9 April 2013


Last month, the first 100 or so copies of TSLR047 featured the same article twice. The piece that was missing, from Midfield Diamond, was put in for the next game, but if you missed it, we've republished it below. It's very good.

I heard that the Catholic Church considered throwing away tradition, ignoring history and upsetting those who care most deeply about the organisation, by dispensing with the solemn ritual of the conclave. Yes, they thought about electing the new Pope live on TV via a public vote in a series of programmes called I’m a Cardinal, Get Me Out Of Here. Anyone who didn’t like the new arrangement would no longer be welcome in the Church and be encouraged to go elsewhere to worship. But the change would have boosted worldwide TV audiences and thereby increased revenue for the Church.

Of course that’s not true, it’s outrageous. It would never be allowed to happen. But is it that far away from what Cardiff City’s owner Vincent Tan is doing with his ‘re-branding’ of the Club? Red dragons are considered lucky in his native Malaysia so he’s changed the home colours from blue to red and the nickname from Bluebirds to Dragons, instantly trampling all over tradition and dismissing 100 years of Cardiff’s history in the pursuit of television money. Unsurprisingly, Cardiff fans haven’t widely embraced the changes but Tan has dismissed the dissenters as ‘mostly young kids’.

We like to think of Brighton as ‘our’ Club. We’ve seen owners, directors, managers, coaches and players come and go, but we’ve always been here. As the saying goes, it’s our Club, not theirs. Of course, Tony Bloom has put lots of his money into our Club and, to a certain extent, has the right to control what happens next. But I’m confident that he also understands Brighton and Hove Albion’s heritage and recognises the part that we all played in getting the Club to where it is today. He also knows more than most how angry fans get when an owner tries to take a Club away from them.

Vincent Tan’s plans for developing Cardiff into a global brand may be the opposite to Bill Archer’s tactic of running our Club into the ground, and Tan’s stewardship has got to be preferable to the liquidation almost delivered by former chairman Peter Risdale. However, I’m sure many Cardiff fans feel that Tan is taking their Club away from them and it will take more than free red scarves to convert them to his way of thinking. Incidentally, the bluebird was apparently symbolic of happiness in 1910, and was always depicted as free so that everyone could share it, rather than caged to be enjoyed by one selfish person. How ironic.

Meanwhile, the football authorities do what they do best when an owner with money rides roughshod over fans – absolutely nothing. Why can’t they see that Tan’s re-branding is not just bad for Cardiff and its fans, it’s bad for football?

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