by Liam McConville

Very occasionally I see things in football that really angers me. Whether it is overpriced seating, the constant supply of new replica kits or the fact that Liverpool can’t beat newly promoted sides at Anfield, the game we love can occasionally make our blood boil.

A few weeks ago I heard the mooted idea of Cardiff City switching their home colours from blue to red in a complete re-brand of the club’s ‘image’ that would boost its commercial prospects. I simply dismissed this as nonsense as surely no owner would dare completely change a club’s identity in the hope of pandering to the admittedly lucrative Asian market. I put it alongside such ideas as the ‘39th game’, a daft idea that would never come to fruition. Indeed the club’s chairman had stated that the proposal had been dropped after ‘vociferous opposition’ against the proposals.

So imagine my surprise and dismay at yesterday’s confirmation that the club will be going ahead with the planned re-branding after a ‘comprehensive review’ of supporter feedback. Cardiff City will as of next season play their home games in red with the traditional blue shirt becoming the new away strip. Add into this a very different looking club crest where a new red dragon takes centre stage with the bluebird crammed in at the bottom of the re-vamped badge.

Cardiff’s Malaysian owners claim that this is part of a significant investment for the club which will stabilise its long term future. The £100million investment which was conditional on Cardiff switching to red could well be a turning point for the club. Long standing debts are set to be wiped out, a new training complex is in the planning stage and the owners are looking into expanding the recently built Cardiff City Stadium.

However whilst all this investment is brilliant for the Welsh club, at what cost does it come at? For the first time since 1910 blue will not be the colour of the home shirts. Cardiff are losing part of their identity, their rich history has been completely disregarded as not for the first time in football it is clear that money talks. I would personally be outraged if I supported Cardiff, changing to red may well  open up more commercial opportunities, but the question remains will it really herald the sort of windfall that the owners’ are expecting?

Imagine for a second if the Glazers’ offered to put up £200million of investment if Manchester United would play in blue as it would open up new commercial opportunities. Imagine the uproar and the protests that would follow and rightfully so. Admittedly Cardiff is a different proposition as they are the only major club in their city but the point still stands as other clubs may look to follow suit should this radical move prove to be a success.

Perhaps the move and the investment that it brings will be a turning point for Cardiff and lead to a period of prosperity and success both on and off the field. However for me it is just another instance of a football club owner completely ignoring a club’s history and sacrificing their identity in the hunt for quick cash. We have already seen a club up sticks and relocate when Wimbledon became the MK Dons. There have also been numerous changes of stadium names in return for sponsorship money.

Maybe this is the only way forward for football clubs to survive in this time of economic hardship. Particularly for lower league clubs who are struggling to survive it is understandable. However I long for the time when clubs were not viewed as brands and franchises where supporters are just consumers who can be exploited at every opportunity. Football clubs are the beating heart of a community, going to games is a ritual for some but when stories like this appear all the good that football brings can be forgotten.

Cardiff may well reach the promised land of the Premier League with their new investment. However there will always be unease no matter what success they achieve with the knowledge that they sold their soul to get there.