Another season ends for Cardiff City in what seems to be the norm, faltering in the play-offs. However, when the change of manager and the summer exodus are taken into account, praise for Malky Mackay’s achievements in his first season cannot be understated. As with most clubs, Cardiff City has an active and vocal fan base online, where one can find insight into the day-to-day running of the club, rumour and conjecture. It wasn’t long after the final whistle at Upton Park that rumours of a rebranding for the Bluebirds were touted, as ridiculous as this may seem it appears to be gaining some attention.
Cardiff City for the third consecutive season finished in the top six of the Championship, thus earning themselves a chance of promotion to the the Premier League. Their opponents for the semi-final were too much to handle for the Bluebirds though and they succumbed to defeat both home and away. It was moments after this game that an anonymous message was posted on the Cardiff City message board.
The anonymous post detailed a number of changes that the Malaysian investors, spearheaded by Vincent Tan, intend to implement for the Bluebirds, or should I say, soon to be former Bluebirds? The changes consist of the club playing in red from next season, dropping the Bluebirds nickname and changing the club badge to feature a dragon.
The club released a statement announcing the Cardiff Blues’ departure from the Cardiff City stadium this morning. The Cardiff Blues are a rugby team that used to play their games in a 15,000 seater stadium in the heart of Cardiff, but since moving to the Cardiff City Stadium on the outskirts of the city, they have seen attendances decline. They were allowed to terminate their lease of the stadium early and return to the Cardiff Arms Park. According to this morning’s statement, this “will allow significant branding to take place at Cardiff City Stadium”. This coupled with the anonymous post from the evening before has clearly worried the Cardiff City faithful.
Cardiff City have played in blue for over a hundred years, the team that took the FA Cup out of England in 1927, the team that beat Real Madrid in 1971, the team that qualified for domestic cup finals in both 2008 and 2012, did it in blue shirts. To take this vital piece of identity away from a team smacks of a callous disregard towards the fans.
Wales is no stranger to rebranding football teams; Cefn Druids, TNS and Welshpool are all testament to that. The rebranding of these teams came about as a result of sponsorship or amalgamation. These changes may have altered the identity of these clubs, but did not alienate their fan bases. If these rumours amount to be true, Cardiff City’s investors are in danger of doing just that.
There has been no denial from those in charge at Cardiff City as yet, although a fans forum within which this subject is expected to be addressed, is to take place soon. Any announcement of future investment in the club will seem shallow and unwanted if it costs the team their identity. Football clubs are businesses, the most ardent fan understands that, but profitability and revenue don’t come into a fan’s mind because they are more than that. A football club becomes one’s identity, being a fan is investing a small piece of yourself in that club. To have that identity stripped and marketed to make it seem more attractive in a different country is to whore the club. If there is any element of truth in these rumours, then it will be to the detriment of the game itself.
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