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Discussion in 'Bluemoon forum' started by Three_Hat-tricks, 17 Feb 2012.
Sucked the club dry.
We have a long and rich history. Peter Swales is a part of it and he loved City. As an innocent child I used to write to him and ask him to send me on the most recent match programme. He never let me down (though my entreaties were always accompanied by a £2 postal order, which was 4 weeks' pocket money at the time!).
I think two events have been confused here. I guess you're thinking of the Meredith plaque and it survived the skip incident. It was years later that Ian Niven obtained it. The skip story is true for pennants, club records and other stuff, but after Swales had left and the Main Stand was being revamped by Lee & co. Niven managed to obtain several key items (as a director it was acceptable to do this legally if the board agreed; whether it is morally right is another matter). One of the item he obtained was a plaque Billy Meredith had presented to the club to mark the opening of Maine Road - in some ways you can't get more historic than that. City's first star and a plaque commemorating the opening of our spiritual home!
This was put up for auction in 1999 - see page 315 of Manchester A Football History. Niven was quite open about where that and other items had come from: "During my time as a director I kept a lookout for things I could collect."
I met Peter Swales on about ten occasions while he was City's Chairman. He was not very different from lots of other club chairmen at the time - self-made local businessmen who thought that owning their local club would earn them respect and admiration. At the time, that was not too much of a problem if you presided over a successful team and put your hand in your pocket when necessary and let the manager get on with managing and generally stayed in the background.
But one problem with Swales (and one or two other chairmen at the time) was that he wanted it always to be about him. It was his name that had to be in the MEN. Even if he did care about City and was a fan and did try to advance City's interests, it was always for the greater glory of Peter Swales. How often did Louis Edward's name get in the MEN? Who even knew the name of Liverpool's chairman in the 1970s?
Oh - and he wasn't a very nice person, either.
Iain Niven, however, was a true City fan and a lovely guy. He was not a rich man by any means - he owned and ran a pub - and he was not in it for the glory. As for the story about the Meredith plaque, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he rescued it from a skip.
Swales was a big blue but he was a small time local businessman who was hopelessly out of his depth - as the game grew he became ever more small time. I remember he started applying for shares in the Thatcher privatisation sell offs - he announced once at an AGM that we’d got a couple of grands worth of TSB shares! For heavens sake. Our finances were a joke - we went from one crisis to another. It wasn’t always Swales fault (but 9 times out of 10 it was!) but our managerial merry go round was his biggest fault. Too much change and too many managers who just weren’t given the time or the resources (they wanted).
I never regarded him as a Blue. Self interest was his motivation. Unfortunately for us it was City that he got involved in. At the time of Franny's take over bid I can honestly say I despised Swales with a passion. He ruined City as a top club. I shudder when ever I see highlights of Coventry City because that's where we were heading.
That's something that always intrigues me. Is there any evidence of him really being a blue prior to getting involved? He probably worked most Saturdays but did he go to an midweek games?
For every Peter Swales story there's a couple of people to contradict him and say that it didn't happen as he said. The story about him approaching Sidney Rose & John Humphreys in a pub in Hale didn't happen, according to Sidney. So do we believe he was a lifelong blue? Even if he was, it was more about what it could do for him than what he could do for the club.
Fair point, so did he look at it as an ego trip?
It's easy to use somebody's else's money ie City...
I think his previous background was a a small electrical retailing firm, White and Swales, who had a few shops around the Altringham area, I knew one TV tech that worked there and he was a rag, didn't speak much just went to Openshaw tech with him.
How times have changed he was probably worth a lot less than 1mill.
But he was probably worth a lot more after his time at City