19/04/2013

Cardiff City - Promotion Or Die Trying

Promotion to the top flight of English football was the reward for Cardiff City on Tuesday evening, duly following a season that deserved it. However, it is not Cardiff City who have been promoted into the Premier League. It is not the Bluebirds who succeeded in achieving the top tier. Instead, it is Vincent Tan's 'red Cardiff dragons' who will be battling against rivals Swansea next season.

Mr Tan 
Rebranding of the proud welsh club began between May and June of last year. The first stage of rebranding entailed transforming the traditional blue home colours to red and changing the logo of the historic bluebird into a red dragon, sparking a controversial debate dividing fans who supported the change and fans who opposed it. 

The second stage, intending to change the name of the club to 'Cardiff Dragons' was revoked by Tan following fans outrage. When questioned on the importance of fan support, Tan replied: "If they don’t want to come to 
support our business, that’s fine." 

There are two problems with this comment. Firstly, referring to the football club as "our business"  is deemed offensive to fans who have offered life long support to the football club which plays a vital role in their community. Although yes, owning a football club holds similarities to owning a business and yes, Tan is right in saying it is 'their' business, it is disrespectful to the fans to appear to show no acknowledgement of them and their role in creating the 'business.' 

Secondly, "if they don't want to come [..] that's fine " offers a complete disregard for and totally undermines the fans opposing the colour change. Fans who have been a part of the football club far longer than the owners.

The justifications for the rebranding are effectively economic benefits being achieved through creating a "symbolic fusion with Asia." Some fans are happy with the rebranding and believe it is beneficial for the club in order to progress. Others believe the changes are detrimental to the clubs core traditions and values, and have actually pushed fans away. This is on the grounds that some fans feel it is not the same club they originally fell in love with and have supported all their life.

While fans of this opinion wish Cardiff City the best of luck in the Premiership, they will not be renewing season tickets next year, much to Tan's apparent indifference.  Swansea's example of part fan ownership appears to be a leading one, which would enable fans of Cardiff City to have a say in the rebranding process to ensure that the core traditions remain.

Despite the owners successful promotion efforts it seems there is a subtle disregard for those fans who disagree with the colour and logo changes. This is a problem that needs to be addressed if the owners are to ensure a happy relationship with the fans; the more the club is stripped of its values, the more valuable supporters the club could potentially lose.

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