Cardiff City: Better Red Than Dead

Cardiff City's new Malaysian owners have shocked fans by swapping the club's colours from blue to red but this desperate rebranding could save the Bluebirds from extinction.
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Cardiff City's new Malaysian owners have shocked fans by swapping the club's colours from blue to red but this desperate rebranding could save the Bluebirds from extinction.

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When the curtain fell on a promising but ultimately disappointing season, not one person could have predicted that the silly season had already begun. As we boarded the tube away from Upton, the Tweets started and by the time I had arrived at Victoria station, Cardiff City’s home kit had been changed from blue to red. An anonymous source, normally so derided and ignored, had posted a bonkers leak about the changes on the CCMB and before you could say Redbirds, the ITK and reputable sources started to pipe up and confirm its veracity.

Cardiff City were turning red. The badge was being changed to include a dragon and a new motto. The fans were turning redder. Vitriolic anger the likes of which had never been seen before was spaffed all over Twitter and messageboards. Protests were mobilised and death threats issued. It all got a little bit out of hand and within a couple of days, our Malaysian chairman issued a statement saying they would back down over the kit change.

But it’s back. And not just back in theory; there are pictures of the players in the new kit! The badge has been changed to include a large dragon with a small Bluebird underneath. The words “Fire and Passion” have been included on the badge. And, most importantly, the colour of the home shirt is now red.

OUR HISTORY HAS BEEN ERASED! Or has it? I’ve spent two weeks in a haze about what to think about the proposed changes. On one hand, it’s a vicious and damning statement on the history and tradition of this football club. On the other, perhaps it makes good business sense.

Let’s deal with the emotive issue first. A football club, who changes their kit, location, name, for financial gain forever loses credibility. See MK Dons for that. Though MK Dons is an extreme example, I can guarantee you that from next season we will be a laughing stock. Fans will forever deride us for our selling out. Close rivals will revel in this. Football is a game all about the history and traditions of the club. By mucking with these fundamentals, you alienate the fan base. This has already happened.

Plus, the Malaysians have now lied to the fans. After the initial statement and uproar, they said they wouldn’t change the kits after all. But now they have. So can fans trust such bare-faced lies? I’m perhaps not as emotive as other fans. Season tickets are already being sent back and refunds claimed. Shouts of a boycott and protests are flying through the air.

Red shirts are simply easier to see, improving the accuracy of passes.

The club is still Cardiff City. We are still called Cardiff City. We will play at the CCS. The history of the club is still there but we now wear Red. I don’t want this happening because of the chairman’s whimsy and at his will. I really don’t. But the club is losing over a million pounds a month at the moment. There is absolutely no way we can continue on this basis. We will be bust before we know it.

Now I never wanted to change the shirts colour; don’t get me wrong, it’s something I have never asked to do. But if red shirts means survival and increased financial investment, I will have to accept it.

You can kind of understand the logic of the rebranding - it mirrors the Welsh flag and therefore will capitalise on patriotic fans. Plus according to research, teams that play in red also tend to win more. In 2008 Scientists at Plymouth and Durham University analysed 68 top English teams between 1946 and 2003. This may be down to the fact that the colour boosts players' confidence and unnerves their opponents plus red shirts are simply easier to see, improving the accuracy of passes.

Cardiff City, as we know it, may change. But the club cannot survive in its current state. If a change of shirt colour secures Cardiff City’s future then I will accept it. History is important, yes. But our future could be non-existent with the change.

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