In a week where there were more strikes to try and ensure the pension rights of many Civil Servants, it might seem petty and churlish to highlight the plight of Cardiff City FC.   However, the leaked proposals to change the club's emblem from bluebird to red dragon and the shirts from blue to red is something which goes beyond the outrage of many fans.
   My initial reaction was one of complete shock and horror. The association of Cardiff City with blue shirts has been integral to our identity for over a century. All my home memories and those of my son are blue ones and the bluebird itself  has risen higher and higher in our sense of belonging to the club.
   Would Swansea accept an owner who asked them to sport a leek on their badges and play in blue ? Liverpool fans would no doubt stage a rebellion under similar circumstances.
   In the past, our many fanzines have relished the nickname. Think of 'Watch the Red Dragon Fly!' and it smacks of Harry Potter! The confusion with the Welsh national team is obvious.
   The fact that it was presented as a fait accompli ( with the League having been informed of the change) makes it all the more galling.
   Hearing of the compliance of some fans, I seriously imagined whether I would be able to stand among their red throng next season, with my defiant blue scarf, militantly shouting 'Bluebirds!' as these strange red-shirted players appeared out of the tunnel.
   I understand it's hard for those who aren't fans to appreciate the strength of feeling I have ( shared by many others, it must be said). A football club is more than watching and supporting a team: it is the cameraderie developed over the years and the tradition of chants and songs; chants like 'I'll be there' deriving from the 1926 General Strike.
'I never felt more like singin' the Reds / When Cardiff win and Swansea lose' hasn't quite got the same ring to it, has it?
   The knowledge that fans' representatives like Davies and Jefferies were adamantly in favour of change made it all the more difficult to take.
   They were led to believe that rejecting it would call into question the £100 million pledged by Malaysian owner Vincent Tan.
   The nature of this investment hasn't been fully scrutinised. £40 million of it is actually the loans owed to Tan himself, plus interest, together with  the loan still owed to Langston. There were plans for a 36,000 seater stadium which is not needed in the Championship and  equally unnecessary training facilities.
   Cash for players was promised to our manager from the sale of red shirts, yet why would these be bought in Asia?
   Football followers there are fascinated by the Premiership and show scant interest in the Championship. For all the talk of the  lucky colour red and the dragon being a logo showing West/East fusion, a vast number of fans here in Wales would have boycotted the red shirts.
   I was amazed at the sudden U-turn and ashamed at the fawning responses of those representatives, who urged fans to make it up to the Malaysian owners by turning up in red at board meetings and generally rolling over like obedient Welsh corgis.
   The 'Western Mail' also favoured the red option, with their football editor advocating it in response to their own on-line poll showing that a majority backed it.
   I believe that poll was flawed. There were comments on-line by fans who had clicked for blue but had registered red and my experience was the same.
   All this has exposed the callous disregard to Cardiff City's history and tradition by owner Tan and the willingness of certain fans to be taken in and controlled by the situation.
   The whole notion of Tan as some smiling benefactor has been called into question by this.
   There is a conspiracy theory which sees this 'divide and rule' strategy as a means of pulling out of the club.
   There is also the precariousness of Tan's own position and that of his huge business empire.
   He is widely seen as a stooge of the ruling elite and half his gambling business is actually owned (though kept in in his name) by the ruling party Umno, despite the illegality of gambling in that Muslim country!
   With elections due in Malaysia next year or before, there is a strong likelihood that (for the first time since independence) there will be a change of government and with this a real threat to his all-encompassing business influences.
   The opposition (and therefore, a large proportion of the population) do not trust Vincent Tan at all. He has a record of many murky affairs and was subject to a Leveson-type Enquiry, which recommended that action be taken against him for misconduct.
   This week has brought to the fore something which we, the foootball fans, would rather forget : the whole nature of club ownership.
   I understand fully that some fans couldn't care less who owns their club as long as there's plenty of money. We could be taken over by Mugabe or Asad and as long as Malky has cash for players. But for me, there are serious moral and political implications.
   I strongly believe we should move towards the German model, where fans own at least 50% of the club, thus ensuring a strong voice and genuine participation in decision-making.
   I am heartened by the success of my hometown Martyrs team, who are owned and run by a Football Trust, proving that an alternative can work.


When Cardiff City FC were taken over
by multizillionaire fridge magnate
Boris Bogov from the little-known eastern European
country of Rippovia,
fans were dubious at first,
till Bogov promised limitless transfer funds,
a 40,000 seater stadium and brandnew
state of the art double-decker team bus.

Bogov proposed to rename the stadium
the ColdCare stadium after his company
and the four stands after his sons
Ivan, Maxim, Sergei and Lilian.
He wanted to change the bluebird emblem
of over a century to goulash
the favoured dish of many back home
and, indeed, other countries.
He  wanted to change the colour
of shirts to white with purple circles,
like the national flag of Rippovia.

There was outrage among some fans,
though their trusted representatives
knew the club was in dire straits
and Boris Bogov was their saviour.

Some fans protested wearing blue shirts
dressed up as bluebirds, singing blue songs,
while others tried to please Boris
by dressing as fridges outside board meetings
and only getting drunk on vodka.

The whole takeover collapsed when Boris
was arrested in his own country
and dubbed 'The Most Corrupt Man in Europe'
after bribing judges and politicians,
using widespread child labour
and rigging the National Lottery
(he was a friend of Prince Andrew).

Defenders of the Bluebird remarked 'I told you so!'
while fans' representatives announced with optimism
that the King of Bahrain was interested in Cardiff City.
The rest, as they don't say, is future history.

06/07/2012 14:26

06/07/2012 14:36

Wednesday fan in peace. Extremely sympathetic to those bluebirds upset by this news. Also utterly stunned by the blithe acceptance of some CCFC fans to it. This is the sort of thing done by crappy clubs like Crystal Palace, not proud teams like Cardiff with strong community ties. Think its fortunate that there are rules against moving towns cos that would probably have been next , as it is don't bet against a name change for CCFC - Cardiff Dragons FC? Good luck to ya. Think you're gonna need it , but then so might the rest of us!


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