Diolch, Peter

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Peter Thomas, for all intents and purposes, was Cardiff Rugby Football Club.

Spanning over 50 years he’s been a player, supporter, chairman and benefactor at different points. He lived and breathed the club to the point it’s difficult imagine life at the Arms Park without him.

His passing is incredibly sad for everyone associated with the club, but of course thoughts are particularly with his family and friends. Beyond the rugby he was a genuinely warm and kind man who was always happy to stop and chat, greeting everyone as an equal which spoke volumes of how humble and respectful he was.

For those outside his immediate circle though it is Peter’s contribution to Cardiff Rugby that will be most remembered.

The monetary contribution is what will catch the eye and probably dominate much of the narrative around his role at the Arms Park. Totalling around £15m it is a staggering commitment to the club. It is very easy to say you’d love to plough money into the business if you won the lottery, but to actually put so much of his personally accumulated wealth in is something that should never be underestimated.

Committing that much money is one thing, following that up with so much time and effort is another. There are multiple instances of benefactors pumping money into a club but failing to ensure that results in success and sustainability, but Peter’s passion and loyalty for Cardiff Rugby ensured that would never be the case for the Blue and Blacks.

In 22 years as chairman and then a further five as Life President he remained hugely influential in day-to-day activity at the club, doing everything within his power to advance Cardiff Rugby at every opportunity and rarely missing a game home or away, both with the first team and the Rags.

It is that contribution which led to the great days we’ve experienced at the Arms Park and around Europe. The three trophy wins particularly stand out and a personal memory of Peter will always be how incredibly proud he was in the hotel after the second European Challenge Cup win in Bilbao, but there have been countless great moments as well as those.

That impact extends beyond the Blue and Blacks too, with a golden period for the Wales national team traced in part back to his contribution to the capital city club.

Without Peter there is no Gethin Jenkins, Bradley Davies, Martyn Williams, Sam Warburton, Josh Navidi, Lloyd Williams, Gareth Thomas, Tom Shanklin, Jamie Roberts or Leigh Halfpenny, or at least not the players they ultimately turned out to be, all of whom played major parts in Six Nations and Grand Slam success, and Rugby World Cup runs, over the last 20 years.

In the end all that is left to say is thank you. Thank you to Peter’s family for letting us have him at the Arms Park for so many years, and thank you to Peter for everything he has done for Cardiff Rugby.

A truly great man.

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