One of my reasons for this was that, in some ways, my opinion on the issue has not changed – on a basic, fundamental, level the colours we play in have little impact on me (unless they are as bizarre as the kit this blog is named in honour of!) and I have always thought the bluebird was a pretty naff emblem and nickname. However, I cannot deny that, on a more general level, my attitude has hardened against the re-branding in the past nine months.
As to why this should be, well some of it is down to things I’ve read on messageboards. Cardiff City messageboards have not been very pleasant places to visit since last May. For a while the re-branding was debated – often acrimoniously, but it was still debated. As time went on though, debate gave way to abuse and name calling on both sides until it reached the stage where, increasingly, those still going to matches are targeted as being to blame for the fact that we are not playing in blue any more. However, very occasionally, there has been something posted that has made me reconsider things a little and understand more why so many value the colours we played in more than I ever will.
In truth though this only covers about one tenth of the cause of any change of attitude on my part – the thing that has had so much more to do with me becoming more anti the club’s stance on the re-branding is the club itself! Every time those in charge at Cardiff City make some sort of pronouncement on our red kit and new badge, they push me further towards the blue corner and they’ve given me a big shove in that direction this week with their announcement that supporters will be given a free scarf before next Tuesday’s match with Brighton.
Now, I appreciate that it’s tempting to look at the following;-
“The cold-snap seems intent on snapping further every week, so next Tuesday night as we host Brighton, we will be giving every Cardiff City supporter a FREE high quality scarf as a means to keep warm, the club saying a big thank you for your support this season.”
and think what’s so bad about that? It’s great to see a club rewarding their support in such a way.
That would be a perfectly acceptable reaction at ninety one out of the ninety two clubs in the country as well, but Cardiff City is different in 2012/13 – for all it’s success on the pitch, it’s a car crash of a club off it in so many ways. No other club has undergone a “re-branding” which has seen a complete change in the colour of the kit they play in foisted upon it for reasons that seem as hard to understand and justify now as they did back in May. Therefore “rewarding” fans with a free scarf in the club’s colours, is nowhere near as straightforward a process at Cardiff as it would be anywhere else. Hardly surprisingly, many supporters were suspicious of the motivation behind this giveaway and I found it hard to disagree with them when it was backed up by a competition whereby anyone photographed for the club’s Facebook page wearing their scarf would qualify for a chance to win a free season ticket for 2013/14.
No one doubted that these scarves would be in the new club colours and would feature the very unpopular new badge, but when pictures of it were released yesterday, there was annoyance that although room was found for the words “Fire and Passion”, it seemed that there was not enough white material left to include the word “City”. In the current climate, many people were bound to be upset by this and I don’t blame them at all – it would, of course, be seized upon by those who have maintained all along that last summer’s changes were just the first in a long line which would eventually see the club’s identity change to such an extent that it would be unrecognisable from the entity of a year ago.
Anyone who has been prepared to laugh off such dire warnings in the past must, surely, admit to some concern that the name of the club we support does not appear on the scarf. Given the events of the last nine months, I can only say that whoever was in charge of design of the scarf (be they local or Asian) must have known the product they have come up with would not just annoy the diehards who are vehemently opposed to every aspect of the re-brand, but also, I would suggest, many on the “reluctant red” side who were prepared to give the club the benefit of the doubt last summer.
The club delivered on the promised spending on new players and I’m certainly not going to complain about that, but they haven’t yet on the other matters that were to make up Vincent Tan’s £100 million investment and the fact is that, contrary to what we were told last summer when blue was going to be our second kit for the whole of the season, the club chose not wear that colour when there was a clash at Blackpool last month. Events such as that and the make up of the scarf we are all going to presented with on Tuesday send out a signal of a club preparing the ground for more to come in the coming months and years, but what I can’t stop wondering with regard to our “reward” is why now?
Now, this may well be wishful thinking on my part, but could it be because someone important at the club thinks they are not seeing enough red amongst the crowd in home games? All season long, like quite a few others, I’ve continued to wear a blue shirt to matches as one of a few protests I’m making against the re-brand. It’s been suggested to me that it’s a futile gesture and I’ll admit that there have been times when I’ve agreed and considered not bothering any more, but knowing the club are handing out red merchandise on Tuesday and bribing (I don’t think that’s too strong a word) supporters to wear it with the offer of a possible free season ticket, has got me wondering whether we might have been more effective than I thought we were.
Whether this is actually the case or not, what cannot be denied is that by doing what they have done, the club have turned Tuesday into an occasion where the wearing of blue becomes a far more effective statement than it has been in any other home match this season. I would urge anyone who prefers us to play in blue rather than red to wear our old colours on Tuesday night – even if you do it just once this season, wear blue on Tuesday to show that, while you might not feel as strongly as others on the subject, you would prefer us to revert to our former colours rather than continue with the current ones.
As for what to do with the red scarves, I’ve seen all sorts of suggestions with throwing them on to the pitch being a favourite. I admit I’m not a fan of that idea because I can see potential for it being off putting for the team and, if the club adopt a heavy handed approach, it could lead to people being ejected or, worse still, banned from the ground.
I’d like to put forward a suggestion – why not tie them to the old Ninian Park gates? Last season we saw the gates being used as an effective memorial for Mikey Dye and Gary Speed – now, the Cardiff City we grew up watching is not dead yet in my opinion, but it’s looking pretty sickly and there is evidence to suggest it may not be with us much longer, why not use the gates as a the centrepiece for a demonstration of solidarity for those who want to see Cardiff City restored to it’s former health?
Tying memorabilia to those gates would represent an effective peaceful protest which would have no effect on the team and would enable those who feel they cannot attend games any more to make their contribution on Tuesday.
I’ll admit to a couple of possible misgivings about my idea. Firstly, would using the gates to make what I suppose is a political protest be seen as being in poor taste and an insult to the memories of Messrs Dye and Speed? My answer would be no, but I’m open to persuasion from anyone who thinks differently. Secondly, could tying the red scarves to the gates be viewed as endorsing them in some way? I think that quite possibly it could be – if this is the case, then I think any blue item would serve the purpose and my red scarf can be consigned to a Cardiff City Stadium waste bin.