Goodbye Cardiff City FC: a life long fan finds salvation in the lower leagues

GTFO: Malaysian investors want Cardiff City FC to rebrand and play in red

Long term readers of this blog will know that I’ve been a hardcore Cardiff City fan all my life.

I’ve been going to games since I was 6 years old, and supported them through their highs and sometimes calamitous lows.

Even when we were scraping the bottom of Division Four, my passion for City never faltered for a second – after all, they were my team from my home town and I was proud to support and cheer them on.

Great Cardiff City FC moments: the 1993 tranny pitch invasion

[CCFC pitch invasion in drag, Scunthorpe away, 1993]

Along with my friends in the now moribund London 1927 Club, I thought nothing of travelling to bleak northern wastelands to cheer on my team.

Such was my love for the City that I even authored a comic fanzine called Bluebird Jones, which garnered nationwide publicity for its unique format and documentation of the trials and tribulations of being a Cardiff fan.

I also ran a regularly updated section on this website dedicated to Cardiff City match reports, photos and features.

Does anyone know what Cardiff City FC are actually called now?

I thought nothing would ever sway me from supporting my club until the arrival of the billionaire megalomaniac Vincent Tan, who swiftly embarked on a campaign of jettisoning all the things I loved about my team.

The strip changed and the badge was replaced, as the club’s proud history and heritage was stripped clean in a quest for transnational commercial success.

Does anyone know what Cardiff City FC are actually called now?

Cardiff’s once legendarily robust and loyal fan base turned on each other, as arguments raged over what price was a worthwhile one to pay for Premiership ‘glory’.

But for me, the magic was gone. The amount of fun on offer had already been decreasing over the years, as success drove the fans into ever more restricted and sanitised experiences.

Sit down. Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Don’t swear. Don’t wave that banner. Stop shouting. Enjoy the stadium experience (TM)  in the correct manner.

Say no to Cardiff City FC corporate rebranding and sign the petition

But the final straw for me was the despicable way in which some Cardiff fans just rolled over and let Vincent Tan do his worst. For them, it was a case of anything for success and I ended up hating them.

So I don’t even recognise Cardiff City FC any more. I don’t care about the Premiership and its endless corporate sponsorship deals and I don’t want to pay for an effing ‘gold’ membership. 

I’ve no interest in paying £40 to watch a game in a soulless stadium and being compelled to sit in a designated seat and forced to be a passive consumer for two hours

Most of all, I don’t want to play any part in Vincent Tan’s rebranding of the team that I’ve supported all my life.

So I’ve moved on to the joys of non league football, a place where fans matter and self expression hasn’t been legislated out of the ground. I now support Dulwich Hamlet FC (I live in south London and can walk to their ground).

Twirling scarves celebrate Dulwich Hamlet's 2-0 win over Thamesmead Town, 11th February, 2014

I have fun again. I can enjoy a drink as I watch the game. I can stand, sing, dance and muck about to my heart’s content.

I don’t need to send in my passport to be able to buy a ticket and I can turn up at the turnstiles five minutes before kick off.

I’m meeting passionate fans who are more interested in the fun and passion of supporting a local team in all weathers than being a tiny cog in the money-churning Premiership machine.

Twirling scarves celebrate Dulwich Hamlet's 2-0 win over Thamesmead Town, 11th February, 2014

By coincidence, there’s other ex-Cardiff fans who have joined me on the Hamlet terraces, and just like me, they’re loving football again.

So goodbye Cardiff City FC. You gave me some amazing times over the years and I met some great friends on the way, but I won’t be coming back until I can recognise you again.

Fuck modern football. Long live grass roots football.

Discuss what’s been going on at Cardiff City on urban75 (570 replies):
Cardiff City /Cardiff Dragons/ RedBlueDragonBirds 2013-2014, Bluebirds Unite and related chat

See what’s been going on at Dulwich Hamlet FC.

