by Noel Draper

I’m sorry if I appear a bit distracted at the moment but I am just looking out of the window to see if I had moved to America overnight. People walking about? Check. Grey skies? Check. Very small houses built on very small plots of land? Check. Cars that run on petrol? Check. A football club keeping its identity and not alienating it’s fans? Che…oh.

You see, re-branding happens all the time in America. It is an accepted part of following a club. Take the Houston Oilers, an NFL team who started in 1960, and originally played in white and blue and had a giant oil rig derrick as a logo. Over the years their kit has changed colour, the original logo has disappeared and they have even changed their name to the Tennessee Titans. Go Titans.

Look at the oldest existing club in the NFL, the Chicago Cardinals. Sorry who? Oh, you mean the St Louis Cardinals. Yes, yes I do but they are now called the Arizona Cardinals. They moved the team over 1000 miles and no-one batted one big fat dog eating eyelid. It happens all of the time in the US of A, with nearly every professional sporting team. Clubs that have been in one town for a hundred years suddenly up sticks and move somewhere else. Albuquerque Isotopes anyone?

So why, when the Cardiff City owners announced that they were changing the colour of their home shirts from blue to red purely down to monetary reasons, did the footballing world suddenly explode with indignation? Why did the twittering masses rise up as one voice loudly proclaiming that if it happened to their club then they would ruddy well wander off and support someone else? Why? Is it because it has never happened before?

The trouble is, after a little delving into the murky world of the internet, it would appear that it has happened before. Quite a few times in fact. For instance, did you know that Blackburn Rovers used to play in light blue and white stripes? Or that Oldham Athletic played 2 seasons in a red and white kit? What about when Leeds Utd changed their kit colour to white in 1961 after years of having a home kit that was blue and gold? Were you aware that Everton, at one stage in their history, played in a rather fetching pink and white ensemble? I could go on with Tottenham, Villa, Birmingham etc etc who have all changed their colours and/or designs.

Don’t think that town moving is a pastime that the American’s have cornered either. Remember Wimbledon? It’s just off the M1 in Buckinghamshire these days but used to be situated in south west London. What about Bolton Wanderers who moved to the next town along, Horwich, when they built the Reebok Stadium. Meadowbank Thistle changed their name and moved 19 miles away to become Livingston F.C due to money issues and although there was outrage at the time I bet they were silenced when the club won the Scottish Cup a few years later.

But what about the people that really matter? The Cardiff City fans. Are they in uproar? Are they planning moonlit angry mob marches with flaming torches and pitchforks? Well, it would appear not judging by the internet reactions. One poll seems to indicate that only 20% wouldn’t watch them again and that the majority will protest by wearing blue. At the game.

Sure there will be howls of derision coming from a small band of red clothed northern Welshmen but what the owners have done at Cardiff is ensure financial stability and provide the manager significant funds to buy players. With these new players the team can hopefully fulfil their dream and reach the Premier League.

The supporters will then have what they want: success. A chance to rub fans of other Welsh clubs noses in “it”. Whatever “it” is. A team that will challenge for honours. A team to be proud of and above all, a team that will have forsaken over 100 years of history just on the off chance that they might win something one day.

They can support a club whose owners changed their minds in the space of one month even though the original plans were scraped due to “vociferous opposition”.

Will they change their minds about the new training complex? About the proposed major money investment? They have a history of changing their minds now. History. Which is something that they are slowly taking from the club.

It’s the death knoll of football as we know it and I, for one, am disgusted and a little sad.