THE BLOG

A Personal Take on Last Weekend's Cardiff City Fans Protest

24/03/2014 13:10 GMT | Updated 23/05/2014 10:59 BST

As I detailed in my last blog, when I first heard that there was to be a unified anti rebrand protest march backed by all of the main supporters bodies, I was genuinely pleased but also found it difficult to suppress a degree of cynicism.

Cynicism borne out of a feeling that it was all a little 'late in the day' for such a demonstration. The rebrand has been with us for twenty months, the time for serious action was then - twenty months ago. I also had a weariness about marching alongside many people that had, until recently, been happy enough to give their tacit support to the changes at the club. Worse still, I knew that in some cases i'd be protesting with people that had previously thought nothing of mocking those of us who still placed importance on tradition and an unwillingness to cede to the whims of Cardiff City's owner.

Well, despite casting an initially dubious eye on matters, my feelings were misplaced.

The protest was a resounding success, in the sense that an estimated 3-4,000 supporters took part in a march that was vociferous but well behaved. As someone whose relationship with the football club fundamentally changed a year and a half ago - to the extent that I haven't attended a Cardiff City match since - the anti rebrand demo' restored some of my lost faith in my fellow bluebirds.

It was great to see so much obvious pride in the club's long established blue and bluebird identity. City had played in blue from the Edwardian era right up until August 2012 and it's generally accepted that the club first became known as 'the bluebirds' by the local press and supporters in the opening decades of the twentieth century. Put simply they are absolute fundamentals of the club's identity. Non negotiables, if you like. To suggest otherwise is, in my opinion, more than a little disingenuous. As much as the recent gentrification of the game and a serious influx of money has led to lots of changes to modern football, colours, emblems and nicknames are still, quite rightly, enshrined by most supporters.

The protest last weekend was a reminder of both the audible and visual impact that fans can still have. I left the stadium vicinity shortly before kick off but the pictures on social networking forums, doing the rounds post match, showing vast swathes of supporters proudly holding blue scarves aloft nineteen minutes and twenty seven seconds into the game (to commemorate the year Cardiff City won the FA Cup) are ones to lift the spirits. The myriad of good natured 'pro blue' chants proferred by the marchers had a similar impact.

If we stand together, bury our cynicism...and put aside our differences, not always easy for either 'side,' then we have far more power than, perhaps, any of us realise.

The protest organisers were invited to meet the club's chairman for a very brief meeting shortly before kick off but wisely declined and suggested a more meaningful get together when more time was available. Solving an impasse like the one at Cardiff City is going to take a lot longer than a fifteen minute pre match conversation over a cup of tea and a piece of cake. Given that the club's owner Vincent Tan recently reiterated that there will be no return to blue on his watch, one can question whether meeting, at this stage, will serve any useful purpose, anyway, unless, of course, a total rebrand reversal is at the top of the agenda.

My personal view is that the club's owner will have to feel far more fan pressure before there is even the remotest possibility of a rethink on his part. Cardiff City supporters came together in large numbers last weekend and in corny football parlance 'set out their stall,' but it's important that the first unified protest was just the start.

If Cardiff City do remain in the premier league this season, it will be vital that the momentum gained from this protest is not lost amidst the euphoria of staying up. Last Saturday really felt like the start of something. It will take commitment on the part of all of us to ensure that anti rebrand feeling continues to grow, regardless of results on the pitch.