39 Comments on “Goodbye Cardiff City FC: a life long fan finds salvation in the lower leagues”

  1. I’d much rather watch Monmouth Town FC in the welsh league. Fan owned, volunteer run, some decent local lads augmented by some cracking players from Newport and around bouts…as recommended by Attilla the stockbroker! 🙂

  2. I have also supported the city my entire life, but I have to agree with all of what you’ve said.
    I now support Newport county, where the fans are still passionate.
    It breaks my heart!!

  3. When the club said only 70 people walked away after the rebrand I think that number was hugely underestimated. I see stories like this all the time. I think an AFC Cardiff is the only solution for things to ever truly go back the way they were.

  4. Fuck Vincent Tan. People should be going after him and not slating the club. If you are all fans, then why don’t you stand in the prick’s face and show him you’re one.

    1. Im a True Cardiff fan always have been since I was 6 witch was 14 years ago same as my dad he died a TRUE FAN, I never walked when the colour and the badge changed I weren’t happy about it but I would never Abandon the BLUEBIRDS, Mickey’s right Fuck Vincent Tan and stand up to him Like a True BLUEBIRD.

  5. I don’t understand what this guy is moaning at ? is it tan or the stadium or the gold members or the smoking ban or the no standing, ffs maybe its the way the seagulls shit in to the wind or summit ?? all TAN has done is change the colour of the kit !! every owner before him put us deeper in the shit financially year after year after year !!! TAN is hear now and will be gone like the rest of em before him ! so just put up with him for a few seasons like you did the crooks that run the club previously !!!!

  6. I know we won’t agree about this, Editor, but I think the golden age you long for is a myth…..run-down stadia in inner city neighbourhoods where the locals dreaded the Saturday afternoon influx of drunken, loutish fans. It’s certainly not something I want to see back….

    Nothing wrong with supporting grass roots local football, but I think the changes at the top level have been far more a good thing than bad one

  7. I’m a Newcastle supporter and feel exactly the same something has really died in the Premiership for those of us in our forties and fifties. I had a season ticket for over twenty years followed home and away but haven’t watched a game now for over 5 years and sadly don’t miss it. Now if Gateshead wasn’t so far away I think they’d be my new team but as I’m in Somerset might have to be Yeovil at least they’ve been to the new Wembley and won!

  8. I’d much rather watch a fans owned and run club like Swansea City… Oh wait hang on….

    I feel cardiff have brought this on on themselves selling their soals for the fancy of premiership football! And, if they’re not careful, they’ll have sold their sole for 1 measly season and over £100 mil of debt!

    Stick to grass routes dude. At least it hasn’t been totally polluted yet! Peace

  9. Hi Guys – I’m Sheikh Rattlan Rohl from the Qatari royal family, and I’ve just bought Dulwich Hamlet FC. I’m going to make Real Dulwich Megapolis (like the new name?) the biggest footballing club in the wor… Guys, guys – come back! You haven’t seen the new royal gold kit yet! Guys?

  10. Agree with you completely, Mike. Now am a refusenik loving supporting Bath City. I meet some mates in my local pub 5 minutes away, we walk 10 minutes to the ground (which is akin to a small Ninian Park), pay on the turnstile, stand on the terraces and even have a pint at half-time. The football’s actually pretty good as well.

  11. Love all the banter boys, but money talks, like the Bee Gees!!!! If the robbing fuckers like Sam the Man, Pied piper Ridsdale had not stuck their greasy fingers in the the pie then would we be where we’re we are now???

