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Cardiff City and the winter blues

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

On Thursday Cardiff City fans will meet with representatives of Vincent Tan to give their views on the club’s predicament. Only 4,194 turned up for the FA Cup tie with Colchester United, their lowest attendance at Cardiff City Stadium. Bluebirds fan Paul Evans on why he thinks support is at such a low ebb…

Cardiff City’s home game with Reading on Friday 21st November was a strange affair. We had just recorded our fifth straight home win and yet you would never have guessed it as the crowd trooped out in virtual silence after the match.

I saw my first Cardiff match in 1963 and have watched some truly awful sides since then, but, without fail, I would go home with a spring in my step if I had just seen them win – after the Reading game though, I just felt flat and disinterested.

As I walked to my car, it seemed that there were many who felt the same way as me and a look at the messageboards and subsequent discussions I have had with others who were at the match confirmed that I was correct in my thinking.

Cardiff City do not excite significant numbers among their support like they used to.

Having a team full of very highly paid players this season who churn out dull football probably has something to do with why so many feel totally indifferent, but it’s pretty obvious to me that it isn’t the main reason.

That happened two-and-a-half years ago, and you might think the furore over Vincent Tan’s infamous rebranding of the club’s kit and badge would have died down by now, but that is far from the case.

The truth is that the rebrand, which was presented by some as a route to a financial windfall, hangs over Cardiff City Stadium like a huge, dark cloud stifling optimism and enjoyment for all those under it.

I’m not sure what a football club’s soul is exactly, but whatever it was that made Cardiff City so special to many people went into decline in May 2012 when the rebrand was announced and has almost disappeared completely now.

Cardiff City Stadium feels like such a soulless place these days.

In January of this year club chairman Mehmet Dalman claimed Mr Tan had put up to £150 million into the club over the previous four years. I think most observers would agree that the best, if not only, chance our owner has of getting that money back is to get his club into the Premier League again and then look to sell it.

The truly ironic thing though is that, by insisting his side must play in “lucky” red, Mr Tan is, surely, making that scenario less likely to happen.

This team have done little to suggest they can deliver another promotion to follow the one in 2013. However, to be fair to them, it cannot be easy playing for a club that has so much negativity attached to it. At least some of the players must be affected and I believe it’s a reasonable assumption that performances would improve if there were a return to blue.

What I do know for sure is that a return to the colours and emblem the team had for more than a century would have a liberating effect on supporters.

2014 has been the year when Cardiff City fans lost the passion that made so many visiting managers talk about trying to silence the crowd in the first twenty minutes of the game.

Vincent Tan has ensured that the opposition no longer have to do that when they come to Cardiff.

The crowd is already silent because many do not recognise the players wearing red as the upholders of a heritage and tradition that has lasted 150 years – why does Mr Tan insist on putting his club at such a self-inflicted disadvantage?

Further reading from the FSF:

The FSF blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed are those of the author and they don’t necessarily represent FSF policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn’t be attributed to the FSF.

Thanks to Action Images for the image used in this blog.

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