A hollow 'victory'

Last updated : 06 June 2012 By Paul Evans

Well now we know what he was referring to! This morning the club announced that the “re-branding”, which we all thought had been shelved after the reaction to the proposals when the news was first leaked on the day of the Second Leg of the West Ham Play Off tie (was that only just under a month ago? It feels much, much longer than that), is to go ahead after all. The news was announced today on the official site with this piece giving a statement (as well as a look at the new badge), this one showing the new red home kit and blue away strip and this one relating to the proposed training ground that is to be built as part of the new investment which, we are told, comes as a part of the re-branding package.

The news that we were going to be playing in red next season didn’t come as a bolt from the blue (sorry!). It had been widely hinted at yesterday, starting with a BBC piece first thing in the morning. The news reopened the wounds suffered when the story first broke in early May and, after a relatively quiet period on the messageboards, hostilities were resumed with some on both sides, seemingly, unable to stop themselves hurling abuse and obscenities at fellow Cardiff fans – the term “civil war” was used from time to time.

I’m not going to waste too much time setting out my position on this matter again, but, for anyone who is new to this blog, I can live with the change of shirt colour and badge because they have meant little to me in the past (if anything, I felt more of a sense of loss when we left Ninian Park), but I have never felt that this was a matter of right and wrong – it was down to what the club meant to each individual and, with very few exceptions, I have total respect for those whose feelings are so strongly anti re-branding (it’s never been as simple as pro-blue against pro-red) that they feel they can no longer support the club.

If you want to look at it in terms of a civil war though, then I suppose I’ve finished on the winning side, but if there’s one thing I don’t feel this morning, it’s a winner. Where a winner can get a feeling of excitement which has the hairs on the back of their head standing up, I, instead feel a flatness of spirit which has me sad that, in what seems to be typical Cardiff City fashion, what could have been fantastic news has instead become something which turns supporter against supporter and friend against friend – some may say that’s being over dramatic, but I don’t think it is.

Some on the anti re-branding side are adamant that we have all been “played” – that the leaking of the information, subsequent abandoning of the change to red amid threats about future investment and now, imposing of the changes on a more docile fanbase has all been a shrewd plan on the part of the Malaysian investors. They could be right I suppose, but, being a naive soul, the more likely explanation to me is that the whole thing has been a bit of a cock up from the start (again, the phrase “typical Cardiff City fashion” springs to mind) – one of the reasons why the decision to now go ahead with red has come as such a surprise to me is that the change of mind that had us playing in blue next season made the Malaysian investors look weak and now, to change their mind again, indecision probably has to be added to that charge list as well.

Aron Gunnarsson models the new home kit, while Joe Mason wears the kit Cardiff City have worn since 1908 as the new away strip. Shirt colours don't mean much to me, but I can understand why the continuing lack of a coherent reason for the change in first choice colours is such a source of annoyance for those who feel differently to me. *

As for what I think of the new kit and badge, well, having made clear my indifference to such things earlier, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn I haven’t got strong opinions about them either way – they’re okay I suppose, I won’t be buying them, but then I was never going to be. Of more concern to me is what was said in the statement about the level of investment in particular and, to be honest, what strikes me is that there is plenty of talk about what will be done, but not much about what has been. Probably the main reason I have for my pragmatic attitude towards the re-branding is that I thought of it as being a way in which we could finally sort our finances out and start competing on an equal financial footing with many of our rivals, but, although we have had a very unpopular change of kit (let’s face it, hardly anyone is in favour of a change to red over blue are they) forced upon us now, there is disappointingly little that is “set in concrete” in terms of debts being converted into equity, new training facilities (we were told a venue had been selected at meetings held at the club last month, now it seems that’s no longer the case) and the marketing opportunities in Asia that we’ve heard about in the last month, in that statement.

It’s also disappointing to be reminded that the whole package remains conditional on the Langston loan note debt being sorted out. The fact that, five years after he left the club, Sam Hammam still has such an influence on it’s future is a source of irritation to me, but, reading between the lines, the wording of the statement makes it sound like an agreement with Langston should be forthcoming sooner rather than later.

I suppose what I’m doing there is giving the club, and the Malaysian investors, the benefit of the doubt in the same way that so many other City fans have been prepared to do over the last month in this matter – I have faith in the investment being delivered, but there isn’t much in the statement as worded t0 make those who are more dubious by nature start believeing that they were wrong to think like they do.

I’ll finish by referring to on field matters because it seems pretty certain that the level of expectation on Malky Mackay in particular is going to be very high next season and it’s essential that he is backed accordingly by the Board and investors. I have no reason to doubt that this will happen (the sort of sums being bid for players so far this summer offers evidence of that), but a lot of supporters who have given the benefit of the doubt to the club over the past month or so deserve to be rewarded with a team that reflects the grandiose claims made in those statements today – the sad thing is that a lot of good and passionate supporters of Cardiff City aren’t likely to be there to watch them play because the money has had to be combined with a change of kit which still, on the information we have so far, appears so unnecessary.

* picture courtesy of http://www.cardiffcityfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Home