Cardiff City | A case of mistaken identity

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They say that a leopard never changes its spots. Well, in the case of the Bluebirds, that couldn't be farther from the truth, after Cardiff City's Malaysian owners sensationally announced their decision to 'redevelop the club's brand' with a complete overhaul of the club's colours and crest.

In short, the Championship side will no longer play in their traditional blue home strip, after deciding to change their kit to red, in a move that will anger Cardiff's most loyal fans. The club has also unveiled a new logo, with changes to be implemented with immediate effect after the hierarchy approved the decision at a recent board meeting.

The badge incorporates a main image of a dragon with a small bluebird inserted underneath, and carries a new slogan: 'Fire and Passion'. The rebrand will see the release of three new strips; as well as the red home kit, Cardiff will play in a more recognisable blue away strip, and a third kit that is primarily black.

In addition, the owners have announced plans to build brand-new training facilities, pay off the majority of the club's crippling debts, and most importantly of all from a fans perspective, provide Cardiff manager Malky Mackay with a substantial transfer kitty, in a bid to mount a renewed promotion push towards the Premier League next season.

The decision has been made with the Asian market in mind, where the colour red has strong spiritual significance, whilst members of the board are also hopeful that existing Cardiff fans will also welcome the change given the obvious link with Wales' heritage.

Despite a recent backlash from supporters when the idea of a swap from the club's traditional blue - which has been worn for over 100 years - was initially suggested a little over a month ago, the Malaysians have gone ahead with the controversial plan.

It's a move that has been met with a distinct scent of caution, not just from fans affiliated with the South Wales club, but football fans the world over, as it is just another sign of the increasingly common view that sports franchises are taking over in this country.

First, we had sponsorship via the selling of advertising space on shirts, then later clubs selling stadium naming rights, and now this. It begs the question, should a club's brand ever be more important than its history?

Unfortunately, football has become all about the money and business. For most clubs to stay competitive, or even just afloat, they need investment. And, that can come at a price.

It's a shame that Cardiff are perceived to be negating their history, but, without the planned rebranding, the reality is the club is at risk of becoming history, given their current financial problems.

Exploring the possibility of expanding the Cardiff City Stadium is another carrot that has been tentatively dangled in front of the Bluebirds' (sorry Red Dragons) faithful, along with investment in the team to help improve the club's fortunes on the pitch.

And, it would be fair to say that there is a significant number of supporters who do not drastically oppose the planned changes, with many fans accepting the idea of overlooking the club's heritage and tradition, in order to get the money promised, and the success that it may, or may not bring.

"It's great news," said Cardiff manager Mackay, who was in no doubt about the positivity of the news. "The investment will allow us to take forward the exciting plans for the future of this football club which we have all been working towards.

"Since coming to Cardiff, I have been hugely impressed with the commitment and passion of the fans here. The securing of this package of investment and the breadth of vision which it encompasses should enable us to build on the progress already made in my first year and puts us in a position to take Cardiff City forward in the way which the fans deserve."

The superficial sacrifices, although not ideal, are necessary so Cardiff aren't left behind in the constantly evolving, and increasingly competitive modern world of football. Angered fans must look past the restyling, or rebranding - call it what you like - and delve a little deeper to counteract accusations of a loss of identity. A club's heritage can never be taken away. Its history is its brand.

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