PROPERTY tycoon Dato Chan Tien Ghee could be the businessman who ends the mysterious Langston link to Cardiff City.
The Bluebirds owe Langston £15m as part of the club’s £24m debt – and Cardiff chairman Peter Ridsdale (left) believes getting Malaysian magnate Dato Chan on board will play a significant part in City’s future.
Though yesterday’s developments only went as far as announcing a “strategic marketing alliance with [Dato Chan’s] Football Focus Asia”, Ridsdale believes the partnership will eventually go much further than that.
“We think this is a huge coup for this football club, it really is,” said Ridsdale.
“We know that they have talked to other football clubs in the past about such an alliance and such an investment.
“Having discussed the way we need to repay the debt, we have a great opportunity here.
“The deal will almost certainly include sponsorship and we are already talking about shirt sponsor, stadium naming rights and an investment.
“But I must stress you don’t do things overnight.
“It’s a case of them trusting us and getting to know what we are all about.
“But the Far East market is one of the largest in the world, representing over half the world’s population, and their appetite for football is already proven.”
Already christened ‘TG’ by Ridsdale, Dato Chan is expected to be a special guest at one of Cardiff’s Championship fixture next month.
It is understood the tycoon is keen to see the new Cardiff City Stadium in all its glory and take the opportunity to conduct more talks that could firm up potential sponsorship streams.
But Dato Chan’s business links in Malaysia may be as crucial to securing investment at City as his own personal wealth.
His partner on the $700m Lido Boulevard Waterfront City project in Johor is one of the richest men in Malaysia.
Vincent Tan is worth an estimated $1.3bn and is Malaysia’s ninth richest person, according to the Forbes rich list.
Property investments in Vietnam, which have jumped in value this year, propelled Tan to billionaire status and onto the Forbes rich list.
Lawyer businessman Dato Chan’s links to the Malaysian establishment is given away in his title – Dato is a title which roughly corresponds to the British knighthood.
It can be granted by the ruler or governor in each Malaysian state and is an honorary, non-hereditary title.
The development he is leading at Johor, on the banks of the Straits of Johor, is massive.
It covers 122 acres and will include a 2.4 km boardwalk along Lido Beach, possessing four main components – luxury condominiums, waterfront office suites, a hotel and a shopping mall.