Tag Archives: Cardiff City

Almost relegated Cardiff deserve little sympathy



Cardiff lost 4-0 to Sunderland today, missing out on what was likely their final opportunity to save their season. Having struggled all year, they now sit at bottom of the Premier League, seemingly destined to return whence they came.

They battled for years to exit the Championship, seemingly permanently destined to miss out at the final hurdle. Along came Vincent Tan and his millions, and in exchange all Cardiff had to sacrifice was their soul.

The change from blue to red came with protests from a select few, and a certain level of acceptance from the rest. Admittedly, it is rare that you see a Cardiff fan in the red kit in the stands, but to sit in the stands you’re essentially saying that you accept the situation. You’re paying up.

I had a discussion with friends after the final whistle went in that match, centring around our level of sympathy towards those Cardiff fans who’ve continued to show up as the club has slipped further and further into being Tan’s plaything. As it turned out, none of us felt much.

On the other hand, I have great respect for those who’ve managed to disentangle themselves from their own inherent fandom and understand that what has occurred at Cardiff is not right.

One of those odd quirks of football is that it involves a constant casting of other people as villains and your own side as the heroes. You then have dislikes that are inherent to you, built up over the course of a supporting lifetime. The reality is that most fans will dislike very few teams properly. You might have a 1-0 loss on a cold Tuesday night to search for some spite in, but when the camera pans to the faces of the fans after a relegation, it’s often difficult to find much joy in it.

Cardiff, or, to specify, this Cardiff, will not receive much sympathy from me when their relegation is confirmed. The simple act of changing the shirt colour turned them from Cardiff to Vincent Tan United. In supporting the club through this campaign, fans have essentially accepted the fate. It’s not as though they were already committed to season tickets as they were last year – they’ve exchanged their love and what they originally fell in love with, for the empty promises of a single season in the Premier League.

I suppose it is difficult for me to talk, as a fan of Leeds United, who famously changed their kits to all-white in the 60s. The difference, I suppose, was the reason behind the change. Ours was to emulate the great Real Madrid and fans agreed with it because it symbolised a footballing ambition. We had also only existed for 42 years and had changed kit colours twice in that period already. Cardiff changed theirs because red is more marketable in Malaysia.

Do not consider this to be an attempt at having a go at those fans who went this season, but look at the fate Tan and his egotistical actions have sent you inevitably drawn towards. You’re back at square one in exchange for quite a public embarrassment of your club. Have more respect for it.

Bluebird…no more?

Whilst reading this article, why not listen to the apt ‘Bluebird’ by Paul McCartney and Wings.

This is just a small commentary on a matter that has cropped up this week. Footballing message boards have been ablaze with responses to Cardiff City’s apparently impending change of branding. Blue to red, shifting across the generic colour spectrum, Cardiff fans could have understandably major qualms. As to whether they are right to and do, I feel several matters come to mind.

If I were to explore the history of my own club, a major event jumps out at me. Rebranding at the turn of the 1960s from Yellow and Blue to White was an integral part of Don Revie’s campaign to refresh Leeds United. Within ten years, they went from a regional club in a city dominated by Rugby to one of the best teams in the world (at that point). Anthony Clavane explains this incredibly well within the context of the Leeds Jewish Community in his award-winning book The Promised Land. Within 15 years, they had reached a European Cup final. Symbolically, the white kit represented the turning point in Leeds United’s history. That all white strip is a key feature of the club at this point. You do not hear of any controversy regarding this change, there doesn’t seem to be anything in the record books.

Given Cardiff’s recent failures in the play-offs, one could reasonably argue that a change in colour would provide a similar turning point. Frequent runs to the top of the Championship have been met with failure. Could it not, potentially, provide a similar benefit to that which it provided Leeds?

Admittedly, however, there is a massive difference between the two. As mentioned previously, Leeds were a minor blot on the footballing landscape at this point. The change in kit was no issue, as there was no real identity to the club. It was not as if Leeds’s nickname of the Peacocks had anything to do with the colour of the segments on the kit. Cardiff fans can point to their nickname, the ‘bluebirds’, as being heavily linked to the blue and white kit they wear. There is an identity there. It is not the same as a shift that occurred several generations ago. Too much history is tied up in the club colours to accept it readily.

Other minor benefits include the potential marketing ability of the new colours. Word is that in Malaysia, the club have struggled to take advantage of the connections of owner Dato Chan Tien Ghee in this regard, due to the colour of the kit. Red is, apparently, more marketable than blue. Furthermore, the money ‘TG’ could plunge in, were the club to change the kit according to his wishes, would obviously be a great boon to any attempt to get out of the league. Finally, the attempt to become the nation’s club by branding themselves in the primary colour of the flag could reap benefits. This could increase income, should the entire nation find themselves represented in the club.

However, in reality, history should take precedent. It is not like Revie’s Leeds switch, there is too much feeling involved to wade through. It has to be taken as a positive that Cardiff have decided not to go ahead with the change. One can say it would probably not have had a positive end.

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