  12. I’m lucky that since 2010 I have been living and working in East Africa so the decision to support or not support the rebrand was thankfully taken out of my hands. I have stood on crumbling terraces next to Mike across the country. I was there when Bluebird Jones made it’s debut and I was there when we handed out anti-nazi material out when our club was targeted by the national front (an ill fated campaign by the NF because despite a few idiots we have never had a racist fanbase), I was there when Phil Stant took a bite out of a half-eaten pie thrown by a Cardiff fan at the York keeper, I was there when we’ve been promoted and we’ve been relegated and who can forget the away win at Boro when blakey set off fireworks in the away end. The football was more rubbish than you can imagine but it was my club whom I supported with my people wearing our colours and our badge. If the Premier League is the ‘real thing’ then I don’t want any part of it because all of the years of struggle were ‘better than the real thing’. I still see City on TV in Africa as all games are on satellite TV but it’s like watching an ex-girlfriend failing to flatter her new corporate tory boyfriend who is just using her and will dump her as soon as the novelty wears off. I hope she comes back to me one day but watching her being fucked over in the meantime hurts so much and what hurts even more is watching her family stand by and do nothing because they like the benefits of the corporate tory boyfriend. RIP Bluebirds.

  13. It’s the great conundrum, you don’t want success because it brings the awful mediocrity of plastic fans, rich wanker owners, and all the other related shit, but then what are you playing for and why do you cheer when they beat Mansfield on a rainy Saturday afternoon? It’s all such a massive waste of time and a pain in the cunt being a football fan that cares about a club that is actually a part of his or her community. Maybe the armchairs have had it right all along.

    I fancy I’d start watching Pontypridd Town back home now. Ynysangharad Park. Bring your cans.The future for the professional game is depressing.

    Teams will become floated corporations answerable to providing optimum profitability to their shareholders and in line with globalization in every other business industry, that will probably involve playing games abroad or even fully relocating while competitions also finally begin to reflect this by setting up truly global leagues until you reach the modern football singularity of the Apple Samsung World Championship League culminating in the Apple Samsung playoff finals and the Apple Samsung Super Club Final between Manchester Super Lucky Hong Kong Devils and the Tokyo Barcelona Real Madrid Shanghai Extra Lucky Samurai Dragons. Samurai Dragons will win 25-22 after a super-extra time 3 point zone shot from a cloned Pele/Garrincha hybrid.

    In regards to our own clubs, the only thing we need to think is do we want to be a part of the paradigm shift or to be left in its wake to either die or purely operate in the more obscure corners of what is left. Basically, become Merthyr Town FC. Do we want to be on telly and lose our souls, or do we want the community we grew up with to die or become a tiny congregation watching a Sunday league side every now and then.

    Even matchgoing fans in the elite echelons will be fucked over. ManYoo will be one of the G20 teams that actually own football. But they will rarely be in Manchester. The players will live in custom super condominiums built into super trains that constantly criss-cross the globe so that their adoring global fans can see their heroes in the flesh once every tri-season and satisfy the many sponsorship obligations they have all over the Facebook Global Hegemony as well as the Google controlled territories. ManYoo fans will be eating their Jumbo Shrimp Lucky Barbecue Gutbuster Ricecake Wraps sponsored by Messaldo Mark II in Shanghai the one week and Los Angeles the next.

    Some teams may go a more populist route of giving fans some input on preferred changes to certain aspects of their clubs by virtue of Likes on Facebook pages etc. but Liking stuff on Facebook will be chargeable under the future Facebook Global Government Hegemony. And probably your preferences will be collated to use against you when they’re looking to send dangerous ‘thought havers’ to the FEMA Camp treacle mines in Google controlled Uganda. This is happening already, of course.

    Future Soccer by Dareth Gavies is going to be a sci-fi classic that many in days to come will say was scarily accurate in its predictions.

    Anyway, Fuck Modern Football as they say. I’m an interested and far more casual observer for the time being. At least until there’s a sliver of humility shown by that twat of an owner and he reverses the rebrand. Though Tan is just the sign of things to come. A particularly eccentric and loathsome example of what we’re going to see more and more of over the next few decades. He’s somewhat of a pioneer and others will learn from his mistakes, as will he, but they’ll carry on regardless towards the future I’ve outlined, albeit sardonically.

