Crap Kits: Bluebirds in Red

Few kits have ever been quite as divisive as when Cardiff City changed their colours from blue to red.

When owner Vincent Tan swapped Cardiff City’s traditional blue colours for red he invoked the fury of sections of the Bluebirds’ support.

Between June 2012 and January 2015, Cardiff City wore “lucky red” at the behest of Malaysian owner Vincent Tan.

Cardiff City, Red, Home, Kit
Fire & Passion: The re-branding exercise gave greater precedence to the red dragon

The South Wales club’s badge was also redesigned with a red dragon taking prominence away from the traditional bluebird emblem.

The shirts, made by Puma and then Cosway Sports, may not have been especially ugly, the designs not particularly garish, but for the upset they caused for a club and their supporters, few shirts have ever been as unpopular.

Neutral supporters grow up with opinions on what other clubs’ kits should look like and when these change, loyal fans lose more than just face.

“TRIBAL”

Club colours form a huge part of the sense of belonging we get from the crowd at the clubs we choose to follow. Kit colours are tribal and go back to days long before supporters wore rosettes rather than replica kits.

Vincent Tan had his own ideas on how he wanted his club to look but underestimated the passion of football fans and the importance of colour and symbols to a club’s identity.

Cardiff City, Red, Puma, Home, Kit, Bluebirds
The first Cardiff City shirt in red was made by Puma and featured a distinctive black trim

There were those at the Cardiff City Stadium who declared their loyalty to the club rather than their colours, but many Cardiff fans felt their club had been wrestled away from them. Vincent Tan believed it was his club to do with as he wished and after all, he was securing the football club’s future.

Perhaps the mistake made by Tan was that he and his board failed to consult fans over the re-branding exercise.

Following anti-red protests, relegation from the Premier League and low attendances, Cardiff City’s owners came under pressure to listen to their fans’ wishes.

After reflection and the advice of his mother, who stressed the need for unity and togetherness to her son; Tan ditched the divisive colours and reinstated blue and the bluebird to their rightful place on City’s shirts.

The Bluebirds have now returned to the Premier League, unified under the leadership of manager Neil Warnock.

Club colours are hugely important to football fans, passed from generation to generation and are an integral part of the fabric of what makes us supporters of our clubs.

Whilst owners come and go, fans remain and clubs should not take supporters’ loyalty for granted.

Cardiff City, Red, Home, Cosway Sports
The final red home kit before re-adoption of blue was made by Cosway Sports

Should bodies like the Football Association protect club colours and crests from change?

Or, should owners be able to do what they want following their investment?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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