buy just in case I can’t always pay the money to go in and have a pint and a meal. My season ticket has not been used once this year – it’s still intact.
PS: You’ve got a season ticket but you haven’t used it?
DB: No because I pay the going rate to get into the game on the sponsors side. The advertising board that I have by the away supporters terrace I bought because I felt sorry for Dianne. You do get to know the staff at the Vetch and was struggling for sponsors. I agreed to her that I would take this board. This was only taken out to put some money into the club because you are not going to sell the types of vehicle that we sell to people down the Vetch. I can honestly say that I have not got a customer down the Vetch. It was done purely as support for Dianne and David.
I can accept the fact that one or two people that don’t know the score would make comments like ‘he’s always there’ but I pay my way at the club. I rarely eat the meal that is on offer so it is quite expensive. There are other things as well. To give you an example I think it was Paul Compton that put petrol into the diesel mini bus and it was broken down at Newbury services. I went there to collect it and I towed it back and didn’t charge the club for any of it. Dianne rung me up recently and one of the guys from the youth team was stuck for transport and I lent them a vehicle for a few weeks and paid the insurance for it as well.
PS: Mike sold out in October to Tony Petty. He was soon unpopular in Swansea and yet again your name came up as someone ‘in bed with Petty’
DB: The thing that winds me up about that. I don’t mind anyone accusing me of jumping into bed with Mike Lewis and to be honest I did quite like the guy. But when Petty came along what alot of people fail to say, and most of the commercial department know this, is that when he was shaking everyone’s hand on the North Bank I was telling everyone that I thought he was going to bring the club down. I took immense pressure from all sides telling me to give him the benefit of the doubt and I stand guilty that I did. But what people are forgetting, and Gareth Vincent will back me up on this, is that when there was anything nasty on Petty and I found out more than anyone did in Swansea I would give Gareth Vincent the tip off to give to David Morgan. As soon as I sussed him, rightly or wrongly I did what my father always advised me to do – keep your friends near and your enemies nearer. I went public against Tony Petty and could have ended with a lawsuit against me for it. But Petty used to ring me up and say he wanted to talk to me about something. I can honestly say that I was never out with Petty more than five or six times.
I would never agree to meet him out of town which he was asking. I took them into Baron’s one night to meet one of the fans and I did at one stage think that Petty may have been a little bit genuine. All this was just before he sacked the players.
PS: Were you there the day the players were ‘sacked’?
DB: I went down there the minute that I had a call from one of the players to say that they were being sacked left right and centre. I went straight up to him and I always remember him saying “Do you want me Dave” I asked him what he was doing and told him that it was criminal what he was doing. I never put a penny into Petty’s nor the clubs hands when he was there.
PS: Straight after this there were stories circulating that Mike Lewis should invoke a clause to take the club back – were you advising him at the time?
DB: I told Mike Lewis that he owed it to the people of Swansea and to himself to take the club back by force. He did ring his solicitor to ask him about it but I think he lost his bottle because the advice wasn’t necessarily that he would win. He wouldn’t go ahead with it although he did promise me on numerous occasions that he would.
PS: What is your reaction to the statements that you just seemed to be ‘running with whoever was in charge’?
DB: If I was working for the club or a director I think it would be fair criticism from those that don’t know me. Because I put money into the club I think it is a little unfair and the majority of my mates, the people that I used to stand by on the North Bank they all know the score. It seems to me that it’s one or two people – maybe I have upset some because when we had the first consortium meeting I wasn’t happy about talk amongst a couple which I felt could have meant administration for the club.
PS: So you were part of the consortium at the outset?
DB: I went to the very first meeting and offered £50,000 and there was a number of people there who had no money at all.
PS: Did you approach the consortium or did they approach you?
DB: I was approached by the consortium for the very first meeting at Swansea Rugby Club. I took Mel Nurse to the meeting if I remember right.
PS: Obviously from previous conversations around the web-site you have begin taking a recent interest in the sites?
DB: I have started reading it recently because my young kids go on there. One of the reasons why I am doing this is because they are reading about me. What I have noticed if my friends are correct is that the main person that criticises me used to get free tickets off Tony Petty. I was down the club one day and him and his mate were having a meeting with Tony Petty. It seems awfully strange that when I have had nothing from the club that you get one person on the internet that used to get these free tickets from Petty. The pot calling the kettle black in the least.
PS: So your strategy was you wanted Petty close so you knew what he was up to?
DB: That’s right. Gareth Vincent will tell you that I used to ring him every day with things that I found out. I think one or two people who didn’t know the score have the right to say why didn’t I go ahead with the consortium. I wish them all the best in the world and I will finance them in a different way through sponsorship. I was asked the day before the hearing was I still interested in investing. Who in their right mind would put in £50,000 when they have only been to one meeting.
PS: Was it your choice to go to just one meeting or were you not invited to any more?
DB: I wasn’t asked to go along. I was in constant touch with Mel and if I was a millionaire I would have thrown caution to the wind.
PS: You’ve come in for some criticism after the release of Addison and Nicholas to put the arm round their shoulder?
DB: After every game Nicho would come in and have a pint and a laugh after the game. Nicho was looking for a car for his wife a few months back after he felt that Mike Lewis and Martin Burgess had offered him a company car but were telling him he had to wait. Because of my contacts I arranged for him to buy a car for his wife. We became quite friendly through this. On the day they were released Nicho rung me and he was gutted. One of them rung me back and said that they were all going to the Marriott for a drink and I went along. There was a number of people there with them and as I was driving I was just drinking coke. Colin was taking it worse than Nicho. They both got a lot of phone calls from players at the club. I believe you have to move on and Nick and Roger are lovely lads and should be given the opportunity.

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