  14. Some nice sentiments but I don’t see the story as told. All clubs in the higher leagues have had to adapt to all seater stadia, the ‘sit down’ issue was very prevalent at Man U some seasons ago. This is really only about Tan, or moreso about the re-brand to red. No mention of Sam Hamman’s badge change in his time as owner of the club? It’s given away in the final sentences when he states I won’t be coming back again until ‘I recognise you’, well surely this will be never because there will never be terraces at the top stadia. Sorry but I don’t buy it

  15. “Warren Young” – Gateshead fan here! You’d be surprised at how many season ticket holders have bailed out of Newcastle with every Mike Ashley crime (our very own Tan – he even tried – and failed – to rename the holy St James’s Park after his trashy clothes firm) I’m now a season ticket holder at Gateshead – we’re on the up, play good football and you see the Chairman in the pub after the game sometimes. By all means go to Yeovil, it’s a nice friendly little club, my Dad used to have a season ticket there, but when you’re back in Geordieland give the mighty Heed a try!

  16. This is modern football for you, all about money and making more of it. Proud to say I have been a Kiddy fan all my life wouldn’t have it any other way West Midlands League to Conference even remember standing under the slag heap at Gornal Athletic 45 years ago with me Dad. My sentiments and values are very similar to yours Warren even have a soft spot for the Heed after all we were promoted to the Alliance premier League as it was known then at the same time back in 1982. Our Clubs especially the ones in the Premiership are undergoing these massive changes in the name of commercialism and will only suffer for it in the future. What is happening at Cardiff is despicable and has no regard for the Bluebirds loyal supporters, past history, club traditions and values. There will come a time when it becomes no longer viable to invest money in theses top clubs the outcome does not bare thinking about it’s the loyal fans I feel for they are the people who will suffer the outcome of all of this in the future.

  17. @Ben. I think the true figure is closer to 500 walkaways over time Ive no evidence for this other than meeting and talking to people and an initial desire for an FC Cardiff before that fell through I hadnt renewed my st for that season as Id decided to hit away games more(tickets for which I would always get)so when it changed to red I stayed away, although I went back I couldnt identify anymore. Many more followed toward the end of that season. When you think about the hardcore City support in the 80s/90s 500 odd is significant. Cardiff will go the same way as Pompey but unfortunately a lot of loyal supporters may not be back and the premiership gold diggers will have gone.

  18. i can understand your views on tan, but i will never let that tan twat win. i’m a member of bluebirds unite and continue the fight to get our colors and badge back and i.m still standing in the ninian end despite the many threats from the stewards. you can only change things if your involved. however i wish you good luck in the future.BLUE NOT RED

  19. Entirely agree with the blog, great read & a view shared by many. It happens in non league too though, just look at Carshalton Athletic. A very similar situation to Cardiff, badge & kit change, fans alienated by a dictator owner. Fans banned left right & centre for having the cheek to stand up to the oppression & fight for the history. (As a fellow Isthmian League fan you may already know this)

    Kind regards,
    Paddy the Kingstonian fan.paul

  20. Its people like you how need to get a life and understand that the age of football is changing. A true supporter will stick by his club through thick and thin no matter what the problems the club is facing. I could right more on this but it would waste my time.

  21. Ive been a Cardiff fan since the early 90s. Used to sit on the bob bank reading Bluebird Jones cos it was better than watching the awful football. I now live in London. My friends assumed id be going t9 to all the london matches this year and getting home for as many games as poss. Instead I bought a s.t for afc Wimbledon. Fan owned not Tan owned makes all the difference
    I can’t get excited about a team in red with what looks like Wrexham’s badge and I can’t stand alongside so called fans who lap it up. Now I follow a team thats run by the fans for the fans and it is great.

  22. I used to be an avid Newcastle United supporter and saw as many games as I could around London and the South East as I live in Maidstone, what finally turned me away from going to the games was about 2 – 3 years ago we played QPR and it cost £50 for a ticket, I also had to pay £25 to join the supporters club and the game was dire and ended 0-0, since then I have decided to support Maidstone United who have recently moved back to the town after 25 years globe trotting around Kent, they have a nice little ground, a good bunch of supporters, we average 1800 per home game and best of all my season ticket which gives me a seat in the main stand costs a bargain price of £210 for 23 games, I will always look out for the Toon score and maybe watch them on MOTD but I don’t think, I will watch another game live.

