The Bluebirds, as Cardiff City are affectionately called by their fans, have had a bit of bad luck recently. They have been in the English Championship playoffs for the last three seasons in a row and every time they have failed to gain promotion to the English Premier League.
A few years ago the club were also In dire straits, financially. They were struggling to pay wages and they owed a fair amount of money in player transfer fees.
They were rescued from this mire by wealthy Malaysian investors and now plans are afoot to improve training facilities, sign new players and help expand the brand of Cardiff City Football Club.
Changes have also come in. They had previously been sharing their ground, the Cardiff City Stadium, with the local professional rugby side the Cardiff Blues. Now they have mutually torn up their leasing agreement meaning that Cardiff City have their ground all to themselves, again.
This is not the only change proposed, though.
It is now being angrily discussed that the Welsh side are being urged by their owners –and by urged read: enforced –that the team rebrand themselves. This rebranding would involve changing the team’s uniform from its traditional blue to a red. It would also involve changing the bluebird crest to a badge with a dragon on it.
One can understand where they are coming from. Marketing has a lot to do with identity. Swansea City is Wales’ sole representatives in the English top flight and Cardiff want a slice of the action. If they are draped in Wales’ national color, red, and have Wales’ national symbol, the dragon, emblazoned on their chests it will be much easier to sell themselves to their nation –one which traditionally opts to support rugby over soccer –and to sell themselves better in international terms.
The problem with this is that soccer in the UK is fiercely tribal and each little club has its own identity and proud heritage. They are not franchises; they are representatives of communities past and present.
So when fans representatives release statements saying “Cardiff City is blue and should always be blue”, you know there is a fight coming up on the horizon.
The problem is that heritage is set against big business here. “We would like to assure supporters that any decisions will include the long-term interests of our supporters, our community and the survival and development of Cardiff City Football Club in a highly competitive and modern sporting industry,” the owners’ representatives say.
It is a multilayered little statement isn’t it? The line could well be ‘we know best, and change is for your long term interest’. Almost like an Asimov tale. Cardiff fans may have to take their medicine against their will, because ‘modern sporting industry’ is capitalist sporting industry.
Do you sell your soul to get to the Promised Land?