  23. Alec- Hampton and Richmond borough fan, I’m sure I met the author of this article when we drew 2-2 with Dulwich a couple of weeks ago. Anyway I’m an ex Fulham season ticket holder, was for six years, I gave up after our return to the Cottage (4th season in the prem) Aged 9 my dad and I returned to our usual seats to be told that I couldn’t hang my flag up or use my hooter, after five games of this we gave up. I’d started to see Hampton games advertised in a local shop and begged my dad to take me, eventually in pre season 2004 he gave in, we lost 4-0 to charlton but I was hooked, 10-11 years on I can be found behind the goal with a pint and smoke in hand!

    I’ve since been back to Fulham for a season and things have got worse, the stewards became even bigger jobbsworths and I got thrown out five or six times for persistent standing amongst other things.

    I’ve also had minor issues at non league level and been threatened with banning orders, but that won’t stop me following the Red And Blue army all over England!

  24. and theres me, 53 yrs old, 10 yrs in the army, watching the bluebirds when I could. worrying if my mates were slagging me off for not going to the game, and uve been thru all that. my heart goes out to u mucker, keep being a bluebird. xx

  25. I’m sorry Alec, you are probably a very nice person away from football, but you sound like the sort of person top level soccer can do without.

    Did you not take the hint after being thrown out once for standing that you aren’t supposed to do it?

  26. Yes, but what I neglected to mention was that I was in the very back row of the stand with no one else behind me. Which is why I took a little offence to being chucked out. Don’t get me wrong I understand that I would be blocking someone’s veiw if I was anywhere else in the stand, but if I was I’d sit down.

  27. I agree with the overall sentiment but can’t say that I experience it on a match-day. I am in my 70’s & have been a season ticket supporter for many years, so I can remember ‘the good old days’. Believe me, you wouldn’t want to go back to them. But then again I don’t have to put up with an owner like Tan, who’s only interested in re-branding for commercial reasons. You see, I am a Stoke City supporter & we are lucky to have owners who were born & bred in Stoke & are here for the long haul. Our season ticket prices have stayed unchanged for 4 seasons & there is every likelihood that will be the case when we renew for season 2014/15. Football supporting has changed over the years, but then again, doesn’t everything?

  28. I was one of the small number who handed their season tickets back in the summer of 2012. Full refund given and I have not watched Cardiff since. I now watch Newport who since then have actually returned to the league. I was a bluebird from 1974 – 2012 but could not accept the changes and in all honesty I don’t miss it. I now stand on a terrace and am home back in Cardiff before I would be back at my car from the CCS. Good article and summarises modern football.

  29. 26 years Following the City until Tans latest outburst this week, season ticket holder for most of that time, Wont be going again until we are back playing in blue and that nutcase has gone, will go to the Chelsea game to say s’long to some faces then will be Following Merthyr
    Up the Martyrs

  30. I sympathise. Fortunately at Brighton we’ve currently got a fan as the owner (and mega-benefactor) and fans on the board so we’re not in the same boat as Cardiff in that respect. However I recognise the brilliant “Stadium Experience (TM)” paragraph, that applies to all of us and has gone a long way to killing my love for football. Fortunately I think the soulless nature of most ‘Stadium Experiences’ means that the Powers That Be are now looking more favourably on fans (sorry, ‘customers’) who don’t want to sit there passively for ninety minutes. It’s going to be a long haul though; football has never been so popular so there are a lot of people who obviously like paying through the nose to sit there like lemons. I guess they all used to be Cliff Richard fans who have switched to football.

  31. It was once the Glory Game now it is the money game. Even Championship sides are playing second strings squads in F.A. Cup matches.

  32. Cardiff City players are a total disgrace and they deserve to be relegated. The whole team should face the sack as there has been no passion, commitment or determination in the way they have played in any of their games this season. Personally, I’ll be glad to see them relegated.

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